By Brenda Jank
Do you love a little person – or a bunch of little people ages 1-18? (They don’t even have to live under your roof.) This post is for you.
Why do we spend most of our prayer time talking to God?
Because that’s what we were taught. It’s relatively easy to teach kids to talk to God, except for a handful of thoughtful kids who announce, “How am I suppose to talk to someone I can’t see?”
Talking to God is predictable. I know the routine. I sit in the driver’s seat. I know what to expect.
But it falls short. Something is missing.
Dialogue, however, is a whole ‘nother ball game.’ While monologue is predictable, teaching kids to dialogue with God is potentially unwieldy. Be still before God? Listen? That’s not easy. It hints of mystery and could get messy.
“How in the world do I teach a child to be still, to know God, to listen?”
“What if I show kids how to be still, to listen to God and he doesn’t say anything?”
“What if they hear something I don’t think God said? What then?!”
Those are questions we have to ask and wrestle through, but there’s one that undergirds them all.
Have you ever been taught how to be still in the presence of God?
Have you ever taught your kids to be still in the presence of God?
It’s easier then you might think.
Preparing the next generation to listen to God requires some forethought.
- Ground your kids in God’s Word. Share with them what he is saying to you through his Word. Those tidbits are powerful.
- Learn to “be still and know God” yourself. Become familiar and comfortable with stillness. Guard your steps when you go to the house of God. Go near to listen rather than to offer the sacrifice of fools, who do not know that they do wrong. Ecclesiastes 5:1
- The work of stillness, of listening to God is tied to the work of the Holy Spirit. Spend some time in John 14-16. A good starting place is John 14:15-20.
- The word for spirit in the Bible is linked to breath and wind. Do a word study and share your insights with your children. Pay attention to the wind. It has much to teach us.
- Sometime this month go outside with your favorite little person—or big person. Immerse yourself in the sanctuary of God—together. There is no better place for stillness or attentiveness to the Presence of God. Lay in the grass. Watch the clouds. Count the stars. Watch a sunset. Share your heart. Tell them about your own (old or new) journey of learning how to be still before God. You don’t have to have all the answers. Just share your heart. Read Psalm 19:1-4. Then read Psalm 95:1-7. Pray “Dear Jesus, help us be still and know you are God.”
- Be still. When it feels like it’s time to move on, end with “Thank you, Lord.”
Keep in mind – we are not responsible for what God does or doesn’t do with stillness in the hearts of our children. We must release the reigns. He’s God. We can trust his handiwork.