Question: Recently we’ve become aware of the need for and value of spiritual disciplines both individually and in our marriage. We have two kids in their early teens and are wondering where might be a good starting point for us to help them develop some of these practices?
One of foundational spiritual disciplines involves cultivating the Holy Habit of a meaningful prayer life. Not just a “before the meal” prayer or an “I’m messed up and need help” prayer, but a simple and practical way to apply Paul’s instruction to “Pray without ceasing” (I Thess. 5:17).
The Evening Reflection involves teaching our kids a different way of doing prayer. Teaching them ways to go beyond treating God as the “cosmic vending machine” to someone who knows them, loves them, listens to them and want’s to guide them. A God who delights in blessing His children.
This simple format includes acknowledging God’s presence, counting our blessings, being grateful, reflecting on the highs and lows of the day, confession and looking ahead through the eyes of faith. Here are the simple steps:
Rejoice—Acknowledge and give thanks to God for His presence and promise to never leave us (Deut. 31:6).
Recount—Count your blessings and give thanks for the obvious and not-so-obvious ones like health, food, clothing, friends etc. This is one way to “in all things give thanks” (I Thess. 5:17).
Replay–Ask God to help you look back on the day through His eyes. What went well? What troubled you? What do you wish you’d done differently? This an opportunity to “cast your cares” on Him (I Peter 5:17).
Reflect—What were some of the emotions you experienced? What did you learn from them about yourself or others? This can be a powerful application of Psalm 139: 23-24.
Repent—Identify and confess any situations where you fell short of who you know God wants you to be. This is a simple way to apply the promise of I John 1:9.
Respond—Then thank God for His goodness, grace and mercy. In Philippians 3:13 Paul talks about “Forgetting what is behind and reaching forward to what is ahead.”
Reboot—Anticipate how tomorrow will bring new opportunities to reflect your Lord throughout your day (See Matt. 5:16).
This simple and practical Evening Reflection is a great way to end the day, prepare the mind and heart for rest, and even prepare for the new day. Itcan be done individually or as a family. It can take just 5 or 15 minutes. But it must be consistently modeled and encouraged for it to become a habit.