Few things in life are more important than the discipleship of children. The failure of parents to seriously commit themselves to raise their young in the way of the Gospel and in the Word of the Lord will come to light in the next generation. Nothing should distract moms and dads from their God-given responsibility to daily immerse their children in the things of God. Neither work, hobbies, recreation, nor service through the church, community, or school are worthy excuses for the neglect of the development of our child’s devotional life. It’s an all-important task! You and I, as Christian parents, must be ready to put forth every effort and make every sacrifice to insure that our children are getting the message of grace in our homes. The home is God’s primary avenue to affect the behavior of future generations.
But how do we make discipleship interesting for our children? How do we make the family devotional time, or private discipleship time attractive and desirable for our young? Le me suggest several things which are essential to the development of your child’s devotional life.
1. Purpose to make your devotional time a pleasant experience. Avoid arguing. Teach your child to sing, to thank God and to recognize that Christ’s atonement for our sins gives us every reason to be happy.
2. Encourage the participation of your children. This is where parents must be careful not to stifle their child’s appetite for God. Participation in the form of questions, Scripture reading, lesson reading, prayer requests and singing is the very means by which parents can discern their child’s needs, growth rate, and understanding of spiritual things.
3. Role modeling biblical truths is an effective way of nurturing your child’s devotional life. One of the best tools my wife and I have found for instilling truth deep into the minds of our children is to share with them our personal testimony and experience of God.
4. Educators stress the idea of repetition in learning. Parents need to be creative in finding new ways to share old truth, over and over again. Teach the truths, illustrate them, and sing those wonderful words of life around the family altar..
5. Relate what is happening in the lives of your children with Scriptural insight. The Bible is relevant for the day-to-day needs and events of our lives. As a parent, seek to apply the Bible to where your children are: as tots, ‘tweens, or teens. Our children will be more inclined to use the Scripture to solve their problems as they grow older when they are taught from childhood how current its counsel is to every phase of life.
6. Be physical! Use hugs. Huddle together for prayer on your knees. Join hands. Communicate the message of Christ to your young with body, soul, and mind. Through every station of life, the memories of touching moments together will be remembered as those where the Word of God was central.
Some Homework Suggestions
1. Put together a plan for family devotions, incorporating the six points discussed above. Use the plan as a checklist to evaluate your discipleship time with your children.
2. If you have neglected the discipleship of your child, return to your biblical priority as a parent. Repent of this sin and organize yourself to obey what the Lord requires of you. Establish accountability for the changes you intend to make.