Before I was a mom, I was a Children’s Minister and I absolutely loved it. Every Sunday, I would leave church with a heart that had been softened by the kid’s passionate pursuit to learn about Jesus but also with a face full of sore muscles from laughing so hard at some of the stuff they said.
One Sunday in particular, I was talking to the kids about the armor of God. It was our curriculum theme for the month and we had been doing some pretty fun illustrations as we went. This Sunday, we were focusing on the The Bible which, in Ephesians 6, is described as the sword of the Spirit. I had a pretty good feeling that all of the boys would be totally into this lesson and it would be fairly easy to get them excited. I dove into the lesson with a wary eye on the boy’s side of the room (because when you’re an elementary school boy you wouldn’t be caught dead sitting next to the girls!) hoping that no one took the lesson too literally and started fencing with their hardcover Bibles. To my relief, no one did and the boys eyes sparkled as we talked about fighting off the temptations and trials of life with scripture. I was in the middle of a pretty passionate (and pretty clumsy) pantomime of sword fighting when one little boy raised his hand with a very concerned look on his face.
“Yeah buddy, do you have a question?” I said.
“Umm, yes. I was wondering, instead of a sword, could my Bible be a bazooka?! Bazookas are the coolest!” He said with a sparkle in his eye.
He was so earnest in his question and I figured, the idea was the same. Paul could have chosen a bazooka as his illustration had they been invented at the time right? I decided to throw him a bone and gave him this one. He was thrilled.
Whether they think of their Bible as a bazooka or a good old fashioned sword, the important thing is that kids know that the Word of God has power. They have to know that with it, they can attack the things that life throws, and win. To do this though, they have to actually possess the sword. They have to know the Bible, its stories, its ideas, the actual scriptures themselves and it’s never too early to start equipping them.
Here’s a list of some great, age-appropriate devotional tools for your kids to get them swinging that sword (or bazooka) and gaining ground in their faith.
The lovely Kristen Schmucker wrote a post about SOAPing a few weeks ago in relation to adults, but kids can do this too. Although it sounds like something having to do with hygiene, it’s actually an acronym that stands for Scripture, Observation, Application, Prayer.
I think that the best way to go about it is with a SOAP Journal (you can get them here).
They are made for kids with with age specific devotions listed out in the front with journal pages throughout the rest of the book where they (or you on their behalf) can write out their thoughts. So, for example, if your child is in preschool, there might be one or two verses listed for that day in the front and then it gets a little more challenging as your child gets older.
You read the verses with them and then they pick out one that stood out to them. That’s the scripture part. Write it down under the “S” on the journal page. Next, have them write an observation they made about the verse under the “O” followed by a sentence or two on how they would apply it in their life that day under the “A.” Lastly, finish it up with a prayer under the “P” and you’ve given your kids an excellent resource on how to study the word for themselves. Try it! You’ll be shocked and challenged by the depths and beauty of their answers.
The Big Picture Interactive Storybook
I actually just picked one of these up for my little guy this week and we love it! This is a line of Bibles for babies up through elementary school and they’re designed to engage kids and parents with the Bible with a great storybook format for the younger kids and a more mature format for older kids. Just pick the specific Bible that fits your kids age and then dig in. There’s beautiful illustrations, a free companion app, well-written Bible stories with scripture references in the younger age group books, and great discussion questions to get you and your kids talking about the Word. As they get older, this series maintains the great interactions but moves from a storybook format to the good old-fashioned Bible format. Find these on Amazon!
If your kids love crafts, experiments, or hands on learning then this is a great Bible for them. It’s great for elementary aged kids. This is a study Bible with various activities that serve as illustrations and interactive learning opportunities throughout and it’s in the easy to read New Living Translation. Find this on Amazon as well!
This is basic. I don’t have have any fancy product to offer you here other than a piece of paper, a pen, and solid repetition. Pick a verse to memorize with your kids. Maybe it’s from their daily devotion, maybe it’s a verse that your family loves, maybe it’s a verse they’ve learned about at church. Whatever verse it is, write it down and put it on the refrigerator and then throughout the day, say it with your kids. They’ll learn it after only a few repetitions but keep reminding them. Show them how to hide those precious words in their hearts like a secret weapon so that at some point in their lives, they can whip it out and fight. If you’re having a hard time thinking of some verses, just ask in the comments below and I’d be happy to give you a list of shorter, kid friendly scriptures to memorize!
Well, there you go! These are just a few things that I like, but there are a million others. What matters is that you are showing your kids the importance of studying the Bible for themselves and building an arsenal in their hearts to fight for their faith and remind them of Jesus’ love. Their amazing minds are sponges absorbing every little thing and establishing behavior patterns that will last a lifetime, so why not squeeze in the most important lessons and habits they could possibly learn? Dig into the Bible with them and watch as they become little warriors full of knowledge and faith.
“Be strong in the Lord and in His mighty power. Put on all of God’s armor so that you will be able to stand firm against all strategies of the devil… Put on Salvation as your helmet and take the sword of the Spirit which is the word of God.” Ephesians 6: 10, 11, and 17 NLT