I see that I have neglected this blog for a very long time. That annoys me. I want to write here, anything to do with our children and their spiritual journey,
well, let’s see how that goes…
I was thinking today, about being little and how… everything was bigger. Not just in size, I mean… the possibilities, the sense of adventure, there was so much to explore. What happens as we get older? The real world kicks in, drags us down, we are taught to not expect too much - we’ll be disappointed if we do.
The Kingdom of God that God says belongs to Children, gets squished down by the “Real World”
But disappointment is inevitable right? We should be protecting our children against the disappointment that comes with dreaming big… right?
What do you think?
What is the Church?
We are the church, the people, the children, the old people, the not so old people.
Where is the church?
Wherever we are! What if a few of us decided then to pack some food and some very warm clothes and put on our very finest hiking boots ad decided to take a walk up the mountain?… let’s say we were very fit and experienced at climbing mountains and we decided to climb Mount Everest - people could point at it and say, “Hey, there’s Mount Everest, and look! There’s the Mount Everest Church!
We looked at the early church and some of the things that they did together, according to the Bible they ate together and they prayed together, we praised Jesus together and they enjoyed eachother’s company.
So that is what we did, We ate together (bread and cheese and grapes, yum!) and we prayed and we talked of how good Jesus is and we enjoyed each other’s company
We also sang some Psalms! In Ephesians 5 it says, Speak to each other with Psalms, Hymns and Spiritual Psalms. We passed the bible out and looked in the book of Psalms, selected a psalm that we each liked and sang it to the tune that someone decided we should sing it to, for instance this:
May God be merciful and bless us
May his face shine with favour upon us.
May your ways be known throughout the earth,
your saving power among people everywhere. (Psalm 67)
to the theme tune of bob the builder…. it’s not blooming easy!
The i61 Kids told me what they thought, here are their answers:
You may have been going to church for a few weeks, a few months, maybe a year or so… maybe you’ve been going to church your whole life! Ever wondered why?
Tomorrow morning, at i61, the i61 Kids will be grappling with that very question.
Tomorrow is Back to School day for the majority of the i61 Kids and is what we spent the majority of our Sunday meeting discussing and praying for.
I was pleased to hear that they are mostly excited about going back to school, but one boy brought up that while he liked school the whole thing of settling in to another class with another teacher was always the part of the year that he found most awkward. We prayed about that and we prayed for new friendships and old friendships, we prayed about those kids that they’ve never been able to get along with, the ones who have a harder time being nice to those around them - we prayed for them to be happy and that happiness would start to spill over onto others.
We prayed for favourite and not favourite subjects:
- I really love it when we get to do art at school but i’d like to draw better pictures this year.
- I want to write lots of stories this year!
- I don’t like doing sums, can you pray for it to be easier for me?
and we prayed for kids they knew who were having a hard time:
- This girl in my class is always in trouble and she is in time out every day, let’s pray for her.
and we prayed for good student-teacher realationships:
- I want my teacher to like me…
Please pray during these next few day and weeks for fantastic school days for our kiddos.
A couple of months ago, during the time we spent talking about creation and our part in it (The Lord God took the man and put him in the Garden of Eden to work it and take care of it ~ Genesis 2:15) the i61 Kids planted some seeds in various pots and egg boxes.
and they grew…
and they grew!
But they were not the only things that grew, while moving the plants into some happy bright sunshine, I found these on the leaves :
Hopefully this little love will hatch out sometime towards the end of next week and we can release him together.
Isn’t life amazing?
God saw everything that he had made, and indeed, it was very good ~ Genesis 1:31
… and Jeff didn’t.
While looking around for things to inspire me concerning praying with kids, i came across a book called Praying with Color.
It is described on the website ( prayingincolor.com ) as an Active, Visual, and Meditative way to pray - for all ages.
Hmm, sounds good.
I bought the book and took it to the i61 kids classroom to see what my kids would think of it. Well, it seemed to be a hit. Instead of praying out loud, with words - they prayed on paper with colourful pictures. It’s so simple.
You start with a circle or square or wiggly shape or.. you get the idea and you write the name of the one who you are praying to, so… you may write in there Jesus or God, Father God, Loving God, Comforter, Provider… up to you! Right, You’ve started praying! Who are you praying for?
you? your family? your friends?
draw another shape and write in there the name of the person you are praying for and then another shape and another person… you may not know exactly what to prayer for them, God knows what they need, maybe they need comfort maybe they have had something great happen and are really happy and you are thinking thankful thoughts for their good fortune! Keep these thoughts in your mind as you doodle your way around the page, more simple shapes, bright colours, you don’t have to be good at drawing to doodle in prayer.
The kids seemed to get it, each received his or her own prayer journal to draw in and some crayons and set to work. Some with deep private prayers that were for their eyes only, some with thankful prayers. One little girl prayed for her baby sister who is soon to be born.
What was wonderful was hearing some of the kids who didn’t know what to pray for ask their friends, “Do you have something you want prayer for?”My hope is that they will get into the habit of praying in their journal every day.
I have continued this through the week with my own daughter, she really enjoys it. Here is a prayer we did together as we prayed for a new church building:
And here is a thankful prayer that she did, in which she thanked God for plants, trees, flowers and butterflies! :
And one day, when stuck for something to pray for, she asked her brother “what can i pray for for you?”
and came up with this prayer:
Hello parents, Hello leaders, Hello people who are interested in kid stuff at i61!
A couple weeks ago we started talking about prayer in the i61 kids room.
How do you pray?
Where do you pray?
Why do you pray?
