Once Jesus was in a certain place praying. As he finished, one of his disciples came to him and said, “Lord, teach us to pray, just as John taught his disciples.” Luke 11:1 NLT
Through the ajar door, I saw his bowed head and heard his soft whispers.
For as long as I can remember, my dad got up at five in the morning and made his way to the study in our home. Here, he said his prayers and read his Bible.
Dad spent at least thirty minutes petitioning and praising God and interceding for his family and others. Interrupting him was a no-no. If I needed to ask him something, I had to wait—sometimes for what seemed like forever.
His Bibles were always well worn. They folded around the palms of his hands, encircling them like a tight-fitting glove. He had visited every page at some point, searching for what God had to say to him from the Old Testament and then from the New. Rarely did he make a mark in his Bibles, but he knew them from cover to cover.
Dad taught me at an early age the importance of doing the same thing he did. First by having family devotions and then by encouraging me to read my Bible and pray on my own. And the habit stuck. Fifty years later, I’m doing the same thing he did. Even during periods of rebellion, I kept reading my Bible and saying my prayers.
Now I’m teaching the same to my grandchildren. We pray before meals, I read Bible stories to them, and I install Bible apps on my IPad where they can hear Bible stories and play Bible activities.
Jesus taught His disciples by example. He instructed them in a correct interpretation of God’s Word, and showed by example how important it was to live by those same principles. He also modeled a healthy prayer life. They responded by asking Him to teach them to pray—as my Father did me.
Modeling spiritual disciplines for our children and grandchildren helps them understand that God is not a far-off deity who’s unconcerned about their life. He is as close as the next breath they take. He cares about the concerns of their lives and wants to guide them in the best path. He has the answers to life’s most complicated questions, and He is the best friend they could ever hope for.
Teach those closest to you how to love and serve God. Give them an example they can pass down to their children.
Prayer: Father, give us the strength to teach our families by example how important it is to spend time with You.