Thursday, July 10, 2008
Quiet Time With God...
Growing up as a kid, I can remember spiritual things my mom tried to instill in my brother, sister and I. I remember her taking us to church every Sunday, playing Christian music (as long as she wasn't in the mood for Barbara Streisand, Diane Warwick or the Carpenters!) and one of the best memories I have is of my mom doing daily devotionals with us. We really looked forward to her reading about God's creation and stories from the Bible. Now that I have my own family, Steve and I have made it a point to try to do a devotional almost every night with the girls ever since they were very little.
Unfortunately, another memory I have of Christianity growing up was so much focus on condemnation of sinners - nothing about the grace of God. Fortunately now, there is a lot of talk about God's forgiveness and the importance of having a relationship with Jesus - that used to be an unheard of topic. It's amazing to me to know that the same God who created the world and everything in it, wants to have a relationship with us. And we can only do that by spending time with Him. That might be reading the Bible, time spent in prayer or singing worship songs, or even just sitting in silence.
I want my girls to understand the importance of having a relationship with Jesus - even at their early ages. So, in addition to our family devotions at night, they also spend a little time before they go to bed having "Quiet Time With God". To help facilitate this, we had several discussions about what it means to have a friend and how we get to know friends better. We get to know friends better by spending time with them - and that's what Jesus wants us to do with him, too - even though we can't see him, we know He's all around us and He lives in our hearts.
I also let them pick out a spiral notebook at the store. We brought it home and they had fun decorating it with stickers & markers. This became their "God Time Journal". We talked about what they could do in their new journal during their "Quiet Time With God". I created and printed out the following list, then we glued it to the inside of their journal to help them stay focused:
This Quiet Time Journal belongs to ________
What can you do during your quiet time?
* Pray! Talk to God about anything that is on your heart.
* After praying for someone, write them a notecard telling them you prayed for them today. It will make them feel special knowing you thought of them.
* Read your Bible - even just read a few verses at a time and really think about what you read.
* Memorize Scripture. This is a great time to memorize your verses for this week. But don't just memorize the verses - learn their meanings. If you don't know what a verse means, ask an adult.
* Look at picture books about stories from the Bible.
* Listen to Praise and Worship music. Sing a song to Jesus - better yet, make up your own song to sing to Jesus. He LOVES to hear his children sing!
* Keep a Quiet Time Journal. In your Journal, draw a picture of something you read in the Bible or write thoughts you might be having that day about God and life in general. Practice writing the Bible verse you are learning that week. End it every day by writing 3 things you are thankful for.
* Be still and listen to God. If you have asked God into your life, you have the Holy Spirit living inside you! He wants to guide your life and help you to do great things for Him! Take time to listen to Him and He will direct your paths.
It's so neat to watch the girls have their Quiet Time and it's a reminder to me that I need to do it, too. I can always think of a million other things to do but I have to make it a priority in my life, as well - which I'm not always so great at. But I do know when I have my Quiet Time, I'm a little more focused and I feel a closer connection to God - and that's what it's all about.
I am reminded of Proverbs 22:6 - "Train a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not turn from it." I can testify that this verse is true because I, myself, went my own way for a long time period in my life, but because of my Christian upbringing, I had God to fall back on. I still have much to learn, but God picks me up, dusts me off and helps me get back on the right track when I rely on Him. I pray that my girls will come to this understanding, too, and know that God is always there for them - He's only a prayer away.