Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Instilling Faith in Our Children through God's Word

"Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light for my path."
Psalm 119:105
The Bible must be at the center of all we do as parents if we intend to lead our children to the Lord.

That means we must begin and end each day with the Lord. We must be in the Word so that our children see us poring over our Bibles. They need to watch us turn to God in prayer when we face struggles. They need to witness us calling on God in both desperate times and times of joy.

In every single facet of our lives, God must not only be included but central.
Then, when our children face problems at school or with friends, when they really struggle in making a decision, they will know where to turn because they have had the right model of faith in their lives.

In The Ministry of Motherhood, Sally Clarkson states that the Bible must be "a natural part of our family life" (125). To do this Clarkson suggests family Bible reading time, memorizing scriptures, acting out Bible stories, but especially studying our own Bibles and sharing how the Bible has helped us deal with trials in our lives. These are all excellent ways to instill faith in our children, and I am working to try them in our family.

Recently after reading Barbara Curtis's Mommy, Teach Me!, I implemented a morning devotional with my girls. Right after breakfast each morning, we sit down together, and Kate, the oldest, picks 4 or 5 Bible songs to sing. Then, we read either a short passage from the Bible or a story from The Beginners' Bible, followed by a prayer led first by Kate and then one led by me to close out our devotional. Of course when you have a toddler and a baby, the attention spans are very short and thus our devotionals last only 10-15 minutes tops. But I believe that this is the perfect way for my kids and me to start our day: In the Word, with the Lord. Plus, it is a good opportunity for Kate to practice sitting still and being quiet, a life skill she needs to learn for church, school, and other facets of life.

Another way that I am working to help my children develop faith in God's Word is through memorizing scriptures together. At two-and-a-half, Kate has learned 14 Bible verses since the beginning of summer. I don't mean to brag because I know many kids will not sit still long enough for you to write down the verse, much less memorize it. But I believe that if you find what motivates your child--whether it be stickers, a coloring sheet, extra play time, or a healthy snack--they will cooperate.

My daughter really enjoys memory work because (1) she gets stickers and (2) she has an amazing memory. Plus, the verses I choose are short and simple, and when possible, we add hand motions and actions to them, which helps her learn them faster. Check out my cute lil' Kater Bug in action:

"I have hidden your word in my heart that I might not sin against you."
Psalm 119:11
When we "hide" God's Word in our hearts, then when temptation comes our way, we are more likely to turn away from it than to give in to it. When we teach our children to memorize scriptures, then, hopefully, when Satan comes prowling around like a roaring lion seeking someone to devour, they will hold tightly to their faith in God because they know it will carry them through safely.

As moms we have a tremendous responsibility to teach the Bible to our children, to instill faith in them through God's Word. It's the greatest task we have to do, far greater than any life success they could ever achieve. But we must be diligent in the task at an early age.

How are you working to instill God's Word in your children? What advice do you have to give a mom of small children, especially children who don't like to sit still?


  1. Very good!!! I am reading a toddler Bible with my son. His attention span is about 3 seconds long, so sometimes we don't get through one story (he's 18 months old) but I also do little prayers with him and he loves that. Especially prayer songs...he loves anything that has to do with a song. (popping on over from GMG)

  2. I totally agree. If I can make a song about it, my kids will go hog wild! I have tried making up songs for lots of verses we work on. Thanks for stopping by! Oh, and I like your site!

  3. There's nothing more important than teaching the scriptures to our children. I'm so thankful for the verses I committed to memory while I was young. The older I get the harder it is to memorize.

    May God bless your mothering.

  4. Pamela, I completely agree. When I was a preteen, I memorized 100 verses in like a week for a church "contest." It's amazing how many I still remember to this day! Today, if I try to memorize something, it takes me FOREVER! The brain just isn't as sharp.