Sunday, 14 August 2011

Raising a godly generation - part 2

This time I continue with some more practical considerations that are important in training up our children for the Lord.  There is still at least one more (probably more!) post to come, with further suggestions.


The Bible teaches us, in Deuteronomy 6:6-7

"And these words, which I command thee this day, shall be in thine heart:
And thou shalt teach them diligently unto thy children, and shalt talk of them when thou sittest in thine house, and when thou walkest by the way, and when thou liest down, and when thou risest up."

I recently read a blog post, where somebody took time to say that family devotions are not in the Bible, and you shouldn't feel you HAVE to have them.

True, we do not find any explicit details or instructions to sit down together as a family, to read the scriptures, sing, pray and discuss the Word of God.  However, in the above verses we find command to diligently teach our children God's ways.  As I have already mentioned, children do learn by our example, but that is not the same as TEACHING.  Teaching implies formality and time taken to convey vital information from one party to another.  Having family devotions is a perfect time to do this.  It's a time to learn together, with the father as the head of the home, teaching God's truths to his children.  Praising God together in song.  Thinking about the truths that have been taught, and applying them to the life of the family.

Currently, we are going through the book of Proverbs.  The children are loving how Robert is trying to give them object lessons to remember the truths.  Things that they will remember, and by God's grace, apply to their own lives.  In the evenings, we always sing and pray together, and Robert usually brings some truth to round off the day.  It's a more informal time, and we LOVE singing God's praises together!

If you don't already have a time in the day when you have family worship, then I would recommend that you do.  Speak to your husband about it.  Prayerfully consider what format you want to use, to fit your own family, but ultimately not forgetting that the key point of it is to teach God's Word to your children.

We are planning on using a new book soon - Clay Clarkson's "Our 24 Family Ways".

Read about it here.  He explains the reason why he produced the book, and about what it contains   

It looks really lovely - you can see sample pages here.  They now have the added bonus of colouring pages, that you can photocopy for your own family's use, that tie in with the 24 ways.

There are many resources you could use for a family devotion time.  We have, in the past, used the lovely book by Mariann Schoolland, "Leading Little Ones to God".

 It's a lovely book, going through major points of doctrine, in a way that is easy to understand for children.  You can see inside it, and view the contents here. For each part that it teaches, it has a a scripture portion, a memory verse, a song and then the teaching.  Lots of excellent content.  We will probably keep coming around to using it in a cycle, as it's nice to have some variety, but we want the younger ones to learn the doctrine, too!  I must confess, I bought mine before I even got married, or had children!  We had used it growing up, and knew I wanted to use it when I had children of my own! So, I was very forward thinking, and bought it when it was on sale!

You could also use a good daily devotional, such as the Spurgeon's "Morning and Evenings", which would lead to some excellent discussion.

If you want to use scripture as the backbone, but want thematic study, then the Daily Light is great.  It is simply a collection of texts, around a theme, for morning and evening use.

Make the time enjoyable - you want them to see that you have a love for God's Word, and that it is something precious and valuable in your life. Be enthusiastic as you sing praise to God.  Help them to understand what they are singing - there is no point singing empty words.

We sing a selection of choruses and hymns, that are favourites of the family.  We know a small selection of Psalm portions, but that is something I would like to work on a bit, too.


Children have a brain like a sponge.  They have an enviable ability to memorise things, which an adult would sincerely wish that they were still able to so readily achieve!   Grab that opportunity while you can!  get them memorising scripture.  For little ones, choose short, key parts of verses.

 "The wages of sin is death",

 "God is love",

 "I am the way the truth and the life",  

"In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth".

They could also combine it with learning their alphabet, and learn a verse for each letter of the alphabet!  Older children could learn whole passages - such as Psalm 23, or the 10 commandments.  Key verses about doctrine are also good to have memorised.  You could have a reward scheme, where they could perhaps have a Bible given to them upon completion, or some other suitable reward.

"Thy word have I hid in mine heart, that I might not sin against thee. "
Psalm 119:11  


Now, I know this is quite a subjective area.  I personally don't listen to Christian music that is too contemporary.  I feel that it is so close to the world's style of music, that it just doesn't sit well with me.

