Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Cultivating a Devotional Life in Your Children

My Pastor taught me:

When discipling someone, never lower the bar for them. Expect out of them what you expect out of yourself.

My husband and I applied this to our children when it comes to devotional life.

First off, what is a devotional life exactly?
We can get "religious" about things and follow man made traditions sometimes without even investigating what the Bible actually says about a devotional life.

Psalm 1:2 says, 

"But his delight is in the law of the Lord, and in His law he meditates day and night."

Acts 17:11 says, 

"These were more fair-minded than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness and searched the scripture daily to find out whether these things were so."

The definition of Devotion is:

  • The state of being dedicated, consecrated, or solemnly set apart for a particular purpose
  • A solemn attention to the Supreme Being in worship; a yielding of the heart and affections to God, with reverence, faith, piety, in religious duties, particularly in prayer and meditation; devoutness
  • External worship; acts of religion; performance of religious duties

So how do my husband and I do our devotions?
  1. We have our daily (usually morning and/or evening) time of reading God's Word and praying and talking to Him (applying Psalm 1:2 and Psalm 119)
  2. We read ahead for what our pastor is going to be teaching through on Sunday and Thursday (applying Acts 17:11)
  3. We have our weekly Home Fellowship meeting where we meet with other like-minded delivers and share how we applied God's Word, and share what He's doing in our lives. During this time we pray and worship together (Hebrews 10:24-25; Colossians 3:16; 1 Corinthians 14:26; Acts 13:2).

So, we hold our children to the same standards.

  1. Morning Devotions: Each child finishes their morning chores and then heads down into the living room and finds a cozy spot with a blanket or pillow and their Bible, notebook, and CKC book. During this time they get to spend precious moments reading through their age-appropriate Bible, they spend time drawing a picture or writing a few things the Holy Spirit taught them, they get to spend a few minutes praying and talking to Jesus, and they get to practice their CKC verse of the week or do their weekly application such as pray for someone they're having a hard time with every day for a week.
  2. Every night Alex sits down with the kids and does a short reading through the passages that they will be learning in their Sunday and Thursday class since our church's children's ministry goes right through the Bible just like we do in the "adult class".
  3. Sunday evenings we strive to have a mini Homefellowship with the kids where we implement worship, prayer, and a time of sharing what the Lord's been teaching us and how we've been applying it. We just started implementing this recently and REALLY look forward to it at the end of the week!

So here's a short breakdown of what their personal devotions look like:

9 months - 3 years old
This age needs some assistance and guidance on how to do devotions. You can put a younger child in the high chair with a board book Bible and let them just look at the pictures. You can go through some of the stories with them. We usually start preschool around 2 years old and I go through the whole Bible in a year with each preschooler.

2-3 years old

3-4 years old - This is the Bible my preschooler and I are currently working through.

At this age I believe you are simply training them for self-discipline as well as for routine or habit.  This is what we do every morning. This is how you sit still while we study or pray. Memorization also can start young! 2-year olds can recite the pledges to the flags and start memorizing scripture. Having a weekly goal of memorizing a verse get's them down the right path! CKC (Calvary Kids Club) at our church is what we use for memorizing scripture as well as teaching the kids to get into the thinking of "who do I apply this?"

4 years old - 5 years old
We start teaching our children to read around 3 - 4years old. By the time they are around 4 they usually can read pretty well on their own. At this point we try to get them reading independently and get them this Bible:

At this age I expect them to be able to draw a picture of the story they are on, maybe write a few key words or the title of the story in their devotions notebook, as well as verbalize to me a main theme or short application from the what they read. For example Hayven tells me this afternoon,

"I read about Moses parting the Red Sea and learned that I should obey God because He takes care of me."

5-6 Years Old:
They've been through the Bible with you a few times, they've read through the above Bible a few times on their own, now they move to this Bible:

At this age I expect more in depth application and note taking. I like to still se pictures in their notebooks (simply because I think they're awesome!), but I want a small paragraph on what they read and how it applies to them.

"The Israelites were wandering in the desert. They were hungry. God fed them with quail. They were thirsty. Moses asked God what to do. God said, 'Hit the rock.' Water came out. God is almighty and powerful and can do anything."

Discussion can take them further into exploring how this applies to a specific situation they're facing. 

Since our children aren't past the age of 6 yet, I can't really comment on where to go from there, but we are planning on getting them Bible's of their own next year and looking into what kind of studies they will be taking. I am VERY excited for that!!!

Bible Studies and Devotionals
We've gone through a few devotionals together in the morning over breakfast. Whether it's an ABC devotional according to what letter my current preschooler is on to studying through certain character traits or focusing on a specific passage someone is memorizing like 1 Corinthians 13. There are seasons we do this and seasons we don't.

If there is one thing I want to leave my children with it's a relationship with God. I want them to:
(1) LOVE God's Word
(2) know His voice, and 
(3) see Him in their life.

Getting them excited about God's Word and equipping them with the wisdom on how to apply it and not just know it is key.
I hope this encourages you on how to spur on a devotional life in your children!
What do YOU do with YOUR kids?
Or what do you do in YOUR walk with Jesus?
I'd LOVE to hear from you!

1 comment:

  1. Gloria Dios, that is so cool. brought me back to when our one and only child was growing. the Prayer time, the Bible time, the Worship time. Getting to have him come right along side me as i knelt down and cried out to Christ, weather in praise, thanksgiving or pain, taking time to sit before the Lord and to wait upon Him to speak, to have the Holy Spirit lead and guide us for the day, Praying for every meal no matter where we were at, getting to peek in during the day and hear him talking to Jesus asking for His help for whatever lied ahead or to finish a school project, or as he attempted to memorize Scripture. WOW!!! thank you for loving Jesus Christ, your Hubby, and your Children willingly choosing to lay your very life down for their benefit and of course for the glory and honor of Christ. every time i read your blog i'm reminded that as Parents it's out God given privilege and responsibility to Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it. Proverbs 22:6 love y'all Deputies. lisa Esparza