Are you feeling like you should be teaching your children about God but don’t know how? Maybe you don’t feel qualified. Or that you know enough.
You can get started today teaching your children about God–no matter who you are. No seminary degree required.
Here’s what God says to do:
“Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God, the LORD is one! Love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength. These commandments that I give you today are to be on your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. Write them on the doorframes of your houses and on your gates.” Deuteronomy 6:4-9.
Okay. But how?
First, a brief backstory.
When God inspired Moses to write these words, God had just used Moses to lead the Israelites out of slavery in Egypt and into the desert on the way to the Promised Land.
In the desert, God gave His people very specific instructions about how to live.
Remember, the people had lived in Egypt, seeing Egyptians worship and sacrifice to many gods. So, God told His people they were to: worship only Him, not have any idols, not misuse His holy name, keep the Sabbath holy, honor their parents, not murder or commit adultery or steal or lie or covet what other people have. We call these instructions from God the ten commandments. You can read them for yourself in Exodus 20:1-17.
Now to the verses in Deuteronomy 6.
Moses reminded the Israelites of who God is and how God said to live by repeating God’s commandments. (See Deuteronomy 5:6-21.)
Then, Moses said (Deuteronomy 6:4-9) to be sure to teach your children about who God is and how God said to live. Talking about God when you sit at home and when you walk along the road and when you lie down and when you get up is a lifestyle. It’s a lifestyle that works well. And, it’s easier than you think.
Here are 19 simple ways to teach your children about God as you live your life:
1. Say thank You to God at every mealtime. Beginning with your next meal, help your family develop an attitude of gratitude to God by saying the blessing. Or, you can call it saying grace. Either way, get in the habit of thanking God for providing food to eat before actually eating. Once everyone is seated, you can say a simple prayer:
“Thank You, God, for giving us food to eat again. Amen.”
Another popular mealtime blessing among Christian families is this one: “Bless the food before us, the family beside us, and the love between us. Amen.”
My husband and I have said this mealtime prayer with our children, parents, various other family members, and numerous friends many times over the years: “God is great. God is good. Let us thank Him for our food. By His Hands we are fed. Give us, Lord, our daily bread. Amen.”
Taking a moment to thank God for providing food to eat takes very little time, costs no money, doesn’t require any special training, and can be done at your own table, as well as in any restaurant or park or place you eat. Starting this habit with your children today will help your kids to grow up knowing that God is the one, true God. He is in charge of everything. And, He is good.
2. Pray with your kids every day. When your children are little, a brief prayer at bedtime works. Together, you can fold your hands and thank God for the beautiful sunshine that day, for your family, for friends, for your home or for anything that comes to mind. You can tell God that you love Him. You can ask God to help someone who is sick. A 30-60 second prayer is sufficient. Keep it simple.
As your children get older, you can pray longer.
You can pray over specific situations–an upcoming test, starting a new school, a problem with a friend, etc. Praying every day with your children teaches the importance not only of prayer in our lives, but also that God is in charge of, well, everything.
Taking time to thank God when you see your family’s prayers answered–and you will–will teach your kids to trust God and to love Him.
3. Read the Bible every day. Yes, you. You can’t impart what you don’t possess. In other words, you can’t give what you don’t have. To teach your kids about God, you need to spend time with Him every day, reading the Bible, which was written for you.
In the Bible, you will discover God’s great love for you, His mercy, His greatness, His power, His commandments, and more. You will learn about the people who’ve gone before you–Moses, David, Ruth, Esther, John, Peter, Mary, Paul, and more. You will encounter Jesus. Hear His voice as He teaches. Watch as He heals. Cry as He is arrested, beaten, and executed. Shout as He rises from the dead.
There is no other book in the world like the Bible. It is “alive and active, sharper than any double edged sword” (Hebrews 4:12). It is “God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness” (2 Timothy 3:16).
When you read the Bible, God will speak to you, showing you something you need to change–with His help.
You will find the comfort you need in times of heartache.
There is no other book in the world like the Bible.
You will get the courage you need in times of struggle.
You will gain the wisdom you need to be a wife, a mom, a daughter, a friend, an employee, and more.
As you learn about God by reading the Bible every day, you will have much to share with your children.
4. Read the Bible with your children every day. Taking a few minutes each day to read a Bible story with your kids will teach your kids about who God is and how He wants them to live. Making Bible time a daily habit when your kiddos are young can help them keep reading the Bible for themselves when they are older.