However, I have a couple of recommendations, for children, that I think would please most!

Firstly, there is a set of Albums called "Bible Songs for Kids".  You will find them at Bible Truth Music, and what's great is that they are downloadable!  So, no shipping costs involved!  They are a large selection (6 albums, so far) of KJV scripture in song.  Straight up and down Bible verses - no paraphrasing, or put into a meter, just songs composed to fit with the words.  They are really great, and it is also a super way of getting them to learn the Bible verses! The children pick them up very quickly.

Another one I got more recently, is "Hide em in your heart".  This is also scripture in song, but I think it is NKJV?  I haven't actually worked it out, but I base this on the fact that some of them are the same as KJV, and some are just a little different.  These are a little more"upbeat" in style, but not "rock" style by ANY means! You can download it on itunes, and also listen to samples there, to give you an idea of what it is like.   The other element of these that I like, is that they start with the recording artist (Steve Green), explaining a bit about the verse, and what children need to learn from it, before a child quotes the reference, and it is then sung.  My children certainly love it, as a lot of it is very fun!  It covers such verses as Psalm 34:13 (about lying), Romans 12:21 (overcome evil with good), Philippians 4:13 (do all things without arguing and complaining) - so lots of very appropriate teaching!

Please share your experiences and suggestions in these areas, as there are so many resources available out there, that it's a blessing to share them with others when YOU find them!

Link up below!


  1. There's some great ideas there thank you Caroline, we have just started using Leading little ones to God - I try to do it when my 2 youngest are in bed though as it's easier to keep 3 older ones attention! Also we love hide em in your heart and we have seeds of worship (though not sure it would suit you as it is a bit more modern) - Another thing I've just started doing is going through a book we have from walk thru the bible ministries to teach them the books of the bible - it's been great so far and they are loving memorising them (as am I) lol

  2. My personal opinion, is that so much of what is classed as Contemporary Christian music is just dross. It's so uninspiring and man-centred. My opinion remember!!

    However, we do love an American band called Mercy Me. It is good to be able to listen to music around the house that also lifts your thoughts heavenward, which I find they do.

    We also love the children's CDs by Colin Buchanan, an Australian singer. In his album, Practice Being Godly, he goes through the Ten Commandments using different rhythms to chant each of them. Our boys memorized them using this. He also has an excellent Christmas Album.

    Like you, we believe in the importance of daily family worship, and also include singing, reading and prayer. We are going through Psalm 119 just now.

    Hope I haven't rambled on too long!!

    Ver inspiring lectures by Joel Beeke n family worship (there are some 30 minute lectures on that page... ;-) ). I have never really found 'good' music to listen to, but then I haven't searched, so I'll look up some of your suggestions, thanks xx

  4. I've just seen that Dawn linked to a Joel Beeke sermon, so it's possibly the same one I have here:
    Worth listening to. I'm thankful that morning and evening family worship is something we grew up with and, no doubt, took for granted. There are things about our family worship in our own home I'd like to do slightly differently, but it is as it is. I'm thankful that our children have had it as part of their daily lives since they were born, and as for it being scriptural, I think God directed a family morning and evening sacrifice in the days of the Israelites. Although the mode has changed, I don't believe the principle has.

    At least some Bible reading, prayer and (psalm for us) singing. I would urge every newly married couple to begin this from Day One, and for those who've never done it to just 'bite the bullet' and start it. None of us will ever lose out on spending this short time in a semi-formal act of worship at home (I say semi-formal because we have our own private devotions, but family worship has a formality about it in that the family is called together and there's some format that's generally followed.
    Have I gone on and on??!

  5. Anne - I like what you said - sometimes people think that having devotions as a couple is a substitute to our own personal quiet times. I think, as you said, that it is a begining of "family worship" ALONGSIDE our own times with the Lord,, rather than in place of it. I would like to start having some time just with Robert, again. Those times in early marriage were very precious, but with busy lives, and family worship, we don't do it any more! Even just taking the time, once a week, to read and pray together, would be good!
    And ladies - don't worry about the length of replies - your responses are a blessing! :-)