After writing the Antidote blog, my heart was stirred to compile a list of activities/practices that will inspire you in your own pursuit in cultivating hunger for the Lord in your children! As a mom, I am constantly asking the Lord for wisdom concerning my children. I am like a sponge when I see kind, obedient children interact with their God-fearing, Jesus-loving Mommas! Before I get down to the nitty-griddy (Nacho Libre quote!), I want to preface this post with the heart and passion that fuels it:
If Jesus is really real (He really is!!!), if the Bible is true (it is!!!), if we are made for love and God is Love (yes + amen!!!)... this all should be greatly affecting our reality, insanely impacting our daily lives and our children are sitting in the front row seats!!!
Our primary roles as parents is to paint an accurate picture of Father God to our children.
In doing so, we will find ourselves demonstrating forgiveness, exhibiting grace (both for ourselves and our children!), and illustrating servanthood and selflessness... attributes of Jesus that oftentimes don't come naturally - we need the Holy Spirit's help! On the flip side, we also must instill a right understanding of authority, exercise loving discipline and cultivate an atmosphere of order and peace where our children are free to flourish.
What an honor, privilege and sacred responsibility to co-labor with Christ in stewarding these precious little lives & creative hearts!
Ideas & Activities for Cultivating Hunger
> Personal Bible. We purchased a Bible for Rowin, his own Bible (heres the link to the one we got) and every night we read it together. He picks two stories, I pick two stories... I love seeing the ones he gravitates to! As a bonus, sometimes I will give him a challenge question,
ie. "If you can name this King, I will read you another more story!" Sometimes I will give him the first letter of his name, "D" and make the "d" sound (seizing every teachable moment!). He loves the challenge!!!
> Bible App. This is a treat for Rowin to play! I really appreciate the level of biblical accuracy and the approachable portrayal of Jesus, you can get this App on your phone or iPad (heres the link).
> Prayer Song for Meals. I love it when we eat with other families, whether at a restaurant, another home or around our own dinner table and my 3 year old just takes over with meal time prayer! It makes me laugh so hard and I find it so precious that my son feels such ownership and confidence. This is a song we picked up from our dear friends Ingrid & Mark! To the tune of "Frere Jacques"
Lord we thank you, Lord we thank you,
For this food, for this food
Come and be exalted, come and be exalted,
We love you, we love you!
Lord you're beautiful, Lord you're beautiful,
Theres none like you, none like you!
Have your way in our hearts, have your way in our hearts,
We love you, we love you!
> Memory Verses. The Word of God is a sword that can cut Fear and Frustration off your child, and it can also be a spring of life within them! Watching my son, seeing what he struggles with, I find scriptures that we can declare over his life and pair them with body movements to aide in memorization. Some of our favorites are:
"God has not given me a spirit of fear, but of POWER, LOVE, and a SOUND MIND!" 2 Timothy 1:7
"I am a child of God! I'm for freedom and glory!" declaration to combat frustration out of Romans 8:19-21 NIV
> Treats/Sweets for reciting memory verses. "Treats" consist of vitamin gummies, chocolate chips or m&m's, etc. I adopted this idea of associating the Word of God with "sweet things" from my friend Ingrid as well! Love it!!!
> Prayer for the Sick. Anytime, any day, if someone in our family is sick, hurt, etc. we, as a family, lay on our hands and pray for the person. This is a normal occurrence and we have seen fevers break, hearing restored, pain leave, voice's restored, etc.
> Bedtime Prayers. Oftentimes, I introduce prayer time and say "Im going to pick two things to pray about, you think about the two things you want to pray for..." Then I usually tell him my two things, and he tells me his two things. At this point, my son usually directs, "you go first Mom, then Kenley, then me!" And we begin! Kenley usually tries to cut off whoever is praying with "my turn! My turn!" until it actually IS her turn! Then she goes spinning off like a top, skipping in circles, "praying" in her sing-song little way... until Rowin usually ends for her "Amen!" That girl would be skipping, singing and interceding all night if not for her brothers direction!
> Coming to Jesus throughout the day. For example, lets say Rowin is stacking blocks, they fall, he screams in frustration! Or perhaps he hits his sister when she snatches a toy out of his hands... First I address the offense, ie. throwing blocks, hitting sister, etc. then I ask him what he was doing and listen to his heart on the issue. Then I say, "Lets ask the Holy Spirit for help with..." and help him take it to Jesus, leading him in prayer where he repeats after me. Something like, "Holy Spirit please help me stack these blocks, help me be patient" etc. Or sometimes he knows exactly what he wants to pray! The beauty of this practice, is this: you are teaching your child where to go, where to take his frustrations, fears and problems! Throughout the day, I will oftentimes hear Rowin, huddled in his prayer cave (kneeling, head on floor, with hands coving his face) asking the Holy Spirit to help "his Thomas train to go" (batteries are dead) or "Holy Spirit, help me find the visor for my lego guy"... !!!
> Listening to Audio Bible at bedtime. Its amazing how calming it is and how much your children will absorb.
> Speaking Blessings. I love doing this. Just placing my hand on my child's head and blessing them with all kinds of promises in scripture. Read Deuteronomy 28:1-14 if you need inspiration!
> Loving my Husband. Living in covenant with my husband and letting our love for one another spill over onto our kids is foundational to a love-filled home and paints a tangible picture of selfless love, faithfulness and so much more!!!
> Playing with my kids. Just being present, taking time to enjoy what they enjoy and stretch the imagination!
And probably the biggest, most strategic tool in the arsenal...
> TALKING about the Lord. Let the Word of the Lord always be on your lips! Talk about what the Lord has done. Tell your kids stories of how God has answered prayer and showed up in your life. Talk about the Bible stories you've read together. Talk about Heaven. Talk about Jesus. Talk about all the things that are eternally more real than even what we see & feel!
If all of this sounds a little overboard, maybe a little too hardcore, or simply just foreign... its because it IS foreign. I encourage you to read Romans 12 in your prayer time and allow the Holy Spirit to shift some things in your heart, life and home. Paul admonishes us, "Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God's will is. his good, pleasing and perfect will" Romans 12:2.
You and your children were born for such a time as this!!! Jesus has given us His Holy Spirit as our Helper and we have the Word of God as a sword and a wellspring!!! Be encouraged, beloved!