We know that there will always be spirits and people who deceive. I’ve always been a little concerned about this. Raising God’s children in a world where there is so much deception is not an easy task, and while I definitely feel that God has called me to this work, I know I can’t do it without Him. I’ve spent lots of time in prayer and pondering, asking how I can help his children to not be deceived. And I’ve felt the answer by an increased desire to teach them while they’re young to recognize his voice. Today I’m sharing some ways that I’m training my kids to know when God is speaking to them.
Teach Kids God Knows and Loves Them
I take time to share experiences I have when I hear God’s voice, especially when it impacts my kids. It helps them to learn that God knows them individually and He is helping them through me. For kids to know that God is speaking, they need to know that He cares about them and their problems. Otherwise, they will never recognize the help they receive as coming from Him.
Sharing my experiences also helps them learn different ways that God talks to us. Then they know what to pay attention to. At times, I’ve worried about sharing difficult things with my kids–like a prayer that I don’t know if He will answer the way I want, but I’ve found that my children’s faith is very resilient. Their trust of God doesn’t hinge on a single prayer. By praying for those things that we don’t know how it will turn out (like a sick family member or uncertain future) we are building patience and enduring faith in God.
Our family recently prayed earnestly for my husband to get a job in another state. The kids were really invested in our prayers, and we were all sure we would get our desire. But it did not come to fruition. We explained to the kids we might be staying where we lived. I was humbled by how willing they were to trust that God knows what is best for us right now.
Taking Time for Prayer
I’ve noticed that when our family is really busy (like on vacation) we let our prayers fall by the wayside. We miss completely or they’re very rushed, and we don’t put our best efforts into them. Most of the time, I work hard to keep lots of open time for prayer and reading God’s word together.
Praying as a family can naturally lead to individual prayers. I make a point of encouraging my kids to pray independently and seek answers to those prayers. It can be hard to trust that our kids will receive answers (and that they’ll recognize the answer!) but it has been so meaningful for our family. My husband and I encourage our kids to do things (ponder, study God’s word, etc.) that inspire answers to prayers. We patiently point out different ways answers are received. This pattern has led our kids to build relationships with God.
I’d rather let them struggle with discovering God’s voice through prayer while they’re young, than see them struggle when I’m not as close by for encouragement. They have few things to worry about right now and the answers to their prayers, while they can build life-changing faith, are not urgent. One day, they’ll need answers to urgent prayers, and they’ll need the resiliency to overcome their own doubts and fears and the world’s numerous distractions, and to wait for God’s quiet answers.
Point Out When God Speaks
Kids are naturally close to the Lord, but as they’re learning in a physical world, they don’t always connect their feelings with the Spirit. I like to ask my kids how they feel when we pray or do something kind and teach them that good feelings come from God. Then they start to know that the warm, happy feelings they have is the Lord speaking to them.
Inspiration is a frequent form of God speaking to me, so I try to help my children recognize inspiration in their lives by teaching them that the Lord helped them find something they lost or gave them an idea for help with a problem.
Read God’s Word Together
Recognizing God’s voice starts with knowing what it sounds like. The more we read God’s word together, the easier it is for our whole family to feel his influence in our lives. I like to read a verse or two from the actual scriptures to my kids along with the children versions we have. Reading the actual words helps kids to become familiar with the words. Familiarity can go a long way to building a source of comfort.
What things do you recommend to train kids to know when God is speaking?