Anytime is a good time to start some new habits that will inspire spiritual growth in our families. Walking together in the faith is the most wonderful journey your family will ever take. Deuteronomy 6:4-9 starts with a call for us to listen and pay attention to God’s instructions. Moses was concerned with how to transfer faith to the next generation and the instructions he gave are still relevant for us today. This passage is called the "Shema" which is the Hebrew word for "listen." Here are a few ideas from the Shema on how to teach your children the ways of God and transfer faith to the next generation.
Put the Word in your heart. Duet. 6:6 “And these words which I command you today shall be in your heart.” Even within our home, experience breeds credibility. In other words, those who are listening to us will be much more likely to believe our words if we have lived out the principles we are attempting to communicate. When our family sees us pouring over the Bible and submitting to its commands they are far more likely to respond when you expect them to do the same. In other words, lead by example. Let His commands grow in your heart before you expect them to grow in the hearts of your family.
Teach God’s commands to your children. Duet. 6:7 “You shall teach them diligently to your children,” There are so many ways to teach God’s commands to our children. You can:
Talk about God’s Word at your table. Deut. 6:7 “and shall talk of them when you sit in your house” ReFrame Media has a wonderful short daily devotional called Today. You can sign up to receive this great tool to make it very easy to discuss God’s Word together. There are tons of family devotional materials out there that are age appropriate. A trip to your local bookstore will provide all that you need.
Talk about God’s commands as you travel. Deut. 6:7 “…when you walk by the way…” As a mom I know that there were seasons when the bulk of our family time was spent in the car running errands, to soccer practice, church and school activities…and on and on…This is a great time to put Christian music in the CD player. Depending on the age of your children you can play anything from the Donut Man, to Hillsong worship, to contemporary Christian music. In doing so, you are introducing your children to expressing their walk with God through music. Time in the car can also be a great time to go over scripture memorization. But I think that the most important thing I saw happen in my car was when I seized opportunities to discover teaching moments. It was in the car that I prayed a prayer of repentance with my son, when I explained scripture and how they relate to real life situations, and when we’ve prayed together as a family for a church member who was in the hospital.
Make bedtime prayer time. Deut. 6:7 “…when you lie down…” When your children are young this is a natural thing to do. As you are tucking them in you can pray with them. As they get older this discipline can prove more difficult, especially when they may be up later than you are! However, you can still pray for them before you go to bed, or stop in their room and ask for requests. Asking for prayer requests lets your children know that you are bringing them before the Throne Room causing them to be more aware of His workings in their lives.
Greet your children with His grace on your lips. Deut 6:7 “…and when you rise up.” Perhaps you are able to share a scripture with your children over breakfast before you all go your different ways. Pray for their teachers, classmates and their studies. You could also put a note in their lunch letting know how special they are to you and their Heavenly Father. They may act like they don’t like it, but don’t let them fool you! Words of affirmation are one of the greatest things we can do for our children.
God’s Word always inspires transformation, it does not return empty! Not only will you see spiritual fruit in the lives of your children by committing to train them up in the way they should go, but you will also see growth in your own walk with God!