“You can be strong and courageous because the Lord is with you, my boy,” I gently reminded my 4-year old.
But like a few other times that week, his tearful response showed the wrestling in his young heart :: “But I can’t hear God’s voice like I hear you! How can I know what God is saying?”
The terminology we use in teaching our kids to hear God’s voice can be confusing to kids. After all, we don’t audibly hear God’s voice through our ears, like my four-year old realized.
To help clarify the point, people often explain that hearing God doesn’t come through our ears but through our hearts. The trouble is, our hearts don’t hear God either!
Remember, young kids are concrete thinkers, so how can we better explain to our kids what it means to hear God’s voice and begin to listen to what He has to say?
How we hear God’s Voice ::
God speaks to us through the Bible.
Teaching our kids to hear God’s voice starts with the Bible.
The Bible is God’s Word. It is His message to us, and God speaks to us through the Bible.
If we want to recognize God’s voice, we must spend time in His Word. That’s true for us as moms just as it’s true for our kids.
If we want to help our kids recognize and discern the voice of God, let’s
- spend time in the Bible together as a family and
- help our kids develop their own love for and time in the Word.
While family devotionals are helpful, I’m not suggesting you pick up another book written by someone else. Spend time reading the actual Bible (not just someone else’s commentary on it). Don’t overcomplicate it. You can even start with 5 minutes a day!
If this feels overwhelming to you, use these resources to help you ::
- Choose an age-appropriate Bible from which to read together. Find our favorites here.
- Grab one of our family reading plans with short, daily passages of Scripture, or
- Use our surprisingly, simple family worship plan, with tips on how to get in God’s Word together as a family.
When teaching about how to hear God’s voice, it’s so important to remember that God has already spoken to us through His Word! If we want to recognize God’s voice, we must spend more time in His Word!
God speaks to us through the Holy Spirit.
Helping our kids understand the voice of the Spirit is often where we get tripped up and say things like “we hear Him with our heart.”
I’ve found it helpful to share with my kids that God directs our thoughts or gives us an idea. For example, if I see ice cream on the table, I might shout out, “I love ice cream!”
Anyone in the room would hear me say that out loud. But if instead of saying those words out loud, I think to myself, “I love ice cream!” no one else can hear those words. But to me, those silent words are just as clear as the ones spoken out loud. They are real words and thoughts, even though my ears can’t hear them.
Sometimes God speaks to us through the thoughts and ideas He puts into our head. Explain to your kids that we often experience God speaking in this way when
- someone’s name is on our mind. Maybe God is encouraging us to pray for the person.
- you have a strong feeling about something. It might be that God is directing us in the way we should (or shouldn’t) go.
- a Bible verse comes to mind. God may be encouraging you to do what that Bible verse says, or He might be bringing you peace or courage through it.
- a picture of doing something plays on the screen of your mind. God could be showing you a way you can serve Him or help another person.
God often puts thoughts and ideas into our minds and “moves in us” in this way.
This, however, is where it’s so important for us to teach our kids that the voice of God we are trying to hear will never go against what God has said in the Bible.
Let me say that again :: What God tells you will NEVER go against what the Bible says. This is another reason why it’s so important to get our kids in God’s Word!
God speaks to us through other people.
Now this doesn’t mean that everything someone else says is God speaking to us, and we must take into consideration whether or not the person speaking is walking with the Lord.
Often times, though, we’ll find ourselves in situations where we think the pastor or a teacher is talking right to us or that someone told him what we’re struggling with. Sometimes that’s God’s way of getting our attention.
Other times, we’ll find that we hear very similar messages coming from different people in slightly different ways. We might find these messages line up with how God has been directing our thoughts.
Again, though, it is so important to teach our kids that if the message you’re hearing through people in any way goes against God’s Word, those messages are NOT God speaking to you.
[Please note that we talk with our kids about this idea of God speaking through people very generally until our kids are a little older and can think a bit more abstractly. Right now, my four-year-old is convinced that if big brother says it, it’s true!]
God speaks to us, are we listening?
How easy it is for us to be distracted by the “noise” in our lives. We may want to hear God speak, but are we willing to listen?
Are we taking time to read the Bible? Are we spending time with Him in prayer? Are we creating space to listen? Are we willing to obey what God says?
I believe God can speak to kids, and I believe as parents, we can help our kids hear God’s voice. Let’s start listening, too.
- Activities to help our Kids Hear God’s Voice
- Questions to Ask if you’re not hearing God’s Voice