Discipling families & discipling children
This has been an encouraging month for our family. Let me explain why: At the beginning of the year we believed that the Lord was asking us to concentrate on discipling individual families rather than putting so much into group meetings. Because of this we asked the Lord to bring the families to us that he wanted us to disciple. During April & in May we had visits from people who wanted our help to get the Quiet Times established in their families.
One was from a Christian man named Thijs Drupsteen who I didn't know very well. He asked if he could come to our Thursday Group to see what we did. I informed him that we didn't have a Thursday Group, but he was welcome to spend time with our family. When he saw how we prayed and shared together over our Quiet Times he asked if we could go as a family & share with a house church that he was involved with. This house church is made up of two lovely Christian families, some grandparents, and a few other individuals.
In one family of 9 the older 3 children have left home and have, unfortunately, left the faith. Well, to cut a long story short, these families are so thrilled. They could see that they were losing their children spiritually, but now they are so encouraged. One lady told Kathy that when Thijs gave them the folders and some Quiet Time instructions she was filled with apprehension. She felt it was like more school homework for her children, but she says it has been a wonderful blessing. Another person said it was all grace and not legalism and had been such a blessing to their family
Visiting this House Church has also been a blessing to our children. They have made some new friends and it has been so encouraging for them to see how the Lord is using them in the lives of others. I think the key was that we shared as a whole family.
For those who would like to introduce the Quiet Times into their own family or help another family I have listed below what we did...
(1)I explained to all the children that there is much heartbreak in families in New Zealand even among Christians. Families are breaking up everywhere. I said what a wonderful thing it would be if they could share and pray with their parents and grow up as Christians. I could see that these children really wanted that to happen in their families.
(2)We did a practice Quiet Time and gave out the week 1 Quiet Time Sheets.
(3)We asked everyone to write down the blessing that they felt God had given them that day and then to share that blessing with us. They loved sharing their blessings.
(4)After sharing their blessings we asked those who wanted to, to pray a one sentence prayer of thanksgiving for their blessing. I think that nearly all the children and their parents prayed prayers of gratitude to God.
(5)We then asked them to read Psalm 1 and to choose their special verse and write it out in full. We explained that we believe the Lord will lead us to the verse he wants to speak to us from.
Normally when sharing our Quiet Times we share after having written down both the verse and what the Lord has said to us from that verse. Being the first time, however, we got them to share with us the verse they had written down.\
(6)After sharing our verse, we then prayed and asked God to speak to us from the verse he gave us.
(7)We then asked everyone to write down what came to their minds. We asked each person to write down where it says, "What could God be saying to me", the following words - Lord I believe you are saying...... followed by what they believed He was saying to them. We explained that when we pray and ask God to speak to us from His Word, we believe that what comes to our minds is nearly always from the Lord. If something bizarre comes to our minds we know it is from Satan. (In all the years we have been doing Quiet Times I can't recall any time when something bizarre has come to Kathy and I or to our children's minds)
(8)Next we shared what we believed the Lord said to us from the verses that came to our minds. It was wonderful what each person shared. I can't specifically remember much of what people shared that first night, but over the past few weeks people have written down such things as the need to be more grateful to God or they believed the Lord was saying there was too much pride in their lives.
(9)We asked people to pray back what the Lord had said to them. It was awesome to hear people pray for help in overcoming such things as pride, and idolatry in their lives or for help in being more grateful to God.
One 16 year old boy was away with his mates that first night, but arrived before our family left. I think he sensed that he had missed out on a special evening. The next week he joined in and shared a Quiet Time. The third week his parents told me that he was the one in their family that made sure they did the Quiet Times in their home.
We believe that there are children and young people everywhere who don't want to rebel against their parents, but who yield to peer pressure from their friends. They would just love to be part of a family that prays and shares together as these children do.