Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time
The Movie Clip: Street Rat to Prince
Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time is one of those Disney movies you can watch time and again. It’s a unique storyline, with tons of fierce action scenes, no inappropriate material whatsoever, and loads of great themes reinforced in its characters and situations.
Dastan (Jake Gyllenhaal) is adopted by a Persian king and has his life forever changed. But after leading an attack on a city thought to be harboring weapons for enemies, Dastan comes across a dagger that allows its user to travel through time. It’s a race across the kingdom to prevent the powerful weapon from falling into the wrong hands.
Introducing the Clip:
I want to show you the opening scene from a great movie, “Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time.” Very little needs to be said because this is the introductory sequence of this fantastic movie. Just make sure you pay attention to what happens to the little street rat named Dastan when the king shows up.
BEGIN CLIP AT 0 HOURS 0 MINUTES AND 40 SECONDS (essentially, the very beginning of the movie)
(This clip includes lots of action scenes as Dastan is chased around the city by the king’s guards. The key dialogue is what the narrator says of the little boy when King Sharaman stops his execution in the streets…and adopts him into the royal family. He becomes a prince of Persia!)
END CLIP AT 0 HOURS 4 MINUTES AND 18 SECONDS
(A good time to stop it is when the title of the movie appears.)
Can you imagine being the boy, Dastan? One moment, you’re a little street rat begging and stealing your way through life…and the next minute, you’re adopted by the most powerful man in the empire, the king! Talk about having your life changed! That’s exactly what can happen to any of us who are adopted by God into His family! We are changed from a nobody into a somebody. We have our lives spared and our futures secured. Let’s take a few minutes to discuss what God’s plan is to bring us into His loving family by looking at how the Bible describes it, then we’ll come back together for a final word.
Divide into Small Groups:
Let’s go ahead and split up into our discussion groups, and then afterward we’ll come back together for a final word.
CLICK HERE for a quick training article on how to maximize your small groups using our small group format—a great resource to equip your small group leaders.
- AROUND THE CIRLCE: As we get started, let’s all take a second to share our names and the most famous person we’ve ever met.
- ASK A FEW: What kind of emotions do you think were running through Dastan’s mind as he experienced such a sweeping change all in a short while?
- ASK A FEW: What did it mean to Dastan to be adopted by the king? (Leaders – First, it meant he wasn’t killed! The guard was about to execute him when the king stepped in. Second, it meant he had a family, unlike his current state of living. Third, he would have access to education, food, training, authority, and so much more. In short, Dastan’s life was changed drastically!)
- ASK A FEW: How would you have felt, or what would you have done, if you were in Dastan’s position?
- ASK A FEW: How foolish would it have been for Dastan to reject the king’s offer of adoption? What would have happened to him then?
- ASK A FEW: Do any of you know someone who has been adopted in real life? If so, can you briefly share? (Leaders – You may want to have a quick story prepared, just in case. Talk about who the person is, what their life was like before they were adopted, and what their life is like now that they have a family.)
- ASK A FEW: The Bible talks about God wanting to adopt us into His family. Why do you think He wants to do that?
Read the following passage:
- Ephesians 1:1-8 (NLT)
This letter is from Paul, chosen by God to be an apostle of Christ Jesus. It is written to God’s holy people in Ephesus, who are faithful followers of Christ Jesus. 2 May grace and peace be yours, sent to you from God our Father and Jesus Christ our Lord. 3 How we praise God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly realms because we belong to Christ. 4 Long ago, even before he made the world, God loved us and chose us in Christ to be holy and without fault in his eyes. 5 His unchanging plan has always been to adopt us into his own family by bringing us to himself through Jesus Christ. And this gave him great pleasure. 6 So we praise God for the wonderful kindness he has poured out on us because we belong to his dearly loved Son. 7 He is so rich in kindness that he purchased our freedom through the blood of his Son, and our sins are forgiven. 8 He has showered his kindness on us, along with all wisdom and understanding.
- ASK SOMEONE: What does Paul say God has always wanted to do for us in verse 5?
- ASK A FEW: There are several ways God is described in this passage. How many can you find?
- ASK A FEW: In verse 7, Paul talks about our sins being forgiven by God’s Son, Jesus. What does the Bible teach about sin? (Leaders – The Bible says that sin is anything contrary to God’s perfect will. It also teaches that everyone is guilty of committing sin. And finally, there is a penalty for it, death.)
- ASK A FEW: If we’re sinners, why would God would want to adopt us?
- ASK A FEW: How does Jesus fit into God’s plan to adopt us? (Leaders – This is a key question for the entire discussion. Our adoption is only available “through Jesus Christ” [verse 5]. God revealed his “wonderful kindness” through “His dearly loved Son,” Jesus [verse 6]. Finally, God paid our debt through the “blood of His Son” Jesus so “our sins are forgiven” [verse 7]. In other words, we could never have been adopted by God without Jesus’ death on the cross and resurrection from the dead.)
- ASK A FEW: Dastan’s life was changed when he was adopted by the king. How are our lives changed when we’re adopted by God?
- ASK A FEW: We’ve already agreed that it would have been foolish for Dastan to turn down the king’s offer of adoption. How foolish is it for us to turn down adoption into God’s family?
- AROUND THE CIRCLE: What do you plan to do with God’s offer of adoption?
In the clip we watched from Prince of Persia: Sands of Time, we saw the graciousness of a king who took in a poor beggar kid from the streets. Young Dastan was doomed to die for his small crimes, but the king intervened and not only spared his life, but changed his life by adopting him into his own royal family. That took a lot of grace and kindness, but the king had plenty of it.
There’s another King who has far more grace, mercy, and love than that king. God is such a marvelous King that He has offered the life of His Son Jesus to be able to adopt us into His heavenly family.
The passage we looked at during our small group discussion showed us that God wants to adopt us. He wants to adopt us! Think about that! God wants YOU and ME in His family! That’s incredible! But it takes a lot to adopt us because the Bible plainly shows us that we’re sinners. Through our sin, we racked up a debt we could never pay back to God. Knowing that, God sent Jesus to die on the cross for us. Through that sacrifice, God paid our debt and extends to us an invitation to join His eternal family.
The choice is ours as to whether or not we’ll take God up on His offer. If we do, our lives will be changed forever. He gives us hope, peace, purpose, and so much more! If we don’t respond to God’s offer of adoption, we’re choosing to remain separated from Him in this life…and the life to come.
I hope you’ll choose to be adopted by God. He’s paid such an enormous price for us already, and wants us so badly. A totally new life awaits anyone who chooses to be adopted by God. If you want to be adopted by God, you need to put your trust in Jesus, God’s Son, and follow Him with your life. Then, your life will never be the same.
After we pray, if you want to speak with one of our adult leaders about being adopted by God, we’d LOVE to have that conversation with you! Just pull one of us aside so we can chat about it.
Close in Prayer
Written by David R Smith
Jonathan McKee is the author of over twenty books including the brand new The Bullying Breakthrough; The Teen’s Guide to Social Media & Mobile Devices; If I Had a Parenting Do Over; and the Amazon Best Seller - The Guy's Guide to God, Girls and the Phone in Your Pocket. He speaks to parents and leaders worldwide, all while providing free resources for youth workers on TheSource4YM.com. Jonathan, his wife Lori, and their three kids live in California.