How to Talk With God

Each time your child takes a Bible Quest in Guardians of Ancora, there’s a collection of activities, games and things to make and do together, all of which extend and expand the in-game fun beyond the app. Look through this collection and choose one or more ideas to help your family discover more about how to talk with God.

Here are some great questions to start you chatting about any Bible Quest:

  • What sort of thing has this Bible Quest reminded you of, that you knew before?
  • What new things have you discovered, as you’ve played this Bible Quest?
  • Is there anything you’re going to keep thinking about, from the Quest?

New activity ideas are added for each Bible Quest, as well several collections of activities about prayer, stories and so on. Look out for more Family Activity downloads, as your child plays more Bible Quests.

A quick introduction to spiritual styles

Family activities from Guardians of Ancora are devised to inspire varied ways of knowing God:  four distinct avenues for connecting with him through word, emotion, symbol, and action. These ‘spiritual styles’ are broad approaches to spirituality and faith, through which children experience God and make sense of their lives in the world around them.

If you want to find out more about spiritual styles, this article is a helpful introduction to a fascinating topic:

http://www.faithformationlearningexchange.net/uploads/5/2/4/6/5246709/saturation_spirituality-creating_environmentsthatnurtureallchildren_-_csinos.pdf

Our Father

Bible link

Luke 11:1–4

What you need:

a large sheet of paper and a felt-tip pen

What you do:

See how many different names you can think of for God. Get everyone to call them out and ask one person to write them on a sheet of paper.

If you're stuck, look at the names he is given in some of these Bible verses: Psalm 46:7; 80:1; 81:1; 92:1; 95:6; Isaiah 61:1; Zechariah 12:5; Matthew 6:9; 1 Timothy 1:17; 6:15; Hebrews 1:3.

Look at all the names you have written down. Draw a circle around the ones you use the most (when you are singing or praying, for example).

Which ones do you think are special? Tick them.

Get each person to underline their favourite name for God.

Pray: “Thank you, God, because you are… (mention all the names you have underlined). Thank you that even though you are so great and powerful you still love us.”

This activity will interest children with a word-centred approach to knowing God.

Prayer chain

Bible link

Luke 11:1–4

What you need:

some strips of paper

glue or tape

pens or pencils

What you do:

Give each person two or more strips of paper. On each strip write the name of someone you know, or draw a picture of them (or both!). Link the strips together with the glue or tape to make a paper “chain”.

The Bible tells us that Paul often prayed for the people he knew. Read two or three of these Bible passages together: Romans 1:8; Ephesians 3:14–19; Philippians 1:3–5; 1 Thessalonians 1:2; Philemon 4–6.

Pray for the people in your prayer chain now.

Why not hang up your prayer chain where you’ll see it every day? It will remind you to keep praying! Perhaps you could pray for two people each day.

This activity will encourage children with an emotion-centred approach to knowing God.

Newspaper prayers

Bible link

1 Timothy 2:1,2

What you need:

some recent newspapers (local or national)

What you do:

Read 1 Timothy 2:1,2 together. It tells us to pray for all people.

Look through the newspapers individually or in pairs. Choose some stories or photos which make you sad or happy. Take it in turns to tell each other about what you’ve chosen and how it makes you feel.

Now pray together. Ask each person to say a short sentence about the piece of the news they chose, whether it was good or bad. End the prayer by saying, “Lord, hear our prayer.”

Why not start a collection of newspaper stories and photos? Keep them in a box and pray about them from time to time, but remember to keep the collection up to date.

This activity will interest children with a word-centred approach to knowing God.

Jesus’ prayer

Bible link

Matthew 6:9–13

What you do:

Here is an old version of the prayer that Jesus taught his friends:

Our Father which art in heaven, hallowed be thy name.

The kingdom come. Thy will be done on earth, as it is in heaven.

Give us this day our daily bread.

And forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us.

Lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil:

For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory for ever and ever. Amen.

See how Matthew 6:9–13 is translated in your version of the Bible. Can you spot any differences? Which one did you enjoy the most? Which was easier to understand? Why?

Together try to explain each part of Jesus’ prayer (which is usually called the Lord’s Prayer).

Prayer idea: Pray together the prayer that Jesus taught us.

This activity will interest children with a word-centred approach to knowing God.

Pray at all times

Bible link

1 Thessalonians 5:17

What you do:

Talk together about the different times you do certain things each day (for example, what time you usually get up in the morning, or what time you have breakfast). If you have a clock or watch handy, you could take it in turns to set the different times by moving the hands.

Now read 1 Thessalonians 5:17 together. Does that mean we should pray all the time? (It would be very difficult to do – what would happen when we talk to someone, or go to sleep?!) The Bible says “Pray at all times”. In other words, at times when we don’t, as well as at different times through each day.

In turn, think of times during the day when you could pray, and if possible share some ideas of things you could say to God.

Here are a few suggestions:

  •        First thing in the morning, talk to God about the day ahead and the things you’ll be doing.
  •        On the way to school or work, you could pray for the people you will see there.
  •        When you have a break, thank God for something!
  •        When you’re running the taps for a bath, don’t waste time – pray!

Now make sure you keep reminding each other to put your ideas into practice!

This activity will interest children with a word-centred approach to knowing God.

Time with God

Bible link

Mark 1:35–37

What you do:

Who in your family likes to be alone sometimes? Why? Where do they go when they want to be on their own – have they got a favourite place?

The Bible tells us that Jesus needed peace and quiet too! Find out more by reading Mark 1:35–37. Listen carefully and see if you can spot why Jesus wanted to be alone (verse 35 will give you a clue!).

