Nov 3, 2020

Pre-teens Should Be Spending Time Alone

Our goal is for our children to grow up to love and follow Jesus for a lifetime. 

We know there are many factors at work as kids are growing up.  Church factor.  Parents' factor.  Friends' factor.  Teaching factor.  Serving factor.

All of these are critical, but there is one more factor that can arguably be placed at the top of the list.  

What is it? 

It's helping kids learn to walk with God for themselves. We know when our children are young, we should be actively  reading God's Word to them.

But as they move into their pre-teen years, they should be having their own quiet time...alone with God. Does that mean we stop praying with them.  No.  But it does mean you should teach them the spiritual disciplines of prayer, Bible reading and meditation.  

If they can develop these disciplines, the likelihood that they will stick with their faith in their teen and adult years goes up tremendously. 

Wouldn't it be weird if you came to my house and my 23-year-old son was in a highchair at the dinner table.  Waiting for us to feed him one bite at a time. The goal is to help kids learn to feed themselves as they grow.  So it is spiritually as well.  Our goal is to help them learn how to feed themselves spiritually.

Here are some steps you can take to help your child and the children you minister to walk with God on their own.

Model prayer and Bible reading for kids.  Do your kids know you walk with God?  Do they see you reading your Bible when they get up in the morning?  Do they see you call upon God when your family is going through a tough time. 

Have you heard of Susanna Wesley?  If not, you've probably heard of her two boys - John and Charles. Early in her life, she vowed that she would never spend more time in leisure entertainment than she did in prayer and Bible study. Even amid the most complex and busy years of her life as a mother, she still scheduled two hours each day for fellowship with God and time in His Word, and she adhered to that schedule faithfully.

Susanna passed away in 1742, living long enough to see her sons John and Charles become world-renowned leaders of the global Christian movement.  This is her legacy, forged in large part in those diligent hours of intercessory prayer.

Help them escape the noise.  Kids today (and adults) are living in noise pollution.  There is always something shouting in your ears.  Internet.  Facebook.  Instagram.  Tik Tok.  Television.  Ipads.  Video Games.  Commercials.  Cell phones.  Text messages.  All of this creates noise pollution that can be overwhelming.  

When Jesus spent time in prayer, He slipped away somewhere by Himself.  Away from the noise of the crowds, the disciples and those who were reaching out to be healed.  

Today's kids are great at quickly shifting through all the messages that are coming at them.  Help them to learn when they walk with God to slip away to a quiet place.  Away from the noise.  So they can talk with God and hear His voice with the noise muted..

Get them a good devotion book.  There are lots of great devotional books for pre-teens.  Do a search on Google or Amazon and you will find tons of age appropriate books that will capture kids' attention.  If you have any great recommendations, feel free to leave them in the comment section below.

Help them understand that every prayer is important.  Even our "little" prayer request is a "big" request to God.

Encourage them to start a journal.  This can be a great way for them to capture what God is teaching them, prayer requests they are praying for, etc. 

Rejoice with them when a prayer is answered.  Teach them thank God for the prayers He answers. 

Show them that reading your Bible and praying is all about deepening your relationship with God.  It's all about spending time with Him.  It's about talking to God.  And you don't have to always have a prayer list.  You can talk with Him anywhere or at anytime.  He wants to be a friend that sticks closer than a brother for you.

Prayer and Bible reading will help their faith roots grow deep.  Deep enough to withstand trials, temptations, and those who mock and say their is no God that we can have a relationship with. 

Remember this - God doesn't have any grandchildren.  He only has children.  Spending time with God will deepen your kids' faith and help them own their relationship with God.  

Teaching kids to walk with God is one of the best things you can do for your child and the children you minister to at church.

Your turn. Any more tips on helping pre-teens see the value of spending time alone with God?  Any devo books you recommend?  Share your ideas and insight in the comment section below.

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