Prayer: Just Be Yourself

3 02 2015

Most of us have witnessed this scene before: a prayer request is mentioned, heads bow, and prayer begins. What comes next sounds nothing like the person you know. In reality, sometimes our prayers just don’t sound like us when it comes to praying aloud, in front of others, and especially in front of our children. Who each of us is as a person doesn’t always come across as genuine to whom God made us to be.

praying hands So, what are some practical tips to bridge the uncomfortableness and just be yourself in prayer?

  1. Slow down and be okay with silence (Ps. 46:10). Slowing your pace and allowing for quiet moments helps to move our thoughts away from the daily demands and focus on being in the presence of the Lord.
  2. Use normal language. Your kids will be the first to call you out on this one. Model for them that prayer is conversation with God.
  3. Use your normal voice. See #2.
  4. Keep it short and simple. Even though the comprehension level will differ, the attention span of a toddler and teenager are roughly the same J. Pay attention to the attention limitations of your children at various ages and slowly build their praying stamina.
  5. Let your children see YOU praying (1 Thess. 5:17-18). You are your children’s primary discipler. As they watch you pray about all things and in every circumstance, they will learn that prayer is a natural part of life.
  6. Expose your children to other adults praying. Whether this is in Sunday morning worship or at a weekly prayer fellowship, children need to see and hear other adults praying. Depending on the setting, include your child as a participant and not just a listener.
    prayer girl

Prayer is naturally one of the most spiritual things we can do as believers, so we don’t need to add anything extra to over-spiritualize it, make it a burden, or complicate it for our children. We can simply come as joyful sons and daughters with reverent awe that we have been rescued by a God who loves us and hears us.

Every Wednesday night at 6:30, we have a one-hour prayer fellowship time for our entire church family and those in our community. During this time, we have a team of caring adults who will pray with your children and teach them how to pray for others. Start the New Year off with a renewed commitment of bringing the entire family to prayer fellowship at least once a month, if not more. It’s a great time of fellowship, a midweek recharging of the soul, and a place to just be yourself. This could be the thing which helps your prayer life the most.


Children and Stress

20 09 2014

76751016Illness, death of a loved one, school bullies, parental job loss, or divorce, these are just a few life stressors that can bring uncertainty,anxiety and stress into a child’s life.

As much as we want to shield our children from hurt and harm, life happens. As we seek to handle these tough times, here are a few suggestions:


  • Take time to reassure your children of your constant love for them and of God’s promise to never leave us. Be attentive, accepting, affirming, and reliable.
  • As much as possible, maintain the same schedules and rules during crises because structure and boundaries help children feel safe. When changes occur, let children know what to expect.
  • Encourage your kids to talk openly about their feelings and fears. Most importantly, pray that God will help you all grow closer to him, no matter what obstacles you face.







“ For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future,j nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”    

Romans 8:38-39 

Sharing the Joys of Easter with Your Kids

5 04 2014

“Christ died for our sins, just as the Scriptures said. He was buried, and he was raised from the dead on the third day, just as the Scriptures said. … Thank God! He gives us victory over sin and death through our Lord Jesus Christ.”                     (1 Corinthians 15:3-4, 57)


Children are drawn to Easter, with the holiday’s emphasis on candy and bunnies. What a privilege to help them realize it’s about so much more! For Christians, Easter is a day of victory. Because Jesus died on the cross and rose from the dead, we have forgiveness, hope, and eternal life.

Looking for new ideas to celebrate Holy Week and Easter with your kids? Sometimes the most meaningful activities are the easiest. For example:

 palm-sundayOn Palm Sunday, when Jesus was cheered before his death, cut out paper shapes of your palms and wave them around to praise Jesus.




maundy thursdayOn Maundy Thursday, when Jesus shared the Last Supper with his disciples, wash one another’s feet as an act of service.






Good-FridayOn Good Friday, walk around all day with a pebble in your shoe. Then talk about that burden and what Jesus’ suffering means to you.



easterOn Easter, collect foil from candy eggs and create shiny streets of gold as reminders of heaven, where Jesus prepares a place for us.





Did You Know?

• Easter is the oldest Christian holiday and the most important day of the church year. It’s a “moveable feast,” meaning the date changes. Since the year 325, Easter has been on the first Sunday after the full moon following the northern hemisphere’s vernal (spring) equinox.

• Originally, eggs symbolized new life, purity, and fertility. Later, they were linked to Easter because Jesus was temporarily dormant in the tomb (shell) and emerged to give us new life.


As you and your family look ahead to the Easter celebration, ask God:

1. To bless your Easter preparations and celebrations.

2. To keep your family members focused on Jesus’ resurrection and what it means for them.

3. To forgive your sins—and thank him for “never again” remembering them (Hebrews 8:12).

Teaching Children About Stewardship

6 03 2014

This month’s post will focus on children and stewardship, courtesy of Group Publishing, Real Family. Real Jesus. Real Simple newsletter.   I hope you will find this post helpful in your family.

Christian stewardship is about more than just pledging donations or placing money in an offering plate. A steward manages resources, including time, talent, and money. Because God has given us so many blessings, we respond by using them wisely and also sharing them with others.

child giving money

Children observe their parents’ financial habits and learn about the role of money at a young age. So it’s important to model appropriate attitudes about saving, spending, and giving. When we’re honest about everything from our daily transactions to our yearly taxes, we demonstrate how to be trustworthy. And when we contribute to church, charities, and neighbors in need, we teach the joy of being generous while assisting other people.






