I grew up in church believing that “good people” went to church on Sundays and Wednesdays and tried to be good the rest of the time. I tried so hard, but on my own strength, I was a disaster. It wasn’t until I was 21 that I found out about having a relationship with Christ and spending time alone with Him so I could depend on His strength to live my life for Him. However, I struggled with what “quiet time” looked like. As parents, it’s our job to train our children in spiritual disciplines, especially spending time alone with the Lord.
What is “Quiet Time” and how do you help your child develop this discipline?
First, there is no wrong way to spend time reading the Bible and praying. There is no magic formula. It will be different for everyone, just as each of our relationships with God is different. If you try something and your child doesn’t respond well to it, try something else until you find something that works for them.
We want our kids to know that spending time alone with God is something personal for them and they can do it on their own – we just want to give them some handlebars to hold onto to get started.
Second, quiet time alone with God is meant for heart change, not simply Biblical knowledge. Give your child the necessary tools and a quiet location. Tools will include a Bible, pen, notebook, and maybe some reference books or devotional books.
Make it special. As soon as I wake up, I start looking forward to my patio, my Bible, and my coffee. Maybe your child would enjoy some hot chocolate as they read. Try playing some praise music. Begin quiet time by praying that God will speak to you through His word.
If your child is just starting to spend time alone with God, you’ll want to train them by doing it together. Training is taking small steps until your child feels comfortable having their quiet time on their own.
- Start out reading a Bible passage out loud to your child and then discuss it together. Have them write down something that caught their attention. Pray together.
- Sit together and each silently read a passage and then discuss together. Journal what you learned and take turns praying.
- Each on your own, read the same passage and journal about what you learned. Then get together to talk about what you learned.
- Help your child choose what they want to read during their quiet time. Hold them accountable by asking them what they are learning. Be sure to tell them what you are learning in your quiet time as well.
Discussion Question Ideas:
- Why do you think God included this passage in the Bible?
- What did we learn about who God is?
- How can I apply this to my life?
An easy way to start reading scripture is to use the HEAR method.
H – Highlight a verse you read that really spoke to you
E – Explain what the verse means
A – Apply it to your life
R – Respond by praying about what you read
Finally, I would suggest starting in one of the Gospels and then moving to Acts. Our goal is that our kids WANT to spend time alone with God, not that they check it off the chore list. Most importantly, be sure you are praying for your child and their relationship with the Lord to grow as they spend time with Him.