Dream life: Firstly, we can use it to encounter God in the night time, both for ourselves and for our children. Before going to sleep of a night, I pray to God and ask Him to meet me in my sleep. I ask for Him to talk to me through my dreams and also to make my sleep restful for my body, mind and soul. My dream life has been amazing. I will often have several very meaningful dreams every night. I have done some very basic training in dream interpretation through our church and this has helped me to realise that dreams are symbolic. Thus, the people in my dreams are symbolic and metaphorical etc. I write my dreams down each morning and then also the interpretation. It is amazing to hear and see what God shows me through my dreams. God has given me an amazing, very specific and detailed dream of what my daughter will be doing as a career and what that involves. This is so helpful to have this information as a parent. I had never realised before that I was missing out on encountering God in a huge portion of my day before I handed my dream life over to God.
I also use this with my kids. We can create a sense of expectation with our kids that they can have an adventure with Jesus through the night. It is fantastic to ask them of a morning how God showed up for them overnight. They could even keep a journal of what happens.
Speak to your child’s spirit: Secondly, we are spiritual beings and we all have a spirit. Our spirit doesn’t sleep. I use this to my advantage with the kids. When the kids are asleep, I will sometimes go into their room and pray over them whilst they are asleep. It is far easier, on certain occasions, to pray certain things that their mind does not need to hear. Sometimes I will begin by calling forth their spirit ie “spirit of Matey, I call you forth and I speak life into you. Spirit of Matey I apologise for saying… And I say that you are intelligent, that you have enormous potential. In Jesus’ name, I cut off any spirit of inferiority that has affected you and instead say that you are unique and gifted in many ways, that you are wanted and special and have a unique calling in life and a special place in our family. You are welcome in our family…..” I use this time to cut off stuff that has affected them but stuff that they don’t need to hear, ie stuff that is not helpful for them to actually know but stuff that has had an impact on their spirit.
Our kids had a lot of health issues when they were young and I used to use this time to pray about stuff related to their health that they didn’t necessarily need to have verbalised in front of them but whilst they were asleep, I could pray stuff off their spirit.
Bedtime ritual: Thirdly, it goes without saying that a regular bedtime ritual and time for bed creates a much more peaceful and secure environment for kids. Our kids grow up so quickly and spending a few precious minutes with them before they go to sleep is an enormous privilege that we have as parents. I must admit that when I am tired or extremely busy, I find it hard to see that it is a huge privilege though. Every family’s bedtime ritual is unique but the important thing is to realise its importance. Even if we get home late, Matey finds it hard to get to sleep if we haven’t read him a story and prayed with him. No matter what the time, we need to take a few minutes to spend with him, otherwise it will take him ages to get to sleep.
Blessing: Lately, I have realised how we can impact the kids self-esteem and their spirit greatly through ‘blessing’ (or asking God’s favour and protection on them.) I now am trying to use the bedtime ritual to bless them. Years ago, Gary Smalley and John Trent wrote a book called ‘The Blessing’. The book explains what a blessing is and what to say in fantastic detail. The other night, as I was praying over Matey, I said “Thank you God that You made Matey special and unique and that he is going to change the world.” Several minutes later, I was in Princess’ bedroom and used the same words. Matey called out from his bedroom, “I thought that was me.” I hadn’t realised how he had taken it so to heart. Those encouraging words we speak over them mean so much to them. Some parents write out a special prayer to say each night, others say whatever comes to them. What works best for you is the most effective way.
Night time Fears: Last weeks ‘Weekly Highlights 20th October 2013′ covered some of the practical ideas to do if you have a child who has nightmares or a fear in the night time. One of the most effective and essential things to do is to firstly validate how the child is feeling and what the child has experienced. From being involved in quite a few different prayer ministries, I have seen a number of people who have issues with one of their parents as their parent never believed that there was a demon at the end of the bed. I can’t remember how many times people would say that their parent would open their cupboard door and say, ‘See, there’s nothing in here. Now go back to sleep.”
This is a very upsetting and fearful time for a child, and part of our role as a parent is to help them deal with this. Thus, validating what they saw, heard, felt etc is important. It can sometimes be helpful to get them to draw it. This takes it from the abstract to the concrete. Even though, it has been validated, it still needs to be dealt with so that the child can feel safe going back to sleep or being in the room on their own. I find it extremely helpful to ask Jesus to come and show, tell or give something to the child and also to ask God to show the child where He is at the moment. God is always good and He will always turn up with something for the child. Allow the child a little time to see, hear or feel what it is that Jesus wants to give, tell or show them.
It is also important that we equip and empower the child to be able to deal with it themselves. Not that we don’t want to help them, but they need to be able to know what and how to do the stuff that makes them feel safe and secure again.
Limit what they are exposed to: We can also help our kids greatly by protecting their ‘vision’. Kids who have a prophetic gifting or seer gifting and see things in the spirit need to be protected from false and counterfeit images. Thus, be careful what they see in movies or on television or in books. Why would you want to put counterfeit images into your child’s thought bank, images that have been thought up by Hollywood Producers when God has far greater and cleaner images to show them about angels, heaven and the supernatural life.
I would love to hear what your family does to encounter God in the night time. Have you any tips you would like to share? Please let me know through the comments section. I would love to incorporate them into our family’s life.
If you would like to explore the whole ‘blessing’ area a bit more, please feel free to click on either: www.bookdepository.com and search for Gary Smalley The Blessing or click on the picture below to go to amazon.com