Prayer Tips for the Anxious Child

As a Christian parent, you know prayer can calm jangled nerves, because you have experienced it yourself. Part of that calming though is because you have experienced years of God answering prayers and have developed a trust that God will do what is best for you – even if it means saying “no”. While your children’s faith is strong in its own way, it may struggle from lack of experience when times are really tough.

You may have had a conversation when your child expresses anxiety about something. Perhaps you counseled your child to “pray about it”, and your child responded he/she had been praying, but was still worried. Thankfully, there are things you can do that will help your child more quickly gain the trust in prayer that often comes after years of experience.

Here are some of our favorite ideas.

  1. Prayer worry box. Have your child decorate a small container. Whenever a worry arises, have him/her write or draw it on a slip of paper. After praying to God about the concern, place the paper in the container and seal it. Remind your child that worry has been turned over to God to handle and the child can release it fully to God. (Note: Some children may have to do this multiple times at first.)
  2. Praying scripture. Teach your kids how to find Bible verses that express what they want to say to God. Many will be found in Psalms, but they are scattered throughout scripture. Then encourage them to pray these verses as long as they remain applicable to their current situation. This has the added value of helping them memorize scripture and place it in their long term memories for the future.
  3. Prayer journal. Have your kids decorate a journal for the family or a personal one (school notebooks make inexpensive journals). Then have them record their prayer requests and God’s answers as they become clear. Periodically review past requests to see how God worked – especially in situations when God answered “no” and it later became clear that it really was the best answer.
  4. Prayer walks. Two stress reducers in one. Take a long walk with your child, praying out loud or silently as you walk. Encourage your child to have a real conversation with God instead of just listing requests.
  5. Gratitude prayers. Anxiety can be heightened by focusing on the negative – or potentially negative – things that can happen in life. Making an intentional effort to spend time in prayer thanking God for His many blessings can be an important reminder of God’s love and care.
  6. Asking grandparents and trusted Christian adults to pray for them. When our daughter was little, she was convinced that one of my friends from church was an effective prayer warrior. Whenever something was really concerning her, she would make sure “Miss Suzy” was praying about it. Suzy was also great about letting her know she was praying about it and asking her for regular updates until she was convinced the need had passed for that particular request.
  7. Share your prayer stories. Tell your kids about the times you were anxious and prayed to God about it. Explain how it comforted you. Tell them how God answered the prayer – especially if you were initially disappointed with a “no” and then realized God had been protecting you from the answer you wanted. Your kids will catch your faith – or lack of faith – in the power of prayer, so be intentional about setting a good example.

Prayer is a lifelong tool for helping your kids stay close to God. Helping them develop a string prayer life when they are young, will make it much more likely they will turn to prayer rather than less healthy coping techniques when anxious.

Fun Way to Teach Your Kids About Serving Others

When adults try to teach kids about serving others, they try really hard to make it fun. They believe the element of fun will encourage them to serve again – hopefully making it a lifelong habit.

Unfortunately, serving others is not always fun. It can be hard, uncomfortable and exhausting. So you may have pointed out people in the Bible who served God in difficult ways. Your kids may believe that life in Bible times is a lot like life today. Which means watering a bunch of camels or making some widows a few pieces of clothing wasn’t that difficult, right?

Find an empty one or three gallon jug and fill it with water. Tell your children the story of Rebekah watering the camels of Abraham’s servant found in Genesis 24. Ask them how long it might have taken Rebekah to water the four or more camels the servant would have had with him.

Your children will honestly have no idea. They may think Rebekah turned on a hose and watered them. Show them a picture of a well. Explain that Rebekah had to pull up a three gallon jug of water by a rope/chain. Let them feel the weight of one to three gallons of water. Explain that Rebekah then had to carry that heavy jug of water and pour it into a trough for the camel.

Camels drink about 25 gallons of water at a time.That meant she had to make multiple trips with the water jug just to feed one camel. Of courage the servant probably had at least four camels, so that’s lots of more trips! Your kids might want to try and make that many trips with a gallon jug of water (a three gallon jar is probably too heavy for them to handle safely). If you have plants that need watering, they can substitute for the camels!

Afterwards discuss what sort of heart Rebekah must have had to work so hard for a stranger. What other people in the Bible can think of that served others in such selfless ways? How can they serve others when it is hard with the same pleasant attitude Rebekah seemed to have possessed. Have fun with it, but make sure they understand God wants us to serve others – even when it is hard.

Through What Are Your Children Filtering the Things They Are Taught?

Let’s say your children are told a new bit of information…. “Dogs prefer green jello.” Your kids need to decide whether or not this information is accurate, true, important and worth storing in their brains long term. Since most of us are bombarded with a flood of new information all day, they need to find a way to make the process faster.

This is where the idea of filters enters the picture. Filters can include previous knowledge – like perhaps your family has owned three dogs – none of whom would even eat jello. One major filter is someone’s worldview. A worldview is a philosophy of life through which everything is filtered. So, for example, if I have a Christian worldview and I read somewhere that something happened because of a prayer to an idol, I will automatically classify that information as false because a Christian’s worldview holds that idols have no power.

Worldviews can be tricky – especially for young people. A teen might honestly believe he or she has a Christian worldview while actually having a different one entirely. So what are some popular worldviews? Christian, Deism, Naturalism, Nihilism, New Age, Postmodern, Humanism, Islamic and many more are the worldviews your children may be adopting.

