Shabbat shalom guys!
I got this excellent question this morning from one of our blog readers, which I will answer below. It’s about how to keep the Shabbat in your family when you don’t have a congregation to attend (or even when you have one to attend, for the that matter!):
Hi Natan. Shabbat Shalom!
I am a newbie. And your teachings and encouragements are so fantastic. And as a newbie, I still need practical advise. I am a young father of three young children (under 5). Can you please encourage me on/write a post about/make a video about how to include my kids as much as possible and how I can be as spirit filled as much as I can with kids that really feel like a distraction on the sabbath day. Even more so since this is the day that I want even more to be close to Him. You know what it was like, I am certain. It’s hard enough that there is no assembly here to congregate with, and I am the only person in my circle of life that keeps Shabbat. But I want so much to honor YHVH on the sabbath day, and be filled with his spirit, and give light and life to my children on the sabbath day. But it is really hard.
I have been where you are. My wife and I have four children, and at one time, three were in diapers at the same time!
YHVH has called you to be the priest, prophet and king of your home. You must understand and own these identities, for they are spiritual callings. A priest brought people to YHVH, interceded for the people, and taught YHVH’s people his ways. A prophet declares the word of Elohim over his people, brings the word of Elohim to the people, and points, warns, disciplines and encourages the people. A king makes certain that YHVH’s laws are followed and otherwise insures the people’s well being as their provider, protector and righteous judge. These things you must do in your home.
As priest, prophet and king of your home, you must take your responsibility seriously, which means you have to lead by example. This means that you must be a man of prayer and Bible study every day, for that is your source of wisdom, guidance and strength. Also, seek the wise counsel of other righteous older men who have successfully raised their children and kept their marriage together.
View yourself as a river of life to your wife and children. This means that you must stay connected to heaven’s river of life through the Word and the Spirit of Elohim every day. The river of life in you will be only as viable as your personal relationship with Yeshua the Messiah through your interaction with the Word and Spirit of Elohim every day. You must abide in Yeshua as he says in John 15. I have done studies on how to abide in Yeshua on this blog and on the Hoshana Rabbah YouTube channel. Look them up.
Regarding the sanctity of the Sabbath, lead your family in preparing ahead of time for the Sabbath by cooking and cleaning on Friday, which is a preparation day, so you can enter the Sabbath in peace and rest. These will show them that Shabbat is special and set-apart unto YHVH. Have a special meal on erev Shabbat (Friday evening). Maybe light some candles, read the Bible, say some special prayers, play some worship music or whatever tradition you choose to make the time special to welcome in the Sabbath.
On the Sabbath and regularly throughout the week, have times of prayer with your kids, and read Bible story books to them. As you’re reading through the Bible stories, sermonize a little by explaining the spiritual lessons to be learned from each story. I did this a lot with my children. Discuss the stories with them. Ask them questions about them. Let them ask you questions. Learn and grow together with them. If you let them, your kids will teach you a lot by the amazing questions they ask. Make it a fun and relaxing time. You can also find excellent Christian Bible story videos to watch on the Shabbat. This is another way to teach them the stories and lessons of the Bible.
If the weather is nice, on Shabbat, take the kids for a walk in a park or the woods or some natural area near your home. Explains to them the wonders of YHVH’s creation. Instill in them at a young age a love, fear and wonder of YHVH. Show them the rocks, trees, plants, flowers, insects, clouds and other aspects of YHVH’s creation. Children are naturally curious. Explore Yah’s creation with them and have fun doing so.
On Shabbat, let the kids quietly play together and enjoy being with each other, while you spend time alone with Yah and with your wife. They need time just to be kids. You don’t have to structure the whole day for them. Go with the flow and have fun. Think “river of life.” Let it be a time of joy and shalom.
When the kids get older (pre-teen age and teenager), have them go through my Torah Explorers, which is a year-long youth Bible study guide. You’ll find it on our website. That will really keep them busy for a while…and you too!
I hope these suggestions will help you. Let me know how it goes!
Onward and upward for the glory of Elohim!