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Stepping up for the kids

April 13, 2010

A couple of days ago I was massively convicted to step up and take a share in the leadership of my kids spiritual development (see post by clicking here). So in conversation with my wife, I decided to lead the daily devotion which happens at 9.30am.  I am working from home at the moment and my wife home schools our two oldest (8 and 6 years old) so it is good time to do something like this.  Plus I spent three years as a Children and Youth Pastor which involved presenting several Children’s devotions a week, so I figured why not give it a go!

So I thought I would share what I ended up doing, and any men reading this, feel free to use this with your kids.

OK first up I drew around my three year olds hand and in the middle of his hand outline I wrote:  Being a Christian, and on the first finger I wrote Prayer.  I am planning to share about the 5 things that we need to do to be a good Christian:  prayer, reading the Bible, going to church, admitting sin and serving others. The hope is that when they look at there hands they will be reminded of the 5 devotions.

So the first ‘finger’ was prayer and I shared how prayer is talking to God and I asked my kids what sort of prayers there are, and they got two out of three when they shared about prayers of need and prayers of praise.  The third sort of prayer is chatting with God throughout the day, telling God about your day.  I spent a bit of time talking about praising God as the Bible is clear that we are to praise God often. I shared with them that praise actually more important than prayers of need.

Then I role played with them, I pretended to be God and got my kids to talk to me and to share praise and needs.  Then I asked them, ‘Now in a normal conversation does just one person talk?’  I then explained how God talks to us in return through:

1)        God will speak to us directly through a vision or a voice (which my 6 year old boy recently experienced so we talked about that)

2)       God will talk to us through others

3)       And the most accessible and regular way God speaks to us is through the Bible. I explained how when we read the Bible God shows us stuff to help us answer our needs and concerns.

And then I read:

5“And when you pray, do not be like the hypocrites, for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the street corners to be seen by men. I tell you the truth, they have received their reward in full.6But when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you. Matthew 6:5-6

I explained that this was a wonderful help for our prayer time and did a little example of a hypocrite, standing up and praying out aloud which they liked! Then to finish they went to there room, closed their door and prayed.

All up it was 30 minutes long and was an amazing experience!! Can’t wait till tomorrow when we look at reading the Bible!

God bless,

Mark Brown

PS – I invited you to share your gender and where you were from to see if there were more females reading my blog than males, similar to the membership of the Praying People page on Facebook.  Well thanks to Ginna Ollis (really appreciate your help!!) I can report that 68.75% of the commentators were woman.  And the commentators come from 35 Countries including Iran, Bosnia, Slovakia, Venezuela and Sweden!  So a big shout out to the person in Iran.. big prayers for you!

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Yahweh’s Yarn in a Year : 1 year Bible reading plan

The portion for the next day is: 1 Corinthians 11-12

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  1. Lee Seng Kean permalink

    Agree with you absolutely!Prayer is the very life- breath of true christianity.
    Reading the Bible again and again is essential as God do speak to us personally through His word.Walking the Talk is the ultimate testimony!

  2. Aryn permalink

    Wow, this one really helped me! I guess I have a mind of a child still. 😉 I drew the hand and put the words on the fingers in my prayer journal and on the next page wrote the three types of prayer and three ways God answers. It really helps to have it written out so I can see how God wants me to talk to Him and how to prepare myself for when He says something back.

    P.S. Adorable picture of you and your children!

    Thanks for this journey!

  3. Aussie male, stranded in the UK – proof that God has a sense of humour! lol

    And I know more females read my stuff than males – tho the unknown hundreds from China who download, are as yet a mystery, that will one day be revealed!

  4. Suzanne McClere permalink

    I am a little late in replying to your request but I am a female from Texas! Yee Haw!

    Thank you, Mark, for what you are doing for all of us everyday; sharing what God puts on your heart.

