Many years ago, our daughter and I were driving on an icy road when I lost control of my minivan.
It was spring break, so my daughter and I decided to go to a movie. The weather was a bit concerning, but living in Kansas everyone knows how to drive on the ice, right? The moment we walked out of the movie theater, I knew that the conditions had worsened and that we were in for a very long drive home.
Growing up in the Midwest I was taught to drive slow on ice and to only tap the breaks lightly. We were about 10 minutes from home, and I thought to myself, “we have almost made it.” Suddenly, a school bus stopped in front of us on top of an icy hill. There were several cars in front of us that also began to stop and at that point I thought to myself, “you’ve got to be kidding.”
A couple of the cars behind the bus were able to stop, but the car directly in front of us hit the ice and started to spin. My heart was racing as I watched the car spin out of control on that busy country road. “Help me Jesus,” was my prayer and to my surprise, the spinning car in front of us came to a complete stop in a driveway. Immediately, I tapped my breaks in order to get stopped, but I hit the same ice on the road as the other car had hit. I no longer had control of the van as we started spinning in the road. My daughter started screaming with fear and I wondered, “How do I comfort my child?” I remember the words that came from my mouth were, “Ashly it will be okay, God is with us and He will take care of us!” A gentle calmness immediately came over me and my own fear diminished.
God did take the wheel that day and allowed our van to gently go into a very deep ditch without rolling and without hitting a tall electrical pole. We went in backwards and to our amazement, we came within a few inches of hitting that telephone pole. The front wheels of our van dug into the shoulder of the road and our front license plate was showing to all who passed by, and it simply read…’JESUS’. On that day, God reminded me that He is always the source of my help and thus, I will give Him all of my praise!
According to the Webster’s New Collegiate Dictionary the word “praise” means to ‘express a favorable judgement of, to glorify (a god or saint) by the attribution of affection.’ According to this definition, praise requires action.
If praise is directed towards God then our adoration, our love for Him, and our gratitude for what He has done for us should not be silent; but instead be expressed through our actions as well as our words. Teaching children to understand the character of God and praise Him for who He is and for what He does for us is foundational in their spiritual journey. When children grasp this truth, they will embrace God at a deeper level and thus, praise His name with a heart full of gratitude.
Praise is a personal experience depending on one’s heart and love for God. When a child experiences God in a personal way, understanding His love for them, and growing into a deeper relationship with Him, then they will experience praise on a deeper level and share their praise with others.
Allowing children to pray prayers of thanksgiving, sing songs of worship, read Scripture, meditate and pray Bible verses will open their hearts to the truths about God and His love for them and thus, encourage their praise to Him.
How are your children praising the Lord? Are they growing in their relationship with Him and praising Him? We are created by God to praise Him and bring Him glory!
The doxology sums up praise this way!
Praise God from whom all blessings flow,
Praise Him all creatures here below,
Praise Him above ye heavenly host,
Praise Father Son and Holy Ghost.