Creating moments for kids to encounter God
The key word in this blog title is ‘creating’. We as parents have the amazing privilege of being able to help our children cultivate a relationship with their Heavenly Father. To do this we need to be intentional about creating moments for our kids to have encounters with God!
Our society today is so full of busyness. We enjoy being busy, accomplishing things and ticking them off our list and we encourage our children to be productive too, filling their schedules with sports, church activities, music lessons, swimming lessons, family get togethers, homework, the list goes on… Then there is the “down time” spent on a device to relax and give Mum and Dad time to cook dinner, tidy the house or sip a quiet cuppa.
Many of these activities are good things that bring value into our lives and the lives of our kids, however; when we are constantly moving our bodies and minds and encouraging our children to do the same, it makes it difficult to hear the still, small voice of God that is waiting eagerly to engage with us.
We as parents must create the space for our kids to have an encounter with Jesus. We have to be intentional about providing opportunities for our kids to connect with God, otherwise our kids will grow up knowing the busyness of life and not the close connection with their creator God we so desire them to have.
How do we create space for our children to encounter God?
1. Lead by example
2. Read the bible and teach our kids the scriptures
“…continue in what you have learned and have become convinced of, because you know those from whom you learned it, and how from infancy you have known the Holy Scriptures…” 2 Timothy 13: 14-15
Oh how I hope to teach my little ones the Holy Scriptures as Timothy was taught by his mother and grandmother. This requires intentional time spent reading the Bible to our children and discussing scripture with them, allowing them to ask questions and connect with the living and powerful (Hebrews 4:12) Word of God on their own level.
3. Allocate device free downtime
4. Engaging with God's creation
5. Praying intentionally with our kids
This is an encouragement to be purposeful in the way we pray with our kids, teaching them to engage with God on a deeper level.
It is easy to offer a quick ‘Thanks for our food” or “Please bless our day”, the intentional prayer I am referring to requires a bit more effort and purpose.
Invite your kids to connect with Jesus, taking the head knowledge they are learning through scriptures and having a heart knowledge experience that will teach them how much God loves them and is interested in their lives.
Heart knowledge comes from having an experience, engaging with God through our senses (sight, touch, hearing, smell). I have found that when I experience something for myself it becomes real and I have a far deeper understanding than if I simply read about it or discussed it.
A quick example: when I was a child I had what I remember as my first intentional encounter with God; sitting on the couch I was talking to my Dad about God and asked him if he thought God could show me something. My Dad explained that God always wants to speak to us and we just need to be ready to hear from Him. I closed my eyes and my Dad asked God to open my spiritual eyes and show me something in the Spirit. I saw a tunnel and beautiful colours unlike any I had seen on earth, with these images came a feeling of unearthly peace unlike I had ever felt before.
This moment was the beginning of many encounters with God that continue to draw me closer to Him.
The main thing I would like readers to take away from this is that my Dad created this moment of intentional prayer by creating the space for me to have an encounter with God. It was not difficult or overly spiritual, it was simple language and basic connection with our Heavenly Father, a moment of encountering God that each of us as parents is capable of creating for our own children.
“Fix these words of mine in your hearts and minds; tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. Teach them to your children, talking about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up.” Deuteronomy 11:18-19.