Has your child ever seen you read the Bible (I’m not talking about at church; I’m talking about sitting quietly in your own home before the Lord, Bible on lap, pen in hand, seeking the heart of God kind of thing)? This is not a question to induce guilt, but to make you stop and think. Have they?
We all know that spending time alone with God is vital to our faith and relationship with Him, but somewhere down the line we’ve been taught that our quiet time with God must always be that. Quiet. Alone. As a mother of three young boys, I understand just how comical the words “alone time” are (and even when you are supermom and set your alarm early so that you can spend some time with God, your children have that uncanny sixth sense to somehow awaken from their deep slumber simply because mommy is up, am I right?!).
So do you just give up on alone time with God? Chalk it up to this “season of life” and hope God’s grace will cover you for the next five ten years? I don’t think so. You keep trying to make it a priority in your life and when needed invite your children in to your alone time (gasp!).
Imagine the next time you are sitting quietly in your own home before the Lord, Bible on lap, pen in hand, seeking the heart of God and your child comes strolling down the hall PJ clad and still groggy eyed, instead of closing your Bible and promising yourself you’ll find time to finish later, pull your child up next to you and continue on. (Now you will need to do some training if this is new for your child. You can start by briefly explaining what you are doing and why, but the idea is to continue on, explaining as you go).
Read the verses out loud and explain that when something jumps out at you, that’s God speaking to you and that you want to remember it, so you underline it or make notes. If needed, remind them that you are spending time with God right now, (not talking about your plans for the day). When it’s time to pray demonstrate how you wait silently on the Lord, listening for His voice. Show them how to quiet their body, mouth and mind. Have them close their eyes and encourage them to picture Jesus. Ask them how we hear God (with our ears? with our hearts?) and then have them sit silently listening for God (be prepared when God speaks to even your very young children!). Ask them if God spoke to their heart and then pray out loud, giving your child a chance to pray as well.
You get the idea; really just invite them in to your alone time, allowing them to watch and learn!
You’ll be amazed at the impact this will make on your child’s faith. The questions they’ll have and the conversations this will foster will deepen their relationship with God and before you know it, your child will come strolling down the hall PJ clad and still groggy eyed, but with Bible and pen in hand, ready to spend their own quiet time with God and it doesn’t get much better than that.