Pray with your kids part two

Last week we talked about listening for God – which is not an easy thing, I’ll grant you.
So – here are some possible ways to help your children listen for God. (And it’s just possible you might like these too…)

The hard part of listening for God for many of us is the whole need to be quiet. Not just to stop talking (although that might be hard enough) – but also to quiet our minds. I don’t know about you – but just as soon as I try to be quiet and just wait for God to speak, there goes my brain – busily making lists (What do we need from the grocery store? Who needs a ride to what practice? What 12 zillion things need to get done today?) So I find that I am better at making my brain be still when I actually give it something to do. My experience with kids tells me that their experience is similar. So try this:

 Walking. I’m not sure why it helps, but movement lets me stop list-making and really be quiet (on the inside). So, go for a “walk with God” (you can take your kids too). In your neighborhood, on a trail, in a park, using the labyrinth (we have one in the courtyard at Westminster) – no chatting, just walking, looking and listening. (Picking up rocks or leaves definitely allowed.)

 Music. Sometimes I can hear God better when my brain thinks it’s focused on listening to music. Contemporary or traditional Christian, instrumental music of all types, even sometimes international songs (can’t sing along if you don’t know the language), nature sounds – any of these can help me focus on listening – not thinking. One of my own children used to tell me that she heard God in the “music in the waves” at the beach.

 Drawing. If you are artistic, it might be actually drawing or painting something recognizable. If you are like me, “doodling” would be a better description. It doesn’t matter – it’s not an art show, just a way to keep your hands and mind just busy enough to make a space for God to come in. Sometimes I find that God shows up in what I’m doodling – perhaps in a name or shape that keeps coming up.

 Journaling. If you or your child likes to write, then sometimes writing about what’s on your mind can be a terrific way to make room for God to speak. Stories, poems, disconnected thoughts – it’s all good.

 Fill in your idea here___

It’s not easy in our over-busy, over-scheduled days to find time to be quiet with God. So start small – maybe five or ten minutes at a time. Take your kids with you too. It’s worth it – we really need to know that God hears us. And, we need to hear him too… ssshhhhh – I’m busy listening for God’s whisper…

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