One thing I did when my kids were young was I would have each child go in a different room or outside and take a prayer time. We all know that we cannot grow in our relationship with Jesus if we are not taking some time with Him each day. I would encourage the children to talk to Jesus about whatever was on their minds. I would instill in them that Jesus was their best friend and they could talk to Him about anything. Nothing was too big or too small to talk with Jesus about.
For the ones who could read, I would let them take a child’s Bible or a regular Bible depending on their age, if they wanted. For those who could not read, they could take a holy picture with them if they chose. I kept these times short – about 10 minutes. I knew they wouldn’t be praying that whole time, but I was hopeful they would get in a little bit of prayer which was better than none. Most importantly, however, was that they were learning to take a daily prayer time by themselves with Jesus while they were young so that hopefully that would continue this practice throughout their lives.
We had our family Bible times and rosaries together, but this was their personal alone time with Jesus. I never asked them what they prayed about or if Jesus told them anything. That was their private time between them and God. I didn’t want to interfere so they wouldn’t feel like they had to come up with something to share.
When we would go camping on our summer vacations, I would have them spread around near the campsite to take their prayer time. That way they learned we didn’t take vacations from our personal time with Jesus.
On one of our camping trips, Nathan (7 years old at the time) tried to catch a squirrel that had gotten in the van. The squirrel felt threatened and bit him. There had been signs around that the squirrels had a plague and to not feed them. When we told the forest ranger that our son had gotten bit by a squirrel, he said we should take him to the emergency room which was about an hour and a half drive. So we hopped in the van and prayed as we drove to the ER.
After a while, Nathan said out loud, “If it was Grandpa who got bit, we wouldn’t be going to the emergency room!”
“What are you saying?” we asked.
“Well, Grandpa would know that Jesus would take care of it,” Nathan replied, “and Jesus will take care of this.”
Mike and I looked at each other and there was silence in the van as we finished our drive on the windy road to the hospital.
When we arrived at the hospital parking lot we just sat in the van (we had four kids at the time). Mike asked Nathan, “You think Jesus is going to take care of it?”
“Yes, He will,” Nathan replied. Mike and I knew this was a move of the Holy Spirit in Nathan. He was making a personal act of faith.
So Mike said, “Well then, let’s go back to the campground.” We turned around and drove back. Nathan was perfectly fine, and we enjoyed the rest of our trip.
I don’t know for sure, but I believe Nathan came to that act of faith because He talked to Jesus on a daily basis (and he had a lot of respect for his grandpa’s faith).
Now I’m not saying we make all our decisions like this, based on what our kids say, but in this instance, we knew this was a move of God in Nathan, which in turn required an act of faith from Mike and me to cooperate with what God was doing.
When children are in contact with Jesus, don’t underestimate what the Good Shepherd can and will do.
God bless you,
Mary Ann / Mother Hen