Christian parents desire to raise our children in a way that glorifies the Lord and teaches them to treasure His word above all things. Family devotions are an important aspect of this teaching. It can be difficult, however, to find the time to sit down together and focus on God’s word. So, practically, how do we do it?
Let’s look at the model that the Lord gives us:
“Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might. And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and you shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise.” Deuteronomy 6:4-7
Clearly, we have a tremendous responsibility in front of us. God has entrusted us with teaching our children to love and obey Him because we love him. But isn’t it interesting that God addresses the parents’ hearts first? “You shall love the Lord your God. And my command (to love and treasure me) should be on your heart. Then, teach your children to love and obey me.” When should we do this? When we are at home, when we are sitting, when we are walking, when we lie down, when we wake up -- all the time.
God’s plan includes teaching our children to love and obey him because we ourselves are growing in our love for Him. Our kids (and the Lord, more importantly) can see right through us when we are merely acting the part rather than being transformed from the inside by His love and the Holy Spirit.
According to Deuteronomy 6, not only are we to love God first and foremost, but we are to be consistent and persistent in teaching our children about Him.
How can we do this?
As mentioned above, make sure your own walk with God is strong through regular prayer and personal devotion time.
Pray a lot, with and for your children, any time of the day. It is also important to start your children in the habit of prayer, for themselves and the world around them. Your church may have prayer calendars, where you and your family can pray for different missionaries or unreached people groups around the world. A good resource for this is the Global Prayer Digest.
Have a plan (weekly, daily, whatever works best) with set times where your family gathers around to read the Bible and pray together. This practice grows our love for Him and understanding of how He commands us to live. Remember the goal is to show your children who God is as He reveals Himself in scripture.
As you study God’s word together, find opportunities to talk about what you are learning throughout the week and what you are struggling with. Your children need to see that their parents are sinful humans in need of a rescuer too. Remember, we only relate to God based on His grace, not our performance. If we are to truly cherish the Lord, we have to model repentance and our need for rescue by God again and again. We are all works in process dependent on GOD to purify our hearts.
What can you read together?
The Bible! Particularly the gospels, or Old Testament hero stories. Take time to talk about what you read. Some helpful questions when studying any scripture.
- What does this passage tell me about Jesus/God the Father/the Holy Spirit?
- What does this tell me about myself/humans in general?
- What hope is there in this passage?
Or a simple tool you could use when reading any scripture is SOS:
S: What does the text say?
O: What do I need to obey?
S: What do I need to share?
Find a family devotional to help guide you, such as:
- The Jesus Storybook Bible, by Sally Lloyd-Jones
- The Beginner’s Bible: Timeless Children’s Stories
- The Big Picture Story Bible, by David Helm
- The Long Story Short, by Marty Machowski -- 10 minute devotional stories that any family can fit into its day.
- Devotions for Beginning Readers, by Crystal Bowman and Christy Lee Taylor -- a great resource when you child is ready to read and discover the Bible on his or her own!
- Leading Little Ones to God, by Marian M. Schoolland -- this devotional groups Bible stories into thematic sections, where children learn about God, his character, humans and their sin, and the story of the gospel.
Looking for a new educational opportunity for your child in San Francisco? Join other like-minded families for an Information Session, hosted by Donum Dei Classical Academy. Come and see for yourself the difference a Classical Christian education can make in the life of your child. To register for the next session, click the image below!
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