Confession Exercises to do With Your Kids...
Updated: Oct 28, 2018
We are all sinners, saved by grace. My two oldest kids are a part of Awana Cubbies at our church. Awana defines sin as “anything you think, say, or do that disobeys God.”
Acts 3:19-20 says, “Now repent of your sins and turn to God, so that your sins may be wiped away. Then times of refreshment will come from the presence of the Lord!”
Teaching our kids to repent involves teaching them to talk to God about what they’ve done wrong, and to choose to leave their sin behind. Does that mean we will never sin again? Of course not! It would be impossible for us to make a list of all of our sins and confess them and promise to never commit them again. To confess means that we agree with the Lord when He says that we are forgiven and cleansed when we accept Christ’s payment for our sins (Romans 3:24).
Exercise 1: Confession Stations
This“confession prayer experience” is one of my personal favorites! This is a simple activity you can do using some markers or crayons and a couple of notecards. Turn on some worship music and ask your kids to draw something they want to confess to Jesus on their notecard. Then when they are ready they can take that card and drop it into a bucket or container or even the trash can. Afterwards, they can pick up a new notecard.
On the second notecard, they can write “Jesus Forgives Me,” write a letter of praise thanking God for his forgiveness, or draw a picture to represent forgiveness.
I did this activity the other night with my almost 6 year old. He drew a picture of himself hitting his sister and asked me how to spell, “I’m sorry” above the drawing. He threw it into a little “Jesus Forgives” bucket that we had made. Then he made a new notecard with a picture of him and God smiling hand in hand and kept it in his Bible. He says it reminds him that God loves and forgives him. (I also asked him to apologize to his sister at this point since I was not aware of that morning’s altercation!) I participated in the activity with him and he was interested in hearing my confession prayers as well.
Exercise 2: Bedtime Confessions
When we pray before bed we make sure to make confession a part of our prayers. Though I have not specifically asked my kids to confess their sins out loud in front of me at night, I model this for them and often they follow suit. I like to pray similarly to the Lord’s Prayer. I don’t worry so much about the order in which I pray, but I like to include praise and adoration, requests, confession, and praying for others. For example I might pray a bedtime prayer like this with my daughter, Brinley:
I love you so much! Thank you for hearing me. I surrender myself to you. Please forgive me for being grumpy this morning when the kids were fighting. Please forgive me for having a bad attitude today when we were stuck in traffic. I’m so sorry. Thank you for washing me clean. Please remind Brin that she is your daughter and that you love her. Please heal our neighbor, Miss Linda, who is sick and show us how we can best serve and love her. Thank you for hearing us! Amen.
I have noticed that my kids include confession in their prayers as well and are learning that this should be a regular part of their prayer lives.
Exercise 3: Wake Up My Heart Confessions
When I was in 4th grade, my teacher, Mrs. Firooznia, told us that when she prayed, she often asked God to wake up her heart when she sinned. She said that was a prayer that God always answers. I remember thinking, “Why would she do that?” If we don’t realize it’s a sin, then we don’t have to be held accountable for it? Right? Wrong! The more we take a blind eye toward our sin, the less bothered by sin we are, the more we do it, and the harder our hearts become. I tried out her suggestion just to see what it was like and guess what? It worked! God was showing me all day long the ways I was thinking, acting, or saying things that hurt him and separated me from him. Because of Mrs. Firooznia, asking God to wake up my heart has now become a regular part of my prayer life.
This is also something I pray frequently with my kids. Usually over breakfast or at school drop- off I will pray that God wakes up our hearts when we sin that day. I remind them that the moment God wakes our heart and we realize we have sinned, even if it’s mid-sin, we should stop and confess.
For example, the other day I was on my phone scrolling mindlessly, and the Lord convicted me that I should put it down and stay present with my kids. I kept looking at it for a minute or two, and then realized that this was him protecting me and waking up my heart. He was answering my prayer to be more bothered by my sin. Right then and there, I put it down and just said out loud, “Jesus, thank you for waking up my heart. I confess that I disobeyed you. Please forgive me and cleanse me of this sin so I can be in right relationship with you.”
Remind your kids to ask God to wake up their hearts when they sin and then to confess that sin as soon as they realize it. After confessing, they can be assured that they are forgiven.