Jesus shows us how important it is to spend time with God. We can do that too, by praying and reading the Bible on our own, or with other people, like this!

You’ve obviously found a good time to share these activities as a family, so how about talking together about when would be the best time for each member of the family to pray and read the Bible for themselves, with help for the younger ones if necessary? Decide on times – they’ll be different for everyone (and not necessarily very early in the morning, like Jesus!). Start tomorrow if you can.

This activity will inspire children with a symbol-centred approach to knowing God.

“Your kingdom come”

Bible link

Luke 11:2–4

What you need:

a local or national newspaper or online news site

What you do:

Have a newspaper or news website available, then ask someone to read Luke 11:2–4.

When Jesus speaks about God’s kingdom, he’s talking about a place where people live as God wants them to. It’s where people feel safe, happy and free. God’s kingdom begins when people say, “Jesus is our King”, but that doesn’t happen very often in our world now.

Look through your news items. You’ll be able to find stories where Jesus isn’t King. Talk together about how these stories could be different if the people involved said, “Jesus is our King”.

Either quietly or aloud, pray for some of the situations you’ve read about and talked about. You could stick the newspaper cuttings to your fridge door to remind you to keep praying!

This activity will interest children with a word-centred approach to knowing God.

Daily bread

Bible link

Luke 11:1–4 (also Matthew 6:9–13)

What you need:

small grocery items

What you do:

When we pray for God to provide daily bread for the world, we often need to be ready to be part of the answer. Talk to your child about families that struggle to have enough food each day. Perhaps that has even happened in your family or is happening now.

Remind you child that if you are fortunate to have enough and a bit to spare, you can help others simply, for example by donating a grocery item to a food bank. Help your child find a local food bank charity.

When you are out shopping let them choose a grocery item (such as a can of soup or a packet of pasta) to donate.

This could be a weekly habit and a reminder to pray at least one part of the Lord’s Prayer.

This activity will motivate children with an action-centred approach to knowing God.

Bread, soap and chocolate

Bible link

Luke 11:1–4 (also Matthew 6:9–13)

What you need:

the words of Luke 11:1–4

a bread roll

soap or a clean sheet of paper

chocolate

What you do:

Look at the Lord’s Prayer in Luke 11:1–4. Show the three objects and use them while you talk through the prayer with your child.

Say something like: “These items can help us to remember this part of the prayer and the way Jesus taught us to pray.”

Bread is a reminder of what we need. This item helps us in praying for daily “bread”, for food to eat. Jesus taught his followers to ask for just enough, day by day. We can ask that others will have what they need.

Soap or paper is a reminder of a fresh start. This tells us that Jesus wants us to start each day fresh and new: not holding things against ourselves or others. Asking for forgiveness and offering it others helps us “clean up” and start afresh.

Chocolate can help by being a reminder of temptation and evil. It’s not “wrong”, and lots of things aren’t wrong in themselves, but we can be tempted to have too much, to be greedy or unfair. Think about times when it’s easy to do wrong or go wrong – and how saying Jesus’ prayer can help.

Once you have talked about these symbols with your child, return them to their normal places in your household, but suggest to your child that anytime in the day they see bread, soap or chocolate, either in your house or somewhere else, to let that be a reminder of those parts of the Lord’s Prayer.

To extend this activity, use the symbols as a family code-word for prayer.

For example, you might call out:

  •       “Bread prayer!” when you hear of someone who is in great need;
  •       “Soap prayer!” as you see a sad news item; or
  •       “Chocolate prayer!” if you hear about bullying at school.

This activity will encourage children with symbol- and action-centred approaches to knowing God.

Kingdom-building

Bible link

Luke 11:1–4 (also Matthew 6:9–13)

What you need:

your favourite physical or virtual online construction media, such as a computer game or building blocks

What you do:

The first part of the Lord’s Prayer is about God’s kingdom coming: that means building a community that does things in the good ways of God and gives everyone a fair chance.

When your child interacts with their favourite “kingdom-building” games, ask them about their strategies and goals. How do they make decisions to build their “kingdom”? What are the big “macro” decisions and the small decisions and how important are they?

Together, think about this: When we pray “Your kingdom come”, we are asking for God’s goals and strategies to influence life on earth. How do we know what God’s strategies and ways of kingdom-building are like?

This activity will encourage children with symbol- and action-centred approaches to knowing God.

Wow! Yes! Please! Sorry! Help!

Bible link

Luke 11:1–4 (also Matthew 6:9–13)

What you need:

the words of Luke 11:1–4

a rubber glove

a permanent marker pen

What you do:

Each phrase of the Lord’s Prayer can be summarised in a single word. With your child, write one summary word on each finger of a rubber glove.

WOW (a word that shows we get how great God is)

Father, help us to honour your name.

YES (a word that says we agree with God’s ways)

Come and set up your kingdom.

PLEASE (a word that shows we know are grateful)

Give us each day the food we need.

SORRY (a word that reminds us God can help us try again)

Forgive our sins, as we forgive everyone who has done wrong to us.

HELP (a word to ask for ourselves or others)

And keep us from being tempted.

Go through the Lord’s Prayer and match the word to the line of the prayer. Encourage your child to make up their own prayers based on each word. On days when praying in sentences is all a bit much, pray just the summary words. On days when the words flow freely, add as many as you/your child like.

For example:

WOW – God you are really great!

YES – I can see you!

PLEASE – Help us to live in ways that are fair for everyone.

SORRY – Sorry for how I get mean sometimes.

HELP – Please help my friend, who is sad about her dad.

This activity will encourage children with word- and emotion-centred approaches to knowing God.