As a Christian parent, one of my chief desires is for my children to come to faith in Jesus Christ. I pray frequently and fervently for God to give them new life, for without his Spirit their hearts will not change. (John 6:44, Rom 8:9)
Salvation Through the Word
Romans 10:17 teaches that there is no salvation apart from the Word of God. So as soon as your child can respond to sound, he should hear the Bible. Scripture songs, Bible stories, family worship, testimonies—let the rich story and good news of God’s salvation be the soundtrack of your home.
A child may begin the journey to faith by imitating his parents, but he must eventually confess Jesus as Lord with his own lips. Now God is sovereign over everything, including salvation, so there is no sure-fire formula. But on a human level, we can take this step of obedience: when your child is old enough to read, give him a Bible and train him to use it.
Devotions for Children
My oldest daughter (eight) reads ravenously. This is a gift from God, yet my wife and I joke that we are in a small company who must discipline for too much reading. (Otherwise, her teeth might never get clean, you see.) I long to channel her love of reading toward God’s Word and to help her build a habit of private devotions, including time for both prayer and Bible study.
At Knowable Word, we maintain that personal Bible study is most profitable using the Observation-Interpretation-Application (OIA) method. But children this age may not be ready for all the OIA terms and worksheets. For my daughter, I simply want her to read and think about the Bible. So, I designed this devotions sheet for her, and I am excited to share it with you.
The document is intentionally simple. My daughter should be able to meet with God in a meaningful way without feeling overwhelmed. Though it depends on the child, it could be used by most children between ages 6 and 10.
During “Bible Time,” my daughter reads one passage and writes down one observation and one question. She should pray about something that springs from her reading.
The “Prayer Time” portion of the sheet is also uncomplicated. The prompts follow the easy-to-remember ACTS (Adoration, Confession, Thanksgiving, Supplication) model of prayer.
The writing space is important. Writing stimulates our thinking and focus, and when my daughter records her thoughts it helps me care for her. I know she’s completed her devotions, and I can follow up in response to her answers, if needed.
Let me leave you with some advice about helping your child begin a devotional life.
- Don’t be too ambitious — Whether or not you adopt this document, use something your child can complete without difficulty. Don’t pile on a heavy burden, and don’t try to impress anyone.
- Use something helpful — This sheet may work for some children and not for others. Think about age-appropriate devotions, but don’t fuss too much about the tools. As your child grows in age and spiritual maturity, his devotional tools will likely change too.
- Interact with your child — Don’t tuck a devotional plan between your child’s arms and expect him to scamper into the end zone. Your child needs love and guidance. Talk about the Bible with your child; teach him how to pray. Look over his responses on the sheet and pray for opportunities for heart-level conversations.
- There is no magic formula — This bears repeating: salvation is of the Lord. As you press forward in faith, pray for your merciful God to be merciful to your children.