I’ll be honest, writing this series has been incredibly satisfying…and challenging. A lot of what I’m writing to you guys, I’m writing to myself. Do you ever look around at the other moms and dads around you and just fill all the way up with gratitude? I am SO thankful to be working all this out with other parents who love their kids and love the Lord, and are just doing their level best to do both at the same time. Keep up the good work, my friends!
- Saying Grace
- Bedtime Prayers (and Morning Prayers)
- Praying Scripture
- Memorized Prayers
- Before Reading the Bible
While I’m not legalistic about saying grace, I’m pretty strict on this one. Chase a rabbit with me, and I promise we’ll end up at how to do this with your kids. And I’m going to be specific.
You can do tons of Bible study independently, and do it well, but you’ll never be self-taught… There’s a reason Jesus is called “Teacher” throughout the Gospels.
Anytime I’m about to read or study my Bible, I want to pray into that time first. Ultimately, the Lord is my teacher, and I don’t want to try to learn anything apart from His instruction. Look at it this way– You can do tons of Bible study independently, and do it well, but you’ll never be self-taught. If you are, you’ve missed it. All of it. There’s a reason Jesus is called “Teacher” throughout the Gospels. A pretty good reason.
Because Jesus Said So
Here are a few compelling Scriptures to make my case for praying before reading or studying the Bible. I highly recommend taking a run at the fourth prayer method (Praying Scripture) in this context. So, here’s the first one. After Jesus rose from the grave and made appearances, he appears to the disciples. Look what happens:
“Now He said to them, “These are My words which I spoke to you while I was still with you, that all things which are written about Me in the Law of Moses and the Prophets and the Psalms must be fulfilled.” Then He opened their minds to understand the Scriptures…” Luke 24:44-45
In another moment with the disciples, Jesus is telling them that He will not be with them much longer, but that the Holy Spirit will come to guide them. If you know me at all, you know that “Context is king” is my banner. Broadly, this passage is Jesus telling the disciples that the Spirit will reveal to them what is to come. But look what He says:
“ I have many more things to say to you, but you cannot bear them now. But when He, the Spirit of truth, comes, He will guide you into all the truth…” John 16:12-13a
Did you catch that mind-blowing “all”? Yes, please! If truth is written on every page of your Bible, doesn’t it make all the sense in the world to have its author guide you into that truth? And by the way, how extraordinary is it that He is ready to be our tutor every single time we study?
I have a few more, but let me suggest that while you get into this habit, you read one before you pray each time. I’ll bet your dependence on Him as your teacher will take root. Here are some others for you (in no particular order): Psalm 32:8, Isaiah 28:26, Psalm 86:11, Psalm 119:66, John 6:45, 1 Thessalonians 4:9, and Isaiah 1:18.
Playbook for Teaching Your Child to Do This
Now let’s close the circle be relating this to teaching your kids to pray. This can take a lot of shapes at different ages, whether you’re just doing a simple reading or an in-depth study. For example:
“Thank you, God, for this Bible storybook. Help us to remember what we read.”
“Thank you, God, for your Word. Show me more of You in it, and grow my love for You.”
“Studying the Bible seems hard, but we know You gave it to us because we can understand it. Help us not to be confused, and to learn important things. Help us to fit it all together as we keep studying.”
“God, Your faithfulness to us in our study over the years is humbling. Thank you for being our teacher when we open Your Word. Be with us again today as we dig deeply into what Paul wrote to the Romans so many years ago. You wouldn’t have made it Scripture if it was just for them, so teach us, grow us, and challenge us with Your Word today.”