Talking with God together

Zeek saw the photo of the boy from Homs, with a shrapnel wound above his eye. He wanted to know how the boy had got hurt, and why. As best he could, Dad explained about the war in Syria in a way Zeek could grasp. He wanted to communicate how complicated it was.

Then Zeek said, ‘Let’s pray for this boy and his family and pray that the war will stop.’

So they talked with God for 49 seconds. Zeek was really moved by the photo and wanted to cut it out to stick on the door. For weeks and weeks they prayed most days for ‘the boy with the shrapnel wound’.

Children don’t find it strange to talk with someone they cannot see. They have imaginary friends and imaginary conversations. Adults find it more awkward.

Talking with God (that is, ‘praying’) is not really like conversing with an imaginary friend. We cannot see God, but that doesn’t mean he’s not there. God is everywhere. He never sleeps. He always listens. He longs for us to get to know him. He always answers prayer, often in a surprising way! If we feel uncomfortable, our children may help us to pray! Give them the chance!

Here are some topics and tips to get you talking together and talking with God together:

  1. Give thanks to God for something beautiful, good news or an answer to prayer. Thanking God before a meal reminds us that our food comes from him. (Look up ‘mealtime prayer cube’ on the Internet.)
  2. Say sorry to God for anything we’ve done that we wish we hadn’t or anything we know might have disappointed him. God always forgives when we honestly say we’re sorry. He never holds grudges!
  3. Talk with God as though he’s in the next room, only we don’t need to shout. Tell him what’s bothering us, how we want him to help us, make things better for a friend, solve the problem of global warming or comfort us when the gerbil’s died.
  4. Pray BIG prayers for the world and for God to do something we think is impossible. We know he’s amazing and all-powerful. Pray small prayers too, telling him about the little things in life. Pray 15-second prayers and longer ones! Pray out loud or in our heads.
  5. Talk with God anytime and anywhere – walking to school, waiting for a bus, getting ready for bed. No need to make an appointment or close your eyes.
  6. Stick photos on the fridge door of family, friends, postcards of special places, upcoming events and to remind us to pray.
  7. Light a candle if we’re sitting down to talk with God. Jesus came as light in the world’s darkness. A flickering flame is full of life.
  8. Say the Lord’s prayer. It’s a pattern of talking with God that Jesus gave his followers. Take the Guardians of Ancora Bible Quest ‘How to Talk with God’ and see Jesus praying and his followers practising – then join in with the video-prayers at the Theatre of the Saga (there are modern and more traditional versions of the prayer Jesus taught his followers).
  9. Make a lot of noise. Children love to sing, play percussion instruments, praise God with movement and listen to music in the car. (There are songs at the Theatre of the Saga in Guardians of Ancora – and thousands of Christian songs on YouTube.)
  10. Be still and listen. We don’t usually hear God’s voice with our ears, but we can ‘hear’ him with the help of his Spirit. What is God saying to us today?
  11. Write or draw messages to God, keeping a record of what we have asked and expecting an answer. The Creative Hub in Guardians of Ancora is a great tool for doing this: creating your messages and showing them to each other.
  12. Songs in the Bible (the psalms, in the middle of the printed book) are full of pictures of what God has done and is like. For example, Psalm 23 talks of God as ‘my shepherd’ and Psalm 103 speaks of ‘how kind he has been’. They remind us who it is we are talking with.