Teaching Our Kids to Listen

My older daughter got a set of devotional cards for her birthday. She pulls one out every morning, reads it and sticks it in her pocket. (I can't tell you how many I've accidentally run through the washing machine.) Yesterday, I asked her what her devotional card was about. "Waiting," she replied.

I almost fell over. All weekend we had talked about how sometimes God asks us to wait. You see, my daughter switched soccer teams a couple of months ago. She's learning a new position and a new style of play, and she's struggling to get playing time. Through the veil of tears shed over the weekend, we talked and talked about doing your best and waiting on God. We talked about learning what you can from the situation and being a good teammate. We talked about how sometimes we learn more in the waiting than we learn in the doing.

And then, God started talking. Our sermon at church on Sunday was all about waiting on God's timing. Then her devotional card echoed the same sentiment. "It's creepy, mom," she said.

I love it when God shows up. I love it when He gives my kids tangible evidence that He's real and that He cares about what's happening in their lives. He might not write on the wall anymore, but He does make His voice heard in ways that even an 11-year-old can hear Him.

The thing is, though, my daughter might have missed God's voice. She might have ignored it. She might have chalked it up to coincidence if she hadn't been taught how to listen for Him.

Sometimes it's hard for our kids to listen for God because He doesn't often speak audibly. If we're not paying attention, then we can easily miss what God is saying.

So, how do we teach our kids to listen to God's voice?

Make sure your kids know that God speaks. At dinner one night, talk with your kids about the different ways that people communicate. Ask your kids how they could communicate with someone if they couldn't audibly speak. Encourage them to be creative in their answers. They can even act them out. Then talk with your kids about the ways that God speaks to us. Explain that even though He doesn't speak out loud, we can still hear what He has to say through prayer, reading our Bibles, going to church and listening to other Christ followers.

Encourage habits that help your kids hear God's voice. Set aside some time in your home for individual quiet times where your kids spend time reading their Bibles and/or a devotional book. Have family devotionals. Go to church and talk about what you learn.

Keep a family prayer journal. Keep track of the things that you pray for and the answers God gives. Letting your kids have tangible evidence that God answers prayer lets them see that He works in our lives.

Point it out when you see God speaking to your kids. When my daughter told me about her devotional card yesterday, I was quick to point out to her that God was speaking to her. When we point out God's voice to our kids, it's much easier for them to hear it on their own in the future.

God tells us that we are His sheep. John 10:27 says "My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me." Sheep follow their shepherd because they know His voice, but they had to learn which voice to follow by listening. Our kids need our help to learn to listen for God's voice so that they can follow it.

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Linking up today with Time-Warp Wife and A Heart Reflected.