How to tell God he matters to you?

Here it is — the first official Dinner Table Talk Guide! This is designed to be used in conjunction with our summer movie series, but if your kids missed class this past weekend (or, if you don’t have any kids in your household) don’t let that stop you! Use this guide to help your family cultivate a growing faith — bring love and joy to yourselves and to the world around you.

Our questions from this week’s lesson centered on showing respect to God, specifically through prayer.

God is our awesome creator, he is loving and powerful! We want to show him respect, but how?

By not ignoring God.

God puts an offer out there to always be available for conversation with us. Prayer is what we call talking and listening to God. When we pray we open ourself to God, sharing the parts of our life that matter most to us. We are saying, God you rank high in my book!

It is important to note that God lets us choose whether we decide to join in dialogue with him, or not. Getting to know God takes initiative on our part! What are some ways to help us in our prayers?

a child with a purple balloonIn our lesson we used balloons to pray! What a fun way to “lift” prayers to God.

We also reviewed a “recipe” to follow when praying. We’ve heard this one before — applying the acronym ACTS.

 
(I want to stress that a formula for prayer is not a requirement, but it can help one to stay focused. I find using ACTS beneficial, as it is too easy for me to be distracted whenever I pray; utilizing ACTS keeps me on track.)

What are some other ways to help us talk to God?
  • Invite God to your activities. The next time you are about to start an enjoyable venture, invite God to savor the experience with you. For example, before jumping into the pool, pray: Be with us, Jesus. Come and share this refreshing swim along side of us. We’re so grateful that You created water for us to enjoy!
  • Practice praying in silence. (It’s how most people pray!) Make the amount of time spent in silence appropriate to your kids’ ages. You may want to start out with just 15 seconds of silence.
  • Get out the crayons. Prayers don’t always have to be words. Provide coloring tools and have your child draw a picture of things for which they are thankful.
What prayer methods can you share?

See these past discussions on ways to mix up your prayer life:
https://familyfaithcompanion.org/2010/08/19/why-we-pray-a-friendship-needs-feeding/
https://familyfaithcompanion.org/2010/08/04/making-prayer-a-part-of-every-day-life/
https://familyfaithcompanion.org/2010/08/12/more-creative-ways-to-pray/
What is Breath Prayer

a blue line


Photo credits:
Purple balloon by Thomas Rydberg, who licensed this photo on Flickr under a Creative Commons License.

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What sort of fascinated fan are you raising?

Young sports fanAre you raising a “Go Blue” sports fan? (Or perhaps a “Go Green”?) If you are a fan of a certain team, it’s very likely that your kids are too.

You are probably not intentionally raising such a child – drilling the Michigan fight song every night or teaching them player nuances – it just sort of happens doesn’t it? Because you are interested, they become predisposed.

What about raising a Jesus fan?

Is that just “happening” in your household without any effort on your part?

I’ll admit, when my kids were young, I did not focus much on raising them to be disciples of Christ. My thinking went along the lines of:

  • Who me? I can’t do that. (That’s the church’s job.)
  • I don’t know enough. (I didn’t go to Bible school.)
  • I’ll screw them up / turn them off to religion. (I’ll probably say something wrong!)
Raising a Jesus fan takes some intention.

Does it help you to know that Jesus struggled with the role he was to play in God’s plan of redemption for the world?

We see it prominently in the Garden Of Gethsemane, the spot where Jesus and his followers went after the Passover meal (the one we now call the Last Supper). Jesus knew he faced imminent distressing events — arrest, torture, and death on a cross. At this critical juncture, Jesus is compelled to spend time with God in prayer.

Spend Time in Prayer.

Share your feelings of uncertainty with God. Jesus did. Matthew describes a time of intense agony in amongst the olive trees, with Jesus’ words expressing his anguish:

Open quote markMy Father, if it is possible, take this cup of suffering away from me.

This is like Jesus saying: “If it is possible, can’t we do this in some other way?”

Christians believe that in Jesus, God became fully human; he was a human being who faced temptations and feelings of anxiety! Isn’t it freeing to realize that we don’t have to stand up to pressures and trials with super-sized strength? It is okay to be fearful, questioning, angry, and to feel agony.

It is okay to struggle!

We know from the prayer that Jesus prayed in the garden, that in the very same sentence of asking for a different path, Jesus turns and submits completely to God, “I want your will, not mine.” This is not an admission of defeat; he says it with a cadence of perfect trust.

Acting as Jesus did can be a tough pill to swallow. Here’s what I tell myself when faced with something I’m unsure I really have the guts to do:

Do the next thing. Do it with prayer.

a blue line

Here’s something to pursue this week: Be on the lookout for a “trigger” which prompts a short burst of prayer.

A collage of green thingsTaking a cue from the Garden of Gethsemane, when you see something green (a houseplant, some produce, a stray toy) thank God for the ability to speak openly with him in prayer!

Try this out yourself for a couple of days. Then report back to your kids. Get them onto the hunt for a little green prompting.

What spiritual practice can you include in your family’s life this Lent? How will you plant seeds of faith in the lives of your Jesus fans?

Stay tuned for other Lenten prayer hints.


Photo credits:
Young sports fan by PublicDomainPictures, and the collage of green things – from other artists – all who licensed these photos on Pixabay under a Public Domain Dedication.

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