The Spirit teaches me something new each time I open the Word and open my Heart at the same time. As a Dad, and as a minister to parents and kids, my mind is always mindful of how to better form faith in our kids. In many ways, I read the Bible through that lens.
With that in mind, I try to remember to read Deuteronomy 6 a few times a week. It’s rich and full of insight for people after striving after God. It’s particularly formative for us who are trying to form faith in our kids. Take a moment and wrestle with these verses:
4 Hear , O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. 5 You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might. 6 And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart. 7 You shall teach them diligently to your children, and 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. 8 You shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes. 9 You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates.
I want to call your attention to verse 7 and are a though with you. I hope that it encourages and blesses you. And maybe even gives you an idea or two to implement.
First, I assume that you want your kids to know the Lord and walk with him. I’m not going to try to convince you of the importance of this here. Also, I am going to assume that you know that you play an important role in the forming of your children’s faith. After all, you are with them so much more frequently than anyone else. So here’s where I’d like to lead you . . .
One of the lessons the Spirit has shown me through this text is that there is tremendous power in the routine. In fact, I’d go so far as to say that we owe it to our kids to build sacred moments into our routines. It’s in these times (that we participate in regularly) that we really unleash and invite the Spirit to work in and among us. So here’s a question for you to wrestle with: where and/when can I intentionally build space in my family’s routines where we could invite the Spirit to participate and work?
Here’s three practical ideas that you can try right away:
- On the way home from school, before you ask your child what you learned today or how school went today ask them this “what did you learn from God today?” Or, “When did God give you a chance to shine your light for him?” And then follow up and probe deeper.
- Put your foot down and insist that your family (regardless of what that looks like) eats dinner together every night. I can tell you from experience that when my family gets out of this routine things in our home feel out of place. And as you are eating ask your children spiritual questions. Teach them how to think about God and how he is working in their lives; and how they are responding to his work.
- Pray before you go to bed. Always, always, always, pray with your children. Not only are you teaching them to pray and to bring everything to God, you are showing them how important they are as they listen to you cover them in prayer.