I have hidden your word in my heart
When you think of hiding God’s word in your child’s heart, think of this picture.
A seed is so small. But slip it into soil and sprinkle it with water, and it can stretch into a big beast of a tree. Some oak trees, for example, can grow up to eighty feet tall. A verse can seem so small, but the fruit of that seed can stretch into more than you can imagine.
Practical ways to hide God’s Word in your child’s heart
Infants and toddlers
Obviously kids under 5 aren’t conscious of their own thoughts. But as a parent, you can help your son or daughter by pairing Scripture with something concrete—a sound, rhythm, a picture, something they can touch—makes Scripture “stick.”
Sound and touch– At least once a week I get to see baby Esther. She’s only a few months old so I smile and stroke her head and say, “Did you know that ‘In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth’ (Gen 1:1). He really did, Esther. ‘In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.’” And I say this again and again.
The last time I saw her I introduced a new verse: “‘God so loved the world’—that means you, Esther—‘that he gave his one and only Son’” (John 3:16).
She’s too young to intellectually understand, but I know her little spirit is listening.
Sound and rhythm – Pair verses with music, either singing songs that intentionally include Scripture or playing them songs during nap time, bed time. I love to say a verse to the rhythm of a shaker or even a baby rattle. They love it!
You can do everything you’d do for an infant but because preschoolers are more verbal…
Have them quietly whisper a verse as they kneel beside their bed or
Sound and touch – Have your child hold silly putty or homemade slime and squeeze it to a rhythm while they say a verse.
Example: “The Lord—squeeze slowly, squeeze slowly—is my shepherd—squeeze slowly, squeeze slowly—I lack nothing—squeeze slowly, squeeze slowly.”
It may sound silly but the repetition and the tactile part of it will help the verse really sink in.
Sight and sound – Show your son or daughter a picture of…an animal or sunset, anything that God has created and pair it with the same verse everything time you show it to them.
Example: Pair the picture below with Psalm 104:24 “O Lord, what a variety of things you have made! In wisdom you have made them all. The earth is full of your creatures.”
You can do everything you did for a preschooler above and add a few other ideas.
Sight and sound – Have your son or daughter create a collage or draw a picture of …
- Something God created (tree, sunset),
- Something that reminds them of an answer to prayer (a fun outing or a new baby brother)
Post it above their bed or on their bedroom wall and have them look at it and thank God for his power and might before they go to sleep or when they get up in the morning.
Imagination – Last week I told you the story of how my dad taught me to meditate on Psalm 23 after a horrible nightmare. Have your son or daughter imagine…
- What it would be like to be in the scene in Psalm 23, with Jesus the Good Shepherd caring for you?
- What it would be like to be in danger and be able to run to a strong tower or fortress? (Proverbs 18:10)
Again, these seem super simple, but you’re slowly helping your child turn their attention to God regularly.
Repetition and regularity make a huge difference!
Older elementary kids and teens
Have a “verse of the week,” and post it on the kitchen wall. Give points to family members who can weave the verse into conversation. Pair it with a “question of the week” and make that the topic of conversation once or twice at the dinner table.
Verse of the week: “A gossip betrays a confidence; so avoid anyone who talks too much” (Proverbs 20:19).
Matching question of the week: What do you do when someone starts gossiping around you?
Verse of the week: “Do not love this world nor the things it offers you, for when you love the world, you do not have the love of the Father in you (1 John 2:15).
Matching question of the week: What does “loving the world” mean? Why can’t you love God and the world’s ways at the same time?
Take an active role and set the foundation by getting your son or daughter in the routine of that outward activity. As they get older meditation will shift from an outward activity to an inside reality.
What are some of your ideas for
hiding God’s Word in your child’s heart?