In our church and in our home, we believe God is speaking to us all the time. When we read his Word, we gain understanding and insight about God's character, standard of living and his views on all matter of living. When we pray, we have a conversation with God, although most praying is us speaking to God.
It's when we stop speaking and meditate or choose to listen, that we begin to hear. Some people 'hear' a still small voice, some people 'hear' through a picture or vision in their head, and many people 'hear' God speaking insights and truth to them in the form of dreams.
I recently realized an easy way to encourage my children even more, to listen for God. Through out the day, at random times, I will ask them various questions to get them into the habit of listening for God. It has become almost like a game, not to be irreverent but because they are children and God is fun!
What is God saying to you right now?
What is God saying to you for me?
What is God saying to you for any/everyone?
These may seem like hard questions to answer initially. Once you get in the habit of recognizing God's voice and discerning His Spirit, it becomes easier. One of my children usually has an answer for me immediately. Another one needs a few minutes but is getting faster. Sometimes the 'word' they get is partial and then I have the rest of it--like when I ask what the word is for 'anyone'.
Then I also give them a word for themselves. I was even surprised how it was so unique to each of them and how easily it rolled off my tongue when I committed to speak it out.
I believe God wants to encourage us, so often we will call it an encouraging word. Right now, they are in the habit of listening for something encouraging. It is also often called a prophetic word because of the prophetic nature it ministers to it's recipient. Often, the words might hit right to the hearers heart, relating to a current struggle or time in their life.
At the church we attend on Sunday mornings, it's pretty relaxed. The children are allowed and encouraged to draw pictures during worship. They are also encouraged to worship by singing, dancing or waving colorful flags. But the pictures are prayed over and maybe a few words or a scripture are added to them. Then they are given out to people in attendance. It appears random but it is not. Each picture is prayed over to be given to exactly who God intends it for. Many times the recipients are overwhelmed by how the pictures minister to the current state of their heart.
I think we often over look God's heart toward children. We may believe in His spiritual gifts but it seems we encourage these gifts in adults and over look the access that a child would also have to them. There are so many verses in the Bible where God is proclaiming his love for children, why wouldn't He also then, impart his spirit upon them?
There have been times in my own life where I have been experiencing a rough moment and I have asked my children to give me an encouraging word, to tell me what God wants me to know because I was feeling extremely down and discouraged. Without giving them details, they have been able to speak into my spirit and confirm without a doubt that God was in the situation.
These are gifts, spiritual gifts. The sooner we start teaching our children to recognize and utilize them...how much more powerful will they be in adulthood? Because why should we wait until adulthood to connect with God's Holy Spirit? If we believe there is power in His spirit, then I think we should be doing more to train up our children now to access that power.