Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Nana Time

My granddaughter Ashlyn, who is almost 3 years old, asked me yesterday, “Can we praise the Lord,” I was thrilled. I grabbed a plastic bowl, but the lid on it and handed it and a spoon to her. My grandson, Brayden, grabbed an empty plastic bottle, added a few dry beans, it was a perfect praise instrument. I didn’t need an instrument because I’m so loud. We marched around the living room and through the kitchen echoing and singing “Praise the Lord. Praise the Lord.” It was great fun! Praising is something that I have strategically and deliberately done with my grandchildren. I want them to understand, anytime is a great time to express your gratitude and worship to God.

When I pull Ashlyn’s shirt off over her head and her hands are up in the air, I say let’s praise the Lord, baby! She and I begin to say “Praise you Jesus. Hallelujah!” From the time they were babies I would scoop them up in my arms and say, “Come, on baby, let’s dance before the Lord.” Then we would begin to swing and hop around praising the Lord. It is so amazing that really young children will actually raise their hands and praise the Lord with you.

Yes, it is a game to them, but that’s where teaching and modeling come into the picture. Brayden said to me, “You love to praise the Lord, Nana.” I agreed with him, and continued with the explanation, “Yes, Jesus has been so good to me. I want to thank Him.”

There are a couple of things to remember when teaching children, or any age group for that matter, to praise. First, reach them on their level. Second, explain it. Thirdly, create an atmosphere where it is the norm. Then model it. For young children it must be fun and active. My explanations must be brief and concise and the praise time is limited to their attention span. We all do it together, plus it is done in the culture of acceptance of love which is critical in creating an atmosphere of worship.

Sometimes I ask them, “What is something you are thankful for?” After they answer I say, “Let’s say thank you to Jesus.” Then I join them in saying “Thank you” to God for what they just mentioned. Again, I don’t spend an extended time doing it. It’s just done in conversation while we are coloring or baking a cake together.

Because I understand no one can worship for me and because I understand the power of worship I want my grandchildren to become worshipers. Worship is more than a song, it is more than words, but when it is connected to the heart of a person that loves God, a song or words are transformed into a fragrance of praise that pleases God.

Little children and adults can worship…and God loves our worship. We all should do more of it!

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