A beautifully illustrated children’s Bible can help your little kids understand the stories you read to them. For example, a brightly colored picture of young David hurling the stone from his slingshot to bring down the mean giant, Goliath, brings this story from 2 Samuel 17 to life for kids. Same with Moses parting the Red Sea, Noah building the ark or any number of other stories found in the Bible.
Be sure to buy your child his/her own modern-day English translation of the Bible by sixth grade.
As your children get older, read to them from your Bible. Better yet, have your children read out loud from your Bible. Seeing the words and saying the words out loud will help your kids remember what they read.
Be sure to buy your child his/her own modern-day English translation of the Bible by sixth grade.
Why sixth grade?
Because your child will leave elementary school behind to begin middle school. Many kids choose to pack away or get rid of childhood toys when starting middle school. Also, puberty occurs during the middle school years. So, with all the changes taking place in your child’s life at the end of fifth grade, why not go ahead and make the occasion special by giving your son or daughter his/her own grownup Bible without the colorful illustrations of childhood?
Remember, teaching your children about God is a lifestyle.
5. Say a blessing over your children at bedtime each night. Many times in the Bible a priest or leader spoke a blessing over God’s people, reminding them that they are valuable to God and that He is with them. As a leader in your home, you can do the same. Here’s the blessing I gave our children every night as they were growing up:
“The LORD bless you and keep you; the LORD make his face shine upon you, And be gracious to you; The LORD lift up his countenance upon you, And give you peace.” Numbers 6:24-26.
My husband created a bedtime blessing just for our son:
“I pray in the Name of Jesus Christ, my Lord and Savior, and ask that you grow to be big and strong, that you’ll be brave and courageous, that you’ll always look after old people and little kids, that you’ll grow to be smart but that you’ll always keep learning. Most of all, I pray that you’ll walk in the way of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. Amen.”
If you want to learn more about starting a family blessing so your children will feel loved and cherished by you and by God, check out this book: amzn.to/2Ls1vVg (paid link).
6. Take a walk. Whether you live in the city, the country or in the suburbs, walk outside with your children on a regular basis, looking around at the world God has made.
Pause for a moment to notice the sky. Do you see the sun shining? Or stars lighting the night? Talk about the fact that God made the sun and the stars.
On a hot summer day, do you hear the whirr of the cicadas? See a butterfly softly dancing over a flower? Maybe a dog barks in the distance.
“The earth is the Lord’s, and everything in it, the world, and all who live in it.” Psalms 24:1.
Explain to your kids that God created all the animals and plants. You can quote Isaiah 6:3: “Holy, holy, holy is the Lord Almighty; the whole earth is full of his glory.”
Or, you can say Psalms 24:1: “The earth is the Lord’s, and everything in it, the world, and all who live in it.”
7. Show mercy. When someone cuts you off in traffic, how do you respond? When someone says something unkind to you, how do you handle the situation? God gives you opportunities like these to show mercy to other people.
Do other people deserve your mercy? Nope. But, you don’t deserve God’s mercy, yet He gives it to you freely. You are to do the same.
Showing mercy to other people as you live your life in front of your children teaches your kids that God is merciful.
“And what does the Lord require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.” Micah 6:8.
8. Practice hospitality. Google defines hospitality as: “the friendly and generous reception and entertainment of guests, visitors, or strangers.”
So why should you generously receive and entertain guests, visitors or strangers?
Well, because God’s instruction in Romans 12:13 is clear: “Practice hospitality.”
Invite your neighbors over for dinner. Make pancakes for breakfast whenever your children have sleepovers at your house. Host a holiday event in your home, such as an Easter egg hunt in your yard for your children’s friends.
Or, offer to cook the Thanksgiving turkey at your house this year and have the rest of your family members bring side dishes.
Practicing hospitality is all about making other people feel welcome and valuable when they are in your home.
Concerned that your house isn’t nice enough? Or that you aren’t a great chef?
Don’t worry about whether your decor looks like Chip and Joanna Gaines just finished a remodel for you. Likewise, you don’t need to try to make people think you are the next Martha Stewart, Ree Drummond, Danielle Walker or Kristin Cavallari.
Practicing hospitality is all about making other people feel welcome and valuable when they are in your home. So, take the focus off yourself and look for ways to show God’s love to people around you by showing them hospitality. Your children will learn to do the same.
9. Welcome missionaries into your home. Is a missionary coming to speak at your church? Invite him/her to stay in your home. Or, ask if the missionary can come to your home to eat a meal with you and your family.
