Have you whispered this prayer? “Oh God, please make my child a godly man or woman. Help them to obey Your Word and to act in a godly manner.” This prayer has been in my heart and on my tongue often. Psalm 119:9 asks, “How can a young man keep his way pure? By keeping Your Word.” In a culture where children want to be entertained, how can we lead them to spend time in God’s word so that they know what it says and choose to live a life that applies its truths?
Begin by modeling the behavior you desire. Allow your children to observe you studying God’s word in your home. Help them see that knowing God’s Word is a priority. Take your Bible to church as you worship each week. Look up passages and encourage your children to do so as well. If your child is young, point to the words in your Bible as the pastor reads the text.
Take time daily for family devotions. Depending on the age of your children, you can read the passage of scripture to them or have them read it. Ask questions such as: “What is this passage trying to teach us? Why is that important to know? How can we apply that to our lives?” You may choose to read from a devotion book or select passages you have found helpful. Remember to make the length of the passage appropriate for your children’s attention span. After you have read, spend time praying for specific requests and for wisdom as you all apply what you have learned.
As you build on these times of reading God’s Word together, you will find the truths you discuss to be effective in assisting your children to make wise choices. Refer often to things you have read or studied. When you have difficult decisions to make, share with your family how you are making these choices based on what God is leading you to do. As you correct and reprove your children, lead them back to the truths in God’s Word. You will find that accountability they have to you and you to them will help each of you be more intentional in living out what you have studied.
Our family has found that the greatest challenge for us is being consistent. With the demands of a busy family you will need to work hard at making devotion time a priority, but the payoff is well worth the struggle. Some passages you may want to start with are: Psalm 119:9-11, Psalm 127:1-2, Psalm 133, Proverbs 7:1-3, Proverbs 6:16-18, James 1:22-25.