I don’t typically review parenting books here. The pitfalls are too many, too various: I don’t want you to come away thinking that we must agree on parenting philosophies and strategies if we are to parent alongside one another.
What I do want is for us to agree on the gospel. Everything else is peripheral, and if we are teaching our children the truth of the gospel, we have a lot of room to differ on the practical stuff. How we educate our children, how we train them when they’re young, how we discipline them when they’re older: these are all matters we work through with God, within our own families and church communities. You don’t need some book reviewer telling you how you ought to feed your toddler. And so while I may occasionally mention parenting books that I have personally enjoyed or found helpful, I rarely recommend books specifically for parents about raising children.
But this book is a worthy exception. Rather than provide practical parenting advice on a particular issue, Praying Through the Bible for Your Kids begins where all our parenting must begin: with prayer, and in Scripture. Nancy Guthrie structures this book around a Scripture reading plan (which takes readers through the whole Bible in one year) and shares a series of short devotionals and guided prayers to accompany each day’s Scripture reading. The idea is to encourage parents to read Scripture and allow it to shape our prayers.
I don’t know about you, but I find that the longer I’m a mother, the more acutely I realize that I am, frankly, not big enough for this job. In defiance of every motivational Instagram tile out there, I’ll say it: I am not enough. As my children grow up, the issues they struggle with get bigger, and the roots of those issues run so deep we can’t suss them out in the five-minute motivational talks that did the trick when they were two. Parenting children through this past year alone has called for wisdom and strength beyond my natural allotment.
I may not be big enough to be all those things and meet all those needs, but God is. I need his help every day, and I suspect you do too. Praying Through the Bible for Your Kids reorients parents each morning and reminds us that this is a big task, but we do not face it alone. God equipped us for the challenges of yesterday, and he will equip us for whatever today brings as well. This book may focus on praying for our kids, but of course our contact with the Lord and with Scripture will leave us changed as well.
The One Year Praying Through the Bible for Your Kids
Nancy Guthrie (2016)