Raising children in today's world can be frightening and more than a little intimidating. However, there are safe places in which to raise children: our homes. By making our homes locations where not only our families feel comfortable, but where the spirit of God resides, our homes can be places of refuge for our children. Following are two simple, yet profoundly powerful, ways to help secure homes.
Family scripture time
When David was a child he enjoyed evening family scripture time. He and his siblings would gather with their parents to listen while Dad read from the holy book. David's father read with enthusiasm, often making remarks like, "We're getting to my favorite part!" and "That chapter ended in a cliffhanger, should we read some more?" His father's excitement was contagious, and David's family enjoyed the time spent together.
When they became teenagers with more involved evening schedules, David's family switched their family scripture time to mornings. At times, David and his siblings complained about getting up 10 minutes earlier to accommodate reading. But his parents persevered and continued to hold family scripture study. David's parents understood the power of bringing the word of God into their home. As David reached adulthood, he realized his parents' wisdom in habitually reading the scriptures. The teachings he learned from family scripture reading continue to bless David and his own young family today.
Adding scripture study to your family's routine can be tricky at first, but it is worth every sacrifice. Pick a time that works for your family. Some think mornings work best while others prefer evenings. No matter which time you choose, someone will likely have to change his schedule to accommodate the group. This might mean getting up 10 minutes earlier or pausing evening activities to read the word of God. Depending on how social your family is, family scripture time could also mean inviting visitors to gather with you to read. Whatever the sacrifice, the key is to make family scripture time a top priority and persevere through difficulties.
If scripture reading is new, don't get discouraged over unfamiliar language and terminology. Just like learning any new subject, practice brings familiarity. Remember that the goal isn't to hurry and finish what you're reading, but rather to understand what is being said and bring the spirit of God into your home.
While some benefits of family scripture time will be seen immediately, others will take more time. Some families will find their children eager to read, others will be tempted to give up because of bad attitudes. Whatever the sacrifice, it will be well worth the spirit of God entering into the home as your family reads his word.
When David gathered with his family every morning and evening for family prayer, he often heard his parents mention their children by name, pleading that God watch over and protect them. If David had a test at school, his parents would ask God to help David remember what he had studied. If another child was ill, David's parents prayed for that child to regain her health. Through the daily prayers of his parents, David was reminded of their love. More importantly, those prayers helped David feel God's love and concern. As he matured, because family prayer was already part of his life, it was easy for David to make conversing with God a personal habit, as well.
There are many powers in the world attempting to influence our children in negative ways. Yet habitually having family prayer helps ensure that when our children leave home for the day, they do so knowing there is a higher power watching over them. There is a power and protection that can be found when families gather to utter prayers to God. Different from mealtime prayers, kneeling together as a family helps bring God into your home and soften hearts. Family prayer can also help children and teenagers become comfortable talking with God so later, during times of trouble, this habit will already be instilled, and they will be able to receive divine guidance.
The time commitment of family prayer and scripture study is a small one, usually requiring less than 10 minutes a day. However, these habits will help the power of God enter into homes, turning them into places of refuge for our children and families.