How to Help Your Kids Worship God From the Heart

Mother and daughter singing in living room
iStock.com/RuslanGuzov

Little moments in your child's routine make for great times of worship to God. Try these fun ideas:

Musical Timer

I created a playlist of worship songs with varying lengths to use as activity timers for my 2-year-old. This works for playtime and cleanup time. For example, Jeremiah loves bubbles, so I'll play a five-minute song while I blow bubbles for him to run through and try to catch. When the song is over, bubble time's up. Not only does the "timer" help him understand when to start or stop activities, but it also encourages him to dance, jump and clap to the music.

—Kendall Nelson

Chalk It Up

The parking lot in front of our townhouse became my child's primary play area. So we used sidewalk chalk to write our favorite verses of praise and encouragement and draw pictures related to these truths. We'd see the verses when checking the mail or rushing to the car, and it helped to refocus our attention on God. Even better, our neighbors began writing their own favorite verses. Every rain erased the chalk, leaving a blank space for new verses.

—Joanna Heiser

Welcome to Worship

We've started learning worship songs during our family Bible time. This way, my younger children, who are not yet strong readers, can join in worship during the church service. As an added bonus, knowing the words has led to more spontaneous times of worship — whether in the car or standing on the beach.

—Rachel Cardin

Seeing God's Goodness

I wanted to help my kids practice noticing God. So during our family's worship time, I prompted my younger children to say something great about God. To the older kids, I asked, "Who was God to you today?"

One of my teens might say, "He was a comforter to me when ..." or "I saw His compassion today when ..." We wanted our kids to not only learn about God's truths and teachings, but to also recognize how they experience Him in their everyday lives.

—Diane Comer

A New Audience for Chris Tomlin

Through his songs, Chris Tomlin leads millions in praise and worship. That’s not an exaggeration. In 2013, CNN called the Grammy and Dove award-winning artist the “king of worship” because over 60,000 churches — with hundreds attending services — sing his songs every Sunday. That audience dwarfs the fans of even the top pop stars, but as CNN noted, “Millions know his songs, but not his name.”

And that’s OK with Chris Tomlin. This musician and co-author of a new picture book with Pat Barrett, Good, Good Father,desires that his music would be used to draw people closer to God.

Now Chris has set his attention on a new audience — one that will take decades of commitment — to cultivate hearts of worship in his children, 2-year-old Madison and 5-year-old Ashlyn.

Amazed by His goodness. Though Chris is on the road performing about 50 percent of the time, when he isn’t, he is all in with the family. After all, knowledge of Dad isn’t a relationship with him. He tries not to give his kids a reason to turn from their heavenly Fatherbecause of their not knowing their earthly dad.

“I am constantly in awe and wonder at what God has given us,” Chris says. He wants to pass his amazement on to his young children, and the only way he can do that is to spend time with them. “Even when I don’t have it all together,” Chris says, “He can work through my available heart.”

Being authentic. Chris says he wants his children to understand that we sing praises to God not just while attending church services or concerts. Worship is a foundational part of our relationship with God, a genuine outpouring of our hearts. Chris and his wife, Lauren, have committed to living out an attitude of praise. “Kids know if you’re not authentic,” he says.

The family sings together in the car or at home — while playing, doing chores and relaxing. “Praising God is a choice, not just something you do at church,” Chris says, though from a young age Chris loved hearing people sing at church. Still, he’s glad to see his girls are following in his footsteps.

The Tomlins understand that children can’t worship someone they don’t know. Relationships require time to get to know each other better. God is no different. At home, the Tomlins teach their girls through kids’ Bibles that have a lot of pictures. They try to weave God’s wisdom and truth into the different teachable moments of life and are grateful that their church and Christian school are places that help their girls learn about and interact with God in age-appropriate ways.

One of the reasons that Chris co-wrote Good, Good Father was to help his girls understand more about God. When he reads the book to them, his prayer is that they will understand that God is an amazing, caring, all-knowing Father. The more they know about Him, the more opportunity they will have to love Him. When the Tomlins went to their oldest girl’s first parent-teacher conference, the teacher at this Christian school said, “You are doing well in teaching your daughter about God.” That meant a lot to Chris.

Life is worship. “You aren’t worshiping just because you sing a praise song,” Chris says. Although Chris personally loves communicating with God through music, he wants his children to grasp a larger understanding of worship — that our lives should demonstrate ongoing praise to God. He tries to help his girls see that worship is how you live your life and give God credit for His goodness, regardless of where you are or how you feel about your circumstances. Chris says, “It’s a way to connect with and honor God.”

—Sheila Seifert

"Welcome to Worship," "Chalk It Up," "Musical Timer" and "Seeing God's Goodness" first appeared in the June/July 2019 issue of Focus on the Family magazine. "A New Audience for Chris Tomlin" first appeared on FocusOnTheFamily.com in 2016. The compiled article "How to Help Your Kids Worship God From the Heart" first appeared on FocusOnTheFamily.com (2019). If you enjoyed this article, read more like it in Focus on the Family's marriage and parenting magazine. Get this publication delivered to your home by subscribing to it for a gift of any amount.

"Welcome to Worship" © 2019 by Rachel Cardin. "Chalk It Up" © 2019 by Joanna Heiser. "Musical Timer" © 2019 by Kendall Nelson. "Seeing God's Goodness" © 2019 by Diane Comer. All rights reserved. Used by permission. "A New Audience by Chris Tomlin" © 2016 by Focus on the Family.

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