Because listening to a missionary tell some of his/her stories to a large audience is a wonderful experience, but sitting around your kitchen table, relaxing and talking together while sharing a meal can give you and your family the opportunity to get to hear more personal, behind-the-scenes stories of the struggles and the blessings that come from answering a call from God.
10. Be a missionary in your own home. Have you ever considered having a student from another country live in your home for a school year?
Well, neither had I until our 16-year-old son told my husband and me that his school still needed a host home for an international student for the new school year. Joe asked if we could meet the need.
After lots of discussion, praying, and paperwork, there we were a few months later, driving a complete stranger home from the Atlanta Airport.
There we were a few months later, driving a complete stranger home from the Atlanta Airport.
Over the next few months, we communicated with hand gestures, smiles, and the Google Translate app. As his English improved, our international student asked us questions about Thanksgiving and Christmas. We bought him his first Bible. We explained that we consider lying wrong and why. And, we lived our lives as Christ followers in front of him, including saying grace before every meal.
For years, I’ve read Bible verses like Mark 16:15, when Jesus said: “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation.” What I didn’t know is that God might just bring the world to me and my family in our own home. And strengthen our faith in the process.
So, if God gives you the opportunity to host an international student in your home, take it.
11. Treat your children with respect. Each child is uniquely made by God with his /her own personality, abilities, likes, and dislikes. Learn who your children are individually.
Never try to force a child to be someone he/she is not.
What does this mean?
Everyone is good at something. Help each kid to find out what he/she is good at and do it.
Well, if you have a kid who is gifted in working with math, don’t try to force him/her to become an artist. Or vice versa. Most children are not gifted athletes. That’s okay. Everyone is good at something. Help each kid to find out what he/she is good at and do it.
When dealing with your children (especially when they frustrate you), remember that these words from Ephesians 2:10 apply to your little rascals: “For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.”
12. Go to church every week. Is your life crazy busy? Feel overwhelmed by your responsibilities? Sometimes feel alone? Then live Sunday differently from the other days of the week. Follow God’s commandment–treat Sunday as the Sabbath. Find a church in your area (if you haven’t already) and go there every Sunday as a family.
At church on Sunday, your children can truly enjoy and learn from their own Sunday School classes. Typically, children’s Sunday School classes feature age-appropriate lessons from the Bible.
Four-year-olds, for example, might color cartoon-type pictures of Jesus surrounded by children during a lesson on how much Jesus loves children. (See Matthew 19:14, Mark 10:14, and Luke 18:16.)
In December, kindergarteners may make Christmas tree ornaments featuring glued-on macaroni while listening to a lesson on baby Jesus. (Trust me on this: your Christmas tree needs at least one macaroni ornament.)
What about older kids?
Try this: release your worries and to-do lists into God’s Hands as you walk into the worship service at church each week.
Middle school and high school classes commonly delve into deeper theological questions, such as where is heaven? Did God really create everything in six days, then rest on the seventh? How is life different because Jesus died on the cross for our sins? How do I forgive when someone has wronged me?
Not only can your kiddos get fed spiritually at church on Sundays at each age and state of development, but so can you.
Try this: release your worries and to-do lists into God’s Hands as you walk into the worship service at church each week. Put your focus on our Almighty God. He is Yaweh. Jehovah. I AM. The Maker and Creator of all. Praise Him. Worship Him. Love Him. Sing the songs to Him. Pray to Him. Listen to the sermon as though it is just for you.
“But from there you will seek the LORD your God, and you will find Him if you seek Him with all your heart and with all your soul.” Deuteronomy 4:29.
Also, find a Sunday School class or life group comprised of people in your same season of life. You can learn and grow together as you study God’s Word and apply it to your lives, whether going through potty training, teaching your son/daughter to drive or dropping off your first child at college. You can pray for each other as you do life together. You can: “Rejoice with those who rejoice, and weep with those who weep.” Romans 12:15.
If you will make the commitment to find and plug into a local church as a family, God will bless all of you in numerous ways. And, He will use you and your family to bless others. That’s His way.
13. Regularly participate in clothing drives, canned food drives, school supply drives, etc., for needy families. Is your church collecting canned food to give to struggling families that come to the church for help?
Before winter sets in, is your church asking for donations of coats and socks for homeless people nearby?
Maybe your children’s school is asking for monetary donations to buy backpacks for some students whose families can’t afford to buy backpacks.
If you look, you will see many ways you can give to other people. Whether you have $1 million to spend or only $10, your family can get in the habit of helping others. As you do, you will teach your kids to give generously because God has given much to us.
