Worship Leader and Dad of 4 boys
The greatest commandment in Deuteronomy 6 is a call to God’s people to put Him first and invite Him into all aspects of our lives. Wow God, do you really mean ALL aspects?! Err, ok you asked for it! Four boys under 8 years old means life in our house is loud, messy, disjointed, crazy, sometimes smelly, and often unpredictable.
When it comes to prayer and devotion we’ve learned over the journey to “embrace the mess”. The key isn’t to have the most up-to-date super fantastic content or perfect formula, but to be simply intentional and consistent. It’s through consistency that teaches children to carve a space in their lives that the Holy Spirit begins to fill.
When the kids were younger (and fewer!) it started as a before bed bible story and prayer – super simple. There are so many great kids’ bibles and devotionals out there but “The Jesus Storybook Bible” was one of our favourites. It really shows the Bible as a unified story that leads to Jesus. As we went through that, I found myself with new revelation from stories I’d read for decades! I think it’s so important as a parent (and teacher) to engage with an open heart and keep your child-like faith, after all that is how we receive the kingdom.
Over the years, family devotional life has developed into a deeper pursuit of God, together. As the kids grow their faith, they naturally have more questions, which means more opportunity for discussion. I find as we do this, He too graces me with more wisdom to shepherd them along the path. Word to the wise though, it’s hard to serve from an empty cup so get your own daily dose of living water (John 15:4). He is a kind and gracious Father, ready to meet you where you are, right in the craziness of this life.
The dinner table is the place of the “3D’s” Dinner. Dessert. Devotions. More recently we have started to use kids’ devotionals that talk about applying God’s Word specifically right into their worlds. We encourage everyone to give their thoughts, ask questions, bring prayer requests etc. On Sunday night’s we review the Neuma Kids discipleship curriculum, from the weekly email, and discuss what they learned in church that day.
We have a set of “Family Values Verses” printed and framed, that helps the kids with a biblical framework of how we approach God, treat others, and think of ourselves. We can point to and apply God’s word any time of the day or night (Deut 6:9). The last thing I do with each of the kids, just before lights out, is to pray 1 on 1 with them. Here is precious moment where I can hear what is on their hearts and speak God’s promises over them. It’s been a part of their lives for so long, they simply would not let me go a night without it happening – “Daaaad, are you gonna pray with us now?!”
It’s such a beautiful thing to see spiritual fruit manifest in their little lives. Recently our 4-year-old was literally preaching the good news to our 18-month-old in his high-chair, which was received with enthusiastic head nods. This is the very real power and love of God at work in their lives. How blessed we are as parents to be able to steward these future disciples of the Kingdom!