Listening Time

Read: “Start children off on the way they should go, and even when they are old they will not turn from it.” Proverbs 22:6 (NIV)

Reflect: The most important role I have as a parent is turning my kids toward Jesus. However, the work doesn’t stop there. As a faithful father, it’s also my responsibility to help them advance their relationship with Christ by teaching them habits and disciplines that help them grow.

One of the ways we actively do this with our kids is by placing emphasis on listening for God’s voice. We simply call this “Listening Time.” One of us prays to start off listening time; we invite God to speak to us, and guide our thoughts and hearts. For the following 10-15 minutes (sometimes 20-30) we sit in silence in God’s presence. Every digital device is shut off, doors are closed, everyone is calm, and each of us has a notebook and pen to record what we hear. In the beginning we’d only hear a word or two, maybe a whole sentence. As we continued this practice, we started getting lists of words and full paragraphs! When everyone feels they have heard everything they are to receive, we take turns reading aloud what we wrote down as God was talking to us. At the end, we pray for the things on our hearts and minds and thank God for revealing his truths to us.

This was a unique experience at first because neither my wife nor I did this type of activity as kids. It wasn’t exactly comfortable, however, it also felt right. Now that we’ve been doing it for a while, it is just part of our normal routine and we all enjoy it.

Respond: Is there something your family could start doing together this week to advance your kids’ relationships with God? It might feel awkward and clunky at first, but just start. Over time it will become second nature and your family will yearn for that special time.

Pray: Father, help me lead my family in activities that connect us directly to you. Help us shed the fears that surround the hearts of everyone in my household.