When our girls were much younger (5-10 years) we used to practice a family devotion time called ‘the candle story’. As a family we would sit in the lounge room on a rug turn the lights down low and then take it in turns each time to light a central candle signifying God’s presence with us. We would use this short time to sing a couple of praise or worship songs together, to tell a Bible story ( as animated as possible) and to pray for each other, our friends, missionaries, our church and things happening in the world around us. Sometimes we used craft, puppets, blocks or cushions to help us enter into the Bible story and to reflect on what God was saying to us. This time became a kind of family ritual where each family member took a turn planning and leading. There was something very special about sitting in the candle light and worshipping God together.
Some families or children’s groups practice the ancient spiritual practice called ‘Examen“. This is a practice which is best done at the end of the day when the group talk together about those things that happened during the day that used their energy or caught their attention (also known as ‘desolations’). They then talk about those things that happened during the day that encouraged them or gave them energy (also known as ‘consolations’). At the end of the time they take turns to talk to God about all these things, bringing God into the very center of the important events in their lives.
You might like to also check out the ancient “Lectio Divina” – “Praying the Scriptures” or “Divine Reading”. How could this approach be used with children? Do you have any thoughts?