My children are 6 and 8 years old, and they are bundles of creative energy. For a long time, we have had the same bed time routine (alone time, read a book and the Bible, vitamins, pray, sing, lights out.) In fact you may have experienced this — my youngest is queen at milking every extra minute out of her bedtime. Don’t get me wrong, my oldest does try to stretch it, but her approach is more direct. However, Madison will ask any random question knowing that I always feel compelled to answer, and she will keep going with follow up questions until I cut her off. The longest she has ever stretched me has been 35 minutes, not my best performance.
This has also been the time when both of them have asked the most questions about God about which we never stop until they are done. As parents, we are the primary spiritual leaders in our children’s lives, and it is important for us to create an atmosphere in our homes where they feel comfortable coming to us with any question about anything at any time. We need to be prepared both in season and out of season (2 Timothy 4:2).
One way that we create that space is by praying with them every night and trying to always end with a blessing. The blessing can be done in many ways, but the more intentional you are about it, the more powerful it will be. Since my children are already tucked in, we hold hands as we pray, “God, I pray that You would bless Rachel, that Rachel will know how crazy You are for her, that she will know Your voice when You are talking to her, and that when she hears You that she would listen and obey because she loves You, amen.” I also try to say something about what we read that night; for example, if we read about the 10 lepers, I would add something about having a thankful heart for all that He has done for her.
You can also encourage your children to hold out their hands, palms up, as a symbolic posture of receiving—expecting to hear and receive from God. You can put your hands on your child’s head … or kneel and look him in the eye as you bless him. This time of blessing provides another great opportunity to integrate your use of the Bible into the worship experience, reinforcing to the children that these words come straight from the Word, God’s Word.
A blessing can be a prayer of commission, a portion of Scripture, encouragement and guidance. A blessing can be offered in order to ask God’s Spirit to overflow from the child’s life in such a way that blesses others, while it can also be prayed over a child for the purpose of declaring God’s protection, joy, or wisdom.
Article by Jeff Neeley
(Portions taken from Tru curriculum)