Help your family grow in faith with spiritual habits that are based on the Bible. These daily practices will help you in growing a strong family and leading your children in faith at home!
My new year didn’t start off the way I anticipated. Two of my kids were sick (with different illnesses!) and had to stay home from school for four days, making it difficult for me to get a running start on any new habits I planned on implementing.
It’s a privilege to be able to do most of my work from home so I was thankful I could nurse my children back to health. And as I was with them I had a lot of time to think about what new year’s “resolutions” really mean from a spiritual perspective.
As Christian parents, we want our family’s faith to be strong. We want to see spiritual growth in our children and strengthen our family relationships. But what steps can we practically take to make these things happen?
Ultimately it’s the power of the Holy Spirit that helps our family’s faith grow and flourish. At the same time, we can nurture faith in our kids by implementing some simple practices in our homes.
Let’s talk about five simple habits that will help your family grow spiritually this year.
1) Start a daily Bible reading plan
Over my years of writing on this blog, I’ve had many women ask me how to find time for Bible study.
They feel like they can’t because there is no time. And I completely empathize with that. I’ve come to realize at the same time that everyone’s life is busy in some way, no matter what stage you’re in. There is no perfect situation in which to start a daily Bible reading habit. It basically comes down to self-discipline and making time to do it every day.
The good thing is, you can start small. If you’ve never had a habit of reading the Bible daily, it takes time to build that spiritual muscle. You may not always feel like sitting down for 45 minutes to look at Scripture and you may not even be sure how to get started with reading the Bible (here are some tips to help you with that).
As I mention in three quick tips for starting a Scripture writing plan, much of sticking to a habit of reading the Bible is using different tactics to help you make the deliberate decision to do your writing plan each day.
Things like hanging up a reminder post-it note on your bathroom mirror, sticking a Scripture writing plan to your fridge and setting a timer on your phone can really help.
If you’re ready to start your own personal devotions, check out these ideas:
- Write Through the Word: Simple Monthly Scripture Writing Plans for Busy Moms
- 15 Women’s Bible Studies Worth Doing (these are group suggestions but you can do them on your own too!)
- 90 Days in the Psalms Bible Reading Plan
- 9 Ways to Make Time for Bible Study when You’re Busy
Photo by Joel Muniz on Unsplash
2) Begin and end your day with prayer
Pray with your children every day! Prayer mentally and emotionally prepares us for the day ahead and gives us great wisdom to make future decisions. It’s also a great way to form stronger connections with your child.
This should be the easiest habit to implement because it doesn’t take any money or extra materials. So why is remembering to pray so hard?
You may have heard the statistic that we need to practice a habit about 21 times to make it stick. The habit of beginning and ending the day with prayer is no different.
Grab a printable blank monthly calendar for 2022 and commit to praying in the morning and at night with your kids for each of 21 days, marking the days off as you go.
Struggling with how to pray?
Here are some tips for teaching your child how to pray and a five simple ways to strengthen your prayer life!
3) Do devotions with your children
You want to do family devotions with your kids but your children are young. So you’re not sure if it will even work or if everyone will just go crazy! As a mom of four, I’m here to tell you that you CAN do family devotions with your toddlers without losing your mind!
Having a family devotion time doesn’t have to be super complicated or long-lasting when your children are little. Their attention spans are short, so it’s just fine to keep it brief when getting started.
I wrote an entire post on how to have family devotions with young children: you can find it HERE!
If you have young children, I have some great recommendations for children’s Bible storybooks for all ages.
With children who are preschoolers or older, try using a kids’ Bible reading plan or daily devotional book where you can just open it to the date you’re on, even when you’ve missed it’s easy to get back to the routine.
To engage your children in learning God’s Word and hopefully helping them sit a bit longer, use a devotional that has questions and answers about what you’ve just read and/or beautiful illustrations. Our favorite devotionals for children ages 6-10 can be found in our Amazon shop (click here)!
Just get started, don’t overthink it and read some verses with your family! :)
Find easy-to-implement kids’ Bible reading plans, a mini scripture learning curriculum for preschoolers and themed family devotions in my online shop. They’re printable, so you can get started right away!
4) Write down three things you’re grateful to God for each day with your family
It’s strange to think that writing down things you’re thankful for could make such a huge difference in your life, but there are a lot of benefits to it, both from a biblical and practical perspective.