    Suzanne McClere

    • Brandy permalink

      Suzanne ~ I’m with you girl! Female from Texas! Mark, thank you so much for this. My 4 year old little boy has recently started using “Jesus said…” when he asks for things. It goes something like this, “Jesus said that I can have chocolate milk.” I’ve explained to him (on a couple of occasions) that Jesus is not very likely to say something of that sort and that using “Jesus said…” when asking for something is verging on lying. He still uses it, so I’m honestly not sure what to do to get that point across to him. I WANT him to know that God does talk to him, but not quite in that way.

      I am going to use this for him. He LOVES church and I can tell that God has him here for a very special purpose. He loves people like I have rarely seen in anyone and, I’ll be honest, he has taught me a lot about loving people. I’m a single mom, so it’s not always easy for me to spend a whole lot of time with him since his father is not in his life in any form or fashion, but the time we do spend together, I want to be growing him in his faith as much as I can.

      God Bless you Mark for sharing this with us!

  5. So cute! 🙂

  6. Kathleen permalink

    I am a female in St Petersburg, FLorida and I thank you so much for sharing, I love it. OPraise the Lord!

  7. bobbi permalink

    this is neat thanks i have been wanting /needing to do bible studys with my children this will be a great way to start…:)

  8. bobbi permalink

    oh yeah and im a female fom florida 🙂

  9. Jennifer Threatte permalink

    Was it raining inside? Gotta love the way children will dress! I found the devotion to be something I, as an adult, might need to consider also. Even when we feel we are doing things right, a reminder and some encouragement to keep it up are always welcome.

  10. This is so amazing, learnt new methods of praying with my kids, thanks.

  11. Leslie permalink

    I sincerely hope you will post the other four “fingers” as you do them. I work with the young people at my church in our children’s church on Sunday mornings and this would be a great series for us to do! Thank you for your posts, they are truly an inspiration, not only to me, but many others as well.
    In God’s Love,
    Leslie C.
    North Carolina, USA

  12. Natalia permalink

    female from Slovakia 🙂 just preparing workshop about using Bible with Digital natives. Do you notice any changes when working with kids in your ministry over past few years? What is a key factor for Bible use with kids/teenagers?

    • Relationship, build a relationship with them. Be authentic, tell the Bible story through your story, your life. God bless, Mark

  13. Karlene permalink

    I like your Journeys alot. I like what you did with your kids. Keep up the good work. God bless you and your family

  14. Karlene Anderson permalink

    ooooh sorry I am a female from Jamaica

  15. Gail permalink

    Hi Mark. Appreciate the post – but it is never to early to begin sharig the great commission. Might I suggest one of your 5 things to being a “good” Christian is to tell others about Jesus. We have far too many “good” Chjristians and too few “Disciples”. This is what we are called to do – “Make Disciples”. Keep up the work of Jesus’ followers!

  16. Joanne Heatley permalink

    Hi Mark!
    Another beautiful sunny day here in the uk!
    Thank you so much for sharing such an personal family moment with us. As I have been putting lessons together for our children at church recently I found that particularly helpful.
    Working with children is so rewarding. I love the responses they give. Sometimes they are really touching and sometimes they just make me smile!
    You have such a beautiful family.
    Blessings to you all. jo xx

  17. Ginna permalink

    Be very careful. I’m gave my life to Christ last year (I’m 19). I grew up in the Methodist church. I was anxious because I wasn’t going to church anymore since I started University. My bible study leader made me realize that the important thing is not “going to church”. Rather, it is important to have a community of faith where you have more mature Christians pouring into you and younger Christians that you can pour into yourself.

  18. Cynthia Cobb permalink

    Hi Mark
    This is good. Spending time with your kids though devotions.
    I am a Christian (7th day Aventist) and a single mom of 3 kids under 11 and one of them is special needs(my 11 year old, she is not verbal,and unable to communicate without a speech board) so I struggle with having time to do devotions and give my kids quility time with me. Last week I started to do Bible Readings with all 3 kids, it was amazing what the Kids know, even my 11 year old was speaking about the Love of Jesus,, though her speech board
    She has recently been gooing to a youth group with her respite worker and loving it I try to have her be her age and this is one thing she can do. She is just amazing (she has not always been disabled it was due to a infection that went though her body at 6 years) My other 2 kids are 3 and 6
    There Dad is no longer in the picture or their lives due to his own doing

    I know I belong to kingdom of God, and look foward to the day that i see Jesus face to face

  19. Laura T permalink

    Female from Romania 🙂 I love reding the Journey Deeper Into God`s Word. God bless you!

