Why I pray and read the Bible to my children:
Many people read the Bible to and pray with their children for a variety of reasons. I, myself, even do it for a variety of reasons. Actually, my husband is usually the one to read the Bible to us and lead us in prayer. Many of you know that I was not raised in church and only came to know Jesus in recent years. For me, it makes sense to fill my children with knowledge and truths that were not given to me as a child. Secondly, I am determined that my children will develop a love for reading. I took books with me to the hospital when I had all three of my children because promoting a love for reading has always been important to me; on a personal level. I believe it is important to understand why we should always read the Bible to our children and pray with them because it helps reinforce our own good habits. So, again, I sought out the help of Jonathan R. Walton to come in and break it all down for us 😀
A minister’s perspective ~ Jonathan R. Walton
Why is it important to teach our children about the Bible and pray with them?
From a minister’s perspective, there are many answers to this question. Some are obvious, but I will mention them anyway. Others may not be so apparent, so hopefully this will be a nice blend of new information and a reminder of what’s essential.
1) The Bible teaches your children virtue instead of the filth the world is constantly trying to force feed them. We must not allow the world to be the only voice our children hear. Far too many parents are inactive in presenting God’s Word, and it is no wonder that there’s a growing concern within Christianity that too many kids and young people are slipping through the cracks. We must not wait until they start having problems to try to instill Godly principles. Children most easily retain these principles at a young age. Frederick Douglas once said, “It is far easier to build strong children than to repair broken men.” Teach them while they are young, and the principles will guide them into Godly living.
2) The world most often offers conflicting messages of hopelessness, despair, depression, and unrest. The other side of the fence is hope born from humanistic reasoning or medications to help the believer cope with the difficulties of life. The Word of God teaches the alternative. It teaches about true hope, deliverance, freedom, peace, power, and victory. The kind that only comes through Jesus Christ. It instills the principles that an overcoming life can only be found in God, not in the determination of man. It stresses the importance of faith, something the world is trying to do away with. It teaches such values as Godly commitment, instead of the world’s tendency to walk away from any institution that has become burdensome (marriage for one). Sharing God’s Word with your children teaches that they can fight through adversity, as long as they stand with Him. Some things are worth fighting for.
3) What your child learns today will impact tomorrow. Sharing God’s Word with your children will help build habits that will cause them to be successful in all areas of life to which they apply the principles. God’s Word is eternal. You are placing a piece of eternity into their lives that cannot be underestimated. The few minutes you spend with them in prayer and Bible reading reaches much further than those isolated moments. Those moments impact future generations. You are not only influencing your child, but your grandchildren, and great grandchildren. What an awesome responsibility.
4) Reading the Bible and praying with your children builds a bond that cannot be forged any other way. Spiritual togetherness (unity) in a family builds stronger relationships than just spending time together. In an era where fathers and mothers push kids off so they can watch television or finish work, it is no wonder children learn no real connection with people. They have to learn about concepts of intimacy and love from other places. Often, they become misinformed because they accept the world’s definitions. This leads them to possess infatuation instead of love and selfishness instead of true intimacy that’s born through spiritual togetherness. Placing God in the center of one’s family life brings blessings into the home.
5) Praying and reading the Bible together opens a dialogue for discussion of deeper truths. You never know the wanderings of a child’s mind until you start filling it with spiritual insights. God does not just deal with adults. He loves children and reaches for them even at young ages. What better way to help them learn sensitivity to His voice than to teach them while they are young. Often, God will use the little things you read to start discussions that lead to even deeper revelations in ways your child can understand God more clearly. Discussing the Bible with your children forces you to introduce God to them on their terms, in ways they can understand. And there is nothing more powerful and beneficial to their maturation than ensuring that they know Jesus.
6) Praying and reading the Bible with your children creates an awareness about God’s presence. At a young age, most children trust their parents unreservedly. As a child grows older, some of that trust diminishes, as most children tend to move their own way, developing their own preferences and opinions in their teens. There is no better time to create a God awareness than in the kindergarten to pre-teen years when they are highly impressionable to your teaching. Building that foundation is critical. Waiting until the world has established ideas in their lives is too late. Most children are still establishing major pathways to the brain until ages eight to ten. Before life teaches your children about cruelty, unfairness, and the dark nature of humanity, the truth needs to be established. It is far easier for them to grasp the power, majesty, and omniscient nature of God when they are young and have not learned how to doubt. It’s much more difficult to establish these concepts once the natural world has infiltrated their thinking. If you teach them about God while they are young, those lessons will last forever. Train up a child in the way that he shall go, and he will not depart from it.
7) Okay… Don’t think this one is a stretch, but many evangelical Christian leaders are predicting a day when the Word of God in printed form becomes a sort of hate crime. When that will happen (or if it will) is anyone’s guess. However, many think that it is more probable than not. That leads to the question that many have asked, “If the Bible was pulled from our shelves and homes today, how many of our families would have enough Word inside of them to survive? Would the Word of God completely disappear because far too few have hidden it in their hearts? Just imagine a world without the Bible as we’ve come to depend on it. I don’t have to beat a dead horse here. You get the point.
I want to make sure that my children develop a love for God’s Word and learn it. They may not be able to quote it verbatim, but I want the principles and concepts etched into their hearts. I want them to be raised to the point that no one could ever steal God’s Word, regardless of if the Bible is ever outlawed or not. I want them to value it properly, and once they do, no one could ever take that away.
8) The Word of God teaches our children the value of right and wrong. It teaches the valuable lessons of sowing and reaping. It also teaches them the way of wisdom, introducing them to a completely different way of living. Some of life’s most difficult dilemmas could be avoided by simply asking the question, “What would wisdom do? What does God’s Word have to say about this matter?”
9) The most important reason to share the Word and to pray with your children is because God loves it when you do. Jesus spent time with children while on this earth, and He wants you to do the same. Especially with your own. Take the time to love them. Lead them. Nurture them. Help them grow physically, mentally, and spiritually. Give them the tools they need to be successful in every area of life.
10) Just a reminder: Your young children are highly impressionable. They learn not only by what you say and teach but by what you do as well. Teaching about God’s love but gossiping about others sends mixed signals. Teaching about God’s love but being unwilling to demonstrate forgiveness in your own life is harmful. Teaching about purity while using vulgar language and cursing in front of your children like the world does sends a confusing message. Teaching truth while living a double standard is pointless. YOUR CHILDREN WILL MODEL WHAT THEY SEE BEFORE THEY LIVE WHAT THEY HEAR.
Be the part… Don’t just talk the part. Future generations depend on you. Your child depends on you… If you don’t enjoy the benefits of praying and reading the Bible with your children, I encourage you to start now.
This Bible is a great place to start. It is a children’s one year Bible that puts the Bible into easy to understand stories for kids. At the end of each nights reading, it has a very brief question session for your child’s interaction, as well as a way of getting the child to examine how he or she could apply what they have learned to their own life. Very interactive and short. A great way to learn. Jonathan R. Walton
Ephesians 6:1-4, Proverbs 22:6, Psalm 127:3, 2 Timothy 3:14-17, Matthew 19:14
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