Read This If:
- You’d like your child to more effectively engage with God in prayer, better understand the stories of the bible and how it relates personally to them, hold fast to scriptural truth, and live out a Christ-like heart in the world around.
- You desire to journey along with your child in their spiritual formation, taking part in personal prayer times where the Holy Spirit leads, guides and directs your time together.
- You’d like to grow in your own spiritual formation by giving the Holy Spirit the opportunity to engage with you through divine imagination.
How do we help our kids connect with God? Most parents want their kids to learn to love God. But most of us struggle to facilitate real spiritual experiences. It’s hard enough to have a meaningful conversation with our kids about spiritual things, let alone help them experience true transformation in the presence of God. Jared Patrick Boyd discovered that children’s spiritual formation is rooted in the imagination. When we lead our children through guided times of imaginative prayer, they can experience a connection with God that transcends mere Bible knowledge or doctrinal content. This unique resource provides six units of weekly guided imaginative prayer, themed around core topics: God’s love, loving others, forgiveness, God as king, the good news of God, and the mission of God. Each unit has six sessions, providing a yearlong experience of spiritual formation for children ages five to thirteen. Through imaginative prayer, you can help your child connect with God. As you do so, you may find yourself connecting more closely with your child, and your own formation as a parent will deepen into greater awareness of God’s work in your lives.
Review by Leigh-Ann Brisbin
The Christian imagination plays a great role in the spiritual development of the soul St. John of the Cross
As a mother, licensed clinical counselor, and believer in Jesus Christ I found this book immensely helpful in guiding the spiritual formation of my own child. It was fascinating to watch how the Holy Spirit engaged the divine imagination both in my child and myself. this book also facilitated quality time between us where we could join in with each other’s journey as the Holy Spirit led.
Jared Boyd does a thorough job of equipping the parent/mentor for the discussion and imaginative process with their child by beginning each prayer time with a connection and formation section – in essence, the goal of that designated prayer, and a Q&A. He supplies an easy to follow script to lead your child in sound and scriptural prayer and then follows up the prayer time with a special segment for the parent or mentor to process their own experience.
The prayer time is enhanced by a section leading the child and parent into journaling about their experience.
As a licensed professional clinical counselor, I found that the process makes complete sense regarding learning, processing, and living out truth. Children primarily learn and process through experience and imagination. It is their natural mode of understanding before they develop the capacity to process language. As adults, we were designed to meet with the Lord, learn and process through both language and experience together; however, in our fallen nature, and in the context of our culture, we tend to neglect the divine imagination and how God might teach us about himself through it.
We are also in a time of instant knowledge and are prone to dismiss the need to slow down and engage with our imagination and our thoughts.
Boyd quotes both G.K. Chesterson and St. John of the Cross regarding the divine imagination.
“The Christian imagination plays a great role in the spiritual development of the soul”. – St. John of the Cross.
“There is something mysterious and perhaps more than moral about the power and call of imagination.” – G.K. Chesterson
Boyd states, “there is a way for us to read and experience Scripture that puts us in the story” (pg.20). Imaginative prayer engages the part of the brain that helps to makes sense of the word of God and how it intersects with our own personal journey. In addition, Boyd’s process helps to store God’s truth in long term memory, which happens through building on understanding and through moments and process. The topics build upon each other and possess continuity of understanding from creation and identity, to the love, grace of God, to Jesus Kingship. and message of the gospel, and finally to living out faith in the context of the world.
There is a way for us to read and experience Scripture that puts us in the story.pg. 20
As a busy working mom, I found the process doable, helpful, and well worth the time spent. It is designed for a 30-minute time frame per week for imaginative prayer and then 10 minutes each day for reflection. My daughter and I thoroughly enjoyed, and looked forward to, our time spent together and the shared experience. God showed up and revealed himself in some amazing ways.
Boyd has covered all of the bases for an optimal opportunity to meet with the Holy Spirit and to grow in His truth through imaginative prayer.
There are two areas I would just encourage the reader to be aware of…
1. The publisher’s description notes that the book is written for 5-13 year old children. I found that while the topics relate to any age, I had to read ahead and change the language for a more mature child as well as help smaller children understand some of the symbolism used. This was a minor issue and did not disrupt the prayer time as long as I read ahead of time and tailored it to the child I was with.
2. At times I wanted to “go off script” as the Holy Spirit led. There are opportunities in the prayer time to ask the child questions about their experience and imaginative prayer. I found it helpful to follow the Holy Spirit in asking follow up questions to some of their answers from time to time and then come back to the script when God led us back there for the remainder of the prayer time. This led to a richer experience for them, however, making sure we made our way back was important in accomplishing the goal of that time and honoring how God led and revealed himself in the entire process.
Imaginative prayer is an easy readable book that facilitates time and opportunity for the Holy Spirit to work in the spiritual formation of you and your child.