by Pat Holland/ October 12, 2016
Children love the presence of God.
That doesn’t mean they don’t get distracted; they do. It doesn’t mean they stop being kids. It means children discover His joy and peace when they make the God connections that they were born again to experience.
It can be frightening.
I was visiting my aunt’s church when I experienced the presence of God for the first time. The raised hands, the music, and the energy that filled the room was foreign to me. My aunt was enjoying God’s presence, but I was frightened.
It seems that fear is a normal response to anything new, and that includes first-time God encounters. Zacharias, Mary, and the shepherds had to be frightened for the angel to say, “Fear not.” In each of these instances, the first thing the angel addressed was fear.
Pastoring revival demands that we observe the students and listen to God. As God’s Spirit moves, move close to children when they are praying or worshiping. Be sensitive. Ask God for wisdom and discernment as you pray with them.
Use a quiet, kind voice when praying with your kids. Spiritual authority is not a tone of voice. It is understanding your identity in Christ Jesus and surrendering to God’s authority with obedience.
When ministering at the altar, ask yourself, How are they processing the presence of God? Are they frightened? Ask them, “Is this a good cry or a bad cry?”
Comfort the child if he or she is upset.
Explain that this is not something to fear. Our bodies respond differently to the presence of God. He loves you, and He wants you to experience His presence in a deeper, more powerful way.
When you discern fear, quietly tell fear to go. Ask God to bring His peace.
Sometimes children don’t know why they are crying. Children may associate it with an event of the past. For example, a child might reason, I cried when Grandma died 5 years ago, so that must be why I am crying now.
Crying isn’t always bad.
Crying can be an emotional release or a door that opens their hearts to receive what they need from God.
You won’t be able to explain everything, and you shouldn’t try to.
When you don’t know the why behind what the kids experienced, tell them you don’t know. We will never, ever fit God into our neat little religious box.
“The natural man does not accept the things that come from the Spirit of God. For they are foolishness to him, and he cannot understand them, because they are spiritually discerned” (1 Corinthians 2:14, BSB). This verse applies to children as well.
Children need both the Word and the Spirit.
As leaders, we teach children Scripture. Likewise, it is just as normal for us to help them navigate through the things of God’s Spirit. Don’t panic. Study Scripture. Learn from others. But never forget: the precious Holy Spirit is with you. He will teach you as you walk with Him.
It’s a wonderful journey for you and your students! Please don’t miss the adventure just because you don’t have a map. He’s been there.