We live in a multicultural world. Our children frequently encounter people from other ethnic and religious backgrounds. Why not make learning about and praying for the peoples of the world–especially those who have little or no access to the good news of Jesus–part of your ongoing family discipleship? This benefits our children in several ways.
It aligns their view with God’s. Instead of viewing people from other cultures and backgrounds as strange or scary, our children come to view the peoples of the world through God’s eyes… as people God created, loves, and desires to redeem… as people from whom God is worthy to receive worship… as people who are like lost sheep without a shepherd.
It cultivates hearts of compassion. As our families consistently learn about and pray for unreached peoples, an internal shift takes place in the hearts and minds of our children. They begin to relate to the unreached as real people rather than as nameless, faceless statistics. This often leads to a growing compassion and concern for their spiritual state.
It gives them a sense of purpose. Children love to participate in causes that are greater than themselves. By praying for peoples who currently have no way of hearing about Jesus, they become active participants in God’s mission of drawing the nations to Himself.
To begin learning, choose a specific people group to focus on for a month. You can find cultural information on many people groups on the internet or at your local library. For information on their religious beliefs, go to joshuaproject.net or pray through the groups featured in Window on the World. Weave has child-friendly stories and videos on unreached people groups as well.
Each week, do a simple cultural learning activity related to the people group. Discuss how their religious beliefs contrast with the truth in God’s Word. End with prayer. Make learning fun and memorable by engaging your children’s senses. Here are some ideas for helping them see, hear, smell, taste, touch, and move as they learn and pray for a people group throughout the month.
SEE: Locate where the people group lives on a world map. Watch a video about their culture. Look at picture books which show their environment, homes, schools, markets, transportation, clothing, foods, and arts.
HEAR: Listen to traditional music, or words and phrases in their language. Listen to sounds associated with their worship like drums, chants, bells, or the Muslim call to prayer.
SMELL: Smell a common spice, fruit, vegetable, or incense.
TASTE: Sample a common fruit, vegetable, or drink. Eat a traditional meal or snack. Look for recipes online, shop international markets, or go to a restaurant serving food representative of their region.
TOUCH/MOVE: Demonstrate children’s chores in this people group. Fashion typical clothing and head coverings from things you have around the house. Play a popular game or try a traditional dance. Make a craft. Practice a common greeting in their language.
Aim to engage at least two senses in your weekly learning and prayer time. The following month, focus on a new people group. Not only will you shape your children’s view of the world, but you will also involve them in blessing the nations.