Monday, October 14, 2013

Preparing their hearts for Worship--checking in.

In a previous post I talked about the way we use the worship plans (prepared and provided ahead of time (via email) by our worship minister) to start preparing our 5 and 2 year-olds' hearts for worship earlier in the week.  Usually on Thursday I get the email from Patrick with Sunday's schedule. At this point I scan through it and look for a song or two that I feel will connect with my kids, or maybe some they already know.  I started out just picking one song a week, but after several months they are ready for two.

So this particular week I picked "Shout Hallelujah" because Beck loves saying the word "Hallelujah" and because it's an upbeat, fun song.  I also picked "There's a Stirring," because it's an amazing song and also because I have an mp3 of it on my computer already.  I often will create a cd for our car driving time with any songs I might already have (or if Patricks sends one out).  That is really helpful for the kids--to hear it lots of times.  And they even love continuing to hear it after the Sunday we've sang it. All of their very favorite songs were introduced in this way--I put them on a cd to get the kids ready to sing them the following Sunday and they still love to sing and listen to them. 

Anyhow, we sang the two songs many, many times during our cartime this week.  Sometimes even in the house.  Q and I talked about what the "Stirring" song means.  I am studying Revelation right now and I love sharing little bits of that book with her--she just eats it up because she is in a developmental stage where the imagery of dragons and horses and a green rainbow surrounding the throne are so very appealing to her.  So when we talked about putting our crowns at Jesus' "wounded feet" (her favorite part) she knows what that means.  And wow, this song is DEFINITELY not the same to me after my Revelation much deeper and I understand the implications more fully. 

When Sunday came, my kids knew "Shout Hallelujah" would be the first song.  That helped motivate all of us to get to church on time (a struggle for me, mostly) and they were anxiously awaiting the first song!  Both of them sang along joyously.  They didn't know several of the other songs, but I feel like they listen more intently to even the unfamiliar songs when we've spent some time becoming familiar with a couple, if that makes any sense.  When "There's a Stirring" began, both sang along excitedly.  It is the most precious thing to hear your five year old proudly belting out a praise song, let me tell ya!

I really feel that the few minutes spent practicing a couple songs (and maybe talking briefly about their meaning) has changed the way my children worship.  They are much more focused on the actual worship elements than people-watching or needing crayons or something to keep them occupied.  Typically the first 20 minutes of our worship time is spent in song, prayer and communion, and my kids are fairly focused and participatory during this time, which is a change for them from before we began using the prep time. 

I have some more posts to share in the future about our Communion focus time with the kids.....I just need to find my pictures to post!

Encouraging you to spend a little time this week preparing the little hearts in your house to be participatory worshippers--and it will have an impact on your worship, too, I bet!  Did for me!