Yeah….I know what you’re probably thinking…and yes, I said the “M” word. Meditation. You’re likely thinking about people sitting in a well lit, sparsely furnished white room, with their legs crossed, holding out their arms and saying….”Oooooohhhhmmmmm, Ooooohhhhmmmm.” I understand. I did too! But, that’s not the kind of meditation I’m referring to. I’m talking about scriptural meditation. It’s an art that we as a whole, are at risk to lose (if we haven’t already) amidst the hustle and bustle of modern day life. Simply being still in the presence of the Lord.
Keep this Book of the Law always on your lips; meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do everything written in it. Then you will be prosperous and successful.
For us grown-ups, it’s sometimes as simple as sitting on the front porch in the morning before the rest of the world wakes, our cup of coffee in hand, just silently thanking God for the trees, the sky, the birds, and all the many blessings. Other times, it’s heart-wrenching silence, praising God even though life gets hard. Sometimes, it’s even letting your mind dwell on a single scripture from the Word of God while we wash dishes and watch the hummingbirds. Sometimes, it’s being literally still and quiet, and soaking up the wonders of His glorious creation.
It seems so often, that we as adults tend to believe that children are flat out incapable of being quiet and still before the Lord, but I would argue that children crave time to be quiet and still. They need thinking time. They require time to ponder the great things of God, just like we do. But, in thinking we are doing the right thing by keeping them busy constantly, we are neglecting to teach them to be content with stillness.
I will consider all your works and meditate on all your mighty deeds.”
A few years ago, I went to a women’s bible study and took my then-preschooler, Isaac. It was called BSF, short for Bible Study Fellowship. I highly recommend it. Anyway, part of their children’s program was to “lay down for five minutes and think about God” after the lesson. Isaac had a really hard time with it at first. Oh, he struggled! So, I began to work with him at home. We would lay on the floor and just be quiet and still and “think about God.” Well, he finally one day, came out of his class and said victoriously, “Mom!! I laid down today the whole five minutes!” And then, defiantly, he said, “but I didn’t think about God. I thought about tractors!” I didn’t know whether to rejoice with him at the time or crawl under the table! It took us a few more months working on the art of being silent and thinking about God, but we persisted together! And I began to see how this affected him not only in understanding more about God, but also in his ability to sit still for a period of time, and to focus on tasks. I also saw the fruit that the practice brought in sitting and listening in “big church”. I began to see the value not only spiritually, but also in every other area. Isn’t that the way God is many times? We follow His leading, and He blesses us with unexpected things?
Nowadays, our meditation time looks a little different. We have three more kiddos being quiet and still with us. And it’s our very favorite time. I always schedule it after our Bible reading each morning so they can have the opportunity to think and ponder the thoughts we read and discussed. Now we listen to a hymn as we meditate on the Lord. Many times, I’ve found that after our silent time, one of the kids will open up discussion again and we’ll continue for another 30 minutes or so just talking about their big questions.
1 Blessed is the one who does not walk in step with the wicked or stand in the way that sinners take or sit in the company of mockers, 2 but whose delight is in the law of the Lord, and who meditates on his law day and night. 3 That person is like a tree planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in season and whose leaf does not wither— whatever they do prospers.
The thing is…meditating on God’s Word requires training. It’s not natural for any of us to sit still and do nothing-just think. So, at first, your kids might just respond like Isaac did. That’s ok! Persevere with them, Mama! Teach them by example, and by consistency. Show them that it’s an important part of the day. Most days, Lydia still tells me that she thinks about her dolls and ponies during our time of meditation. But, it’s ok! She’s learning.
Here’s how it works at our house. In the morning, after morning chores, we get together for Bible time. We sing songs, recite our memory verses, and then I read from the Bible and we discuss it as we go. Then, I have everyone pick a spot in the living room, get really still, close their eyes, turn on some great, soothing hymns, and we just sit and ponder the great things of God. I tell the kids to pray, to thank God for things, to think about our passage that we read today, or to just sit and listen to the words of the hymn. When we first started, I played a 2 minute song, and that was it, but we’ve stretched it out now as much as 8 minutes, and many times, they aren’t ready to stop.
This is why I say children crave that still, quiet moment in their day, just like we do. After the song, we all meet together in the middle of the living room floor and we share about what we thought about.
This time is SO fruitful for our family. It’s also a great way to begin your day…centered on God. It is my prayer that my kids will continue this practice long into their adulthood. It has been such an oasis for me personally, that I want that for them as well.
I wanted to leave you with a few of our favorite hymn albums to listen to during our quiet times: