When my children were younger, we took many walks through our neighborhood. We would count all the animals we saw, stop and try to identify all the sounds we could hear, and mainly take any chance we had to greet our neighbors!
One thing we did regularly is pray for each of the people in our neighborhood as we passed their home. At one point, our family created a Neighborhood Watch list so everyone had each others’ numbers… and WE had a prayer list! I created a little map of our neighborhood and labeled each home with the names of the families who lived there. It was so fun for our children to connect the Scripture “Love your neighbor as yourself” (Matthew 22:39) with the actual faces and names of their neighbors.
I even hosted a couple “Backyard Bible Clubs” and Tea Parties for our children and the neighbor kids. One year, our oldest and I made Resurrection Eggs with instructions and delivered them to the neighbor kids. God even used it to bring two of the children to Christ! Spending time with the neighborhood kids is a great way to meet their parents and build relationships that can lead to intentional spiritual conversations.
As life has sped up with school and activities, we take fewer prayer walks. However, we do Pray as we drive by. When I have an extra two minutes, I’ll drive up our street and we’ll pray for whatever neighbors we know and for salvation in the rest of the homes.
Over the years our neighborhood community has changed a lot and this post is a great reminder that it’s time to update our “Neighborhood Watchlist.” Our children are old enough to start inviting the neighborhood kids over for water fights, hide and seek, and popsicles. I think it’s time to schedule a BBQ so we know who we are praying for and how to best serve them!
And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ Matthew 22:39
In what ways do you help your children serve and connect with your neighbors?