One of our greatest joys as a family is gathering together in the evenings to recharge. First, my husband or I snuggle close with our four youngest children and read them stories from their children’s Bible, sing songs and pray. Often we read them a fun, light-hearted story as well. Our prayers with them are short and from the heart, and at times they spontaneously join in and pray as well, surprising us with their depth of understanding and heart to follow the Lord.
Then, my husband and I join our teenage children for a time of reading, sharing, listening to teaching online, or watching an inspirational testimony or DVD. Sometimes we read through a book of the Bible, one chapter a night, pausing to discuss a verse or share how a concept relates to our everyday lives. Other times we read an inspirational book a chapter a night. When our children were 8-12, we read The Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe by C.S. Lewis and the Trailblazer series, including John Welch: The Man Who Couldn’t Be Stopped by Ethel Barett and the true stories of John Newton, Mary Slessor, Gladys Aylward, Amy Carmichael and more. Since their teen years, some of the books we’ve enjoyed reading as a family include Is That Really You, God? by Loren Cunningham, the story of young people stepping out in faith, I Dared to Call Him Father by Bilquis Sheikh, the journey of a Muslim woman finding a deeply personal relationship with God, and God’s Smuggler, a story of God’s faithfulness in perilous situations by Brother Andrew. We keep our evenings relevant and real, not religious. Sometimes we discuss topical questions about human relationships and values and search the Scriptures to see how God’s perspective differs from the world’s on relationships, sexuality, the occult, etc.
We have all grown in our understanding through the solid biblical teaching of Derek Prince and Lance Lambert and others whom we listen to online.
When we want to kick back and relax together after a busy week, we watch testimonies of lives transformed, like “Kamal Saleem: A Muslim Cries Out to Jesus” on CBN TV. He was a Muslim chosen to bring cultural jihad to America, but he has an encounter with the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. We also enjoy inspirational films like Facing the Giants, Courageous, 7 Days in Utopia and Amazing Grace.
Praying together gives us an opportunity to express our hearts to the Lord and to lift up burdens and concerns to Him. We are transparent with our children, so they see how we walk through the realities of life with the Lord. Unconditional love, grace and forgiveness give our family strength and security. And our evenings together build up our faith in God and our unity as a family. The time we have invested in growing in the Lord together has helped our two oldest children stand strong now that they have left the nurturing environment of Makor Ha Tikva and are journeying through the challenges of secular high schools.
“Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not depart from it” (Prov. 22:6).
Written By: Lisa Smith, a mother of students at MHT
This post is also available in: Hebrew