Cultivate God-time for Your Kids! 3 B’s, Become
What is God-time?
It’s a set-apart moment in our day where we spend time being with God through His stories, scriptures, devotions & prayer.
In John 15:4-5, Jesus said “remain in me”, “abide with me”, because “apart from me you can do nothing”. Nothing-wow! What does that mean? It means in the life of a disciple, Jesus’ grace is what helps us do anything heavenly-even thinking or believing as we should.
One might ask, “So, if it’s all on God, why do I need to worry about it?”. Because believing in Jesus, living as a disciple, doesn’t mean we are robots, pre-programmed to be stress free perfectly balanced machines.
Look at the words again,
“I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing (John 15:5).
God is asking you to remain in Him-that’s describing an action-there’s a verb. God is looking for you to do something. God’s looking for “relationship” with you all the time, not an instantaneous religious moment, when all the learning and growing ceases because we are complete when we accept Christ in our lives. It’s a mystery, but God treasures our becoming through the daily grace he gives us (Philippians 2:12-13).
God wants a relationship with everyone, not a religion. God provided the Holy Spirit for this relationship to work well and Jesus called the Spirit the teacher and counselor-who is someone you have an on-going relationship with. (John 14:25-26)
So how do we cultivate that relationship, how do we stay close to Jesus in everyday life?
Outside of attending worship, it’s important to learn how to make time with God during the week – time alone with the Bible or a devotion to be able to pray, talk to God, reflect on His goodness. Jesus did it. He stopped in the middle of the week and prayed alone with God to get strength. If he needed it, so do we. When we do God-time regularly, it helps us abide, stick with Jesus, and grow our relationship with God. In the abiding language, Jesus used the word picture of a vine and a branch that bears fruit. This word picture works well in the farming culture.
In our culture, that is so focused on scheduling, daily time, and even watches that keep up with our sleep patterns, look at the God–time as a rhythm of rest and work. God knew we needed rest regularly.
However, rest is more than sleep and relaxation. For God, rest is an active awareness of what is real-God and His Kingdom. He made the Sabbath, on the 7th day, a time of rest, rejuvenation, and praise-sounds good enough to do every day! Jesus demonstrated in his own life on earth that more time is needed than just the set-apart time on Sundays.
How the time works could be seen like a swinging pendulum of resting with God and then working or “being” for God. God knew that the world would “wither” the branches of the vine, who is Jesus. So God returns us to worship again and calls us to time alone with Him again and again.
Back and forth – rest and work, rest and work, like a pendulum in a clock.
When God-time becomes habit forming, it changes our lives and those around us. It can change our child’s life as well. So let’s make it a goal this year.
5 Steps to cultivating God-time for Kids:
- 1. Read a Bible story to your child every day. Find Bible storybooks and devotion examples below: there are lots to choose from for all ages on-line at Amazon, Walmart and publishing houses like Zondervan, and Cokesbury to name only a few.
Spend 10 minutes a night:
Read a story; talk about it with your child, and finish with a prayer:
“God thank you for the story of Jesus calming the storm. Help us to know you are there to help us when we are afraid, just like the men in the boat. Jesus I am nervous about a project at work tomorrow help me and help Katie when she goes to preschool to not be afraid as well.”
- 2. As your child gets older, give them more opportunity in the time. Still read together, discuss interesting things about the story, and pray about how it might help you in daily life, but allow your child to have some alone time with God as well.
“Now is your time to talk to God alone. Write or draw in your journal and pray to God about whatever you need.”
This helps your child begin to take responsibility for the habit: for listening and talking to God themselves.
- 3. Adjust “life” so that they can have time to be with God. This is probably the hardest to do in our “over-packed” lives. Therefore, start off with one day a week and build on that.
- 4. Trust God & team up with others. Know that God wants you to succeed at this goal and that the Holy Spirit is doing almost all of the work. Pray for help from God and get an accountability partner to share the growing goal with. There are other families at Christ Church that want this for their home-life as well.
- 5. Don’t force God on your child! This has to cultivate into a habit, and as we know as adults, new habits are hard. Remember, one thing that is so appealing about Jesus is that he never forced Himself on anyone. Invite your child into this special time with you and God. Make it fun, peaceful, relational, and not homework-like. Watch as it becomes something he or she asks for regularly. :).