A place to share struggles and triumphs, a place to bless and serve - but never a place to murmur or complain. 

Monday, February 23, 2009

Bringing Prayer and Scripture Study to your Children.

I'm posting this mainly in the hope that it will be a comforting and helpful perspective. Right now my family is in what could be considered "worst case scenario" as far as family life goes. I've been actively searching for ways to strengthen my children and I hit on something that I hadn't really considered before, but which I feel could be a key in helping me to accomplish this.
First, I've felt it was very important to pray and read from the scriptures with my children, but have found that their attention spans and moods vary so widely (they are ages 3-13) that my efforts have been largely ineffective. I found something recently that has worked very well. I say very well, but that is somewhat of an understatement. This simple practice has completely changed the moods of our evening gatherings. Before the first one goes to bed at night, we all gather in my room, and we read one or two scripture passages. Then we pray. We cut out the time it takes to get everyone a book and the "which verse are we on?" and "do we have to read" - and go straight to the meat of the matter. Teaching. For Christmas years ago, my mother made cards for each of us (4.25" x 5.5") with her favorite scriptures on them. Now, we take one card each night, someone reads it aloud, maybe two or three times if necessary, we TALK about it and we pray. (I am going to go through the cards to be sure that they contain all of scriptures that have special meaning to me.) What I know already, however, is that THIS WORKS. We now have some meaningful time in the scriptures together whenever I am home in the evening, and our prayer time has improved as well, thanks to the Spirit that comes as we read and discuss the scriptures. We may at some point be able to sit together, all reading from books, but as a place to start, I highly recommend this option.
Second, in a related but separate vein, I have been especially concerned with how to strengthen my teen son. I have been pleased with the progress I mentioned above, but found something in a little pamphlet that caught my attention. I will just quote it. "In a gospel-centered home, each family member should have a plan for individual gospel study centered on the scriptures . . . IN ADDITION, you may wish to gather with your family for a few minutes each day to study the scriptures. . ." Essentially, what I realized is something I already knew but wasn't sure how to apply. What each family member needs first and foremost is their own personal experiences with the scriptures. My son will benefit most from reading on his own. I talked to him about it this morning on the way to school - which is about our only "alone" time each day. I invited him to read just one or two verses each day, and promised him that Heavenly Father would bless him with the peace and strength that he needs to make it through these incredibly difficult times if he will do that simple thing. The great part is, I know that the Lord will make good on that promise. What a blessing! I plan to make this invitation to all my reading children, and look forward to helping them to recognize the benefits of scripture study in their lives.

Friday, February 6, 2009

True faith is always tested faith.