Here’s the confession:
Structured/disciplined spiritual training (discipleship) has been really hard for our family. Failed attempts outweigh our successes. It is hard for Joel and I to pursue together… it is even harder to do with our kids.
Lots of factors contribute to this:
- Not prioritizing this task
- Unstructured homelife
- Inexperience training children
- Difficult training kids on different levels
But one of my deepest desires is for my children to walk with God, having the foundation in Christ to resist the cultural stumbling blocks of adolescence & young adulthood.
I will entrust them to God in prayer during those times, but I also want them to be armed for the battle. I don’t want to be surprised and naive about what is coming.
So, with the closure of Basilica, we have turned our focus to training our family.
In the absence of experience or a guide, I tried to come up with a system to cover the areas that I could think of.
Here are the 5 areas we cover each evening, immediately after dinner:
- READ: Read bible story from children’s bible. I copy the corresponding page from “He Has Spoken By His Son” for them to color while we read.
- THINK: Discuss story (We are fortunate to have “He Has Spoken By His Son”, a Children Desiring God curriculum purchased for Basilica… it helps us with questions to ask following the story.) We try to write a 3 word summary on the back of the coloring sheet, such as “God is faithful” or “Jesus is God”.
- SHARE: One of the big things we are emphasizing is being able to TEACH what we learn to someone else.
For Holden, we talk about teaching it to Darin later.
So, we are building Journals of Bible Stories simply by putting the coloring pages from each story in order in a 3-ring binder for each kid.
It makes reviewing the stories we have covered very easy, too.
- MEMORIZE: Practice verse of week, as well as 2 previously learned verses. Sometimes, we do the Children’s Catechism instead.
- BUILD FAITH: Look over family prayer journal, writing down prayer requests and reviewing for answers to prayer.
- COMMUNICATE: Recite the Lord’s prayer. Pray.
We have been doing this with about 3-4 nights per week success for 3 weeks. And that’s better than any of our other 1 time attempts!
The good thing is that everyone knows what we will do and when we are done.
Arabella and Holden had friends over on Saturday, and it was easy to do with extra kids since we just needed 2 extra copies of the coloring sheet.
The coolest part was seeing growth already:
Holden has always been REALLY private about praying. He would only pray with me, and always sang his prayers. Great for me, a bummer for Joel. But since we have been praying as a family, he is getting more comfortable praying.
When we had Nicolas and Vanessa over on Saturday, Holden actually VOLUNTEERED to pray before dinner. Amazing!
Another cool prayer story:
In the Build Faith section, we are listing prayer requests, then reviewing them to look for God’s work in the world. Holden’s main concern is always his friend, Noah, a missionary kid.
Prayers for Noah usually focus on safety. But the other night, Holden prayed for God to work on the king’s heart so he will let people learn about You.
This was not something we had given the idea of, so I definitely see the Holy Spirit giving him the words!
Back to the system.
I had one thing I wanted to tweak, and the solution came to mind as I was trying to fall asleep last night.
BUILD FAITH: In the family prayer journal, it was hard to review the prayer requests for answers to prayer, but also realize there are some things we will always need to pray for – like Noah.
So here’s my visual solution:
This board helps us see what God is doing in our world
It’s pretty simple:
- The purple paper: “Things God took care of before we knew to ask:”
- The pink paper: “Things we are asking God to sustain:”
- The white paper represents “answered prayers”
- The blue post-it notes are “prayer requests”
- “Prayer requests” are moved onto the white paper after they are answered
Hopefully, the white paper will be overflowing with testimonies of what we have seen God do in our small part of the world.
Please let me know if you have ideas I can incorporate. Hopefully, this will grow to encompass more areas of our life.