A brief outline with possible questions:
"Trust in the Lord" What does it mean to trust?
"with all your heart" Sam said this meant to always try your very best.
"and do not lean on your own understanding" This one got an elaborate story from Mom about how sometimes your own understanding can make a lot more sense than trusting in God. A poor man gives away his last loaf of bread to another who has nothing, even though he'll have to go without dinner. Later that day, dinner is brought over from one of his neighbors unexpectedly. God sees the whole picture. Don't believe that what you see is the whole truth. Trust God's truth.
"In all your ways, acknowledge Him" In everything you do, glorify God. Do everything with a servant's heart as working for Jesus.
"And He will make your path straight." Depending on what version you use, the wording here could be a bit different. Some say, "And He will direct your paths." We first asked what they thought that meant. Even if you think your child has no idea, this is always a great way to give them a chance to think it out for themselves. We talked about the promise of heaven to those who follow God's way. Also, when you choose to do God's will and not your own, it is easier to hear His voice directing you in other ways. Your heart is soft to His leading.
Obviously, we try to stick with age-appropriate explanations, but we're usually surprised with how much they grasp, especially Sam, whose spiritual eyes have started to open.
Here's a list of some verses we started with. I think there could be no end to the verse studies we could do even with this small list. The more they are aware of the verses and what the verses mean, the more they will start using the Word to govern their decisions. Like, should I take the biggest cookie, or should I leave it for my brother? Sick and tired of reading that bedtime book they always pick over and over and over? Try some Scripture. It never gets old! (I really didn't mean for that to come off as a commercial!)
Proverbs 3:5-6 “Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways, acknowledge Him and He will make your path straight.”
Ephesians 6:1 “Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right.”
Psalm 119:11 “Your Word have I hid in my heart that I might not sin against you.”
Ephesians 4:2 “Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love.”
Psalm 34:14 “Keep your tongue from evil and your lips from speaking lies.”
Acts 4:32 “All the believers were one in heart and mind. No one claimed that any of his possessions was his own, but they shared everything they had.”
Joshua 1:9 “Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be terrified; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.”
Genesis 1:1 “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.”
John 3:16 “For God so loved the world...”
Psalm 18:2 “The Lord is my rock, my fortress and my deliverer; my God is my rock, in whom I take refuge.”
Philippians 4:13 “I can do all things through Him who gives me strength.”
I think this is a great practice. We've started doing scripture memorization with Jack as well as working on the Lord's prayer. The Lord's prayer is harder, but he's starting to remember bits and pieces. We pray part of it and then he repeats us. He is starting to recite it beyond each piece we ask him to repeat. And yesterday as he was playing with his police car I heard him say "wead us not into temptation, but dewiver us to evil" (which I realize has a completely different meaning, but prepositions are hard, I guess).
A couple questions:
*Did your boys ever resist reciting verses at the routine time and how did you overcome it?
*What age do you think kids are capable of beginning to understand the meaning? I think if I asked Jack what he thought something meant, he'd just stare blankly at me for a few seconds and then start asking for his pacifier (we usually do Bible verses before bed).
They definitely went through those times - especially at age 2 1/2!! But it was never something (when we were really doing it regularly) that we allowed them to decide - whether they wanted to do verses that night or not - if it was getting to be a nightly thing, their resisting, we just shook it up a bit. Either that or sometimes it was their cue to us that they were ready for a new verse, or maybe we just needed to add more fun motions or even make up a little song to go with it.
I think kids at pretty much any age can understand simple meanings you draw out. For instance, Noah is old enough to understand what "gentle" means, so in a verse talking about gentleness, we would talk about being gentle to babies and to animals.
I would suggest doing verses that he's ready to understand the meaning to and that are applicable to his daily life - like the verse about sharing. You could talk about how the people who lived when Jesus was on earth wanted to share everything they had with each other because that's what Jesus wanted them to do - and of course, then apply it by talking about how it's always good to share toys (sometimes this means just giving it to someone else to play with rather than the `I have one, you have one' type of sharing).
You could also try saving bedtime for just the reciting and maybe a different time when he's more attentive for a verse explanation. Then when you next recite it at bedtime, it won't be completely new material for him.
Questions could also be more pointed at a younger age, like, this verse is talking about sharing. What do you think sharing means? Or, how do we share? Or when? Etc...
Believe me, we get the blank looks too, especially from Caleb. A lot of prompting when talking about application and such, is definitely required sometimes, but I'm usually surprised with what he has to say when he does decide to share.
Good suggestions. I was worried that continuing to force Jack to recite verses was going to turn him off from Scripture. We've started giving him a choice in which one he wants to do or if he wants to do the Lord's prayer. He likes when I make up songs, though, so maybe I'll try that next time. Thanks.
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