Seemingly, one of the most difficult aspects of parenting is to pass on spiritual disciplines such as daily Bible study and prayer. I’ve heard many state they don’t have time. I’ve heard many state they just keep putting it off. However, perhaps the most often used reason is, “I just don’t know how.” Today’s springboard for your family will provide you an excellent practical way to pass on both spiritual disciplines at one time.
However, before I give you that tool, let’s first back up and understand that this is not homework. This is not an issue of having to study and pray enough to be good enough to go to heaven. This is not an issue of if we miss a day, we’ll go to hell. Do you remember what Peter said to Jesus in John 6:68 when Jesus had asked if the disciples wanted to leave Him? Peter said Jesus had the words of life, where else would they go? We don’t study the Bible to be good enough to go to heaven. We study the Bible because it contains Jesus’ words of life. There is no other source for life. Thus, if we don’t get in the word, we’ll have death.
In like manner, note Psalm 145:18: “The LORD is near to all who call on him, to all who call on him in truth.” If the Lord is near those who call on Him, what does that mean about those who don’t? We do not pray to be good enough to go to heaven. We pray because that is what draws us close to God. If we are not close to God, the adversary will eat us for lunch.
We don’t do these things as a checklist to get the right things done. We do them because life is contained in these disciplines. If we don’t do them, we’ll die. Think of it like insulin for the diabetic. The diabetic doesn’t take insulin because he/she has to, has been assigned to, or wants to be good enough. Absolutely not. Rather, the diabetic takes insulin because without it, the result is a diabetic coma and death. These disciplines are our medicine that keep us connected to the real power of God.
So, are you ready for this revolutionary tool to help you practice these disciplines and pass them on to your children? I admit, I adapted this from my good friend David Banning, who in turn, took it from the creators of the Our Spiritual Heritage Bible class curriculum. We call it “praying through the Bible.” Here’s how it works.
Gather your family together and let each person have a sheet of paper. On the sheet of paper write five sentence starters with space in between.
“Dear God, You are…”
“Dear God, You…”
“Dear God, forgive me for…”
“Dear God, thank you for…”
“Dear God, help…”
Then, have someone read a section of Scripture. You may read a whole chapter. You may read a whole story. You may read a few verses that contain some powerful messages. As the reading is being done, have everyone work on completing those sentences based upon the reading.
For example, read Genesis 1. You might finish the sentences in this way.
“Dear God, You are the Creator of all things and the Giver of life.”
“Dear God, You created the world and everything in it.”
“Dear God, forgive me for not taking better care of Your creation and not giving You the proper praise for Your great power and might.”
“Dear God, thank You for providing such a wonderful world, perfectly suited for us to live.”
“Dear God, help my faith in You as Creator and sovereign Lord of the universe grow every day.”
Trust me, you’ll be amazed at the answers your children come up with.
When you are done with the reading, discuss what everyone has written down. Can you see how this part is great for Bible study? Without saying, “We’re going to study Genesis 1,” you have studied and discussed it with your children. After discussing the passage, go around the room and let everyone pray. I always tell my children that they can pray about whatever they want, but we do want them to be sure to pray through what they have written down. You might even keep a journal of what everyone says so you can look back over what you’ve learned and prayed about.
By the way, if your children didn’t come up with an ending for some of the sentences, don’t worry about it. As they hear yours, they’ll get better at it.
Yes, this takes some time. Yes, this takes some work. Yes, it will take some discipline from us as parents. But it will be worth it. It will revolutionize your family prayer life.
– Edwin Crozier, www.EdwinCrozier.com