Love Your Kids Enough To...
Two weeks ago we talked about embracing the awkward when it comes to discipling your kids, especially if they’re older and you’ve never done it before. Last week we talked about having spiritual conversations and using teachable moments. Those things can at times feel awkward enough, but this week we want to really embrace it—and I think this a must. As a parent, you need to love your kids enough to…
Read the Bible and pray with them. In some circles this is called family worship. Read the Bible, pray, and sing (if you’re really brave) together. I can hear the pushback in my mind right now. I know your life is busy. I know it may feel really awkward. I know you may not even feel equipped to read the Bible with them, but let me help you and hopefully put some of your concerns to rest.
Before I begin let me say that God has given us Scripture and prayer as gifts. In Scripture we hear from God and in prayer we speak to God. It’s a conversation. What a privilege it is to get to lead our children to the Lord by hearing from Him together through His Word and talking to Him together in prayer. When we frame it that way, I think it sounds a lot better. We know God’s Word is powerful. When we think that before Christ, people had to go through a priest to have access to God then we realize prayer is an honor. We need to teach this to our children.
First, you need to find a time that works for you. I realize that with teens, evenings are busy and inconsistent. But maybe you can carve out time at the breakfast table together. Maybe you can listen to the Bible together on the school commute. This should be (mostly) daily so you’ve got to think of a time that can work for your family. Building a routine is important. We find ways to carve out time for other things. Should we not make extra effort to find time to lead our family to the Lord?
Second, this doesn’t have to be really long. For some reason we can tend to think that longer equals more spiritual, but that isn’t always the case. We desire quality over quantity. You can read a chapter in the book of the Bible or you can read a couple of paragraphs. Your prayers don’t have to be long and drawn out. I encourage singing, but you can keep it to one song together. Longer doesn’t equal better. Sometimes it equals boring. I’d much rather see parents lead their families to Jesus and have meaningful, quality time than see them drag through an extended amount of time that makes everyone dread the next one. Start small and if you like it, it will naturally get longer.
Third, have some resources to help you. I recommend a good study Bible like the ESV Study Bible, CSB Study Bible, or Reformation Study Bible. Having a quality study Bible will help you have insight into questions that may arise right in the Bible you’re reading from. If questions arise that you don’t have answers to and aren’t covered in the study Bible, it’s ok to say, “I don’t know, but I’ll find out and have the answer tomorrow night.” You then can ask one of your pastors and come back with an answer. The main thing is you’re leading your family.
Finally, as you continue on in this pattern you can begin to equip your children to become leaders themselves. Take turns reading the passage of Scripture. Have someone different pray each night. They will learn from you and you will learn from them. Your family will grow in discipleship and you will be fulfilling what God has commanded you to do as a parent.
Taking your children to church is part of discipleship. The church is a partner in discipling families. God has called us as parents to be the primary disciplers of our children and we will give account one day. I know it can be hard, awkward, and we certainly won’t do it perfectly. But we are doing a lot if we just begin to try. If I can help or encourage in any way then please feel free to e-mail me. Let’s partner together, love the Lord deeper, and go and make disciples of our families.
In Case You Missed the Other Parts of This Series…