What follows is recent guidance offered to a homeschooling Mom about what it looks like to help a child develop a conversational relationship with God.
What does it look like for my child to build a relationship with God? Honestly, sometimes I’m not even sure what it looks like for me.
For all of us, children included, this looks like getting to know someone. As you are teaching your child the stories from the Bible you are helping her get a sense of what God is like, who God is. Part of that knowledge is how much God loves her and wants to be in a relationship with her. I know it’s cliché to say, but God really does want to be her friend. God wants friendship with persons.
You can help introduce her to this friendship by helping your child to pray- to talk with God, as she is learning about God. Maybe after each lesson, ask her, “What did you notice about God?” “What would you say God is like?” or the simple, "Tell me what you think or feel about God." Then invite her to respond through writing or drawing something she’d like to share with God. It is important to choose stories that she can understand. For the first decade of life I like to focus on the gospel stories of Jesus. You will enjoy getting a peek into her thoughts and feelings, into her developing relationship with God. As with all things of great value, hold this with tender hands. Never pry, or manipulate or cajole.
However, a relationship with God is more “caught” than “taught.” She will “catch” or grow into her relationship with God as you do. Allow yourself to talk with God aloud throughout the day and she will follow you. When you are frustrated or need some help, ask God aloud for it. “Hi God, I’m tired, my head hurts and dinner needs to be made, could you help me?”
When your child is struggling invite her to talk with God. Invite her to share her thoughts and feelings with God.
Part of talking with God rather than at God is the practice of listening. Invite her to listen to what God is saying. Allow her to peek into your listening life with God. When you feel God prompting you to do good or be kind, say aloud something like, “I hear you God asking me to .....”
This moves a portion of your internal life outside of yourself, where she can “catch” your relationship with God. Soon enough her relationship with God will take on it’s own character and form, but in the beginning as with most things- she will mimic you.
AND that’s good.
You’ve got this dear Mama.
God picked you to be her Mom, because God trusts you.
God is with you and within you.