I write to parents with children at home. Singles, married without children, empty-nesters – don’t misunderstand, you are important too. But for this post, allow me to narrow the audience. And don’t stop reading. Singles and married without children, my words may soon apply directly to you. And empty-nesters, we need your prayerful support and help.
Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God, the LORD is one. Love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength. These commandments that I give you today are to be upon your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. Write them on the doorframes of your houses and on your gates.
PRIMARY RESPONSIBILITY. OK – read it again. This is the key passage on parenting in Scripture. Although this passage is rich in teaching and application, let me drive home this one point: God has given parents the primary and ultimate responsibility for spiritual training. The headquarters for Christian is not the Christian School, the Sunday School, the Kids Clubs, or Student Ministry. The headquarters is the home. Parent(s), the responsibility lies on your doorstep. The spiritual life must be taught and exemplified in the home.
PLAN. As you plan for business meetings and big meals, so plan for family devotions. Parents, spend time discussing what important truths you would like to convey. Determine in advance how to convey these truths. Pray that God will help you communicate effectively. Set a specific starting time and stick to it. There are many excellent resources available to you.
PROTECT. Protect your time together. Turn the WiFi off. Require all your children to be present. Homework is not a viable excuse. Allow your voicemail to do its job.
PERSEVERE. Initially there will be resistance. Satan will be sure to provide distractions. You may feel like you are not “getting through.” But even in the midst of all the distractions the Spirit of God will do His work, if you don’t give up.
PLEASURE. Make it fun!!! ”It is a crime to bore someone with the Word of God.” Laugh. Sing. Act out parts of scripture. One December we acted out the Christmas story at our home. Our children made sure we went through it five times so everyone could play a different part. I must say I made a much better Joseph than I did a Mary or the baby Jesus. Video singing or the drama and play it back. As your children watch it on TV, they are hearing the message again. Or how about a video testimony from a godly grandparent who lives a distance away? Come together with relatives and grandparents who live nearby. Periodically, share a meal and devotions with another family. By all means make this an enjoyable experience.
UNBELIEVING PARTNERS. Wives, some of you are married to men who have not yet placed their faith in Jesus Christ. Be sensitive. Prayerfully propose a time of reading the Bible and praying together as a family. But don’t push. Continue to live as a godly example before your children. Prayerfully read and apply 1 Peter 3:1-6.
PRAY. Pray that God will give you the boldness to apply Deuteronomy 6:4-9. Pray for discipline and perseverance. Pray that he will bring about eternal results.
I am convinced that if families will accept the leadership challenge and prayerfully persevere, American families will see true revival and we will truly be a “city set on a hill.”