The New England Primer was published in the late 1600s. Throughout the colonies that would later become the United States, the book became a widely used resource.

This early American textbook was based largely on the Bible, and it used pictures and rhymes based on Scripture to help children learn to read. It also included prayers like this one: “Now I lay me down to sleep, I pray the Lord, my soul to keep. If I should die before I wake, I pray the Lord my soul to take.”

In Colonial America, this became a way that one generation was able to pass along their faith to the next generation. It fit well with what God wanted of His people, the ancient Israelites, as recorded in Deuteronomy 6:6-7, “These words which I command you today shall be in your heart. You shall teach [God’s commandments] diligently to your children, and shall talk of them . . . when you walk by the way, when you lie down, and when you rise up.”

As we talk about who God is, what He has done for us, and how He desires our love and obedience, our lives can become primers to the next generation. We can be teaching tools that God will use to help people in their walk with Him.