Friday, March 2, 2018

PBT Series: God Book #9

Most of the books I feature at PBT are secular, but there are many books here that I call “God Books.” These are sacred picture books that aren’t so easy to find in libraries or bookstores. These may be the most valuable treasures I offer for ministry. This PBT series is a collection of re-posts of those God books. Want to see them all? Simply find the Search Word list at the bottom of the web version and click on "God Book." This treasure is both beautiful and full of potential for conversation about intercessory prayer. Consider it a God Book as well as a Grab & Go book (another PBT series) for there are lots of easy possibilities here!

Picture Book: Beautiful Moon: A Child’s Prayer
Author: Tonya Bolden
Illustrator: Eric Valasquez
Summary: One evening in a noisy city, a young boy hurries out of bed because he’s forgotten to say his prayers. As he kneels and prays, he notices a beautiful moon shining in his window. Others in the city are experiencing the rays of the moon, but those people are in distress. Then the author weaves and directs an aspect of the boy’s prayer to each of the other parties. A woman tries to sleep on a park bench; the boy prays for those who are homeless. A businessman reads a news headline about war and is worried for his soldier daughter; the boy prays for war to end. Two adults stare at an empty cupboard; the boy prays for people to have food. This continues as the beautiful moon shines on them all.
Hanna’s Comments: I don’t usually offer what I call “nighttime” books since my primary purpose at PBT is to provide ideas for ministry which usually occurs in daylight hours. I had to make an exception for this book! Help even your youngest listeners understand that the moon is a symbol for God in this story. Then expand on that idea. Be sure to talk about the feelings each scenario evokes. Ask... How might God feel about these situations? What might God be doing in this city to alleviate some of this suffering? Also, talk about this boy’s prayer practices and how they are a comfort to him and hopefully a lifelong practice. Mention that he was not "in trouble" for forgetting to pray early in the story. Invite your children (or adults) to share their experiences with prayer practices. If you get silence, there's your opportunity to instruct on the power of silent prayer. Offer a simple prayer ritual and then build on this instruction in future experiences. Throughout share the importance of intercessory prayer (prayer for others) in your own spiritual journey.

Thought not a PBT God Book, there is another extraordinary book that shares much with the book above. Max and the Tag-Along Moon by Floyd Cooper is a secular book about a grandfather who lovingly reassures his grandson "that ol' moon will always shine for you... on and on." Again, the moon is a beautiful metaphor for God, who is always present. The grandson tests this idea and finds it to be true.

Publisher & Date of Publication: Abrams, 2014
Age & Grade Appropriateness: 4 and up, Pre and up
Formats other than Book: Tablet
Scripture Connections: Love the Lord, your God with all your heart… (Deuteronomy 6:5 and Mark 12:30); when the righteous cry for help, the Lord hears (Psalm 34:17); in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let you requests be known to God (Philippians 4:6)
Idea(s) for Application: Read this book as a nighttime devotional at a church  family retreat or a camp program for children. OR Use this book as a tool to instruct children in the importance and comforting spiritual practice of intercessory prayer. 

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