Spending time with God is something that I have always found to be a real challenge, there is always an excuse, always something that comes up and never quite enough time in the day. Part of me was excited for all the extra time I would have to spend with God during this lockdown on top of the 15 -20 minutes I spend doing my daily bible reading. Hoping I would have quality time to set aside just to sit and listen to what God is saying to me.
In reality, like many of you reading this, I seem to have had less time! My day fills up with zoom calls, video lectures, meetings, work and assignments. And I am left feeling thoroughly disappointed with myself when I get to the end of the day and I haven’t had that extra space. And I am very aware that this will most likely be the case for a lot of you guys too, if not worse because you’re busier. I can’t even begin to imagine what a challenge it must be to find quiet time in between home-schooling, work and all your other commitments at home. So my aim for this blog is to maybe try and give you some ideas of how you can have quiet time with God, and how as a family you can spend time with God together. And if I don’t achieve either of these things I hope you can at least take solace in the fact I am writing this for myself as much as anyone else.
It became immediately apparent that trying to cram more into the day was only going to end one way, a breakdown of fairly major proportions. We’ve all be there. So, instead I decided I needed to get a bit more creative with the things I was already doing.
For starters, every day at 5pm I go for a cycle ride through the countryside, it’s an amazing opportunity to get some headspace, keep fit and as it turns out, to pray. Each day I was spending 45 minutes wondering if the sheep could understand me when I made a ‘Baa’ noise…
So, I decided to make use of the time more productively (although it is a still a question I would like answered) and began praying, now as I cycle I go through my list of people to pray for and then spend time just listening. Having that time just to chat with God is taking the already beneficial cycle ride and turning it into something that also feeds my soul.
One thing that I am desperately missing in this time of lockdown is being able to turn up on a Sunday evening and rock out with my guitar and praise Jesus like an absolute loon. It is something that quickly discovered is not wholly appropriate in the queue at ASDA. So instead I just pop on a worship playlist in my kitchen and pretend to be Kari Jobe (worship leader) as I cook dinner. Having that freedom to sing in praise is something that is so nourishing to our spiritual health. Although, I do fully appreciate that singing is not everyone’s cup of tea; so maybe you want to just pop on some worship music and sit in the garden with a G&T and relax in God’s presence after the kids have gone to bed. That is equally absolutely fine!
Now, some tips for the family. I just want to give you some ideas on how you can encourage your children to chat to God and spend time with him as they go about their day. When I was a kid the last thing I ever wanted to do was sit still, unless it involved eating of some kind and even then, it wasn’t for long. And even now, being disciplined enough to spend time quietly listening to God is a real challenge.
We put a huge emphasis in Kid’s church on the fact that the children can talk to God any time and any place all he wants is to have that conversation! So if your children are like me and are only still when they are asleep here are a few ideas!
Firstly, go on prayer walks (you may want to give them a slightly more interesting name), last week our activity was a scavenger hunt. You could maybe use that, and every time you child finds an item on the list them say a prayer for someone they know.
In our first lesson plan we suggested that you could make a prayer jar and fill it with things you are thankful for. So, grab an old Jam and some scraps of paper and start a thankfulness jar. You can look back at it when this is all over and see the things you were able to be thankful for in this challenging time.
And finally, you could do some prophetic artwork, this is much less scary than it sounds. I’ve done it in multiple times and my artistic ability is far exceeded by the majority of the children in our toddler group Sparklers. Any who, pop on some worship music that kids like and get the kids to draw, paint or anything else creative that they love. All the while encouraging them to chat to God.
I hope these few little tips give some ideas on how to incorporate time with God into your busy daily routines, and if not at least you’ve been able to giggle at the image of me belting out Bethel tunes in my kitchen whilst I make risotto.