If you are reading this article, you probably have a growing desire to see your children make a difference for Christ in the world. You want to see them go into the world and “make disciples.” You want them to love God, and to help others do the same.
There is a pre-requisite for our children’s helping others to love the Lord and follow Him. First they must love and follow Him themselves. If our kids leave the home without a personal love for Jesus and for His Word, they are in no way equipped or prepared to impact the world for Christ.
Are you expecting output without input?
Far too often, as parents, we expect “output” from our children, without giving them the necessary input. We expect good behavior from them, yet we have done little to intentionally train them how to behave. We expect manners out of them, yet when was the last time we took time to explain and practice good manners? In the same way we expect our kids to “live for Christ” and “share their faith with their friends,” but what are we doing to intentionally disciple our children in the faith?
If we want our children to enter the world with a missional, outward mindset, it will require years of “inward” spiritual training and discipleship in the home. You don’t get “outward” ministry without “inward” training, shepherding, prayer, and Scripture in the home.
The essential practice of family worship
Perhaps the greatest moments of spiritual input and discipleship in your family will come through the practice of “family worship.” Family worship refers to the few moments that the family gathers together for prayer and Bible reading.
God calls us to family worship in many places in Scripture, but perhaps most powerfully in Deuteronomy 6:5-7: “Love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your strength. These commands that I give to you today are to be upon your hearts. Teach them diligently to your children. Talk about them when you sit at home…”
Talk about these “action questions” with a Christian friend, or with your spouse if you are married:
- What would be one step forward your family could take this month to increase your prayer together?
- Is there a particular Scripture that your family could memorize together?
- What book of the Bible could your family read through during the coming weeks?
- Are there conflicts and barriers to your family having a regular “family worship” time?
Here is a prayer that I often share during our family worship time. I would recommend it to you as well.
Lord, please help these children love You more than we do. Help them know Your word more than we know Your word. Help them carry the gospel farther than we can. In Jesus Name, amen.