Spiritual Conversations with Children: Listening to God Together, By Lacy Finn Borgo alt

Spiritual Conversations with Children

Listening to God Together

by Lacy Finn Borgo

Spiritual Conversations with Children
  • Length: 192 pages
  • Published: March 10, 2020
  • Imprint: IVP Formatio
  • Item Code: 4833
  • ISBN: 9780830848331

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We are born into this world with a natural longing to connect to God and other human beings. When children have a listening companion who hears, acknowledges, and encourages their early experiences with God, it creates a spiritual footprint that shapes their lives. How can we increase our capacity to engage children in spiritual conversations?

In this book Lacy Finn Borgo draws on her own experience of practicing spiritual direction with children. She offers an overview of childhood spiritual formation and introduces key skills for engaging conversation—posture, power, and patterns—from a Christ-centered perspective.

"When we are fully present and open to another, we will be changed," Borgo writes. "Indeed, as you listen to God with a child, the child will lead you into a fuller experience of God's love and acceptance."

In this book you'll find:

  • Sample interactive dialogues with children
  • Ideas for engaging children with play, art, and movement
  • Prayers to use together

Whether you are a parent or grandparent, pastor or spiritual director, you will find this to be a friendly guide into deeper ways of listening.

"Learning to be truly present to another human being is the crying need of our day. For children, the need is double and triple. By gripping story and vivid metaphor, Lacy Finn Borgo shows us step-by-step how we can be truly present when we are with others, children especially. Spiritual Conversations with Children provides us with open windows and swinging doors onto the inner lives of children. I recommend it highly."

Richard J. Foster, author of Celebration of Discipline and Streams of Living Water

"It has been said that children are natural contemplatives. Lacy Finn Borgo quotes a child as saying, 'We're detectives looking for the fingerprints of God,' an excellent definition of contemplatives. In this book about her ministry of listening with spiritual attunement to children, Borgo offers us a rare gift—the opportunity to notice some of those holy fingerprints in the lives of children, including the children we once were and the ones we now know. With practical suggestions, theological insight, and salty wisdom, Spiritual Conversations with Children helps us know better how to welcome, learn from, and bless children as Jesus would have us do."

Susan S. Phillips, sociologist and spiritual director, author of The Cultivated Life: From Ceaseless Striving to Receiving Joy

"This book is a must-read for those doing ministry with children no matter their religious affiliation or context. It is equally meaningful reading for parents as for others who minister with children, for pastors as well as those professionals who work with children in emotional health settings."

Trevecca Okholm, author of Kingdom Family: Re-Envisioning God's Plan for Marriage and Family

"Who will wrestle for the spiritual formation of a child? Who will show us how to steward the soul of a little one? Who can help us become witnesses instead of instigators for the ones we hold precious? Lacy Finn Borgo can. She's someone who has learned the ancient lesson—to not block but to bring the little children to Jesus."

Jonathan R. Bailey, cofounder of Dwell and board chair of Renovaré

"If you are a parent or grandparent or if you have ever been a child, this book is for you. Lacy Borgo writes in a way that is humorous, folksy, insightful, practical, and engaging. And she is sneaky-wise. Like her friend Jesus, she knows that if you want to find the kingdom of God, you'll need to listen well to children. They know how to receive it and have much to teach. So buy this book because you want to be a better caregiver to one or more children you know and love, but read it to deepen your own relationship with God."

Gary W. Moon, founding executive director of the Martin Institute and Dallas Willard Center, Westmont College, author of Becoming Dallas Willard

"A resource is finally here that helps us know how to talk with children about things that matter—spiritual things, eternal things. We know how to talk at children and to them, but with them is a different skill. It is an even greater challenge to be able to listen to children. Lacy Finn Borgo masterfully helps us do these things. Loaded with examples from her years of first-hand experience, she explains creative approaches using ingenious objects. Three words describe this remarkable book: inspiring, instructive, imaginative! Borgo also helps us recall our own past so that we ourselves can be open to healing. How that happens is mystery: 'Mystery is to be experienced, not mangled. It's pure grace. It cannot be planned.' Let it happen as it did for me while I read this book."

Scottie May, associate professor emerita of Christian formation and ministry, Wheaton College

"There are so many things to love about Spiritual Conversations with Children—solid theology, spiritual insights, practical suggestions, stories of children and their relationship with God. But what I love most is Lacy's deep appreciation and love for children. She invites us to enter into the world of young people and their relationship with God—to understand what is going on in their lives and how God is at work in those lives. She introduces us to spiritual direction with children and teaches us how to build listening relationships with them and to appreciate and value their lives and faith. This book is a gift to parents, grandparents, and all those who work with children and their families."

John Roberto, author, instructor, and consultant in lifelong faith formation

"Jesus honored children with his attention and blessings. Borgo continues that legacy with this astonishing book on caring for the very real, vibrant, spiritual world of children. She inspires us to see children in a fresh way, no matter their circumstances or outward mannerisms. She teaches us to come alongside and nurture these small souls with spiritual conversations. This book is for anyone who wants to be a better adult to children as together we seek intimacy with Christ."

MaryKate Morse, mentor and author

"Borgo invites us into the sacred space of spiritual direction with children, showing us how to come alongside them on their spiritual journey. Along the way, she weaves a textured theological tapestry that is accessible and engaging, developing a trinitarian theology of generosity (versus scarcity). Her lyrical writing draws us in; her humble approach wins our hearts; her touching stories make spiritual conversations seem doable. I believe Borgo's work will be another children's spirituality classic, deeply moving, tender, affective—a book for the ages."

