Have you ever interacted with someone for a very short time and knew you would be friends for life? I met Catherine Bird several years ago now as I was a part of her launch team for one of her mother daughter Bible studies. We shared, not only a passion for infusing the confidence that comes from praying God’s word into our kids lives but also sadly at the time, we were both grieving the loss that comes from the devastation of losing a loved one from cancer.
I am so excited to have her as a guest on the Counselor Thoughts blog today. I have no doubt you are going to be inspired by her words below regarding creative ways to pray for your kids. Have a great week!
(As a special gift to YOU, my community, Catherine has included a downloadable page of colorable bookmarks! Just click here to access these!)
We live in a world and culture that puts much effort into telling us and our kids what we should think, how we should feel and act, and what we should place at the top of our priority list—very little, of which, aligns with the Truth of who we are, whose we are, and who God has designed each of us to be.
Our mini me’s will either fall into the ways of the world or into the ways of the Word, and it is up to us to help guide them down the narrow path and a deeper relationship with a heavenly Father Who loves them more deeply than we could ever imagine. One of the most impactful ways we can do this is by teaching our kids how to pray. This can seem daunting when many of us ourselves struggle with the act of prayer.
However, what if we were to embrace prayer as simply an open, honest conversation with God? Speak, listen and respond, then repeat. The simple truth is prayer is relational. The listening and speaking we utilize as we build relationships with others in our families and communities translate beautifully to our prayer lives as we build a deeper relationship with God.
Another simple truth is when we pray, our relationship with God grows.
God crafted each and every one of us down to the tiniest details. Every facet and nuance of our beings comes as no surprise to the Master Designer. We have only to glimpse the world around us to see plainly how imaginative our creator is. A multitude of colors paint the various landscapes where we live, and they are vast and varied. Goodness, the human body is even a marvelous wonder, how so many tiny parts and pieces work together. The birds of the skies, the fish of the sea, and the animals of the land all reflect the artistic nature of God.
As God’s image bearers, we share characteristics of His creativity, too. So can prayer be both relational and creative? I believe it can, which is the heart behind The Art of Amen.
There are certainly benefits to sitting in the stillness as one reflects on God’s Word and prays silently. However, most of us struggle with finding that sacred quiet place—both in our homes and on our busy calendars.
I talk with God throughout my busy and often unpredictable days. On a good day, this happens on my patio with my Bible and colored pencils. On a normal day, however, this happens in the shower, in the car, on a walk, during yoga class, waiting in the drive-thru at Chick-Fil-A. My prayers are not perfect, but they’re genuine. This is all God asks of us. He longs for a relationship with you, the real you.
Think about how you interact with your children, your friends, how your children interact with their friends. You probably chat off and on throughout the day, share exciting news or lean on them when you are sad. This is a role God longs to fill for each of us, and exploration of creative prayers enables us to draw Jesus deeper into our rhythm-of-rush lives.
Bible journaling, nature walk prayer, creative intercessory prayer, praying aloud, personalizing pre-written prayer offerings or Scripture—all of these are creative prayer outlets to explore not only in your own prayer life, but in the prayer lives of your children as well. And guess what? They’re fun! Not only have I enjoyed delving into these new ways to pray, but I’ve also thoroughly enjoyed doing so with my children. What a gift to share with our kids—the gift of an open, honest relationship with their Creator.
My youngest daughter, who didn’t sleep through the night until she was three-and-a-half, very seldom sits still. She needs music and movement to focus, so a quiet, still prayer time has never worked well for her, and this discouraged her so much that she didn’t want to pray. Through creative prayer, my wiggle worm is flourishing as she connects with God through nature, through doodling, through praying aloud and to worship music. All of these are beautiful offerings from my daughter to God, and I have no doubt these moments with my girl are just as precious to Him as the most precious works of art.
As you begin to explore creative prayer, be encouraged that yours and your children’s prayer time is a precious act of worship, and it will inevitably draw each of you closer to our Lord.
I pray you have an insatiable hunger to know Jesus better than any other relationship in your life and that this hunger to know and love him impacts every aspect of who you are, what you do, and where you go. Our faith is contagious in the best possible way, and I pray the tools within The Art of Amen give you encouragement and inspiration to love others well and positively influence their walk in faith, including those little people that God has entrusted to you.
Visit Catherinebird.net to learn more about The Art of Amen and download free resources. Grab your copy of The Art of Amen from Amazon, Christianbook.com, or another book retailer you love, and get started on your own exploration of creative prayer!
Catherine Bird is an author, speaker, Bible teacher, and sometimes a reluctant homeschooling mama, who also loves being a wife and a mom and often struggles to find balance between them all. She is the author of The Art of Amen, Becoming a Girl of Grace: A Joint Bible Study for Tween Girls and Their Moms, Building Circles of Grace, and Preparing a Way: An Advent Devotional for Tween Girls and Their Moms (available for free download at catherinebird.net).
Catherine and her family currently live near Austin, Texas. When she is not at her desk writing, Catherine can often be found in yoga class, scoping out some fun new hiking destination with her family, or curled up in a comfy chair on her patio with her colored pencils. She also believes wholeheartedly in laughing until your belly hurts, Taco Tuesday, and Texas Aggie football. Life is sweeter with community, and friends are always welcome to pop by Catherine’s online home at catherinebird.net.
Brenda Yoder is a speaker, author, Licensed Mental Health Counselor, and life coach whose passion is encouraging others when life doesn’t fit the storybook image. Her new book, Fledge:
Launching Your Kids Without Losing Your Mind is a personal handbook for parents in the season
of raising and releasing kids and is endorsed by Jim Daly of Focus on the Family. Brenda’s been
featured in Chicken Soup for the Soul books, the Washington Post, and For Every Mom. Brenda
is also former teacher and school counselor and was twice awarded the Touchstone Award for
teachers. Her ministry, Life Beyond the Picket Fence, is found at brendayoder.com where she
writes about faith, life, and family beyond the storybook image. Brenda is a wife and mom of
four children, ranging from teens to adults, and lives on a farm in Indiana.
She also sends out an occasional prayer letter including her latest information on faith, parenting and mental health as well as speaking engagement locations and topics. Please subscribe here for that information
THANKS AGAIN FOR JOINING COUNSELOR THOUGHTS. IF YOU HAVE QUESTIONS FOR MICHELLE OR SUGGESTIONS FOR FUTURE EPISODES, FEEL FREE TO CONTACT HER – MICHELLE@COUNSELORTHOUGHTS.COM AND IF YOU ARE ENJOYING THIS PODCAST, WE ENCOURAGE YOU TO SUBSCRIBE AND TELL US AND OTHERS WHAT YOU THINK BY LEAVING A REVIEW.