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ESTABLISH PATTERNS

The patterns of our lives create value and meaning.

Patterns are part of our everyday lives. You might call them habits or routines or traditions. They are simply those activities that we repeat on a regular basis. Every morning you wake up, brush your teeth, take a shower, eat breakfast and get ready for the day. Every Thanksgiving you gather with family to eat turkey and grandma’s green bean casserole. Every Christmas Eve you attend church, sing your favorite carols and open only one present.

 

Daily morning routines are very practical; they help us get things done. Bedtime routines make children feel safe and comfortable. Holiday traditions make memories that last a lifetime. You know what? Spiritual routines can also deeply influence our families.

Patterns are part of our everyday lives. You might call them habits or routines or traditions. They are simply those activities that we repeat on a regular basis. Every morning you wake up, brush your teeth, take a shower, eat breakfast and get ready for the day. Every Thanksgiving you gather with family to eat turkey and grandma’s green bean casserole. Every Christmas Eve you attend church, sing your favorite carols and open only one present.

 

Daily morning routines are very practical; they help us get things done. Bedtime routines make children feel safe and comfortable. Holiday traditions make memories that last a lifetime. You know what? Spiritual routines can also deeply influence our families.

 

The Bible is full of patterns created by God to impress his promises on the hearts and lives of his people. For example:

  • God patterned the seven-day week after the six days of creation followed by a day of rest.

  • In the Old Testament, the days before Jesus was born, God commanded his people to work for six days and rest on the seventh day, or the Sabbath day.

  • God gave the sun, moon and stars to mark seasons and days and years (Genesis 1:14).

  • God created holy days, or holidays, like the Passover, to remind his people of his great acts and promises.

God established these patterns for our good. He knows we need routines and patterns to stay healthy, to be productive, and to make sense out of the world.

 

For this reason, many churches establish patterns, too. Though we have freedom to gather for worship on any day, many Christians worship on Sunday in remembrance of Easter. Most churches follow the pattern of Jesus’ life. We celebrate holidays such as Christmas, Lent, Easter, Ascension and Pentecost. Your church might have other annual events like Vacation Bible School, a sports camp or fall festival. These things might become important patterns in your family's life.

There are some things you can do that are even more impactful than attending church every week.

 

What? Did I just say that? Yes! Establishing spiritual patterns in our homes will create even deeper influence on our families. That's because parents and home life are extremely influential when it comes to the spiritual life of our children. While Jesus attended weekly Sabbath worship at the synagogue, he also prayed daily on his own. While Jesus attended annual festivals at the Jerusalem temple, he also gathered with Mary, Martha and Lazarus in their home. In addition to the patterns we follow at church, the patterns we establish in our homes will impact our families even more deeply.

Consider this: What happens when you go to church and your children hear a message that encourages you to be in the Word regularly at home and pray regularly together at home. Then your family goes home and does not make an effort to do either? What does that teach your children about spiritual life?

 

I do not mean to lay a burden on your heart. None of us is perfect. My parenting life is full of good intentions and I am regularly apologizing to God for my shortcomings. I am simply pointing out the opportunity you have to establish some very simple patterns at home that help your children know and understand that God is number one in your family.

 

Such patterns could include

  • A bedtime devotion or Bible story every night

  • A prayer before each meal (whether that's at home, in a restaurant, or even in the car!)

  • A prayer each morning in the car or at the bus stop, asking God to bless your day

  • Your family might consider a ministry or service project once or twice a year

 

You can find other ideas and resources here. You don't have to do it all. Make it manageable to start. Confidence will grow as God blesses your efforts. 

 

Establishing spiritual patterns around our family table is the most powerful way to embrace our influence as parents as we envision the future of our children. As many ways as we can find to regularly connect our families to God’s Word will create deep, lasting impact. We will regularly receive God’s forgiveness, continually grow in faith, persistently find strength for this life, and eagerly anticipate eternity in heaven.

 

May God bless your family as you establish patterns to receive

all of God’s abundant blessings.

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"And when your children ask you, ‘What does this ceremony mean to you?’
then tell them, ‘It is the Passover sacrifice to the Lord, who passed over the
houses of the Israelites in Egypt and spared our homes when he struck
down the Egyptians.’”

Exodus 12:26-27