It’s important for mom and dad to work hard to protect family time while also looking for creative ways to encourage spiritual growth within the family. One of the best way’s families can grow together is by spending time together. And, one of the best way’s families can spend time together is by spending time together reading God’s Word and praying.
Your family counts on you to set the pace and lead the way for spiritual growth. Here are 6 ways you can work to grow closer to God as a family this fall:
1. Ask Your Family Two Important Questions
Over the past several years as I have traveled to speak to a variety of groups, I have been heartbroken to see fewer and fewer people holding a Bible. Although some now have their Bibles on their mobile devices, I have seen a tremendous decline in the number of people who bring any kind of Bible to Christian events.
Increasingly, I see a lack of knowledge of God’s Word and a lack of desire on the part of Christians to grow in their knowledge of it. So, get a feel for the spiritual temperature of your family by asking these two questions?
- Is the Bible important to our family?
- How do we as a family incorporate the Bible into our lives?
2. Use Dinnertime as Devotional Time
Two things I hope to never forget from my childhood are that my family almost always had dinner together and that my dad often would read the Bible and my mom would pray before we left the table. My family spent quality time together, we spent time in the Word together, and we spent time praying together.
2 Timothy 3:16–17 reads, “All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.”
There is no worldly success that can replace what God’s Word can do for our children. If we are not reading the Bible as a family, there is a strong possibility some members of our family are not in the Word. Dinner time is the perfect time to read the Bible together as a family. We have to eat – eat together! And, before leaving the table, we can read together!
3. Establish a Family Devotional Time Each Week
I spoke recently at a parenting conference, where I met Rick, a husband, and father to three preteen boys. He told me about the fun his sons have with devotional time each night. He said, “Some weeks I will read from the devotional book we are using, and other weeks one of my sons or my wife will read. We work to keep it different so that it keeps my boys engaged.” That is so great!
It’s important that we make this time a consistent part of our schedule and that every member of the family understands that participation is non-negotiable. It’s easy to say we don’t have time to read the Bible together. If we haven’t been able to stick to a plan, that’s okay. What is important is that we are trying. Work hard to protect this time. Be creative so that your devotional time is engaging and is a regular part of your family life.
4. Help Your Child Begin Their Personal Faith Journey
Our children need to understand that the journey toward God won’t happen automatically. We have to take the steps to grow in our walk with Him. Help find resources – books, apps, and videos – that will equip him/her for ongoing spiritual growth. Perhaps the whole family will select a book, read it together, and then discuss it. Each week family members could read one chapter on their own and then convene as a family to discuss the impact the chapter had on each family member.
5. Spend Time in Creative Prayer
Several years ago our family experienced challenges unlike any we had faced before. I knew my daughters would remember this season, and I wanted to make sure what they remembered most wasn’t the struggle but rather the decision our family made to trust God. I knew prayer had to be a focal point of our family. Amy, my wife, and I started praying in creative ways. We would sit on one of our daughters’ beds at night to pray as a family. We still do this. I started praying with my girls in the morning as I drove them to school. I prayed for their day, their safety, and their influence on others. We still do this too.
One night the four of us went outdoors and walked around our house and prayed. We took four laps around the house, each of us taking a turn to pray. We still take regular prayer walks. I encourage you to walk, talk, and pray regularly with your family. Look for creative ways to pray. The message will become clear: talking with God is something we can do in any way and at any time.
6. Keep a Family Prayer Journal
1 Thessalonians 5:17 says, “Pray continually.”
Pray for your spouse, pray with your spouse, and communicate to your children there are many different ways to pray. Prayer is not about having a once-a-day ritual, nor is it merely a habit of thanking God before a meal.
Prayer is a lifestyle of communication with God.
Teaching our children to pray will be one of the most powerful lessons we can instill. A family prayer journal can be a powerful tool for documenting God’s faithfulness to our family. We keep our journal in the living room. It is packed with memories of our prayers and family celebrations. The great thing about journaling is that we get to decide the format. We can highlight prayer requests, journal about things for which we are thankful, write down our hopes for such things as healing, a new job, or clarity on a big decision, and more.
Get going in the right direction this fall by getting your family in the Word and getting the Word in your family! And, as you commit to praying with and for your family more this fall, enjoy watching your family grow closer to God.
Like what you read? Read more from Jeffrey in his new book for parents: Raising Successful Teens.
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