My husband and I have decided to set our family some spiritual goals for 2016. As a very busy family of eight, it seemed important that we did so, but also that the goals were realistic. We already eat dinner together each day, and open this time with prayer. We also are able, most nights still, to pray together as a family. I would love to add daily devo time, but with our activity schedule, it would lead to either stressing to fit it in or glossing over it in a hurry, neither of which is beneficial. Instead, we agreed to do devos the one night a week without work or activities–Saturday. And on Sunday, we tell the kids which scripture we’ll be discussing Saturday so they can read and prepare throughout the week. For us, this has kept the family focused on God all week long without leading to frustration.
As the kids grow and the schedules become more involved, keep Christ at the center with realistic goals.
Let’s be honest. As Christians, we are all called to missions. Sometimes we can go, and sometimes we can send. When raising our children, it’s important to expose them to an understanding of the need for the gospel in the world. That being said, sometimes we can effect missions by reading.
Becoming aware of other countries and cultures develops a heart for missions. In light of this, let me recommend the book A Long Walk to Water by Linda Sue Park. This tells the story of a young Sudanese boy’s struggle during wartime in his country. It is a short read, based on a true story, that also provides an opportunity for readers to help out with humanitarian efforts in the Sudan. While it is not a religious book, Christian children will be moved to know what it would be like growing up in this harsh landscape during uncertain times.
Read this book as a family, either out loud or by passing it around in turn. Then, talk with your children about God’s heart for Sudan. Pray for Sudan. Consider starting a fundraiser or making a family faith donation to Salva’s water project for his homeland. Be prepared for both the overly- and under-enthusiastic response depending on the age and previous exposure of your children to missions work.
And pray for God’s guidance in your children’s lives. One day they’ll be grown and on their own. Will they have developed a heart and habit for missions by the time they have?