“So let each one give as he purposes in his heart, not grudgingly or of necessity; for God loves a cheerful giver.” 2 Corinthians 9:7.
14. Look at babies. Stop by the church nursery on Sundays. Visit friends who’ve recently had a baby. Smile at the sweetness. Point out the tiny hands and feet. Talk with your kids about what Psalm 139:13-14 says: “For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well.”
Your children need to know God lovingly made them and has a plan for their lives. Looking at babies gives you the opportunity to teach that lesson.
15. Listen to music that honors God. Music is powerful because it creates a mood. It stirs our feelings. Music teaches us about the world around us. God knew all this when He gave us the gift of music. So, use the gift of music to point your children to God.
What style of music should you play when you are with your children? We have so many choices available to us today.
Use this simple tip: the style doesn’t matter. The lyrics do.
Turn on Pandora or Spotify and scroll through the list of genres. You can play Hymns Radio or Kids Praise Kids or Praise and Worship Radio or any number of other God-honoring choices. Spotify offers Women of Worship, Top Christian, Songs of Glory, and much more.
Then there’s YouTube and various music channels available from your satellite dish or Christian stations you can play on your car radio.
Remember that traditional hymns teach theology. Notice the theology in the first stanza from the famous hymn Amazing Grace, for example: “Amazing grace, how sweet the sound that saved a wretch like me. I once was lost, but now am found. Was blind but now I see.”
Contemporary Christian praise and worship music creates an emotional connection with God. For instance, the lyrics in Who You Say I Am can help us feel how precious we are to God: “Who the Son sets free oh is free indeed. I’m a child of God. Yes, I am. In my Father’s house, there’s a place for me. I’m a child of God. Yes, I am.”
There’s also Christian rap, Christian rock, Christian metal, Christian blues, Christian pop, etc. The lyrics define the music as specifically Christian–no matter the style.
Thanks to technology, you can find and share with your children for free songs with lyrics that honor God. So, why not start today?
16. Encourage other families with cards, food, and more. Is your neighbor in the hospital? Someone in your church just had surgery? Maybe a family you know recently lost a loved one. Show God’s love to people around you by taking a meal or sending a card or offering to cut grass.
Take your kiddos with you to serve others in simple, practical ways.
As you do this regularly, you will teach your children to do what Jesus said to do in Matthew 22:39—“Love your neighbor as yourself.”
17. Let God change you. Seriously. Listen to God. Is He convicting you of the need to stop a bad habit? To get His help to overcome a sin area in your life? No matter who you are or how old you are, until God calls you home to Heaven, He is working in you to make you more like Jesus every day than the day before.
That means that God is changing you for the better. As you cooperate with Him, God will give you stories to share with your children.
Did God help you quit smoking? Tell your kids.
Did God convict you that gossiping is sin?
Are you working on how you handle anger?
If your kids can see God at work in your life, then they will be more likely to accept God at work in their lives, too.
18. Teach the meaning behind the holidays. Why is your family celebrating Christmas? Or Easter? What does a day of giving thanks to God actually mean? (Hint: that’s what Thanksgiving Day is really all about.)
On Christmas Eve, read the story about Jesus being born from Luke 2.
During Holy Week–the week of Palm Sunday, the Last Supper, Good Friday, and Easter–pick one of the descriptions of the events from Matthew, Mark, Luke or John. All four gospel writers describe the last week of Jesus’ life.
So, when hanging your Christmas wreaths, putting bouquets of daffodils in a vase or placing fall leaves and pumpkins by your front door, take time to teach your kids why your family observes each holiday.
19. Keep a blessings jar handy so you can record blessings throughout the year. You can use scraps of paper and a pen you brought home from your last hotel stay. Or, you can cut decorative card stock and write down blessings with an acid-free, archival pen containing ink that will last for generations. The point is that God gives us blessings big and small.
So, take a moment as a family once a week or even once a month to compose a thank you note to God. Place the paper in a blessings jar that you keep handy.
Teach your children about God as you live each day.
Then, on New Year’s Day, open your blessings jar as a family and read all that God did for you the previous year. This simple activity can give your children thankful, grateful hearts as they learn the lesson that “every good and perfect gift is from above” James 1:17.
To sum up, teach your children about God as you live each day. As a lifestyle. In the small moments, like thanking God before you eat and praying at bedtime. And in the big moments like Christmas. Be open to opportunities God puts in front of you. Your kids will learn as much from what you say as from what you do.
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