When I became a mom I decided I wanted my children to have a deeper faith than I had as a child. I grew up in church, but I never had parents who instilled the importance of having daily devotions or a daily prayer life. As an adult this meant learning to develop those habits was more of a challenge. I didn't learn to really dig into the Bible until college and even then being consistent was hard until I developed deeper faith. Dan and I decided to change that with our children, and the rewards have been incredible. Many parents struggle with thinking children won't understand Bible study or personal prayer until they are older. We learned from experience that's not true. In fact young children can learn long passages of scripture quicker and maintain that memory many times longer than adults. Here's are a few ideas we came up with to.create personal prayer, scripture memorization, and bible study in our children's lives.
First, we created personal flip cards for each of our children to place beside their bed. I typed them up on colored paper that each child chose.There was one flip card for each day of the week. Each card had items listed that started with the same letter as the day of the week it appeared on. ie. Monday- pray for mommy, money matters/tithing, missionaries around the world, my attitude toward others, etc. Tu&Thur were "Top Tens" which changed each week based on the top ten concerns of the week such as an illness, a test at school, a project, or a friends family etc.. Wednesday was world leaders, workers at church, to grow in wisdom and worship. Friday was friends, family/immediate and extended, father, to grow in faith. Saturday was to have a servant's heart, better study habits. Sunday- sermon/pastor, sin struggles You get the picture.
Each child's life is different so set up a special time to talk about what should go on their cards to give them personal ownership. When our children were little and couldn't read, the cards were pictures with words. The cards were then laminated and placed on a medal ring. The top card was a list of things they should start their day with. which I placed in front of the prayer cards on the metal ring. This top card told them to have their prayer time with the prayer card of the day, read a passage of scripture, then dress, make their bed, and come to breakfast. Each year the topics advanced with age. As they grew in prayer and Bible study, they grew in their faith.
Each week, we also chose a single scripture verse or passage for everyone to memorize. I learned a long time ago that dry erase or chalk markers will erase from metal and glass surfaces and make a great place for posting the verse of the week. I would write the scripture of the week on the front of the fridge with a dry erase. If one child was struggling with a particular issue, I could also write a verse for that issue on their bathroom mirror or on a window in their room with a dry erase. It wipes right off at the end of the week. If your children attend public school where the Bible isn't allowed, write a passage on their lunch napkin or use a dry erase inside the lid of their plastic lunch box. It's a great way to encourage them.
Since we home-schooled we used the passages of scripture in our Bible class. Since there are no Bible classes in public school, you can create one for your children. You can even give them a grade that has rewards attached at the end of each month if you create a simple True/False or Fill In the Blank test and test them at the end of each month on the scriptures they've memorized. You can create some sort of family reward outing for Frozen Yogurt or Ice Cream if they pass their Bible test. This experience will grow their faith no matter where they attend school. It will strengthen them with the armor they need to battle any challenge they face throughout their lives. Never doubt God's ability to do great things in the heart of your child, no matter their age.You can give your child the opportunity to grab hold of the most powerful weapon we possess. All you have to do is hand it over them.
"It is the same with my word. I send it out, and it always produces fruit. It will accomplish all I want it to, and it will prosper everywhere I send it." Isaiah 55:11 (NLT)