When COVID fell hard in March of 2020, our congregation ceased in-person worship for several weeks and our school went to online education. I remember how hollow and lonely the building became.
As January 1 is right around the corner, many people are starting to think about their New Year’s resolutions. From kids to adults, people are trying to set themselves up for success by creating resolutions they hope will help them lose weight, read more books, or spend less time working. Some of these resolutions can seem silly or impossible or not worth doing. But as we live out our identities as children of God, it can sometimes be fun to consider ways to shine with God’s love.
If your kids have expressed interested in making New Year’s resolutions, you might consider doing this activity as a family! Not only will it bring you closer together, but it will also bring you deeper into God’s Word! Making faith-based resolutions is a great way to incorporate more focus on Jesus into the everyday life of your family.
If there is a spiritual struggle I’ve heard colleagues and coworkers raise again and again, it’s the struggle to maintain a disciplined prayer life. Perhaps it’s the busyness of our modern lives; perhaps it’s because this is an often-unseen aspect of our Christian walk in the fishbowl of professional ministry. It can be all too easy to fall into the habit of offering perfunctory prayers at prescribed times and hoping those we serve don’t catch on.
My friend’s son is having a hard time with this unique time of isolation. He’s frustrated, angry, sad, and scared. He misses his friends, his school, his Sunday School teachers, and going to the park. Every day in the morning, at meals, and before bed, his mother encourages him to pray for the emotions he is having and for the struggles going on in his little mind. Children are called to participate in the kingdom of God. They are not excluded from Jesus and His ministry.
If you were to ask me what is most important to me, I would tell you things like my family, faith, and friends. You know. All the things that are supposed to be the most important. There are countless mugs, T-shirts, memes, and so on that jest about coffee being on that list. I always kind of roll my eyes at such things. And yet, if you were to observe my daily routines, you would see that I pretty consistently make an effort to ingest that caffeinated beverage nearly every day.
I will always remember the surprise and joy of listening to my brother’s first spontaneous prayer. In our family of six, my parents strove to lead nightly devotions and prayers. Though we didn’t get to it every night, it was enough that my brother, the youngest, was able to catch on to what we were doing. After a group prayer, the rest of us would take turns saying prayers out loud. In the middle of someone else’s petition, he suddenly burst out, “Thank You for the sandbox!” Then we knew it was time for Dalen to have a turn in our nightly prayers.
Leading a classroom devotion—for any grade level—not only starts the school day on a positive note but also creates a sense of family and community within the classroom. Classroom devotions don’t need to take up much time, but being intentional about leading them begins the day in the best way: with Jesus.
Prayer is one of the most essential parts of the Christian faith. Like any relationship, communication matters, and prayer is a way we stay in conversation with God. It’s a way we express trust in Him. When we bring out petitions to the Lord, we indicate that He is our provider, our teacher, and our Savior. Prayer keeps us from carrying the weight of our worries on our own and shows that we trust the Lord of the universe with them.
In all four Gospels, Jesus prayed to the Father both in private and in front of crowds. He taught His followers how to pray, “But when you pray, go into your room and shut the door and pray to your Father who is in secret” (Matthew 6:6 ESV). As we follow Christ, prayer becomes an important daily practice.
Children, too, are called to participate in the kingdom of God. “Let the children come to me; do not hinder them, for to such belongs the kingdom of God” (Mark 10:14 ESV). By teaching children that prayer is a meaningful part of daily life, we help to raise up kids who have a close relationship with their Savior. Teaching prayer can be a wonderful experience, but picking the right tools, prayer techniques, and activities can be challenging. Below are a few ways to teach prayer practices to children!