When I was a child, and even into my teens, I spent most of my free time outdoors. Whether playing active games with friends, exploring the neighborhood woods, or simply laying in the grass and trying to identify different shapes or figures in the clouds, we spent much of our summer disconnected from media or other electronics. Now that I am an adult, I have found I still benefit from enjoying the outdoors, as it evokes praise and admiration of God as I experience first-hand the wonders He has created.
One way we can encourage our children to meditate on and give God praise for His wondrous works is to go on a “Praise Walk.” How? First, read together Psalm 148. Help them identify all of the created things in the verse that are to give praise to God.
Praise the LORD!
Praise the LORD from the heavens;
praise him in the heights!
Praise him, all his angels;
praise him, all his hosts!
Praise him, sun and moon,
praise him, all you shining stars!
Praise him, you highest heavens,
and you waters above the heavens!
Let them praise the name of the LORD!
For he commanded and they were created.
And he established them forever and ever;
he gave a decree, and it shall not pass away.
Praise the LORD from the earth,
you great sea creatures and all deeps,
fire and hail, snow and mist,
stormy wind fulfilling his word!
Mountains and all hills,
fruit trees and all cedars!
Beasts and all livestock,
creeping things and flying birds!
Kings of the earth and all peoples,
princes and all rulers of the earth!
Young men and maidens together,
old men and children!
Let them praise the name of the LORD,
for his name alone is exalted;
his majesty is above earth and heaven.
He has raised up a horn for his people,
praise for all his saints,
for the people of Israel who are near to him.
Praise the LORD!
Next, go to a local park or nature center. Walk along the trails and point out specific things to look at, listen to, smell, and touch. Then turn your observations into praise refrains such as, “Praise the Lord, you fuzzy squirrels. Praise Him, you purple crawling beetles. Praise God, you tall, shady tree. Praise Him, you singing sparrow. Praise the Lord, you warm wind…etc.”
Also, here is a very good article by Dr. Albert Mohler on the importance of getting our children out of doors The following is a quote from the article titled, “Nature-Deficit Disorder—Have Our Children Forgotten How to Play Outdoors?”
This is our Father’s world, and we would do well to receive this world and enjoy it, while giving praise and glory to God for the beauty and bounty it contains. We understand that nature is not an end to itself, and we affirm that the creation exists as the theater of God’s glory for the drama of redemption. All this should help Christians to remember that we honor God most faithfully when we receive His good gifts most gratefully.
Christians should take the lead in reconnecting with nature and disconnecting from machines. Taking the kids for a long walk in the woods would be a great start.