Jeff opened the envelope his dad had just handed him as they walked out of the post office. "Look what my Sunday school teacher mailed to me. It looks just like a traffic light," Jeff said. He held up a small, black piece of paper that had three circles glued onto it—green, yellow, and red.
"It sure does," said Mr. Andersen. "With those three colors it has to be a traffic light."
Jeff took another piece of paper out of the envelope and read it. Then he said to his dad, "We're right! This note that came with it says, 'Don't miss next Sunday. We'll learn how a traffic light can remind us of the different ways God answers our prayers.' I wonder what Teacher Dave means by that, Dad? How can traffic lights be like answers to prayers?"
Just then they came to the corner where they stopped and waited for the light to change before they crossed the street. Mr. Andersen said, "Jeff, this red light tells us that it is not safe to cross the street right now. That is sort of like God's saying no when we ask for something that He knows is not good for us.
"Look at the light that just changed to yellow for the cars going the other way. That is a warning to them that they had better get ready to stop because their light is going to change to red. They are going to have to wait for a little bit before it will be safe for them to go again. Sometimes when we pray, God tells us that we will have to wait. And it is a good thing for us if we do wait. We have to remember that God knows when it is the best time for us.
"Now look at our light. It just turned green," said Mr. Andersen. He and Jeff started to walk across the street as he said, "A green light means we can go. When we pray and God answers yes, we can be sure that we have His blessing. We can know that it is a good thing and the right time for that answer."
"It feels good when we know that God will give the right answer for each of our prayers," said Jeff. "This will be a fun lesson in Sunday school. And now that we have talked about it, I'll be able to answer a lot of the teacher's questions.
"You know, Dad," Jeff added quietly, "sometimes I have thought that God didn't hear some of my prayers. Now I know that He was just saying no or wait."
"That's right," said Mr. Andersen. "God loves and cares for us. He wants to protect us. It's just like that traffic light. We can be safe as long as we pay attention to the signals."
One of the most vital concepts a primary age child needs to learn is that God cares about him and will answer his prayers. However, he also needs to understand that God does not always answer yes.
Our opening lesson for this unit presents the thought that there are three possible answers to prayer—yes, no, or wait. To illustrate this to your child, help him construct a traffic light from construction paper. Guide him in cutting out a black rectangle, and circles from red, yellow, and green paper.
As you assemble the traffic light, talk about what each color on the light means. Then relate the colors to the three ways God might answer our prayers.