Focus on the Spiritual Life of Your Family
Why are most families more proactive with sports and school than we are with the spiritual development of our children? Because focusing on the spiritual life of our families doesn’t come naturally for many, even for those who desperately want that focus. Over the years, I’ve asked hundreds of people how or if their families of origin had any kind of spiritual life together—I asked more out of desperation for my own family than because of a need to gather information for some type of study. By far, the most common answer was “We prayed before meals, my parents took us to church and that was about it.”
Neither Cathy nor I grew up in families that were active in church. We didn’t have role models in this area of our lives, but we’ve found that even our friends who grew up in pastors’ homes didn’t experience much of a proactive approach to passing the spiritual torch to the next generation. Some had memories of a rigid devotional time that usually involved their father reading from the Bible or a devotional book. But when we’ve asked our friends about how they have energized their family’s faith, most have just looked blank and haven’t had a clue.
Developing children’s spiritual lives was a vital part of ancient Hebrew culture. To this day, the most often quoted Scripture in an Orthodox Jewish home is the Shema, their confession of faith found in Deuteronomy 6:4-9; 11:13-21; and Numbers 15:37-41. Orthodox Jews quote parts or all of these passages every morning and evening. The Shema really is the very core of spiritual values for both the Jewish and Christian traditions. Deuteronomy 6:4-9 provides some important instructions for passing on our faith to our children:
“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 (emphasis added).”
We are to impress God’s Word on our children’s hearts, but how do we do that?
Today there is a fresh wind inspiring us to pass on our faith to our children in a positive way. Organizations such as HomeWord are coming alongside parents to help us light the fire of spiritual growth in our families. I’d like to offer three suggestions that, if implemented, should significantly help promote the spiritual life of our families:
- Develop a regular family devotional time
- Develop a family constitution
- Include God’s presence in family renewal
You may be wondering what these three suggestions actually mean. Well, just like a television series that says “to be continued,” I’ll unpack each of these suggestions over the next 3 weeks. Don’t miss them, they can really help energize your family’s spiritual life.
If you missed our webinar on How to Handle the Holidays, you can watch it here.