I didn’t grow up in a home that practiced any spiritual disciplines on a regular basis—the only one that comes to mind is prayer. We prayed before dinner and then at bedtime, but that was about it. I never really prayed out loud until I was an adult, and even then it made me super nervous because I didn’t know what to say. Once I started doing it regularly at small group, it became easier and easier and I got less and less anxious when I had to pray in front of others. Because of my anxiety praying in front of others as an adult, I can now use that example as a tool when I teach my kids to pray. Praying comes naturally to one of my kids, another one is still learning, and the oldest has inherited my anxieties. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve told my kids that there is no wrong way to pray, and that it is just us talking to our heavenly Father. He knows our hearts and knows what we are trying to say. Yet my oldest resists changing her prayers and most often prays the same prayer. It’s a struggle to get her to change, yet we must persevere! Romans 12:12 says Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer.  The more we work with our children and teach them to pray, the easier it will be for them—to the point that it will become second nature.

            Another important spiritual discipline is scripture memorization. Proverbs 4:4 says He taught me and said to me, “Let your heart hold fast my words; keep my commandments, and live.” This is not something that I am good at (at all)! I struggle to memorize the verses for small group this year, to the point that I hardly even try. Each Sunday evening, I resolve to get them memorized, yet during the week, I barely even think of it! My regular daily duties get in the way, and I don’t prioritize what is actually more important. Since I struggle with this now, I know that this is one area where I’m not teaching my kids well. However, we have our kids in Awana, which is a huge help to me! The kids are required to memorize their verses, and while I have trouble remembering to remind them to open their Awana books, they are still doing it.  Again, this is harder for my oldest, and of course, it comes naturally to my oldest son. Even more helpful is that many of the verses (at least for the younger kids) are set to music, which comes free with my Amazon Music subscription. Music has been extremely helpful, and even I know a lot of the verses, having listened to them over and over and over again while my kids learn. Now that my daughter is in third grade, she’s memorizing a lot at school and is able to use what she has learned there to help her memorize the Awana verses.

            Teaching our children spiritual disciplines is of the utmost importance. But if we struggle with them ourselves, it can be so hard! We must fight our flesh to be persistent; we must focus on the eternal. If we work hard and are consistent with our kids, we will see fruit.


Emily Baechle

Author Emily Baechle

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