Make a prayer notebook. Decorate the outside. Include a page for each of the following:
Thankfulness Page (Things for which we are thankful)
Remembrance Page (For people who need God's help, like sick and sad people)
Problems and Protection Page (For you and for other people)
Things Page (What we need, and what we want)
Answered Prayers (you may need more than one page, as time goes on)
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.
A Lesson from Lightning Bugs
The Bible says that we, who believe God, are the light of the earth. It says that if we hide our good works, it is like hiding our light under a basket. (Matthew 5:14-16). God created a bug that shows us this very thing. It is the Firefly.
There are many species of fireflies. The ones in the southern United States are commonly called Lightning Bugs. They are slow flying, soft shell beetles. Children who live in the south have caught lightning bugs for generations. The best thing about lightning bugs is that they light up! The back, under most part of their body, is like a light bulb! Lightning bugs wake up every evening in the grassy lawns of the south and begin to blink their lights. Then they begin their nightly courtship flight up, up, up to tree limbs and high places. The reason they fly up from the grassy places on the ground, is to be easily seen. The males and females want to attract each other and to do so they must get high on a tree limb. Once they find a lofty perch the bugs continue to blink their soft yellow lights most of the night. Each species of lightning bug has its own blinking pattern. Some species blink in unison. By working together in a group, they can be seen much better. When choosing her mate, the female looks up high in the trees to see the pattern of twinkling that attracts her. Then she chooses the bug of her dreams!
What if lightning bugs tried to hide their lights? It seems silly to even think of a lightning bug hiding its light! God did not give them beautiful lights and then make them like earthworms. If they burrowed through underground tunnels, and lit up their light underground, no one would see. God gave lightning bugs lights and wings so they can fly and shine their lights where everyone can see them. By shining their lights, they do the work that God created them to do.
What work did God give us to do? We were made to worship God. When we believe Him, we are doing His work and letting our light shine just like a lightning bug. (John 6:29) God's word teaches us to ask, seek, and knock (Matthew 7:7-8) When we do these things, we are doing what God created us for and God's light can shine through us. When we work together, doing God's will with a brother, sister or friend, we are letting our light shine in unison, and like the lightning bugs, the works can be more easily seen.
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 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.