Thursday, March 1, 2012

Nurturing Your Child's Heart Connection with God

Photo: Microsoft Images

Recently, I wrote a post about teaching my children to pray.  This is something we have made a priority in our family.  What I've learned in this process is that it's simple to teach the mechanics of prayer.  It is more challenging--yet incredibly important--to foster a heart connection between my children and God.

My children don't need to follow a specific formula to pray "correctly."  What I truly want is for my children to want to talk with God.  Sally Clarkson says it so eloquently in her book The Mission of Motherhood: Touching Your Child's Heart for Eternity, "I want [my kids] to leave my home with a hunger and passion to know God personally and to be used by him to accomplish great things for his kingdom."  This is what I want for my children.  And you know what?  It's what God wants for them too.  There will be times in his life when my son will feel distant from God.  At those times, I want him to feel that some vital part of him--something at the very core of his being--is missing.  I want him to fervently search for that missing piece and not rest until his relationship with God is deepened.

I am always striving to cultivate a stronger heart connection between my children and God.  Here are a few ideas I've tried:

Emphasize Common Traits and Interests
My oldest son has a tendency toward intense enthusiasm.  When he expresses fervor for his latest lego building project or his passion for something new he has learned in science, I try to use those events to connect him with God.  We talk about how much God loves creating and all the wonderful things He has made.  We discuss the Author of science and wonder at God's incredible mind.  I want him to know that God is eager to hear about the things that are important to him.

Silent Prayers with Prompts
Occasionally, we do silent bedtime prayers.  I prompt my son to talk with God about various things that he might tell a friend (even sharing a funny joke).  When he has finished his silent response, he taps my hand to indicate that he's ready for another prompt.  Silent prayers remove feelings of self-consciousness as our children explore new ways of talking with God.

His Mighty Warrior & His Little Princess books
His Mighty Warrior: A Treasure Map from Your King and His Little Princess: Treasured Letters from Your King (His Princess) are beautiful collections of intimate letters from God to a boy or a girl. You can read my full description and review here.

Creative Prayer Journal
Kay Arthur's book Lord, Teach Me to Pray for Kids (Discover 4 Yourself® Inductive Bible Studies for Kids) inspired us to start a creative prayer journal (or "logbook").  This a great idea for children who are artistically inclined or who have a difficulty putting their thoughts into words.  Here are a couple of the pages from my son's prayer journal.

Short Spontaneous Prayers Throughout the Day
We have a routine of praying at specific times--meals and bedtime.  Instead of telling my children that they can talk with God about anything at any time, I've made a real effort to model this for them.  When we see a particularly beautiful sunset, we say a quick prayer to of praise.  If we encounter an obstacle, we turn to the One who is ready to help at all times.  When we encounter a small blessing, we immediately share our appreciation with God.  We are striving to "pray without ceasing" (I Thessalonians 5:17) on a day-to-day basis.

Nurturing my children's heart connections with God is something I am actively working on.  Please share your thoughts and ideas!


1 comment:

  1. Oh the silent prayer prompt is especially good!
    We started our "little prayer book" the other day, though we still have more to add. The journal/drawing thing is good--S. and I started that and need to get back to it.