So how do you know if your children have a Christian – or as some call it – a biblical worldview? Definitions vary slightly, but most would agree that someone who truly has a Christian or biblical worldview has the following beliefs:

  1. Absolute moral truths exist
  2. Moral truths are defined by God in the Bible
  3. Jesus is the son of God and lived a sinless life
  4. God is the Creator, all powerful and all knowing and is still active in the world today
  5. Christians are commanded to share their faith with others
  6. The Bible is true, reliable and accurate in its teachings
  7. Salvation cannot be earned, but is a gift from God
  8. Baptism by immersion is necessary for the forgiveness of sins and to receive the gift of the Holy Spirit
  9. Satan is real

Do you know whether or not your children believe these statements? If they don’t, you have a short amount of time to teach them and mentor them. Most scholars believe a person’s worldview is set before adolescence and is pretty difficult to change after the early adult years. Make sure your kids aren’t accepting a worldview that isn’t Christian or biblical. If all the philosophical conversations they are having are at school or with peers, they may be developing a worldview that will ultimately destroy their faith.

Can Arts and Crafts Make Christian Parenting Easier?

Wouldn’t it be nice if Christian parenting were easy? If you could just snap your fingers and rest assured that your children would be faithful, productive Christians as adults? Life would be so much better! Unfortunately, living in a fallen world means nothing is easy. There are things you can do, however, that will make your Christian parenting more effective and thereby, a bit easier.

Effective Christian parenting requires spending a lot of quality time with your kids. If you are all just looking at your phones and IPads though, not much of consequence is happening. You don’t want to lecture your kids, so what are some things you can do with them that help teach them some important Christian life skills and work on Christian character traits?

Surprisingly, one of the best choices is rather old school. Arts and crafts provide lots of benefits for you and your children. Crafting has been found to reduce tension, edginess and anxiety by 50%. What family couldn’t use something that made everyone a bit calmer?!

Even better, doing arts and crafts projects can help your kids work on their patience and perseverance. If you and your children are working on a project that takes a lot of effort or multiple sessions to complete, it can also help them develop a strong, biblical work ethic.

One study found that happiness results from feelings of being able to do things independently, becoming competent at something and doing things with others. Family arts and crafts projects can provide those elements. Yes, Christianity focuses on the joy that is found in Christ regardless of our circumstances, but it’s okay to have a little healthy happiness in your home, too.

Want to really up your Christian parenting game? Find arts and crafts projects that can also be used to serve others. Find ways to share your faith and encourage those who receive your finished projects. Your kids will find meaning and purpose as they grow to better understand the mission and ministry God has planned for them.

Don’t have a lot of money for supplies? Check out coupons for craft stores and yard sales. Find someone who already participates in the art or craft in which you are interested and see if they have some extra supplies they would be willing to give your kids. (Word to the wise. Don’t spend a ton of money on supplies for any one art or craft category until you are sure your kids are definitely going to pursue it long term! There are lots of ways to try a new craft without purchasing every possible supply. Kits are often a good way to experiment without a huge investment.)

Have fun with it. Set aside special times where everyone works on projects together or does a family project. Who knows? It really may make your Christian parenting job a bit easier!

Will You Help Us Help More Christian Parents?

I don’t have to tell you that Christian parenting can be hard. And isolating. And scary. It helps to know someone is willing to walk beside you and help and encourage you – even if you need it at two in the morning. That’s why I began Parenting Like Hannah. So any parent, anywhere could get the encouragement and advice they needed – at any time – day or night. I have been there myself and wanted to create something I wish I had had when our daughter was younger.

Hopefully, many of you have found a post that you needed to encourage you or help you solve a parenting dilemma. The problem with Parenting Like Hannah is that it is only available in English. Which means Christian parents in other countries can’t easily understand our posts. While bits of parenting are cultural, much more is cross cultural than most people realize – especially since Christian parenting is counter cultural by definition. Christian parents in other countries could benefit from our posts – if they were available in their language.

Parenting Like Hannah and its parent ministry (Teach One Reach One Ministries) have a unique opportunity to change all of that. With a little help from you, parents who speak any one of over 100 languages will be able to see posts translated for them at the touch of a button!

That’s right! When Parenting Like Hannah and Teach One Reach One Ministries began, we had no idea God would bless these ministries the way He has. We have shared resources and taught seminars around the U.S. and in multiple countries. What has held us back from helping even more people is the lack of resources in other languages. A new website re-do will give us that and so much more.

For those of you familiar with our parent ministry website, you will love the enhanced stability and improved organization – making it much easier to find what you need quickly. There will be lots of other improvements – both in the inner workings of the site and for users. Many of these enhancements will also improve the Parenting Like Hannah experience.

For a site as complex and with as many resources as ours, we will need to basically finance a full time developer/programmer for 6-9 months. We have done our research and found a company we believe is best suited to help us achieve our goals. A generous donor has agreed to fund ¼ of the project, but we need your help raising the remainder.

We will be posting more financial details in our private Facebook group today. You can donate through our Facebook fundraiser or by going to our Teach One Reach One Ministries website and clicking on the donate button (PayPal). (www.teachonereachone.org) While we love our major donors, we also need those donors who can spare $5 to help us reach our goal. Your gift will help Christian parents around the world get the same support from Parenting Like Hannah that you have received in their own language. Please keep our fundraising in your prayers and join us in helping other parents if you can!