Our Building for Mission project is not just about our church building. It’s also about seeking God’s will for our future and how He wants us to grow as a church. This is a journey that will involve the whole church family, so this is a great opportunity to explain to our children what the current plans are and what we are waiting to hear from God now.
Tips for explaining why we’re doing this:
Why are we having a day of prayer and fasting? You could share with your children Psalm 127:1 “If the Lord doesn’t build the house, the builders are working for nothing” (ICB). We want to make sure that our plans are right with the Lord and that He will speak to us and bring a sense of unity and agreement between us. How does God want us to build His kingdom here?
Explain that fasting is a way of drawing closer to God. One of the reasons we fast – stop eating food, is to make some more space for God. We don’t just stop eating for the day, but like Jesus did when he spent 40 days in the desert, we will spend time praying and listening to God. Fasting without prayer is an empty exercise. Fasting can help us focus our minds on God.
Fasting with children:
It is not recommended that young children participate in full fasting and any kind of fast must be under the supervision of a parent or carer and in line with medical advice, but there are ways that your children can join in, for example
- Have a mini-fast, agree to do without food for a shorter fixed time
- Fast from one meal or snack time (not recommended for very young children)
- Fast from a particular type of food or food group for the day
- Fast from a particular activity like TV, video games or using mobile phones
Make sure that you have some prayer time together – even if you can’t come in to church – let your children see that fasting and praying are part of the same process and that you are fasting for a reason.
During your prayer time:
If you are coming in to church to pray, the building will be open from 10am-4pm, with communal prayer gatherings at 10.00 and 3.00 for an hour. Prepare children for what will be happening (many of the points below apply equally to praying at home or while you’re out and about):
- There will be no set activities
- People will be praying quietly on their own or in small groups
- Many people will simply be quiet, listening for God’s voice
- Some people may stand and share what they feel God saying
- God wants to speak to them (your children), just as much as anyone else
- Explain to them, it doesn’t matter if they don’t think God has spoken to them, just come and enjoy being in God’s presence.
- You/they could bring their own bible or bible story book from home
- You could allow them to bring headphones so they can listen to worship music quietly
- You could bring a pad and pencils so they can write or draw a prayer or anything they feel God might be saying to them
- They could simply sit or lie down, close their eyes and spend some time with God
- Be encouraging, share with each other. If you are wondering if your child has had a genuine word or picture from God, think, is there a biblical truth behind what they’ve shared? Does it fit in with what God has laid on anyone else’s heart? If so, let them share it more widely, either pass it on to one of the staff team or share it with those gathered. If you’re not sure (or it definitely isn’t of God!), suggest “Let’s pray about that a bit more and see if God says anything else to us”.
Finally, no-one expects young children to be silent, if you are concerned about disturbing others, find a quieter corner of the sanctuary and try and focus on engaging in your own time of prayer together. We pray that this will be a fruitful day for those of all ages, hearing God’s voice and waiting on His presence!