  20. Wendy McClelland permalink

    Awe, this lesson you did with your kids is so cute!! My little boy has autism and he isn’t able to grasp any of this but oh how I wish he could – he knows Jesus loves him – that’s all that matters I guess! I salute you!

  21. Julie permalink

    Thanks so much for this adorable devotion, and for stepping up and being the Christ head of your family. I’m praying that your example inspires other men to do the same.

    I will share this with my own children, and also in Sunday School, where I teach the three year old class. It’s amazing how their little minds absorb things, but such a challenge keeping things on their level PLUS interesting!

  22. Neil Price permalink

    Male here, from Jamaica…looking forward to sharing with my 2 y.o. when his brain is settled…I taught him ‘Jesus loves the little children’ recently, and after singing it to him 3 times, he got the words and sang along word for word!! I always and continuoulsy pray over him that Christ will use him even in his infant stage…Thanks Mark, and blessings abound!

  23. Mary Malin permalink

    Oh, a great teaching for young and old! A female from Rio Rancho, New Mexico. I enjoy what you have to say though I don’t usually comment. Wonderful teachings….many, many blessings that you share with all of us. Thank you. God bless you and your delightful family.

  24. This is very encouraging! Thank you for being so real and sharing your life with us. God bless!

  25. Kathy permalink

    Love the picture! What a darling family! Couldn’t help wondering, do you not usually have any time of devotion and prayer with your kids? You made it sound like this was a first. It’s so important for fathers to be involved. Work can make it impossible in the morning, but you and your wife can take time with them before bedtime. I understand the point of sending them to their rooms to pray alone as that scripture says, but not all of our praying need be alone, and families need to pray together – all six of you. Love you, Mark!

  26. Donald A. Basile, Jr. permalink

    Stepping up for the kids is His Will, I do believe for sure. This has been part of many recent sermons & Bible Studies at NEC in Warren, Ohio and at the homes of our elders. Thank you very much, and I will be looking forward to the next 4 fingers.
    Don Basile, chow.

  27. KKY-Omaha, Ne permalink

    This is a great thing you are doing with your own children. My Father should have done this when I was growing up, but it did not happen. I had a thought. Do some singing too. Like….In to my heart, In to my heart, come into my heart, Lord Jesus. Come in today, Come in to stay, Come into my Heart Lord Jesus. Songs can warm up the heart for spiritual thoughts.

  28. Michele permalink

    Mark, I absolutely loved reading your “Stepping up for the kids”, this morning. I already shared this with my sister. I plan to do this with my three kids as well. Thanks and may God continue to bless you and yours, Michele

  29. I do so love this idea of the hand and prayer.We are to come to HIM AS LITTLE CHILDREN,Thank you Mark

  30. Thank you Mark, I’m a female living in Alaska. I enjoy reading your comments I dont get much fellowship as I live very remote in the Bush. Thank you again and I also love the children songs. They are the ones I remember and can sing. Your children are great. Thank you for sharing Jesus with me.

  31. David Suppiger permalink

    I’am a male from Schwyz, Switzerland.

    As for my experience I would add another way through which God talks back to us:

    4) By moving our hearts.

    Surely God may talk to us pretty much any way he sees fit but I’d agree on these four being the most important.

  32. servant permalink

    Hey Mark,

    I am a male from Texas. I appreciate what you are doing for your kids. However, I think it is important that you stress that it is not a 5 step program to become a good Christian. Being a good Christian should result in the those 5 things and others. Otherwise, you could arrive at a situation where they care about the rules and not their purpose.

  33. Caitlin permalink

    Loved this devotion Mark. I think doing devotions as a family is super important, however I don’t have any kids yet. I’m from Michigan, USA.

