The very first Prayer Summit that I attended, I sat with Carla Fontaine, one of Grace Fast’s main leaders on her Prayer Team. Of course I hoped to receive some deep insight for her from the Lord that night as we listened in prayer. As we listened together the first thing that came to my mind made no sense whatsoever, but I had learned that you don’t withhold sharing anything because of fear or pride.
I anticipated that my great feat of humility and courage in sharing this would reward me with Carla’s eyes popping out in shock of how affirming this word was to her, but no such luck. I got the word: “June Bug”… Blank stares, awkward chuckles and then we moved on to her sharing what she sensed in prayer.
To this day, nine years later, I have no idea what on earth this “deeply moving word” was for, but Carla and I can still share a chuckle over it.
No one likes to be wrong. It feels safer to remain quiet and appear unspiritual than to open our mouths and remove all doubt! Kids are no different! One of the biggest obstacles kids face with listening prayer is a lack of confidence. We want to know that we heard from God and that we got it right! If it were that concrete, where would trust come in?
Kids are concrete thinkers. When we tell them God speaks, no matter how much we tell them that He speaks in our hearts and not usually out loud for our ears to hear, there is still this expectation for a booming voice to resound. So when we listen and the only thoughts that come to them sound like their own voice, they have no confidence that this was God.
To help kids get around that expectation in Kidzland, we have found a helpful way to rephrase the question that removes some of the “abstract” for them. Instead of asking God to directly tell us something that He loves about us, we say: “God, can you give us some ideas about things you love about us.” After listening for a bit, I will ask, “Did you get any ideas?” This feels safer because kids are used to getting ideas and sharing their ideas; the important piece comes afterwards where we point it back to God saying, “We asked God for ideas, and look how many great ideas He gave you! I love how God speaks to you!”
Although we ask God to lead us in our thoughts and give us ideas, sadly not all our ideas come straight from heaven – case in point the “June Bug.” We are all learning to know Him and can do that best as we share together and allow for mistakes not only for others, but for ourselves.
Try it tonight before bed! Ask the Lord to give your kids some ideas of what He loves about them! Then share with each other some fears or struggles they have with listening prayer.