Thursday, May 19, 2011

Create in Me a Clean Heart

A while ago, I came across some wonderful prayer calenders that I now use to pray for my husband and my children.  I shrunk these calendars down so that I could keep them right in my Bible.  I love these calendars!  They have really helped me focus my prayers for my kids and husband.   Click here and scroll down to "Downloadable Resources" to find both calendars.

I have also found while praying through these calendars that the Lord uses them to inspire ideas for teaching my children.  On one day, when I was praying for my children to have "A Servant's Heart" (Day 24 on the calendar), the Lord inspired this idea.  Another time, the verse given on the calendar to pray through was this:

Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me.
Psalm 51:10

God graciously gave me an idea of how to illustrate this to my children.  I had seen out there, in internet-land somewhere, an activity where a mom gave her children craft foam that was cut into cars.  Then the kids colored on the cars and they washed the marker off.  As I was praying through Psalm 51:10 for my children, God reminded me of the car wash activity and this is what grew...

  • Craft foam cut into hearts
  • WASHABLE markers
  • Little tubs of water and dish soap
  • Towels or washcloths

Here's the gist of it:  The kids colored on their hearts using washable markers to represent the sin in their own hearts.  We then cleaned the hearts by washing them in the soapy water.  The marker comes off.  I didn't really believe the marker would come off, so as any good teacher would, I tested it first.  It works!  The first time we did this, I did not take any pictures as I wanted to be focused on what was happening and be able to talk with my kids.  The pictures you see here were taken after we did the "official" activity...more of a free play time.  Underneath each picture, I have written the dialogue that I shared with my kids while we were doing the "official" thing.

While coloring:  "When we were born as tiny babies our hearts were already filled with yucky black sin.  When you were born your hearts were sinful, when Mommy and Daddy were born our hearts were sinful, every baby has a sinful heart...except for Jesus.  Do you want your heart to look yucky like that?"
While washing:  "Because Jesus died on the cross for us, our hearts don't have to be filled with yucky sin.  There is a verse in the Bible that says, 'Create in me a CLEAN heart' (Psalm 51:10).  We can ask God to clean our hearts and because Jesus died for us, He will.  Another verse in the Bible says, 'Wash me clean from my iniquity and cleanse me from my sin' (Psalm 51:2).  Who is the one who washes our hearts clean of sin?  Can we do that by ourselves?
"Look!  The heart is clean!  Who cleans our hearts?  Can we clean our hearts by ourselves?  What if we try REALLY REALLY REALLY hard?  Which kind of heart do you want to have?  Let's thank God that He cleans our hearts."
I wasn't sure how much my kids would connect with this activity, if they could grasp such an analogy.  What a blessing to hear Abby say, "God.  Clean.  Arts (hearts)."

I want to very clear that I don't believe JUST doing something like this with our kids will do anything miraculous (see this post), but I do believe that God can USE it to do something miraculous in their hearts.  I am also reminded, even as I type this, that this activity took about ten minutes.  That leaves a remaining 13 hours and 50 minutes of waking time in which my children see me respond to a myriad of situations.  If, during that time, I do not live out loving God, ten minutes of coloring and washing is probably useless.  Am I loving, joyful, peaceful, patient, kind, good, faithful, gentle and self-controlled?  A big list...which is why, everyday, I am asking God to clean my own heart, allowing me to show Him to my kids by the way that I live my own life.

As a side note, it was about two months from the inception of this idea to actually doing it with my kids and then another monthish before I got around to writing about it.  My kids STILL remember..."God.  Clean.  Arts." 

Thanks be to God!


    1. xoxoxooxoxooxoxooxoxooxooxoxoxoxooxox

    2. This is so great Sarah!! Great activity, great questions, & great reminder about the rest of our waking hours. Thanks!

    3. Thanks so much - I was looking for a craft for 2 & 3 year olds at church. I think they will totally dig this, and it goes with our lesson series perfectly!

    4. Thank you for this post. I have been looking for ways of teaching this verse to my little guys. This is great!

    5. THis is so great! Thank you so much. I am using it in Children's Church tomorrow!

    6. This is a wonderful idea! Thanks for sharing!

    7. Awesome idea! Thank you so much for sharing it.

    8. I love this idea. I have children church tonight and sunday and I cant wait to see the impression the kids have. To God be the glory. Keep working for the Lord.

    9. I teach 3rd and 4th graders and they still loved this activity! I had them write "sin" on the heart as many times as they could so they understood that no matter how much sin they have in their own hearts, God can and will wash away every last bit of it! I also used red dish soap and asked the kids why I chose red so they could have a visual to connect to the blood of Jesus that was shed to save them. They really understood that Jesus is the ONLY way to be saved and live a life in eternity with Him.

    10. Would like to save for future reference but don't no how

    11. Thank you for this brilliant illustration. It's so wonderful to be able to find inspiration from other Mothers wanting to nurture their children's faith. This will be great for the children's group at church.

    12. I can't wait to do this w/ our Children's Church kids. I always do the 3 jars: 1 w/ 1 cup of red koolaid (representing Jesus's blood); 1 w/ grape koolaid (sin); then 1 w/ bleach. As i tell the story of how Jesus shed his blood to create in us a clean heart. If we accept him as our Savior, love & trust him He will give us a new heart. That's the gist of it. As you pour the red jar & white jar into the black sinful heart, it turned clear.

    13. Thanks for sharing! I'm going to do this with 1 room Sunday school (ages 15 months to 12 years. No joke. 5 kids total and the 12 year old knows very little, so we doing the basics

    14. Thank you so much! Will use this in Sunday school. God bless xx

    15. Thank you for this lesson. I am modifying it for my church and using it for my sermon illustration this morning!