Monday, August 9, 2010

Raising kids with God at the centre - #3

Raising kids with God at the centre – #3

The first two goals for our children were that they:

1. Grow up in the knowledge and love of God as their heavenly Father, & Jesus Christ as their Lord and Saviour
2. Mature in godliness; including character, speech & attitude

Our third is that they:

3. Develop a life-time habit of bible reading, prayer and church attendance

  • What are you modelling to your children in your habits of bible reading, prayer and church attendance?

If we want them to be learning to do these things, we have to be teaching them how – it’s modelling again. Again, let me say, I am not trying to make you feel guilty, we all find this hard. But, we need to keep trying and showing our kids that we are keeping trying

Bible reading
  • Form the habit – read the bible or a bible story to your child every day. We do it at bedtime, it’s the only time that never changes.
  • Have lots of bibles appropriate for each age. See here for my previous post about children's bibles, and one by Jean.
  • When reading independently, move onto a full bible, with a simpler translation (eg. NIrV or Good News). Although, even once they are on a full bible, I would occasionally return to the Jesus Storybook Bible or the Big Picture Story Bible, to ensure they are grasping overall themes and concepts.
  • Have accurate bibles – do they miss out key parts? Do they present an accurate picture of the whole bible message? Do they include sin (Gen 3)? The promises to Abraham (Gen 12)? How do they deal with Jesus’ death and resurrection? Do they have anything about Acts and the early church, the Holy Spirit, Paul and the letters to the churches or Revelation?
  • Don’t be afraid to change /edit their bibles as you read it aloud to match the real version (obviously this is harder to do with a competent reader sitting next to you!)
  • Don’t be afraid to give up on a bible when it’s not good enough (this is less important with toddlers, and much more important when they can read themselves)
  • Check their understanding – especially when they are reading the bible themselves, make sure they are understanding it. Children are so literal things like parables can be hard to understand, they can get stuck in prophecy, etc.
  • Use extra resources to help you (eg. devotional materials like XTB and Table Talk).
  • Learn bible verses as a family (use songs, eg Colin CDs; stick them up on the wall, etc)


Pray for your children and pray with your children.

We want to model that prayer is a normal, natural part of each day, we turn to God first in all things.

When to pray? always!
  • putting them to bed
  • before meals (grace)
  • pray for God to take away fears / bad dreams
  • for special events – starting school or kindy, birthdays, etc.
  • about issues – problems with friends, when people are sick, needing help to be kind
  • pray for emergency vehicles when they have their sirens on. (I got this idea from a friend – we pray for the person in trouble, we pray for the police or the doctors and pray that they will all know that Jesus loves them).
How to pray?
  • Pray from prayer diaries with pictures (make your own). Perhaps a column for each day, including family, friends & ministry/others. Let older children help design their prayer diaries and who they want to pray for.
  • Write out prayers for readers to read out. (eg. could make them with a thank you, sorry, please format)
  • Pray with them teaching them how to pray informed and biblical prayers
  • Let them learn how to pray aloud, but at the same time teach them more ways to pray
  • If you are uncomfortable praying aloud – children are so trusting, they will think anything you do is right and good, and you will keep learning as you keep praying with them.

  • Go!
  • Make it a family priority – a weekly commitment that is unmovable. It is more important than birthday parties, sport & family commitments.

To think about:
  • Have you ever explained to your children why you go to church?
  • How would you explain it?

Next post: Resources

No comments: