Depending on whether you went to church or not as a child, and if you did -the ‘flavour’ of church you grew up in, you will view the idea of spending time with God in different ways.
Many people call it a ‘quiet time’, others call it their ‘daily devotions’.
I was brought up with the notion that this quiet time was something all good Christians did, it happened early in the morning and the length of it was the measure of your faith. The earlier the time and the longer the prayer would give more God brownie points. Of course that’s not true, and these things won’t change God’s love for us – that will remain unchanging and profound.
I was just given a book to read and told I should pray, and basically left to get on with it. I was never taught about prayer other than – when (morning – early, and/or evening – with extra points for both….)
Mornings were and still are painful for me, my brain can take a while to function in a morning and I’ve always struggled to read….so it didn’t go so well! (I have a weird visual impairment, am dyslexic and my disabilities inflict their greatest pain first thing in the morning and evening.)
Over the years I’ve started to see jokes about how people ‘do’ their devotions/quiet time, and how a ‘liturgy of actions’ gets built in to them: Make a coffee, sit in a comfy chair, either ensure silence or worship music, and then work through your chosen notes. (To many of you reading this – I know doing that might seem like a far off dream!)
But there is something helpful in this.
This liturgy of actions helps to build a habit – a routine. This routine can settle us into preparing to speak to and hear from God. To associate a particular place with the peace of meeting with God can give a place to sit, calm ourselves and say even a one word prayer ‘HELP!’ when things get too much.
When you have children, especially children with additional needs, finding a place and regular time for private devotions is nigh on impossible. This is one of the many reasons I started Pondering Platypus Resources!
Most children need routine, so to identify a specific place or object with a spiritual activity is helpful. But I believe it is the same with grown-ups too, especially if you’re dealing with constant pressure in the home.
We need to identify that place or object of safety – a chair, a blanket, sitting under the table, the edge of our bed, an electric candle or even a lava lamp. For me it’s a glitter stick or a marble.
In another post on this, I will be pondering some ideas on how to create a ‘pondering space.’
(Note: If you are children/family worker looking to support families in doing this – first understand the family dynamics of different homes: the pressure points, the difficulties, what brings a smile, what gives a feeling of safety).