I recently made a post about the importance of teaching your children to fall in love with God and not just relying on just Sunday school teachers, youth pastors, and pastors to teach them this lesson. I know that was a bold statement, but if you truly want your child to fall in love with God and His word, it starts in the home. That means it starts with you. Now I know that can be a scary thought, and you may feel inadequate, but let me reassure you that God will give you the wisdom and equip you with what you need if you ask Him (James 1:5).
Today I am going to give you some practical daily rhythms to help you have a Christ centered home where you are teaching your child to fall in love with God. Think about this; Lets say your church has two services a week and they last around an hour and a half each. If you are relying on just the church to teach your child Christain values and the Word of God, your child will only be getting taught these topics for three hours out of 168 hours in the week! Now don’t get me wrong, I truly believe in church and Sunday school programs. I have had the opportunity to teach in many of these settings and I believe they are extremely valuable and needed. But no Sunday school teacher or pastor can be at your home all the time like you are with your children. Teaching Biblical principles to your children start with you.
Before I begin, I want you to know that I am not an expert at parenting. My fear in writing posts like these is that people will think that I see myself as perfect and someone who is super spiritual that has all this advice. Let me debunk that right now because half the time I have no idea what I am doing and I mess up daily. I just have a desire to raise my son in a Godly home and my husband and I are working hard to create a home that fosters this attitude. All I know is that I want to raise my son to not only go to church and be taught the Word of God and Christian values, but to also be taught these things at home. We have found some things that have worked for us so far and want to share. Even though my child is only two, we have started to put rhythms in place to help us have a Christ centered home. We have found some things that have worked for us so far and want to share in hopes that together, we can create homes where our children fall in love with Him. Here are a few things that we are working on to put into place and I hope they can help you too…
We have a time of Bible reading. I usually read a children’s Bible story. I have heard where parents will choose a passage from the Bible and have their children follow along in their own Bible. However, with a two year old, pictures are very helpful. Now in reality we do not spend thirty minutes or even ten minutes reading because his attention span is very short and I usually sum up the story. But I try to make sure that the main points are coming across. We then end in a short prayer while he crawls around all over me. But hey, at least he is thoughtful enough to say amen at the end.
I pray out loud. I believe it is so important for children to hear you pray so they have an example. I try to make the prayer relevant to the Bible story we just read. If we read about Daniel and the lion's den I pray that like Daniel, God would give Little O the courage to stand up for truth. We typically do our reading time and pray in the mornings but it can easily be done before bed. My dad always read Bible stories and prayed with my brother and I before bed. I honestly cannot see why this can’t be done with teenagers as well. Take some time maybe after dinner to read a passage of scripture and then discuss what you just read. You could also do this before dinner so you have something to talk about during dinner.
We play Christian music all the time. What your children listen to is so important. I feel like my husband and I have this discussion at least once a month on how influential music is. Your children will inevitably listen to music so why not share with them the right kind of music to listen to. If we are speaking about children, there are so many great bands with worship music for kids. My personal favorites are Rend Co. Kids, Beckah Shae’s Scripture Snacks, Bible Beats for Little Feets, and Gateway Kids Worship. Now obviously if your children are older they will probably not dance around the house to these songs like we do (side note, dance parties with toddlers are easy and free workouts). However, there are so many amazing Christian bands out there in all kinds of genres that have the same beat as their favorite secular song, but have deep and wholesome lyrics that bring glory to God. If you truly are interested in this, my husband can definitely help so send me a message!
I let my child see me worship, read my Bible, and hear me pray. Why? Because children learn by example. She will probably kill me for putting this in here, but I remember times when my mom would get so caught up with the worship song she was listening to that she would just start openly worshiping in our home. I learned by her example. I would hear my dad pray for us each night after he took the time to ask my brother and I what our prayer requests were. We learned by his example. Friends, don’t hide these things from your children no matter their age. Obviously be sincere, and there will be times where you need to worship, read, and pray alone. But don’t be afraid every once in a while to break out in worship in your house and pray with your children out loud.
I want to use scripture in my home. This goes beyond just having certain scriptures hanging on cute signs in my home. Notice I did not start by saying I have scripture in my home, but that I use scripture in my home. There is one verse that I felt like God gave me for Little O that we recite often 1 Corinthians 16:13-14. While he is not completely able to understand what the verse means yet, I look forward to the day that I can dive into its meaning with him. I also hope to start using scripture as we help teach him right from wrong and about forgiveness. The Bible has so many scriptures that teach us how to live and how much God loves us. I plan on using these scriptures to teach my son these lessons. The Bible is the greatest parenting book we can have.
I hope these rhythms help and I would love to hear more ideas of what has worked for you as I am just starting on this parenting journey! I once heard a story of a man who came up to his pastor confused as to why his daughter was no longer in church when they had brought her to church every time the church was open. The father said something like this, “we taught our daughter to go to church but we did not teach her to fall in love with God.” I hope and pray that we can be a generation of parents that teach our children to fall in love with God. To teach them the reason why we actually go to church. To teach them to respect and listen to their Sunday school teachers and pastors. To teach them that when they walk out the church doors they now have a responsibility to sow what they have just learned. May we each raise children that fall in love with God so that when it is time for them to leave the home, they continue to follow Him.