This COVID-19 threat can bring about anxiety and fear for much of the world. As parents, we feel especially protective during these turbulent times.
However, it is a reminder that we need to prepare our children for life in a fallen world.
Specifically, we should be asking how we can use our days at home to focus on God and build up our family. Savor every moment with your children so that you are drawn closer together as a family.
Even further, take time to focus on the wonderful spiritual truths of knowing God and His Word. In short, use these “extra” moments God has given you to build meaningful Christ-centered memories with your family.
How can you redeem this time and begin the process of introducing your children to the splendor of knowing Him?
1. Make it a priority.
We might intellectually believe it is important to spend time discipling our children, but unless we make discipleship a priority, we will rarely follow through. Commit today to begin a lifestyle of daily discussing with your children the only One who can satisfy their deepest need.
2. Set aside a place.
Jesus often withdrew to lonely places to pray and spend time with the Father. We know He met with God in the wilderness, on a mountain and in a garden. Furthermore, Jesus reminds us to enter a prayer closet to pray. He doesn’t mean you must pray in your clothes closet but a place where you can consistently shut the door to the distractions of life (and the applause of others) and open the door of heaven. With my daughter, Abigail, we had a specific place in her room where the family would gather to read and discuss God’s Word. I have discovered a particular location helps with consistency and focus.
3. Set aside a time.
Jesus would often get away with the Father in the morning. I make it a priority to spend my personal time alone with God each morning. However, the mornings were too rushed to have our family devotions with Abigail. We set a specific time each evening for us to gather as a family to have unrushed quality time. As much as we desired to disciple Abigail, without setting aside a time, we drifted towards inconsistency.
4. Have a plan.
Randomly selecting Scripture without preparation will soon become ineffective and lose your children’s attention. Therefore, I spent time developing a plan before our devotions together. Discipling your children is too important to “shoot from the hip.” Each day I recommend you review a weekly memory verse so that your children will begin to hide God’s Word in their hearts. Next, give Scripture and a short age-related devotion to read, which is designed to teach your children about God and His plan. Also, include practical ways in which your children can respond to the Scripture and the devotion. Offer engaging questions to your children with truths from the lesson. Next, you may opt to give them a prayer starter in relation to your time together. Finally, it is always helpful to have a fun learning activity to solidify the Biblical truth that was presented. This pattern was followed in my book, Moments with God, which was designed with Abigail and other children (ages 5-12) in mind. Moments with God is a tool for parents to introduce their children to basic theological doctrines in a child-friendly manner.
In sum, make the most of this time! Teach your children the thrill of knowing Christ! I long for you to begin (or continue) the process of disciple-making in your family. My prayer is for you to spend time with your children in the Word. Let them see and hear God’s love through intentional Christ-centered moments. What better time to begin than now?
Rob Jackson, Ph.D., serves at the University of Mobile (UM) as associate professor of Christian studies and is executive director of the Institute for Global Leadership at UM. He also has served as pastor of churches in Alabama and Kentucky. He holds degrees from Samford University in Birmingham and Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, Kentucky. He and his wife, Tonya, have one daughter, Abigail.
Moments with God: A Six-Week Parent-led Study Introducing the Splendor of Knowing God can be ordered: www.livingwordpublishing.org