In a study called “The Science of Gratitude”, there were found to be many benefits to gratefulness:
- increased happiness
- more satisfaction in life
- less materialistic thinking
- less likely to experience burnout
- better physical health
- better sleep and less fatigue
- lower levels of cellular inflammation
- greater resiliency
- growth in patience, humility, and wisdom
The Bible shows us many benefits of gratitude as well:
It aligns us with God’s will.
1 Thessalonians 5:18 says “give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.”
When we come to God with a heart of thanksgiving, it really helps us to focus on God’s will because of the strong reminder that God has amazing plans for our family and that He wants to draw us closer to Him through each circumstance.
Gratitude teaches us how to discipline our thoughts.
“Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.” Philippians 4:8
When our family fixates on what we don’t have, it brings dissatisfaction and distraction from what really matters. Disciplining our thoughts is a necessary spiritual practice because it helps us to be content and also to keep life in perspective.
This has become especially clear to my 13 year old. She attends a private school and it’s easy to look around and see what others have (when she doesn’t have those same things). We’ve had some good talks about priorities and also reminders that it’s God who is the giver of all things.
It brings us to a place of humility.
“But he gives us more grace. That is why Scripture says: ‘God opposes the proud but shows favor to the humble.'” James 4:6
When we teach our kids to be grateful, they become mindful of how blessed they are when they’re surrounded either by wealth or poverty. Gratitude brings a humility in that we realize how good God has been to us and how everything we have is really from him, not from ourselves.
Gratitude reduces anxiety.
“The steadfast of mind you will keep in perfect peace, because he trusts in You.” Isaiah 26:3
Coming to God and saying “thank you” really does bring peace, because part of be grateful is leaning on and trusting God to provide. There are no perfect fixes for anxiety, but pressing into Jesus through gratitude can bring reassurance and help you be at peace.
10 Things You can Do as a Christian Mom to Manage Anxiety and Depression
It points us to the cross.
“…fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.” Hebrews 12:2
The ultimate purpose of all spiritual habits is to point us to Jesus. And the biggest, most meaningful event we can be thankful for is Jesus’ death and resurrection! Gratitude shows us a greater purpose outside our day-to-day distractions and events. And when we give thanks WITH our family, it draws us closer to each other and also closer to Christ.
To practice this “gratitude” habit, simply grab an empty notebook or daily calendar and, with your family, write down three things you’re thankful for. You could rotate between family members so each of you don’t have to do it every day if that makes it a bit easier!
This prepares your family spiritually for the days ahead because as difficult times come, you’ll be able to look back and see God’s faithfulness.
You can find a free Christian Gratitude Journal over at the Made to Give Life blog.
Among many other things, I’m grateful for my children! Here they are this past Christmas.
5) Reach out to someone who could use biblical encouragement
Although you don’t necessarily have to do this daily, if you have children, you already should be! :) Think of an encouragement from the Bible that you can give to your kids every day or just mention that you are praying for them or that God loves them.
One thing I like to do is to say “God bless you while you sleep,” to my children when we say goodnight.
It’s not hard to find someone outside of your home who would appreciate spiritual support. Nursing home residents, leaders in your community, the cashier at the grocery store or a friend at church will be so appreciative of hearing encouragement from God’s Word in a way only you can share it.
This is a great faith habit for your whole family because serving others teaches our children to see outside of their own “bubble” of needs and desires. It reminds them of their blessings. It plants a seed in their minds that will grow as they get older into the fruit of loving their neighbor.
When you teach your children to see the needs of people around them while they’re still with you at home, it will prepare them to respond thoughtfully to the needs of others in the future.
“Serve one another in love.” Galatians 5:13
BONUS: Be sure you’re attending a church that teaches the Bible
We’ve talked about building a strong family faith in the home. One of the best ways to immerse your children in spiritual growth outside of the home is to attend a church that preaches and teaches from the Bible. This means that the church encourages people to read the Bible for themselves and preaches from the text, not from personal opinions.
Don’t just choose a church because of kids’ programs either. Make sure its a place your whole family can grow and develop strong relationships.
I hope these are helpful tips to point you to the Lord and give you practical tips for helping your family’s faith grow this year!