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This post was originally published in 2015.
As Christians, it's vital we learn to worship God through our ordinary, every day experiences. The wonderful thing is, if we as parents do this, our young children will follow our example. And once that habit is established, it's likely to stick. On the other hand, if we reserve worship for Sunday mornings alone, our children will mimic that example, too, and their spiritual lives will be awfully narrow because of it. Are you encouraging your children to worship as an everyday, natural part of life? Here are some ideas to help.
1. Play Christian Music. This could be popular Christian music or worship songs, but I challenge you to dig into music with deeper meaning - namely, hymns. In addition to this, young children should have simple Sunday school type songs (some are deceptively simple, but hold important spiritual truths, such as "Deep and Wide."). Even more important, give them Bible verses set to music, such as those found on Hide 'Em in Your Heart. Try to spend at least 10 minutes a day focusing on worship music. Then play it during breakfast. In the car. While doing chores. And use it as background music, too.
2. Practice Thankfulness. As you mature in Christ, it's difficult not to cry "Praise God!" throughout the day. But if you're not quite there in your walk, make an effort to thank God out loud whenever possible during your day. Your children will pick up on this thankful attitude, and soon you'll hear them praising God, too.
3. Have an Alter in Your Home. An alter is really just a place to meet with God. Maybe your alter is the kitchen table. Or maybe it's a sunny porch, or a cozy chair. Wherever it is, make sure your children know about it, and give them opportunities to delay their wants and not bother you when you are using it. Then encourage your children to find alters of their own.
4. Pray Throughout the Day. Yes, more formal prayer at meal times and
bedtime is good, but show your children they can talk to
God throughout their entire day - about anything and everything. Let
them see you give praise, ask for help, ask questions, and so on. Say
your prayers aloud - and your children will follow suit.
5. Don't Use His Name in Vain. This is a tough one if you're around other people who have this disrespectful, sinful habit. But using God's name in vain is the opposite of praising him. Check yourself, and ask out loud for God to forgive you if you slip up. Remind your kids how important it is to honor God, even though our society constantly says things like "OMG."
6. Teach Your Children the Law. Yes, teach your children about God's amazing grace, but don't neglect to teach them the law, too. Only by knowing the law (the 10 commandments and Jesus' explanation of them) can anyone truly know just how much they need grace - and just how sweet grace is. By understanding how much we fall short, and how much God has forgiven us for those sins, we can praise him all the more earnestly and joyfully.