What’s your favorite time of day with your kids? Mine is bedtime. Not the crazy part of bedtime where one child is yelling across the house that she needs help in the bathroom and the other is loudly singing and dancing instead of getting undressed, but the part that comes after all that. The part where we all lie down snuggled close together in one bed and we do our Bible story and prayer time. The girls calm down, we talk about our days, about what’s going on the next day, and we learn about God. It’s a precious time with two kids who are growing up way too fast, and I want to hold on to it as long as they will let me. We are always on the lookout for new Bible story options for our bedtime ritual, because you can only read the exact same book so many times. I came across The Spirit of God Illustrated Bible from Zondervan, and I think we are going to love it. It points out how the Spirit of God is at work in each Bible story we read, showing kids that God’s spirit and power has been at work since the beginning, and still is today. Plus it has some pictures to help keep them engaged. It will be a welcome addition to the part of the day that is the most precious to me, and I feel, the most important. Why is it the most important part of the day? Because as Christian parents, we are called to educate, empower, and create enthusiasm for the Word of God in our kids.
Called to Educate
This is a big one. School teachers will tell you that despite their job title, parents are the most important educators in a child’s life. It is much easier for a child to succeed in school if the lessons are being reinforced at home and if mom and dad are around to help with homework. The same goes for learning about God. The hour long church service, or the Sunday school class isn’t enough to teach your children about God, it needs to be reinforced at home. There is a lot of scripture that talks about parents teaching their children about God, but perhaps the most famous is Proverbs 22:6. “Train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old he will not depart from it.” It’s important that we actively share our faith with our kids, and not just assume they will pick it up from our daily lives and the church events we take them to. So reading from a storybook Bible teaches our kids what’s important to us. It teaches them scripture in a fun way. Plus, it’s reading time. Whether your child reads the Bible story out loud themselves, or you read to them, they are getting valuable reading time that will help in their school education as well! Win-win.
Called to Empower
Raising kids in today’s world is scary. It seems like almost daily we hear stories of bullying and how it has affected a child, sometimes to the point of suicide. I feel like it’s so important to teach our kids about differences and being kind to everyone, and also to teach them their own worth. Bible stories accomplish all these things. They show my girls that God is with them no matter what they are facing, that He loves them, that even though they may be small they can accomplish great things, and that God wants us to love others just like He loves us. Through our bedtime Bible stories, I’m able to share these important truths with my girls, and apply the lessons we learn to their daily lives. When my daughter had major surgery, we talked about all the times God helped people in tough situations. When someone was mean at school, we talked about some of the people in the Bible who were ridiculed by others but still accomplished great things for God. Reading Bible stories to my girls allows me to empower them to find their worth in God, not in outside things. And it helps prepare them to face challenges, because they know God is on their side. 2 Timothy 1:7 says “For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.” Teaching these truths to my girls through Bible story reading is arguably the most important thing I can do to prepare them for this sometimes scary world.
Called to Create Enthusiasm
Sometimes, the Bible can seem boring to kids. It was a long time ago, and they can’t always see how the stories apply to their everyday lives. That’s why a storybook Bible like the Spirit of God Illustrated Bible is so important to read from each day! It takes the hard work out, but showing our kids how God’s spirit is alive and present in each and every situation. Creating enthusiasm for the Word of God is so important in our kid’s faith journeys. If they find it boring, they are not going to be engaged when we are trying to teach them important truths. Reading Bible stories from a storybook Bible designed just for kids helps get them excited about God’s word. Right now, at 4 and 8, my girls ask for Bible story time each night. Right now, they are excited to learn about God. But will that last as they get older? Or will friends and activities and other things take priority in their lives so that their interest in the Bible fades? I pray this doesn’t happen, but I also need to do my part to make sure they stay engaged, to create enthusiasm for God’s word and how it applies to their lives.
Bedtime, Dinner Time, Anytime.
Maybe bedtime isn’t your favorite time of day. Maybe you are thinking to yourself that adding Bible stories at bedtime is the last thing you want to do. That’s fine, my ritual doesn’t have to be yours. But find a time to read from a storybook Bible with your kids. Make it part of your dinner routine, or use it as part of the “your choice” reading time that most schools ask kids to do each night, or send them off to school each day thinking about a Bible story they just heard as they ate breakfast. Make time to read the Bible to your kids, to educate and empower them, to create enthusiasm for God’s word. Use a good Bible for kids, like The Spirit of God Illustrated Bible to help you. It really is one of the most important things you can do as a parent.
Julie is a life-long Hoosier, wife, and mother of two. When she is not working in her pharmacy, she spends her time with her husband and daughters in Indianapolis. She is a member of Geist Christian Church and enjoys playing outside with her girls, finding fun things to do in Indy, watching football, and reading bedtime stories.