I remember waking one night to a scream coming through our end of a baby monitor. I assumed it was our daughter Grace, since the monitor was in her room with the door closed. When I ran upstairs to investigate, I discovered one of our boys hiding under his sheet, screaming and terrified. I hugged him, asked what was wrong and tried to calm him down. My assumption was that he had a bad dream. However, he pointed to the corner of the room and described two "men" that were scary, ugly and were coming after him. He calmed down after a bit and I had him sleep in our bed the rest of the night.
The next morning, I asked him if he remembered what had happened — again, assuming he had a bad dream and imagined everything. I was wrong. He grabbed a piece of paper and drew them exactly where they were in his room, and reminded me that they were coming after him.
I have had similar experiences with each of my children. I've learned over the years to treat their nighttime dreams, fears, and anxieties as spiritual.
This is what I mean by that:
When I put them to bed I always pray for "every evil thing that is in this room or this house to be gone in the name of Jesus Christ." I then pray for "God to send his angels to surround our house and to protect each of our family members." I pray these things out loud, for two reasons.
First, I want my children to know that the spiritual realm is real. That demons are real, and that they are bad and want to scare us. I also want them to know that God is real, His protection is real, and that He is good, loving and is always with us.
Second, I want anything evil to know that we know they are real, we are not afraid because "He who is in us is greater than he who is in the world." I want to "shine light" where they want to remain hidden and in darkness. And that they have to leave when I command them to in the name of Jesus. I say these prayers out loud because demons and spirits that are evil cannot read our thoughts, like God can.
I would also ask my children to describe what was scaring them, what their dream was about, or to point in the direction of what they saw. I again would then pray, "in the name of Jesus" for any and everything to leave. I think by telling our kids about demons and the spiritual realm we are creating a foundation for them to believe and trust in God.
We are teaching them that "we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places." Ephesians 6:12 (ESV)
One morning one of my children told me, "last night I woke up scared and I saw a black cloud in the room that was evil. I did what you said, I prayed, 'I command you to leave in the name of Jesus,' and the cloud got smaller. So I said it again and again and again until the cloud was gone. Then I went back to sleep."
We both laughed after he told it.
So simple, so powerful is the name of Jesus… when we believe!
Our kids get this easily, but only when we teach it to them. Don't be afraid to talk to your children about demons, spiritual warfare and the power of Jesus. Ask about their dreams, how their night was, why they are scared of the dark. It is not always spiritual, but we need to make sure we shut that down as a possibility by praying for our children and teaching them how to pray.
We need to remember we are in a war and that the enemy is here to "kill, steal and destroy" (Jn 10:10) our lives in every way. One of the things he is after is our children.