Kids Can Be Friends with Jesus
This month, we are praying that our kids would be friends with God--that they would know Him intimately, like a best friend! I am also praying that for myself. I desperately want to be closer to Jesus, to be led by the Spirit, to know Him better. How cool would it be to say that Covid-19 was a time when we got closer to Jesus?! What if we looked back on this season that was hard, but we also saw it as rich and deep and sacred? This could be the time we slowed down enough to hear His voice and just sit in His presence.
This is my biggest prayer for my kids. Praying for them to be happy, smart, safe, etc, pales in comparison to them knowing Jesus.
I know that this prayer doesn't get answered overnight. It took me my whole life to really understand intimacy with Jesus. Even though I grew up in a Christian home, I mostly just knew "about" God. I didn't really understand what it meant to be His friend or to share life with Him. This is something I am still learning today and it's the sweetest lesson I've ever learned.
So, if it feels like your kids don't really know Jesus or care to know Him, take heart and keep praying. It is our job to obey (pray for our kids) and then surrender (trust Him with the outcome.) Thank God that we are not God, right? We are not in charge of how our kids turn out... that's His job. We just need to obey and surrender.
So, here are just a few ways to help teach our kids to be friends with God.
1 - Listen
Listening prayers are such a great way to teach kids that we can be friends with God. Here is a simple way to explain this idea.
"What if you just talked and talked all the time to (name of child's friend), but you never listened to what they had to say? Would that be a very close friendship?"
Check out how to do listening prayers here. This is such a great practice in building a friendship with Jesus. The more we learn to listen to His voice, the more we get to know His heart, and the more we become like Him.
2 - Bedtime Chats
At bedtime, my kids want one more story, one more cuddle, one more song. Since we have four of them, we usually stick to our one story, one song, one prayer routine, but I always remind them that once I leave their bed, they are NOT alone! Jesus, their best friend, is with them always. Sometimes moms and dads have to go but Jesus never does. Encourage your kids to talk with Jesus about whatever is on their mind and to listen to Him too.
My daughter Brinley is full of ideas. Almost every night she has trouble falling asleep because she is thinking of inventions and plans and creations and solving all the world's problems. She used to call downstairs to us multiple times a night and wake up all her siblings. Recently, we reminded her that God never gets tired and is always ready to hear her ideas and even give her new ones. Now, we can hear her just chit chatting away to God. It's the cutest thing. Luckily, her roommate sister is a deep sleeper!
3 - Friendship Journal
Do you have any kids who like to journal? If so, this is a great way to help them develop a friendship with God. This is a fantastic practice for grown-ups too! Have your kids keep a journal where they write letters, questions, and prayers to Jesus. Then have them spend some time listening to God too. You can help them think of questions to ask God and let them journal or draw anything God might be pressing on their hearts.
God, what do you think of me when you think of me?
What is something you like about me?
Who is someone you want me to pray for today?
Who is someone you want me to love and care for today?
What is something you want me to care about?
4 - Breath Prayers
Have you tried breath prayers with your kids yet? This is such a great way to practice the presence of God and check in with Him all day long. Breath prayers are basically prayers paired with breathing.
John 15:14 says that we are Jesus' friends when we obey Him. Share this verse with your kids and remind them that in order to be a good friend to Jesus, we need to obey Him. Here is a breath prayer you and your kids can say to ask God for help and wisdom to obey all day long (I use this one for myself all the time).
Breathe in slowly through your nose and say,
Breathe out slowly through your mouth and say,
“Show me how to obey you.”
5 - Give Him All Your Worries
Share Philippians 4:6-7 with your family:
Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus.
Remind your kids that just like we share our joys and our worries with friends, we should share EVERYTHING with Jesus, our best friend! Isn't it awesome that Jesus asks us to pray about absolutely everything? He never gets tired of us. Don't forget to thank Him too!
We love singing the song version of this verse by Scripture Lullabies. It's so good!
Here are two other resources to help kids learn that Jesus is their friend.
• We love this little book - Notes from Jesus: What Your New Best Friend Wants You to Know It is written in a really relational way, from the perspective of Jesus. The pictures are so adorable and the letters constantly remind kids that Jesus is their forever friend.
“Knowing and loving God is our greatest privilege, and being known and loved is God’s greatest pleasure." - Rick Warren