Seeing God through nature seems natural, but it takes some training to learn to truly recognize, worship, and connect with God through nature.
One of my friend’s boys woke up with the sun one day, and discovered the beauty of the sunrise. “God made the sky for me and it is so beautiful! It makes my heart happy!” he told his mom.
Of the 9 worship styles for kids, a child that leans toward the naturalist style feels most connected to our creative Creator God when they’re out in nature.
But how can you help tune their hearts to sing God’s praises in the great outdoors?
The sand that was laid on the icy winter roads for traction had been scraped onto the boulevards. The snow had finally melted, but the grit remained. It’s one of my least favourite parts of my very favourite season: spring. But in the midst of this sand and dust, small blades of grass poked through.
I pointed out the small blades of grass to my 4 year old son. “Look! The grass was dead all winter, but now it’s coming back to life.”
But I didn’t leave it at that. I followed up with a question. “Do you know someone who was dead but came back to life?”
His answer, of course, was Jesus! We then had an interesting conversation about the resurrection and power of God — all because of green grass.
Not every child that loves nature will naturally let it point him toward God. However, it can be a powerful way to help your child connect with God. Nature can lead us to worship, and nature can teach us something about God.
God speaks through creation
As Paul writes in Romans,
For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities – his eternal power and divine nature – have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that people are without excuse.Romans 1:20 (NIV)
Like Paul states, there are so many lessons about God that can be learned from nature, and your naturalist child already has a God-given appreciation for them.
Teaching children about God through nature
The best way to help our children figure out what God is revealing to them through nature is not by lecturing them about it but by asking gentle questions.
Questions help by:
- enabling us discern what God is doing
- drawing us closer to God
- encouraging us “ponder the invisible things of God”
- leading us to worship.
This can be as simple as you pointing to something amazing in the creation and saying, “Isn’t that beautiful? Thanks Jesus!”
Your moment of worship teaches your child to notice God’s hand when they look at his creation.
For slightly older kids, or if you’re ready for a deeper conversation, here are some questions you can use to set up a teachable moment:
- What amazes you about that?
- What does that teach you about God?
A book about seeing God through nature
This gentle teaching is illustrated so well in Max Lucado’s book, “The Boy and the Ocean”.
In this book, the nameless boy learns about God’s love through the mystery and power of the ocean, the mountains, and the sky.
This book is so gentle and rhythmic that is has almost put me to sleep a couple of times! <– Not because it’s a bad book but because it’s very relaxing. It almost has the push and pull feel of waves on the sand. It’s such a beautiful way to show your naturalist child how we can learn about God and connect with God through his creation.
You can ask your local Christian bookstore or library to bring in “The Boy and the Ocean” or you can snag it right now on Amazon.
I also highly recommend a favorite devotional that our family uses, called Indescribable: 100 Devotions About God and Science. I like that it doesn’t really get into origins and creation (which you might think it would), but actually uses examples from a variety of scientific areas like biology, anatomy, microbiology, chemistry, and astronomy. You can check out Indescribable on Amazon.anything here, or click the link below if you’re in the US.
More on Sacred Pathways for Kids
This article was specifically about the Naturalist worship style and seeing God through nature, but did you know there are actually 9 worship styles for kids?
I have a downloadable quiz that you can take which will help you determine which of the 9 worship styles your child leans toward. Take the quiz here.
The concept of Sacred Pathways comes from Gary Thomas’ book by the same name. Check out Sacred Pathways on Amazon.
Other Sacred Pathways for Kids
- The Traditionalist Pathway
- A longer article: How to help your child grow spiritually
- A shorter article and video: One practical tip for teaching children about Jesus
- The Sensate Pathway
- A longer article: God gave us 5 senses: Here’s how our kids can use them to worship God
- A shorter article and video: Helping our kids engage God with all 5 senses