  34. Ethan Skinner permalink

    got this email from my grandparents right after reading your blog 🙂

    1. Your thumb is nearest you. So begin your prayers by praying for those closest to you. They are the easiest to remember. To pray for our loved ones is, as C. S. Lewis once said, a “sweet duty.”

    2. The next finger is the pointing finger. Pray for those who teach, instruct and heal. This includes teachers, doctors, and ministers. They need support and wisdom in pointing others in the right direction. Keep them in your prayers..

    3. The next finger is the tallest finger. It reminds us of our leaders. Pray for the president no matter how you voted, leaders in business and industry, and administrators. These people shape our nation and guide public opinion. They need God’s guidance.

    4. The fourth finger is our ring finger. Surprising to many is the fact that this is our weakest finger, as any piano teacher will testify. It should remind us to pray for those who are weak, in trouble or in pain. They need your prayers day and night. You cannot pray too much for them.

    5.. And lastly comes our little finger – the smallest finger of all which is where we should place ourselves in relation to God and others. As the Bible says, “The least shall be the greatest among you.” Your pinkie should remind you to pray for yourself. By the time you have prayed for the other four groups, your own needs will be put into proper perspective and you will be able to pray for yourself more effectively.

  35. Danny Frazier permalink

    My name is Danny Frazier I live in Follett Texas I love reading your email every day and my God keep blessing you please pray for me I’m a sale man for a roofing co. and I need work Thanks

  36. Stacy permalink

    This sounds awesome! What a great way to be involved in your children’s upbringing. They are blessed to have you as a father. 🙂

  37. valma permalink

    Firstly , congratulations to you and you wife for choosing to home school your children. I have been doing that for 16 years now and although at times it can be hard, it it well worth the effort.I runn a support group on the Gold Coast for home schooled chindren and their families.
    Secondly well done for taking on the role of devotional leader. I see so many families whose children thrive on the time spent with them by their dad doing this.I manage to do all this by myself as my husband does not get involved in our chidrens lives much at all. However God has blessed me in many ways and He will continue to bless you heaps as your children grow and as you grow closer as a family.

    Blessings to you and your family

  38. HELEN permalink

    This is really inspiring, God bless u and ur family. i cant wait to have mine so that we could do the same thing. I am female.

  39. Rita permalink

    Mark, This was a wonderful example of a family devotional. My parents had daily devotionals with us children as I grew up. Sadly, I doubt that is the case in most homes today. My parents also had devotions on Christmas morning-relating the events of Jesus birth, before we were allowed to open presents. Thank You for your uplifting blog. Rita

  40. Sherrie permalink

    This is an awesome Idea! Thanks! 🙂

  41. Kevin McPherson permalink

    Wonderful idea Brother! I’ll teach this to my boys, and pray that it gets through to them. Thank you for your inspiration!

  42. I enjoyed your reading and teaching your children I will keep it in my heart while teaching my greatgrand children I Have two one 5 and one a week old

  43. Jerusha permalink

    I love this idea. So easy for the kids to grasp. I do nightly devotions with my three kids. They love reading the Bible and singing praise songs. We are always looking for new ideas though. Thank you.

    I am female, from Vancouver, Canada

  44. Tina permalink

    I am a female from Kansas.

    Thank you for sharing this wonderful lesson that you taught your children!

    “Prayer, reading the Bible, going to church, admitting sin and serving others.”

    I will teach it to my 6 year old daughter as well.

  45. john francisco permalink

    this was excellent mark

  46. As I was reading your time of worship with your children I was thinking how I can use this to help my 4-5 year old Sunday School children. I have found these lessons really interesting and I plan to try using this to help them learn more about God and what He can do for them. Thank you for your words of comfort each day.

  47. Ann Murphree permalink

    Love this for children!!! So interesting, I am 65 but I enjoy reading the children’s bible studies!! Thank you!!

  48. Kayla permalink

    What an amazing idea! I think that would be a wonderful study to do with my 9 year old cousin, who is a Christian, but her parents won’t take her to church. I think that would be a great encouragement to her! Thank you!

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