Holly Allen, chair of the Children's Spirituality Summit, professor of family studies and Christian ministries, Lipscomb University

"Lacy Borgo has written a wonderful book. If you can get through it without shedding tears, your heart has turned to stone. Lacy understands children, the ways of the Holy Spirit, and God's special love for these precious, developing image-bearers. This book will help those whose vocation involves working with children, and all those who remember—and still experience—the goodness and difficulty of growing up. A wise and wonderful book."

Chris Hall, president of Renovaré

"Combining insights from Scripture, developmental psychology, and her own extensive experience, Lacy helps us to see that each encounter with a child can be a God moment. Through her obvious respect for those children with whom she companions, her own sacred curiosity in their everyday experiences, and her personal confidence in God's hidden presence in their lives, Lacy also shows how we can be with those children in our midst. Her message is gently insistent: Children are God's image bearers. God is personally present and lovingly active in their lives. Be attentive and listen well. This book is a special gift for all those grandparents, parents, pastors, teachers, and therapists who want to interact creatively with children around their spiritual formation."

Trevor Hudson, lecturer at Renovaré and the Fuller Seminary in DMin program in Spiritual Direction, author of Discovering Our Spiritual Identity

"Read this book and you'll get all you need from a master teacher: a foundation of child development insights, intriguing street-level techniques for connecting with kids, verbatim sessions, and ideas for addressing hot-button issues. Also excellent for parents and grandparents, aunts and uncles."

Jan Johnson, spiritual director, author of Meeting God in Scripture

"This book is a gift to the next generation of friends of children. We have needed to listen to the spiritual life of children for a long time and Lacy has taught us how. In Spiritual Conversations with Children, Lacy shares her bag of tricks, helping us learn to be present with a child. Illustrated with well-chosen stories, this book is a reminder of Jesus' presence with ordinary little people. Yet it is also an introduction to a new worldview of children's ministries, the view from a child's own encounter with God."

Evan Howard, professor of Christian spirituality at Fuller Theological Seminary and author of Praying the Scriptures

"In a time when spiritual practices are being encouraged, taught, and utilized by many in the Christian church, Lacy Finn Borgo shows us how to help children engage in these practices, implicitly reminding us that God wants a relationship with all of his children, young and old. In this book Borgo opens our eyes to the many ways we can engage with children, providing a variety of tools and resources that can be utilized to engage children in their spiritual relationship with God that are founded on an understanding of children and their developmental needs. She also reminds us of our posture, a posture of listening, encouraging, and receiving when working with children. It is my hope that this book will encourage and equip those who work in the field of children's spirituality."

Mimi Larson, guest assistant professor of Christian formation and ministry, Wheaton College

"In this paradigm-shifting book, Lacy Borgo invites us to consider children's ministry that has less to do with teaching about God and more to do with witnessing and honoring children's encounters with God that are already taking place. . . . Knowing Lacy, I had suspected that reading Spiritual Conversations with Children would forever change the way I interact with my kids, and it has. But what I didn't anticipate is the way this book has ministered deeply to the child who still lives in me—helping me to begin to recognize movements of God in my younger life that I had previously missed. If there are children in your life—or if you ever were a child—this book has much to offer."

Carolyn Arends, recording artist, author, and Renovaré director of education

"Lacy Finn Borgo is imaginative, creative, and present as she offers children spaces to listen for God in their own individual and unique ways. Over the years I have seen Lacy capture the hearts and minds of adult children and invite us back beyond our thinking about God, into deep places of knowing and being fully alive with God. This book is for every adult who cares for a child and every adult who may have forgotten to be a child listening to God together!"

Juanita Campbell Rasmus, speaker, writer, and copastor of St. John's Church Downtown, Houston

Read an Excerpt


Introduction: Learning from Christopher
1. Learning from Jesus
2. Children’s Spiritual Formation
3. Posture, Power, and Patterns
4. The Gift of Eyes and Ears
5. The Language of Play and Projection
6. Attending the Spirit
7. Whole Person Prayer
8. Two Friends on an Expedition
Conclusion: Mystery
Appendix 1: Childlike Version of Psalm 23
Appendix 2: Three Guided Prayer Pages for Walking a Labyrinth
Appendix 3: A Childlike Adaptation of the Lord’s Prayer with Bodies
Appendix 4: Holy Listening Information and Permission Form
Recommended Reading


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Lacy Finn Borgo

Lacy Finn Borgo is the author of Spiritual Conversations with Children and the children’s book All Will Be Well. She teaches and provides spiritual direction for the Renovaré Institute and the Companioning Center. She especially loves meeting with children at Haven House, a transitional facility for families without homes. Lacy holds a doctor of ministry in leadership and spiritual formation and a certificate in spiritual direction from Portland Seminary.

Lacy Finn Borgo says "When children have a listening companion who hears, acknowledges, and encourages their early experiences with God, it creates a spiritual footprint."
Gary Moon says "Buy this book because you want to be a better caregiver to one or more children you know and love, but read it to deepen your own relationship with God."
Graphic of woman holding a child.
Juanita Rasmus says " Lacy Finn Borgo is imaginative, creative, and present as she offers children spaces to listen for God in their own individual and unique ways."