Tough Questions Kids Ask
January 2007: How Do I Hear God's Voice?
Teaching children to pray can be difficult, especially since we can't see God. Will he answer our prayers? Did he even hear what we said? Even more challenging is learning to listen to God's voice during prayer. For this undertaking, faced by children and adults alike, the Pebbles and Stones ministry (pebblesandstones.com) offers an answer.
This Christian organization consists of groups of people, including children, who meet weekly in countries all over the world to pray, and to listen to God. As Kathy Trock, who heads the organization, described at a workshop entitled "Praying with Children," held at the Prayer Fire conference in May 2005 in Warwick, NY, children are encouraged during meetings to journal, or to draw pictures of what is on their minds. While they are working, the leader asks, "What is going on in the pictures?" The children then bow their heads in prayer and wait for the Holy Spirit to speak to them. After a few moments, they look up and have an answer.
One boy once drew a picture of several fish swimming in the same direction. One fish in the picture, however, was going in the opposite direction. After praying (and listening), the boy said he was the fish going against the stream. After praying again, he said it meant that he follows Jesus, but none of his friends do.
How are these children able to communicate so effectively with God? Kathy replies that she teaches prayer as building a relationship with God. She also stresses utter and total dependence on God. This makes sense if you think of the Bible story of Jesus and the child. The disciples had just asked, "Who is the greatest in the kingdom of Heaven?" Jesus answered in Matthew 18:3, "I tell you the truth, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven."
What are the characteristics of little children that Jesus was talking about? Perhaps he meant they are: without knowledge, insight, or experience; without ability or strength; without influence, power, or position; unassuming, not self-righteous or overly confident in their own abilities. In essence they are utterly and completely dependent on God, not relying on their own understanding or competence. Since they can also accept without reservation that prayer is a direct line of communication with God, he is able to communicate effectively with them. They listen, the Holy Spirit speaks, and they hear the message. Perhaps all of us can learn something about listening to God's voice from these children.
Copyright © 2007-2013 by Jennifer Kirsch. All Rights Reserved.