Pillar Journal

Godly Conversation

Scripture teaches that we must take time each day to speak to our covenant children about God.

Scripture teaches that we must take time each day to speak to our covenant children about God. Serious, spiritual conversation should be done in regular times of family worship and teaching, but also spontaneously through the process of everyday life. As Deuteronomy 6:7 says, “Thou shalt teach them diligently unto thy children, and shalt talk of them when thou sittest in thine house, and when thou walkest by the way, and when thou liest down, and when thou risest up.”

Each day includes four basic teaching times:

  1. Rising up. How we begin our days is so important. With your children, focus on God at the beginning of each day. Scripture and prayer, together with some edifying comments, is a far better way to begin a day than simply grabbing a bowl of cereal and passing your children as they rush to school or play. Spend a few minutes together as a family in communion with the Lord each morning.
  2. Sitting at home. Many families do not spend enough time at home. Consider reserving at least one evening per week to help keep the family close to God and each other. Talk, eat, read, and spend time together. Pray and speak to one another about God and His Word. Family nights are wonderful times for spiritual conversation, teaching, and edification.
  3. Walking by the way. When we walk with our children or ride somewhere with them in the car, we have wonderful opportunites to instruct them about God and the way to live. Our reactions to the events and challenges of our daily lives is also a powerful teaching tool for our children. Show your children as you walk along the road of life how God works and how to make choices that please Him.
  4. Lying down. Bedtime is a special time to talk with your children. Do you have a nightly routine for instructing them about God? Reading Bible stories or good books, praying, and playing quiet, sacred music are good tools for bringing your children’s day to a close. If your children are young, sit next to them on their beds, and speak to them about their day. Assure them of your love. Invite them to share their failures, challenges, and prayer concerns. One way to do this is to begin by sharing your own.

End the day on a positive note; remove any malice that exists. Help your children count their blessings. Show them how to thank God for the merciful events of the day. Remind them that we need to beseech God to forgive our many sins and to meet our soul’s needs at the close of each day. In short, every day of our lives must be punctuated with the truths of God and His grace.

All conversation with your children need not be spiritual. Parents who have a meaningful relationship with their children can talk about the natural and the spiritual and back to the natural again with no discomfort or awkwardness. Learn to draw your child out, and encourage him to discuss anything with you. Don’t feel you must have all the answers to everything, but do use sound Reformed commentaries and literature to assist you.[22] Search for answers together with them, or, better yet, train your children how to find some of the answers on their own. Teach them how to use Strong’s concordance, various word helps, and commentaries as they grow older.

Learn how to enter your child’s life. Enjoy relating to your child where he or she is at. That will mean different things at different ages, such as wrestling with your son, walking in the woods, drawing him out in talking about his friends, striving to understand his feelings, and discussing his goals and dreams. If that relating is not done successfully, we will not hit the target.

In talking with your child, you’ll be taking the spiritual temperature of that child. So get to the heart of the matter. Discern what your child is capable of understanding, then, adjusting your vocabulary accordingly, tell the child what is involved in becoming a Christian. Don’t wait until the child raises the subject; you must initiate it.

The Hebrew word for instruction in Deuteronomy 6:7 says that we are to “sharpen” or “impress” upon our children the teachings of God’s Word. The idea is that we are to mark, brand, penetrate, and disciple our children in God’s ways. That is our daily calling. Remember, it takes time and diligence to make a lasting impression (Isa. 28:9–10). As fossils contain deep impressions, so we are to leave impressions of God’s truth upon our children that will last for a lifetime and beyond.

Excerpt from
Bringing the Gospel to Covenant Children
By Joel R. Beeke