How to teach a child to pray
and let their light shine!

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How can you teach children to pray to God? The following lesson plan is meant to help us stir the imaginations of our children. It is not meant to be handed to the child to let them learn on their own, nor is it to be learned in one session, but rather it is to be used as a tool to help us teach our children.

You will see that this is a different approach - not just a connect-the-dots, color the picture, or even fill in the blank, though those methods may be used at times. This is a comprehensive method of study which appeals to all types of learners. I have used this method for years in home schooling and find it very effective.

Let the older children and teens take part in teaching the younger ones by allowing them to help the younger ones choose and do an activity or project. Explain to the older children what you want the younger ones to learn from the activity and let them have a part in sharing the Gospel with the little ones. The older ones will feel a sense of responsibility and ownership as they learn and share a ministry with others.

Activities

As you do these with your child, discuss the planning that goes into the end result. Talk about the step-by-step process of a working plan.

Learn and sing the song "This Little Light of Mine." Make a prayer notebook and decorate the outside of it. Include in it a thankfulness page (things for which we are thankful), a remembrance page (for people who need God's help, like sick and sad people), a problems and protection page (for you and for other people) a "things" page (what we need, and what we want) and an answered prayer page.

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Ask at least four people to share their favorite story of answered prayer. Draw a picture or write a story or poem about their answered prayer. You may give it to them as a gift or add it to your prayer book. Think of one thing you can do today to let God's light shine through you. Then do the same thing tomorrow. Make it a daily habit

Catch some lightening bugs

Catching lightning bugs is easy. They take off with a quick, upward surge. Then suddenly they blink and their flight path lapses into a downward swoop. They are easily seen when they light up for a brief second. It is during the swoop-down after the light blinks that they are easy to catch. Once they are caught they can be put into a see-through, unbreakable jar that has a lid with air holes it. Many, many lightning bugs can be easily caught in an evening, but that is not the end of the fun. There is more fun in store! The jar can be taken inside to use as a bug-powered night light. The lightning bugs blink off and on all night until they get sleepy in the wee hours of the morning. Then the next day, they can be released with no harm done to them. Who knows, they may be the very same bugs that are caught again the next night!

Ricky's Story

Ricky was so happy! It was early summer and he wanted to catch lightning bugs that night. That is, if they were out. It had been almost a year since he had run through the grass in the backyard catching fireflies. So far this summer, the lightning bugs had not come out. Every evening Ricky had gone outside to see if the lightning bugs were out. Every evening so far, he had not seen any lightning bugs. He eagerly anticipated his first big catch of the year. Tonight might be different. He had prayed and asked God for lightning bugs. He was ready. He had a clear plastic jar and his dad had punched tiny air holes in the lid. Maybe, they would be out that night. All he had to do was wait ....and wait. Would he see them that night? He hoped so, but he had already been waiting a long time.. Then it happened! There, in the corner of his eye he saw... was it... a lightning bug?... YES!!!! He was sure of it!!!! His prayer was answered. He ran inside to get his mom. She liked to catch lightning bugs too. She had told him stories of how she used to catch them and put them into glass milk bottles when she was a little girl.

Together they went outside. In anticipation they walked to the backyard. Their eyes were scanning the air for a flash of brief light. They looked and looked...... but there were no lightning bugs anywhere. They searched for a long time. The mosquitoes began to bite, and Ricky's mom started to think about going in. It was time to get dinner started.

"Let's go in now. There will be plenty of other nights to catch lightning bugs." She said as she turned to go inside. Ricky was not ready to give up. "I know, let's pray and ask God to send some lightning bugs!" he said. Ricky's mom felt sad inside. She was afraid that Ricky was asking for something that God would not do. It did not seem fair for Ricky to learn about prayer like this. There was no way she could help make a prayer like that come true. So she said, "No, God has real important things to take care of. Let's just go inside. Maybe tomorrow there will be lightning bugs." Then Ricky insisted, "You told me God answers prayers, and that nothing is too hard, or too big for Him, and I really want some lightning bugs. Ple-e-ease!!"

Mom did not know that he had already prayed for lightning bugs once. She did not think that they would see any lightning bugs that night, and she did not want him to be disappointed. She was afraid that Ricky might think that God did not hear his prayer, but because it was so important to him she agreed to pray with him.

"He needs to learn that we don't always get our own way when we pray", she thought. So, right there, under a tree in the back yard they held hands and bowed their heads and prayed. Ricky prayed for lightning bugs, right out loud, while Mama prayed silently that God would turn this into a learning experience. When they lifted their heads and looked . . . there were no lightning bugs.

Mom was not surprised. She knew there would be no lightning bugs. Sadly, she watched Ricky. He kept looking. Mom was thinking of how she would teach him that sometimes God says no.

Then it happened!! "LOOK," he exclaimed! Sure enough, just around a tree where Ricky had gone to look, there were lightning bugs! Not just a few, suddenly the lightning bugs were everywhere! Ricky and his mom barely had to run to catch them! It was so much fun putting all those bugs in a jar. That night they caught as many as they had ever caught before.

When Ricky went to bed that night he had a fine bug light that flashed and blinked until the wee hours of the morning. Before he got tucked in, his mom joined him in his nightly prayers. They were both thankful. Ricky had gotten a lot of lightning bugs, and Mom was surprised, and thankful that the learning experience was not only for Ricky; it was she who learned the most. She learned that she did not have to help God answer Ricky's prayers, and she learned it because Ricky had let his light shine.

When he had prayed for lightning bugs; that was asking. When he kept searching for them; that was seeking. When he was not afraid to ask God again for them, that was knocking. Ricky had let his light shine to his mom, just like the lightning bugs shined to each other. She thanked God for what He had taught her about prayer through Ricky's faith. She asked that God's light would shine through them both, and that His light would be seen by other people, just like we can see the flashing of the lightning bugs. Then Ricky fell asleep watching the lightning bugs light up his room.

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