Did you know that your child has a built-in capacity to hear God and experience him?! It’s hard to imagine that the six-year old who just minutes ago punched a sibling, threw a tantrum or refused to obey you in cleaning up their toys could hear profound and deep truth straight from the Spirit of God…but trust me, they can!
So how do we translate knowledge about God to an experience with God? We begin with knowledge about him — sharing Bible stories and scripture, teaching them about this wonderful God that we know, and modeling our own relationship with God for them. But let us not stop there. We need to ask ourselves – how do I help my children experience and hear God for themselves?
Imagine your favorite food for a moment. Experience the color. Close your eyes and savor its scent. Now imagine sinking your teeth into it. Feel the texture; experience the flavor. (Is your mouth watering yet?)
What if you’d never seen or tasted it, but rather simply read about it somewhere? Words on a page are bland in comparison to the real thing. Psalm 34:8 encourages us to ”taste and see that the Lord is good.” I love that God used a metaphor that we could easily relate to. He calls us to venture beyond intellectual knowledge of him. He says: taste me, see me, experience me!
We underestimate the fact that God is always speaking, as well as the fact that our kids have been wired to hear him too. Ask God for creative ideas to help your child connect with the Holy Spirit. If you need some inspiration, here are a few possibilities:
Hearing God through scripture
Choose a short passage of scripture (1-3 verses long). Pray with them that God would speak to them through the passage. Read the passage with them and then spend a minute in silent listening. Ask your child what he/she feels God saying to them through his Word.
Hearing God through imagination
Have your child close their eyes as you read a Bible narrative involving Jesus. Encourage them to imagine that they are actually there. What colors, sounds, and other sensory things do they imagine? What does Jesus look like? What is he doing? Afterwards, discuss this experience with them and ask them what they noticed in the scene. Maybe ask them how they felt, what they learned about Jesus, or what they feel he is saying to them as a result.
Hearing God through quiet worship
Throw pillows on the floor and get comfortable. Play soft instrumental worship music and let your child know you are going to spend time with God and listen to him speak to you both. It is amazing what he will say if we will simply slow down to listen. Sometimes it helps to give your child specific questions to ask the Holy Spirit. For example: “God, what do you like about me?” Participate with them, and share what God is showing you as well.
Hearing God through ministry
Include your children in your ministry endeavors. If you have a prayer group have them participate in part of your time. Include them in your worship experiences.
As your children become immersed in environments where God’s spirit is moving, a natural hunger for his presence will emerge. You will be amazed at what they hear and you will lay the groundwork for a lifetime of hearing God.
Holli Aparicio is a wife and homeschooling mom to Lydia (11) and Sofia (10). She is passionate about equipping others to encounter God in prayer and to learn to hear his voice. She loves the mountains, the ocean, blue skies, and sunny days (which is why she enjoys taking frequent vacations in the winter ☺). She lives with her family in Maple Grove, MN.