It became evident early in parenthood that children are sponges. They soak in absolutely everything whether we want them to or not, and if your kids are anything like mine, they tend to let it all out at the most inopportune moments.
I can remember back to when my oldest was only 2 or 3. As a young mom I was struggling with many things including road rage.....(I am confident I'm not the only one here) anyway....my word of choice when dealing with someone I deemed as an unskilled driver just happened to be "idiot." I don't think that I understood fully just how many times I must have said that word.....or maybe I underestimated the power of a toddler's mind, but there is nothing quite like your hearing your baby yell out "Idiot!" at a fellow Wal-Mart shopper after she cut you off with her cart! AAAAHHHHH! I couldn't believe my ears! How did a word that I comfortably yelled frequently all the sudden sound so horrible? Come on.... don't act like something like that has never happened to you! ha ha ha! I was completely and utterly mortified! Suffice it to say that I learned a very valuable lesson that day.
These little sponges we call children take in every conversation spoken. They hear every word we say, they see everything we do, and they are even able to read body language like an expert analyst! So, what are we teaching our children? Are we leading them toward Christ?
A survey by Barna Research Group says that eighty-five percent of parents with children under age 13 believe they have primary responsibility for teaching their children about religious beliefs and spiritual matters. However, a majority of parents don't spend any time during a typical week discussing religious matters or studying religious materials with their children...Parents generally rely upon their church to do all of the religious training their children will receive.
Barna Research Group (May 6, 2003) quoted in Current Thoughts and Trends 19 no. 7(July 2003)
Although the church is a great place for your children to hear about God, it should not be the only place that they hear about God. It is up to us as parents to teach our children how to worship God. He deserves to be worshiped, and He deserves that worship every day. Joshua 24:15 ends by saying..."But as for me and my household, we will serve the Lord." I have heard this verse quoted over and over again. As a girl that grew up in church, this verse was commonly quoted. What might not be very common is walking that out. It is so important to spend time showing your kids how to worship God by doing it together as a family.
My parents were not perfect by any means, but they did spend time with us every evening singing songs of worship, reading from God's Word, and praying together. It wasn't always convenient, or always comfortable....but I know that those times together as a family impacted my life in a very real and wonderful way! The first time I prayed out loud was during family worship. That was so helpful for me as a Christian who was growing in their faith. The great thing about the power of God's Word is that His Word never comes back void!
Deuteronomy 6:4-9 (NKJV) says, “Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one! You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your strength. “And these words which I command you today shall be in your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, when you walk by the way, when you lie down, and when you rise up. You shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes. You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates.
I may be preaching to the choir here, you may already have time set aside for family worship and that is wonderful! Your children will benefit for years to come because of the time they have spent at the family altar. If you don't usually spend time together in family worship now is a good time to start! It is never too late to start.