Does the way you talk to God at school sound different than the way you talk to God at church?
“Why do we have to put our hands together and close our eyes when we’re at school and we’re praying?”, asked one girl.
“Well, what do you think?”
We didn’t come up with a definite answer, only that maybe it was the teacher’s way of making sure the class stayed focussed while they were saying the prayer… it was noted though, that our way of praying at i61 church was quite a bit different than the way they prayed in school.
I got in trouble during prayer time at school, and I shared this story with them:
When i was 6, my teacher’s name was Miss Parsons. A very strict lady, who, I was sure, couldn’t stand sight or sound of me… At the end of the day we had to stack our chair on the table in front of us ready for the school caretaker to come and clean the classroom floor. Then we had to stand by the table and say our prayer, it had a little tune to it and I can’t remember all the words but I’m pretty sure it ended like this:
Thank you for the love you bring,
Thank you, Lord, for everything,
and then a long, “Ahhhh-mehhh-n”
Every single day, the same little singy-songy prayer.
And I really didn’t like that year in school, I just wanted to go home. And one day, I was right at the end of the prayer along with everyone else, hands tight together, figertips to my chin and eyes screwed up tight and suddenly the thought popped into my head,
“It’s home time! and any second now the bell will ring and the sun is shining out there and I get to outside and be all done with school till tomorrow!”
And seriously, that thought made me so happy that when it got to the “Ahhhh-mehhh-n” bit I…well I… I twirled around and around. And around and around and around! And then I heard my own name being shouted across the classroom and Oh my, I was in trouble now. How dare I twirl in prayer!
But… was my twirl a part of the prayer every bit as much as the words?
The kids, who had just heard my story thought it was - definitely, I was being thankful with my body, it was saying “Thank you God!, it’s the end of the day! I made it!”
Now. Just so you know, I did not go on to encourage children to disobey any rules that their schools have. Just that if they ever wanted to do Amen Twirls at i61 or in their homes or gardens or wherever else Amen Twirls are not forbidden then they could jolly well do so!
If your kids have prayers that they say every day in school, ask them about what they are. The 3 children who got up and prayed their school prayers for the rest of the class 2 weeks ago, admitted that they’d never even really thought about what words they were saying, they say it every day so they are just too used it. When they thought about what they were saying they were like, “hey, that’s a pretty good prayer!”
Help them turn those words they repeat every single day into real prayers.
Will blog again tomorrow to tell you about what else we’ve been finding out about prayer.
One of my Sunday School kiddos has recently started to become interested in writing rather than her usual crafts. We spent a few months this year just going over the life of Jesus, wondering what it was like for him and those around him as he grew up, the classroom is still full of the pictures that were created during those few months… a couple of weeks ago Em was looking around at the pictures and asked if she could write a story that went with one of the pictures.
“of course, what story are you going to write about?”
“I like that one where Mary and Joseph get worried because they can’t find Jesus, I’d like to write about that”
once upon a time lived a little boy named Jesus.
His Mum and Dad were looking for him everywhere.
“Where are you Jesus, love?”
“Jesus, where have you been?”
“teaching people, and look, i got a medal!”
“Well done, but you could have told us”
Since Easter, in my Sunday School Class we have been talking about the garden of Eden.
Yes, that is a long time to talk about a garden, maybe. But… God’s plan for the world, for people, for animals. I found it quite amazing and I’m glad the kids seemed to feel the same way, but, So many questions!
Jesus said,”I tell you the truth, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven”
Now I have been told that the meaning of this is that you have to have un-questioning faith. That you just accept.
Ummm… Have you ever spent any time around children? Starting at toddler-hood a favourite word is “Why?”
The ball is round
Because in order for it to roll smoothly and in the direction that you want it to roll it needs to be.
Because, if it wasn’t round then when you kick it it would just go a way that you didn’t mean for it to.
Umm - I just told you why, Twice!
Because you asked me to
Because you are very curious.
Because you are a child, you want to know all there is to know and you want to know it right now and apparently you want me to tell you!
I don’t know, But I don’t have all the answers.
Cos… I’m not God!
My own kids, and my church kids have so many questions and often - I just don’t have the answers and I won’t pretend to either, but I will do my best to encourage them to keep asking questions, keep looking for answers.
Whoever seeks shall find. They will know so much more than I do. Thank Goodness.
Maybe also Jesus was talking about the enthusiasm of a child. I watched their faces light up as they learned about this perfect place before sin. I showed them a drawing of the garden, one child piped up,
“That’s silly! there’s a fox lying down beside a rabbit, that wouldn’t happen”
“There was no death in the Garden of Eden, the rabbit was perfectly safe to lie with the fox”
The rest of our short lesson consisted of the kids talking about which animals they would put together if life was like it was then. Their imaginations were going nuts!
We came back to that many many times over the next few weeks, I have shared stories of the exploits of my cat Max, whose favourite thing ever is to devour small animals and have heard many stories of their own pets and the blood and gore they get into!
If only life could be as it was at the beginning. You can see the longing in them. For perfection, for freedom, for that ability to walk in the garden with God.
Last Sunday we talked about how the people were sent from the garden, we talked about bloodshed and shame and him blaming her and… it was very quiet in the room.
At craft time we had clay Snakes and pictures of Adam and Eve sad and shameful with their leaves and furs. One boy just looked at his paper and said, “I want to draw but I don’t know what to draw”
“What part of the story sticks in your mind from today?”
“I don’t know”
“Okay, just take a little time and go over the story in your mind and as you are doing that, ask yourself how you feel and try to see if you can get that feeling onto the paper”
This is his picture: