A New York Times op-ed notes that “many people now avoid religious and spiritual language because they don’t like the way it has been used, misused and abused by others.” Maybe we can help to rekindle confidence in the vocabulary of faith so that the mis-users and abusers will not dominate the conversation.
The blog series, Kids & God @Home, offers a question that gives opportunity for an adult and child or teen to have a conversation of a spiritual nature. Not often. Just often enough to impress that our spirituality is worth talking about.
Main point: If you love God, you can use any way you want to let God know it. Some kids write a letter to God or draw something that expresses how they feel. Most tell God in words they say out loud or keep in their thoughts. This is called prayer.
Meditation: “The Lord is close to everyone who prays to him, to all who truly pray to him.” Psalm 145:18
Let’s talk: “Some people pray just to pray and some people pray to know God.” (A. Murray) What does that sentence mean? How would you explain it to somebody?
A high school girl reads a chapter of Proverbs from the Bible every school day while she eats breakfast. She says this book helps guide her decisions and actions.
Main point: Some students discover a worthy source of guidance within the Bible. They try to put into practice what they read, and remain faithful to it.
Meditation: “Tune your ears to wisdom, and concentrate on understanding…Search for them as you would for silver, seek them like hidden treasures.” Proverbs 2:2,4
Let’s talk: What principles in the Bible guide your decisions and actions?
The source of spiritual strength for some children lies in their focus on right and wrong. For them, knowing what’s right moves them to action. Teachers and parents can teach them safe practices for speaking up, and how to involve responsible adults as they advocate for change.
Main idea: When you feel angry or sad about a wrong being done, you get moving to change it.
Meditation: “Come back to your God. Act with love and justice, and always depend on him.” Hosea 12:6
Let’s talk: Describe a time when you stood up for truth and justice. What kind of courage did you show? In what ways did you sense God’s presence with you to help you?
When children feel disappointed and upset, we listen and comfort. If the child also believes in God, how can we bring God into the situation? Their attitude might become more hopeful and calm as they trust that God’s unfailing love is one thing they can always count on no matter how upsetting the circumstances.
Main idea: When you feel upset, use your faith to keep trusting that God loves you and watches over you and all that concerns you.
Meditation: We wait in hope for the Lord; he is our help and our shield…May your unfailing love rest upon us, O Lord, even as we put our hope in you. Psalm 33:20-22
Let’s talk: Tell about a time this past week when you clearly told God what was upsetting you. How did you experience God’s love for you afterwards?
A way to develop a child’s spiritual life and faith is found in opening yourself up to their world, in asking them questions, sharing your views, and listening to theirs. You may discover that spiritual topics are of more importance to children and teens than many of us realize. try out the question below. A four-year-old will be able to answer but so will a teen or adult.
Main idea: God knows all the facts about any subject you can imagine.
Meditation: “God is greater than [your] heart, and he knows everything.” 1 John 3:20
Let’s talk: What do you wish you could ask God?
Assume that children have some sort of connection with God. A friend overheard an exchange between his young son and a neighbor boy. They were talking about praying. The boy said, “I pray in my bed but I don’t tell my parents about it because they don’t pray.”
There can be benefits to including spiritual conversations in everyday life. Maybe not literally every day. Just often enough to impress that spirituality is worth talking about.
Main idea: When you understand that God actually listens when you talk to him, you’ll find that God is a loyal friend.
Meditation: God said, “In those days when you pray, I will listen. If you look for me wholeheartedly, you will find me.” Jeremiah 29:12-13
Let’s talk: When did you talk to God lately? How did that feel?