A key component of every parent’s task is helping our children form good habits. A key component of every Christian parent’s task is helping our children form the good habit of personal devotions. We are convinced that our children are sinners in need of God’s saving grace, we are convinced that God’s Word is powerful, we are convinced that God is pleased to use his Word to convict our children of their sin and draw them to his Son. This is my brief review of a new tool that can help every parent in that crucial task.
Many years ago my friend David Murray began releasing devotional guides for children. These were no fancier than plain Microsoft Word documents meant to be printed at home. For each day of the week there was a small passage to read, a brief question to answer, and, eventually, an area to jot down a couple of prayer requests. I immediately saw the promise in these guides, printed them off, popped them into binders, and gave them to my children. Each one of my three children used them for a time and each one benefitted from them tremendously. They were just perfect for ages 6-12 until they were ready to move on to more advanced resources.
Those rough devotional guides have now given way to Exploring the Bible: A Bible Reading Plan for Kids. Published by Crossway and illustrated by Scotty Reifsnyder, it maintains the flavor of the original guides, but has been improved exponentially. It now takes the shape of a guide to exploring the big story of the Bible. Murray says it “will act as your leader, map, and compass to the Bible. It won’t take you to every part of the Bible, but it will take you to the main peaks and give you an all-round view of its beautiful landscape. At times we’ll slow down and look at some parts more closely. Other times, we’ll speed up in order to get to the next major mountain peak in the Bible’s story. By the end of a year, you’ll have learned skills to help you explore the Bible on your own with safety and success.”
Each week is set up like a little expedition into a new part of the Bible. There are prayer points for each day, a memory verse to serve as a kind of snapshot of the expedition, and a daily log to write out a verse or answer a question. This format continues from Monday until Saturday. Sundays are a day to rest and recharge, though there is a place to jot down the sermon text, title, and a few notes. Here are a couple of images from the book; you may also benefit from browsing this small excerpt.
David asked if I would provide an endorsement for the back of the book, and here is what I wrote: “There is so much I could say to commend Exploring the Bible, but any praise would pale in comparison to this, the ultimate parental endorsement: I gave all three of my children Exploring the Bible as their very first experience of personal devotions. All three used it, all three enjoyed it, and all three benefited tremendously from using it. I wholeheartedly recommend it for your children, too.”