Proverbs 22:6 tells us that we if we train our children in the way that they should go, even when they are old, they will not depart from it. As earthly parents, we have an obligation to raise law-abiding, productive citizens—people that actually contribute to society. As Christian parents, we have the additional responsibility of raising and building up ambassadors for the Kingdom. God has placed each of us here for a purpose that is greater than we can imagine. That especially includes our children! 7-year-old little Timmy’s need to commune with the Father is no less than your own. Sometimes in the hustle and bustle of life, we unintentionally neglect our children’s need to know Christ but it’s time to be intentional about the spiritual lives of our future spiritual leaders. I know some of you are thinking, it’s hard enough to get them to wash their hands after going to the bathroom! How can teach them to have a real relationship with Christ? It’s not easy but it is possible. My 4-year-old has an intimate relationship with God that I am in awe of daily. Here are the simple things that my husband and I have done to make sure that she knows Abba Father.
Step One: Lead by Example
Let’s be clear. Your children will always emulate what they have seen you do. That’s why when it comes to introducing them to Christ you have to lead by example. If your relationship with the Father is non-existent, then it’s safe to say that your children probably won’t have relationship with Him either—unless you make a change. From the time my daughter was two, I’ve watched her curiously watch me pray and read my Bible. At that point the seed was planted. By three, she was asking for me to teach her. Even when you think your children aren’t watching, they are. Show them that there are benefits to having a relationship with Christ. The Bible says that a tree shall be known by its fruit [Luke 6:43-45] and kids understand this concept more than we’d like to believe. If you come of out prayer joyful, refreshed, and peaceful, your kids will notice and want to be a part of what Mom is doing. If your life is peaceful and you always display gratitude in giving thanks to the Father, they’re going to associate your positive attitude with Jesus.
Step Two: Find a good children’s Bible.
Kids don’t understand KJV. Heck, I don’t even understand KJV most of the time. A great Children’s Bible that paraphrases the major stories of the Bible with cool pictures would be perfect. We’ve been reading The Beginner’s Bible to my daughter pretty much every night for the last couple of years and she still loves it. Through the stories of the Bible, we get to know God’s character and we find understanding of His undying love for us. A good Children’s Bible provides the same benefits for kids just on a level that they can appreciate and understand.
Step Three: Find a church with a great kids ministry
I know a lot of new age ‘Christians’ feel that church is unnecessary but the Bible is pretty clear on that [Hebrews 10:25] (Don’t worry…I’ll deal with this later in another post). I’m pretty sure the Apostle Paul would agree that that verse applies to our children as well. So much of what our children learn is shaped by the behavior and habits of other children. Being around a group of other children learning about Christ, not only reinforces what you’re teaching but it makes Jesus real for them. When they see that other kids love Jesus, it validates what they already feel and relationship with Him becomes even cooler.
Step Four: Teach them to pray
Prayer is essential to everything that we believe as Christians. If we don’t teach our children what it means to pray, then we are denying them the instruction on how to find peace in difficult times and how to communicate with the most important person in their life. I found a simple formula a while back that I used to teach my daughter to pray. It went something like this: Praise God, ask for forgiveness of sins, pray for someone, pray for your needs, and close in Jesus’ Name. This is so simple, yet so effective! This formula has been the backbone of my daughter’s prayers and I’ve watched her prayer life continuously grow.
Step 5: Stay Consistent
At the end of the day, children are children. I expect my 4-year-old to sometimes forget to pray just like I expect her to put her shoes on the wrong feet. But do I actually allow her to leave the house with her shoes on the wrong way? No. In the same way, we need to make sure that we don’t allow our children to neglect their prayer lives. If you have Timmy pray in the morning before school and at night before bed, stay consistent. Our children look to us for structure. In the end, it will all be worth it.
Let’s help our babies know Jesus and help them walk into His purpose for their lives. God bless.
Are there any other steps that you would add to this list? What does a relationship with God for your children look like to you?
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