About 10 weeks ago I decided we really needed to find a way to shift our focus toward God first thing in the morning. I talked it over with Tony, and we came up with a plan.
Every morning, as soon as breakfast is over, the kids and I gather and have morning worship. The goal is learn about God and praise Him. We wanted the children to have a routine that included learning the Bible and learning songs to praise and worship God. We start with a memory verse, one each week, then sing kid songs and choruses, then have prayer together. The length of each activity is based almost entirely on how the kids are responding - I don't have any set perimeters for how many songs we sing or how many times we go over the memory verse. We don't have a story or lesson or anything like that - I wanted to keep prep work basically nonexistent, and I wanted to keep it active and moving to keep James' interest. We also have bedtime devotions, when we do have a story and lots, and LOTS of talking - thanks to little miss "Why?".
I love. love. love. LOVE. morning worship. Cadence is on her eighth memory verse, James starts doing the motion to each song before we are done with the first word, and they both dash over to the seat and put their heads down when I say it's time to pray. This time of coming together, setting aside all the cares of our day, all the things that need to be done, and having a routine time of learning and worshiping God has completely relaxed our morning. It is wonderful. I guess it really is true that if we find ways to seek God first, all the rest will follow!
"But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you." Matthew 6:33
Here's a bit of out "Method" (Ha! Like anything around here has an actual method!):
Memory verse – this is the only thing I prep for. All through the week and pray and consider what verse we should learn next. I have been trying to find things I think Cadence can understand and use in her daily life. Over the weekend I print out the verse on a 4X6 card and slide it into our memory verse photo album – just a cheap album I found upstairs. Cadence is a visual learner despite not being able to read, so having a different color/image on each page reminds her of each verse. I need the reminder so when we’re saying them each day we don’t forget one! Each morning we say all the verses we already know, then spend some time on the new one. All but one week Cadence has had the new one memorized by Wednesday. I let James either sit on my lap and look at the pictures or get down and play. The point is not getting them to practice sitting still, it is to allow them their own time to worship God in their own enthusiastic and exuberant way.
Singing – We sing kids songs and some adult songs Cadence enjoys. I try to include lots with motions for James, and I let the kids run around the play room while we sing. When they lose focus, we move on.
Prayer – we just kneel down where we are and I lead in a short prayer, usually focused on being thankful and asking God to help us in our day.