This is an unconventional thought perhaps, but many days I view what I’m doing spiritually for my children as the building of a fire.
It’s winter around here, and quite often our outdoor activities involve building a fire. We love to gather heaping piles of wood from around our property and set it all ablaze!
Blazing Brightly for the Lord
One day I hope my precious children have hearts that are blazing with fire and passion for the Lord. I can not light the spark, I can not cause the flames to come, but I can heap up a pile of good fire wood. I can even build a shelter over the top of it to protect them from the elements of the world that would dampen, taint, and destroy what is being built. And then I can pray for God to ignite the fire.
So what is good fire wood? How do we build this fire? Here are some ideas that, by God’s grace, I implement in our home.
Good Fire Wood to Heap onto Their Hearts
Scripture: The Word of God is living and active, and it has the power to change hearts and lives. We need to get it into our children. Find fun ways to memorize together. Play Scripture memory songs like Steve Green “Hide Em in Your Heart” for little ones, and Seeds Family Worship for older ones in the background as they play, do chores, or ride in the car. Download the Fighter Verse app put out by John Piper (it has 3 years worth of Scripture memory set to music). Read the Bible, listen to an audio Bible, enjoy the Bible with your children…. tell them what you are learning and why you are excited about that. Ask them if they have read anything interesting in the Bible lately, listen and encourage! Start a Bible reading plan together, post it up somewhere and check off each chapter as you complete it. Have your child “practice reading aloud” by reading a portion of the Scripture each day. Do this often throughout the day. Bible is not something we do once in the morning, and forget about until the next day. It should be laced in and interminlged throughout our days in the way that is described in Deuteronomy 6:6-9:
6 These words, which I am commanding you today, shall be on your heart. 7 You shall teach them diligently to your sons 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 up. 8 You shall bind them as a sign on your hand and they shall be as frontals on your forehead.9 You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates.
This should be an integral part of almost every aspect of our lives because the Scriptures are able to change our children’s hearts and lead them to salvation! Think about what Paul said of Timothy’s childhood in 2 Timothy 3:15
and that from childhood you have known the sacred writings which are able to give you the wisdom that leads to salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus.
There are many things we could make primary in our homeschools, but let’s never forget the Scripture should be most primary. This is really, really “good fire wood”!
Hymns and theologically rich worship music: Play good, deep theologically rich music around the house while the kids are playing and while you are working together. Print out lyrics and learn them together. We have two hymns or songs each month that we try to memorize together during our morning worship. I use to print them out, and place them in page protectors inside of our morning time binders. This worked really well for us, but a few months ago I was able to purchase a set of family hymnals, and I LOVE them so much! The hymnal I chose to invest in as our family hymnal is, “Hymns of Grace” from Masters Seminary. It contains both old and some newer hymns in it. I truly love it! If you want more information or to purchase your own, here is the link to the Hymns of Grace site. I very highly recommend these!
It has been our family tradition to buy each child their own copy of God’s Word once they are able to read, I believe I will also be adding to that tradition purchasing an extra hymnal for them to use during family and morning worship. This will be the way we grow our family hymnal collection and ensure everyone who can read, has their own copy and can follow along. This also keeps us from having to buy a large number all at once. We currently own 4, my husband and I can each have our own, and my two reading children have their own. My non-readers just sing along. They memorize very quickly since we do the same two songs each morning, almost every day. Something I enjoy participating in some months is a hymn of the month from this instagram account : Happyhymnody There she selects a hymn of the month and many homeschooling families from around the world join in and use that hymn in their homes for the whole month. She creates a free beautiful printable with the hymn lyrics and chords (this would be perfect if you wanted to print and put them in sheet protectors for a morning time binder), she also links to a recording of the hymn so that you can hear how it is suppose to sound in case it’s new to you. Although we don’t always participate, when we do, I enjoy the sense of camaraderie it brings knowing that other homeschooling families who love Jesus are waking up and praising Him with the exact same hymn as we are each day. It greatly encourages my heart!
A Children’s Catechism: I am a strong believer in memorizing a simple to understand catechism. I know that some may say, let’s use our memorizing efforts on Scripture, but I suggest that we should use our efforts to memorize both, and here’s why, a children’s catechism puts the answers to life’s difficult theological questions right at their finger tips at a very young age without them having to sort through it all for themselves. Things like why we are made, how we are saved, what it means to repent, how should we pray, what do we do with the Law (the 10 commandments) and how does that apply to our lives today, and so on. Memorizing these simple questions and answers can be good firewood, but also it’s like building a good strong stone circle around the fire pit that will keep things in the right place. It will help protect them from the deceptions of false teachers and even their own misconceptions that can arise as they grow and study God’s Word for themselves. Even as an adult I have greatly benefited from memorizing the children’s catechism with my children. We use this one (aff link) by the way if you are looking for a good one. I’m hoping to put together a printable version of a Children’s Catechism soon here on Abiding Homeschool, but in the mean-time you can access it for free here.
More Fire Wood
These are certainly not the only sources for “building that spiritual fire”, but in my opinion, they are the big 3! Other ways we build our children up in the faith are: our example of devotion to the Lord, reading them good wholesome stories that point them to obedience and love for God, regular prayer times together praying for prayer requests and teaching them to pray as Scripture teaches, using our sin or their sin to teach what is right and to demonstrate Biblical repentance. There are also wonderful curriculum choices on the market which intermingle Scripture into almost every subject. Those are great! Some of those that we have loved are: My Father’s World, Apologia science, See the Light Art (there’s a link to that in my side-bar), and Christian Light Education.
Redeeming the Time
Plan regular times throughout your day to do these things, but also, use the minutes that seem useless for this purpose as well. If you’re sitting in the long Chick-Fil-A line at lunchtime, practice your current Scripture or ask them a few catechism questions. Have a child that can’t sleep? Turn on an audio Bible and have them lay in the dark and listen. Pray for the Lord to show you opportunities to disciple your children, and I believe He will answer!
So go build a spiritual fire, and pray for the Lord to ignite the flame by the power of His Spirit!