Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Diligent Instruction

Or ... The Importance of Family Worship

"You shall teach them diligently to your children, 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."
- Deuteronomy 6:7

What does it mean to teach our children diligently? What are we supposed to be diligently teaching them? Well, if you read the beginning of Deuteronomy 6, we see that we're supposed to be teaching them God's Word. Verse six explains "And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart." These words...His words...His word, his scripture, his law, his instructions, his story. We should diligenltly be instructing our children in the ways of the Lord. But, why?

Our church is going through a series right now entitled The Bride. We're looking deep into the book of Revelation and studying out God's instructions to the seven churches of that time and how they apply to us, the church, today. Our message on this past Sunday was regarding the Church at Thyatira and the messsage is a great place to start when beginning to understand why family worship is so very important. It is our job as parents to raise our children up in the way they should go, and in this age of technology they are bombarded with the ungodly practically from birth. 

As parents, my husband and I have several ways that combat the ungodly and pour diligent instruction into our children. First and foremost, we homeschool. I know that, practically speaking, this is not an option for all families, but it is an option for us. We go without a lot of comforts and live extremely frugally in order to do this, but diligent instruction is worth it. Secondly, we have a family worship time for an hour a day, every day. Yes, you read that right; for one hour every single day we spend time worshiping the Lord, pouring into His word and instructing our children directly from His word. Our family worship time culminates from several key aspects:

We always begin our morning with prayer. This composes our hearts into a posture of worship and quiets our bodies as we prepart to focus on God. Our morning prayer comes from our homeschool curriculum and is recited as follows daily:
Dearest Lord, teach me to be generous. 
Teach me to serve you as you deserve.
To give and not to count the cost.
To fight and no to heed the wounds.
To toil and not to seek for rest.
To labor and not to ask for reward;
save that of knowing I am doing Your will.
Through Christ, our Lord. Amen

Creed & Doxology
In addition to praying together, daily we recite different creeds and or historical prayers of our faith. We slowly add more as we learn them and then cycle through them throughout each week. Right now we've memorized and recite on alternating days the doxology and the gloria patri. Daily we also recite the apostles' creed as the first and most basic creed of the Christian faith. 

Scripture Memory
There are so many reasons for memorizing scripture that I can't possibly mention all of them here. Suffice it to say, the more of God's word that is in your heart, the more you can recollect it during the trials that most assuredly will come your way throughout your life. Our method of scripture memory has been so amazingly helpful to us. In the past year, we've memorized over 40 verses and passages of the bible together as a family. We mostly have been using the verse list found here

A catechism is a series of fixed questions, answers, or precepts used for instruction; in this case instruction in the Christian faith. As a family we've been memorizing the Westminster Shorter Catechism for Children. Even our youngest daughter, who is only two-years-old has memorized several of the answers. Learning the catechism together gives us daily reminders of what we believe and why which will hopefully prepare our children for apologetics (defending their faith intellectually) as they get older. Our family devotional also goes through the Heidelburg Catechism. It breaks each series of questions and answers down, provides real-life application even for our youngest family members, and scriptural references. It is available for purchase here.

Scripture Study (SOAP Journaling)
Finally, in concordance with our devotional, we read scripture. We use a method for journaling called SOAP. We encourage each of our older children who can write well (from Jubilee - 10 and up) to have their own SOAP journal and to have their own personal daily time in the Bible in addition to our family worship. Our middle-aged children (Lily 9 & Isaiah 7) usually will draw a picture and write a sentence or two about what they've read. Everyone in our family owns an ESV Bible. This is Jeremiah and my preferred translation of the Bible and we've found it to be wholeheartedly enriching to our children to have their very own copies of the Bible to read along with us. 

Worship through Song
Finally, our worship time includes singing praise and worship songs. We include both hymns and contemporary songs, as well as scripture memory, books of the bible, creeds and more. We often listen to worship songs throughout the day and have found it imperative that the songs we listen to, memorize and sing be theologically and scripturally affirming to our faith. This is yet another way we are able to diligently instruct our children in our faith. 

We take our faith very seriously. We take God's instruction to teach our children diligently daily, very seriously. I hope you've found this post helpful and encouraging. If you've found different ways to instruct your children in the faith diligently please feel free to share in the comments below!