Experts recommend using an allowance system that works for your family so children can save for the future, spend money on desired items, and donate a portion of their earnings. Such habits can set the foundation for a lifetime of financial stability as well as God-honoring stewardship.






Family Faith Conversations

Talk with your kids about stewardship by asking these questions:

1. Why does God give us money and talents? What does he want us to do with these things, and why?

2. How do you decide how much of your money to spend, save, or give away?

3. How can you handle money wisely without honoring it too much?

“If you are untrustworthy about worldly wealth, who will trust you with the true riches of heaven? … You cannot serve both God and money.” (Luke 16:11, 13)


Handling money wisely is one way to worship God, the giver of all good things.


Chores for Children

27 01 2014

Happy New Year!!

This month’s post is a timely one, courtesy of Group Publishing, Real Family. Real Jesus. Real Simple newsletter.   I hope you will find this post helpful in your family.

Make one of your New Year’s resolutions starting a regular chore routine for your children. You’ll provide a valuable gift. Chores teach children responsibility, develop much-needed life skills, and instill a sense of belonging and self-worth.  Most child-development experts agree that children shouldn’t be paid for household chores, which are part of contributing to family life. Here are some tips for a positive chore experience at your house:

  • Give kids ownership. Have a family meeting and enlist the help of your children in selecting the chores they want to do. Also have them participate in selecting the consequences for chores not performed in a timely manner. Let kids know expectations ahead of time.
  • Use “shaping” to teach tasks. First, let children watch you perform a chore as you talk through it step by step. The next time, let children perform one part of the chore. Each time, give kids a little more responsibility until they’re ready to tackle the chore alone.
  • Use language cues to spur self-reflection and responsible behavior. Say, “I see books on the floor” rather than giving a direct command. That helps kids make decisions and reduces any defiance.
  • Offer encouragement. Always thank children for their contributions and offer genuine praise for their efforts. Instead of saying, “Your room looks good,” say, “Thank you for working so hard to put your clothes and toys in their proper place.” Don’t expect perfection.

chore chart pet 1

Use the power of prayer and Scripture to strengthen your family.  Ask God:

1. To give your children a good attitude about doing chores

2. To help your children feel like contributing members of a close family

3. To develop in your children a heart for service at home and elsewhere.


Select chores specifically geared to your child’s age, ability, and personality. Here are some examples of age-appropriate tasks:

Ages 3 to 5: Work alongside children to help them perform simple chores such as putting away toys, putting dirty clothes in the hamper, sorting laundry into color-coded piles, making their beds, and feeding pets.

kid sweeps

Ages 6 to 8: Children can dust and vacuum, put away their clothes, empty wastebaskets, set and clear the table, care for pets, and help with some yardwork.










Ages 9 to 12: Kids can unpack groceries, load and unload the dishwasher, mop the floor, fold laundry, wash the car, and help prepare simple meal

It's fun nowSerenity Heist with mother Michelle doing chores.



“Work willingly at whatever you do, as though you were

working for the Lord rather than for people.” — Colossians 3:23

Chores may not always be pleasant or exciting. But by doing them faithfully, children learn how to serve and how to perform all types of tasks with a joyful attitude.

It’s Been A Great Year!!

26 12 2013

As 2013 comes to a close, our children continue to learn and grow in their knowledge of our Lord and Savior.  It has been a great year and I’m truly thankful for an awesome team of volunteers, dedicated parents, eager children and GOD’S AMAZING GRACE!!

Since a picture is worth a thousand words, here are “several thousand words” capturing the last several months.

Importance of prayer:

Ephesians 6:18 (NIV)

And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the Lord’s people.

IMG_1582 IMG_1581 blog4

Annual Family Fun Day!

1 Thessalonians 5:11  (NIV)

Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing.





Student Ministry Skits

Our middle and high school students did an excellent job bring the Bible to life for our children by presenting skits on The Prodigal Son and The Birth of Jesus.

youth play





December Family Fun Day

A morning of indoor and outdoor games with our CASM families.  Lots of fun and fellowship!



IMG_0070 IMG_0064




Christmas Eve 2013

Luke 2:10-11 (NIV)

But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord.



3 11 2013

Happy November!!

The holidays are quickly approaching and we have much to give thanks for AND to be encouraged by in our KIDS R.O.C.K. Children’s Ministry at The Church at South Mountain. During the month of September, our children were introduced to five “Heroes of the Faith” ( Augustine, Eric Liddell, John Bunyan, Amy Carmichael and William Booth) and then challenged in October to write an essay about the hero who most influenced their lives.

Congratulations to Celeste Stowers, daughter of Timothy and Ellanda Stowers. Celeste is 9 years old and chose to write about Amy Carmichael as her “Hero of the Faith”.    We are proud of Celeste and thankful for the guidance and support of her parents with this project.












Celeste and Associate Pastor Rich Wells

Click on each page below for a larger view of her thoughtful essay on the influence of Amy Carmichael in her life.

Celeste Essay pg. 1 Celeste Essay pg. 2