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Your Child Today: 8 to 11 years

Comprehending the Holy Spirit: How your child can move on to a fuller grasp of God's nature

Think back to the last time you went to a top-notch theatre production. How aware were you of the stage crew working behind the scenes? Hopefully, not at all. Your attention was directed to the stage, as it should have been.

The work of the Holy Spirit is similar to a stage crew?working silently and effectively, with the intent to draw our attention to the Lord God. The idea of God as a Spirit can be difficult, but not impossible, for your child to comprehend. During the late elementary years, your child is ready to move on from "Jesus in my heart" to a fuller grasp of God's nature. Swiss psychologist Jean Piaget taught that this is the age when children move from concrete thinking to a better understanding of abstract concepts.

"In the Bible, God has given us a number of concrete images of the Spirit's work in a person's life that can be understood by children," says Mack Thomas, popular children's author and senior editor at WaterBrook Press. "For example, Jesus likens the Holy Spirit to the wind?a perfect picture of God's invisible but powerful presence to which any child can relate.

"Kids know the difference between a liar and a truth-teller," Thomas continues. "Jesus calls the Holy Spirit the 'Spirit of Truth.'"

The following lines from the Celtic-style prayer "God's Every-where Spirit" can be used as a blessing for your child and a starting point for teaching about the Holy Spirit.

"God's Spirit is always in front of me, leading the way." The Holy Spirit helps us make daily decisions (Ps. 143:10).

"God's Spirit is always beside me, helping me and being my friend." The Holy Spirit is always present everywhere (Ps. 139:7-8) and ready to help. He is a teacher and guide (John 16:13; Eph. 1:16-17).

"God's Spirit is always behind me, watching out for me." The Holy Spirit can speak to you clearly and at any time?not audibly, but as an inward knowing (Ezek. 36:26-27). The more you study the Bible, the more you'll recognize God's voice and learn to rely on him.

"God's Spirit is always underneath me, holding me up when I'm tired or sad." The Holy Spirit is called "the Comforter" (John 16:7). He is God's powerful encourager in our lives (Acts 9:31).

"God's Spirit is always above me, praying for me in heaven." The Spirit prays for us when we can't find words ourselves (Rom. 8:26). He's the Someone who's always listening.

"God's Spirit is always inside me, talking to my heart about God's best for me today." Jesus promised that the Holy Spirit would be our internal teacher (John 14:16-17, 26), reminding us of Jesus' words and making every day better.

?Suzanne Woods Fisher
Freelance writer and mother of four

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