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My name is Cheryl
We want to help kids discover the Holy Spirit. After all, children are intrigued by an adventure. They like action. That’s what they’re looking for in their Christianity. They don’t want to just hear about heroes of the faith, they want to do exploits themselves. They say, “Don’t just teach me about David and Goliath. I want to slay a few giants of my own.” Children are hungry for supernatural experiences like they hear about in the Bible.
Many times children are well-acquainted with God the Father and Jesus the Son, yet have not had much teaching or experience of the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit is the person of the Godhead who is in charge of the supernatural here on earth. All we have to do is ask, and He will come. Nowhere in the Bible do we find that supernatural adventures are reserved for people over twenty-one. In fact, God promises that He will pour out his Spirit upon our children and youth: “And afterward I will pour out my Spirit upon all flesh; and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, your old men shall dream dreams, your young men shall see visions” (Joel 2:28-29).
My daughter Nicole became acquainted with the Holy Spirit when she was quite young. After that, supernatural experiences were commonplace in her life.
One such instance happened on the last day of a family vacation in Rocky Pointe, Mexico. We had just finished packing the car and were preparing to leave our summer get-away when Hal noticed that the car was out of gas. Leaving Nicole and me behind, he borrowed one of the ATVs from the garage and took off for the nearest gas station.
One hour went by, then two, then three. When the sun began to go down I started to worry. “I think we’d better pray for your dad,” I told Nicole.
We hadn’t prayed long when Nicole said, “Mom, I think dad is stuck in the mud somewhere.”
“I’m sure he’s okay,” I tried to comfort her.
“No, he’s not!” she insisted. “Dad is stuck in the ‘miry clay.’ The Lord just showed me a picture of him in some swamp.” We both remembered the verse in Psalm 40:2: “He brought me up also out of a horrible pit, out of the miry clay, and set my feet upon a rock, and established my goings.” So we prayed that’s just what the Lord would do. Soon after, Hal returned— covered in mud from head to toe. He explained that he’d decided to take a shortcut across a dry barren area—only to discover that underneath the crusty top was a muddy swamp. He had to walk into town and pay a tow truck to rescue the ATV.
The Holy Spirit may come to us or our children in ways that surprise us! You might ask children these questions to open up the subject:
• Have you ever seen a picture in your head of a need someone had or a picture of what was happening while you were praying?
• Were you surprised when these things happened? Did you pray? What kinds of things resulted?
• Have you ever experienced a time when you were praying for someone and you felt like you needed to cry for them?
Children may experience adventures with the Holy Spirit in the following ways, among others.
Sometimes dreams can be a way that God speaks to us about a circumstance that needs prayer. It’s important to explain to children that God doesn’t want bad things to happen to them. So if a child has a dream about a situation where something bad happens to someone, then encourage him to pray about it. The enemy may have been trying to scare the child, or God may have been calling the child to intercede and prevent a bad situation from occurring. We shouldn’t make a big deal about every dream a child has, yet it’s important to help children realize that God can use dreams to talk to them.
We often think of fasting as something that only adults can do. Yet fasting is a spiritual discipline we need to teach our children. When we quiet our minds and lives and give up natural desires, we increase our spiritual appetite and can hear God’s voice more clearly. We would not necessarily want to encourage young children to skip a meal. However, they can fast desserts, soda, television, video games, or some other activity. Encourage them to devote some time to prayer and Bible reading in place of these activities.
One of the most exciting spiritual adventures children can undertake is prayer walking. It’s praying in the very places where we expect God to answer—such as neighborhoods, schools, churches, businesses, and government buildings. As author Steve Hawthorne points out, prayer walking isn’t just about walking around or praying outside. It’s getting nearer to pray clearer. The next time your family goes on a walk together, why not pray for the people you see and the homes and buildings you pass?
A friend’s family prayer walked their neighborhood regularly for months and saw two families come to Christ—parents and children. One of these families went on some prayer walks with their family to join in praying for the neighborhood, and even more remarkable things began to happen. They passed an empty house and prayed that God would fill it with a Christian family. He did, and not only that, also later brought another Christian family to live in the house across the street from it!
When you prayer walk with children, you may want to show pictures of schools and other places in the neighborhood where you plan to go on your prayer walk. Give your children the opportunity to pray for the things they see and the places they go. Upon returning, ask the children to talk about what they saw. Allow them to talk about things that they observed such as the condition of the neighborhood, people they saw, and what they think was on Jesus’ heart for the people who lived there.
When we tell children that God has the ability AND the desire to heal people, they have the audacity to take us AND God at His Word. Invite your kids into your own prayer time with friends. Be audacious in your prayers for people you know, and people you don’t know. You aren’t responsible for the outcome, you are responsible to set an example of faith. It’s okay if God doesn’t show up miraculously– that is up to Him. The thing is that I believe He will. He loves to answer His children. Let’s teach our kids how to pray for others.
As an eight-year-old girl, Sarah came bounding into Sunday night church in her sleepy fisherman town, excited for the worship to start. Singing was her favorite activity inside and outside of the church, and being able to attend twice in one day was a treat for her.
The tall, somewhat giant-like pastor gently walked up to Sarah holding his head and told her that he too was excited to worship together tonight, but his head was hurting and he was afraid he wouldn’t be able to give a message if God didn’t heal him. He asked her to pray.
This same giant-like pastor hired a kids’ pastor who taught the children that their prayers had power, and Sarah believed. So she did what she was taught: she laid her little hand on his forehead, thanked Jesus for this day, for Pastor Tom, and then asked Jesus to heal his head. She then thanked God for the healing. Her pastor thanked her and they carried on with the service. Years later, she discovered that the headache did in fact go away, and her prayer of faith rekindled a sense of God’s presence in the pastor’s life.
Selah was in the first grade when a little boy stubbed his toe at recess. She told him she believed God could heal him and asked everyone on the playground if any of them believed in God. This little girl was taught that there is power when 2 or 3 are gathered. She gathered a small group of children, prayed for the boy, and then asked him to rate his pain 1-10. He said the pain didn’t budge. She was taught to keep praying, without hesitation. So, Selah prayed again and asked him to rate the pain. It went down!
Selah was in the first grade when a little boy stubbed his toe at recess. She told him she believed God could heal him and asked everyone on the playground if any of them believed in God. In fact, she was taught that there is power when 2 or 3 are gathered. So Selah gathered a small group of children, prayed for the boy, and then asked him to rate his pain 1-10. He said the pain didn’t budge. But she was taught to keep praying, without hesitation. So she prayed again and asked him to rate the pain. It went down!
Selah prayed one more time, now gathering a large crowd of teachers and children, and the boy skipped away to the playground, completely pain-free. She had no idea this wasn’t normal, and was happy to share God with her friend because she knew He wanted to heal that boy. Later, Selah told her parents that this act of faith led to multiple conversations with friends about God and healing. This was an adventure in the Holy Spirit.
It spreads, it’s contagious, it gets the word out.
Cheryl Sacks is the best-selling author of The Prayer Saturated book series: The Prayer Saturated Church, Prayer-Saturated Kids, and The Prayer Saturated Family—How to Change the Atmosphere in Your Home through Prayer. Her newest book, Reclaim a Generation, 21 Days of Prayer for Schools, will be available soon at ReclaimAGeneration.com
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