“I have stored up your word in my heart, that I might not sin against you” repeats like a broken record during my days. As I think through how to best parent my children, God faithfully draws to mind certain verses that help me in my weakness and remind me that He is there in the messiness of life. Scripture memory and prayer remind me that He will give us exactly what we need, exactly when we need it.
Many people consider Scripture memory and prayer important for themselves, but they do not think of teaching those habits to their children. The earlier we can teach our children the Word and how to pray about the little (and big) things, the better. Parents need to recognize that the home is the primary church our children will experience. The few hours kids spend in children’s ministry per week pale in comparison to the hundreds spent at home. I am so grateful for children’s pastors and the staff who work tirelessly to shepherd those in their care, but parents must do our part.
So, how do parents better teach our children to memorize Scripture? First—do not be boring. God is anything but boring, and our children should know how exciting He is by the way we draw near to Him. Use music, stories, art, or anything that speaks to you as you speak to your children. For the close of Vacation Bible School at Stonebriar, SEEDS Family Worship led the families in a concert. I watched as parents and children raised their voices, clapped their hands, and danced to the Word. If you do not own any SEEDS music yet, I encourage you to check them out HERE and sing the songs in your car, play them in your home, and share them with others. In addition to songs, focus on a verse of the week with your entire family. Write the verse on sticky notes and put them everywhere from the bathroom mirror to the refrigerator, the front door to your dashboard in the car. Every morning when you rise, say the verse together and throughout your day. Pretty quickly, your children will be reciting it on their own.
“These words, which I am commanding you today, shall be on your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your sons and shall talk of them when you sit in your house and when you walk by the way and when you lie down and when you rise up. You shall bind them as a sign on your hand and they shall be as frontals on your forehead. You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates.” Deuteronomy 6:6-9
Hiding God’s Word in your heart is just part of intentionally discipling your children. Show your children who God is through prayer, as well. Pouring your heart out to the Lord is not something that should be reserved for meals and bed time. Pouring your heart out to God is something you should model at all times. Many adults are not comfortable with prayer or praying out loud. Guess what? Jesus said, “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.” Come to Him with childlike faith. Pray often, out loud, and about anything. When you see a firetruck go by, tell your kids that someone may be hurt and then ask God to work through the first responders, to bring peace to the people in need, and to guard the hearts and minds of all involved. This is just one example, but it is a way to show your children how to make prayer practical. Talk to God about everything, and He will give your family greater peace.
If you, as a parent, are looking for Scripture memory resources for yourself, one tried and true method is The Navigators Topical Memory System. It is a great way to store up verses in your heart and draw closer to the God who created you, loves you, and wants all of you.
“Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart
be acceptable in your sight,
O Lord, my rock and my redeemer.” (Psalm 19:14)