THE 8'S OF BUILDING A CHILD'S SPIRIT

Karen Barnes's picture

When you became a parent or a leader of kids, you were not given a handbook on how to raise or train them. You mostly had to learn by experience, and trust those who’ve gone before you to give thoughts and help. We learned how to bathe, feed, change diapers, wipe runny noses, calm a crying child, etc. We spent so much time attending to the physical and emotional needs of our children, but it was hard to feed the spiritual side!  

Jeremiah 1:5 says “Before I formed you in the womb, I knew you, and before you were born, I consecrated you.” Father knew us BEFORE we were flesh! How could He do that unless we were SPIRIT first? In Psalm 71:6, David says, “Upon You I have leaned from before my birth; You are He who took me from my mother’s womb. My praise is continually of You.”  Even David understood that we had relationship with Father as a spirit before being put into our “earth suits” for a time to walk out our assignments here.

When children are born, their bodies may be small and immature, but their spirits are ALIVE and sensitive, fresh from the Father – they can pick up on things that the flesh cannot! Babies intuitively know when their parents are around – they know when things aren’t right without being told, and they can rest when they know security is there. Ever seen a baby smile while he’s sleeping? I believe he’s responding to the Father’s love when no other outside stimuli is affecting him! Somewhere along the line, if that spirit is not fed, we lose something of where we came from.

Feeding that beautiful new spirit is as simple as praying over your child, talking to them about Jesus and reading Scripture out loud as a family. Times of praise with joyful music and times of prayer with quiet, reflective music playing are simple ways of equipping that young spirit with the food IT needs to grow and be responsive to Father! Intimacy is built while they’re still an infant, and it’s easier to fall into love with Jesus when you’ve been surrounded by it at a young age!

A good example of this is Samuel – his story in I Samuel chapters 1-3 shows that with praying and understanding parents, dedication to God and bringing up a child within the “temple atmosphere”, we can see young children being entrusted with adult responsibilities because they’ve been prepared and equipped from before their birth to hear and see Father and His will. They can have the wisdom, patience, and willingness to go before God to know what to do with impossible situations.

It’s awesome to be able to build a child’s spirit from scratch, but what if you’re new to the things of the spirit and your children are older – 6,8, 10 years old? Father gives us direction and clues on what we can do to steer them into that deep, intimate relationship with Him where they also can hear and see, then go out and do!

First, ask Father to help MOTIVATE your child. "Make me to know Your ways, O LORD; teach me Your paths. Lead me in Your truth and teach me, for You are the God of my salvation; for You I wait all the day long." (Psalm 25:4-5) You and your child can pray this prayer daily and believe that He will MAKE you go in a certain direction to learn lessons – TEACH you what is necessary for growth, and LEAD you to places and situations that will cause you to trust Him even more! Of course, the last part of the verse is crucial – “for You I WAIT all the day long.” If we don’t wait on the Lord- for His voice and vision -  how can we know what to do? Our kids must be MOTIVATED from an early age to spend time with the loving, wonderful Father we have!

Second, let Jesus SATURATE them in His love! "Draw near to God and He will draw near to you.” (James 4:8) Learning how to introduce your child to the Presence is vital to their spiritual growth and future. In my book, Kids Can, there is an entire chapter that lays out step by step a process that can help lead a child (or adult!) into a personal audience with the Most High! When they learn how to stop everything, relax and tune in to Him, even the smallest child’s spirit can sense the Essence of Jesus and become overshadowed by the love of their Creator! Once they are immersed in Him, they always want more, because there’s nothing like the great beauty and peace of the One who loves their heart!

Thirdly, while in time alone with Jesus, we ask that He will REVELATE them. “How sweet are your words to my taste, sweeter than honey to my mouth! Through your precepts I get understanding; therefore I hate every false way. Your word (written and spoken) is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path. (Psalm 119:103-105) When God gives revelation, when these children receive understanding about His ways and His spoken and written word, they are not only CHANGED, but CHARGED up! Reading the Word daily with your child, helping them get understanding and explaining it to them will accomplish more than any coloring page could ever do! The words they hear from times alone with Him coupled with the truth of the Bible will be SWEET to them and they WILL want more!

Lastly, after being filled and equipped in His Presence, let’s ask Father to ACTIVATE them into service! "Truly, truly, I say to you, whoever believes in me will also do the works that I do; and greater works than these will he do, because I am going to the Father.” (John 14:12) It only makes sense that as these little ones begin to come into a deep relationship with the Lord and are filled, He will chose to use them. Children don’t receive a “baby Holy Spirit”, so with all the rights and privileges given them as a joint heir in Jesus, they also have the responsibilities of that role as a son or daughter of the King. They WILL be activated by the Father – sent out to do the “greater works” in the Kingdom here on earth. Are WE ready to stand with them, equip and teach them how that works? They don’t have to wait till they are older to pray, to intercede, to lay hands on the sick, or to go out into the world to minister with the abilities and giftings He’s given them! It will be amazing to watch your child grow and become strong in authority and boldness as he speaks truth and prays for others!

Father is so faithful and desires to MOTIVATE, SATURATE, REVELATE and ACTIVATE your kids! This will lead to building their spirits in such a way that they will become invincible and be empowered to stand for Christ no matter what they’re doing, how old they are, or what they encounter! You can participate in this with them on a daily basis, along with outside influences like youth group or children’s church and Bible studies.

At Fire For the Nations, we are passionate about building kids up and equipping them to be what GOD has called them to be – right now! One of the ways we do that is through our summer Kids Camp. Your child is placed within a “temple atmosphere” and taught how to hear His voice and see vision! They walk away with a new understanding of who Jesus is and begin to forge that intimate relationship that is so needed to continue their walk with Him! We want to encourage and equip both you AND your child to grow closer to Jesus. Camp will help you and them to discover and begin to feed the destiny they have in Him. Check out our camp flyer this year for more information – registration has been extended!

We’ve been hearing that this summer will be a pivotal one for children in the spirit – that for some it will be the time when the switch is flipped and activation begins! Children are going to need to be able to hear and see Him deeper than ever before during the next years. Don’t miss this opportunity to sow into your kids and watch the foundation be strengthened!

Download camp flyer here: http://www.epiclifecreative.net/fire4thenations/kids-ministry/

         

Karen’s calling is to bring children into the manifest presence and glory of Jesus, lead them in experiencing His deep abiding love, clear unmistakable voice, wise Godly direction for their lives, and to ignite a spirit-led passion for serving Him in many ways at any age.

She is available for children’s and adult conferences, retreats, church dates, camps, leadership training and regional equipping sessions. Fire For the Nations hosts a summer camp for kids and periodic kids mission trips during the year. Her first book, KIDS CAN is now available in both the CWG and Fire For the Nations bookstores. For more information on the book or to schedule dates, check out the website (www.fire4thenations.com), or email her at [email protected].