In a world that continually grows more concerning to parents, it is vital that our children develop and sustain a relationship with the Lord at an early age. This relationship will allow them to rely on Him during times of joy, sadness, decision making, and trials they will face as they grow into adults. Ultimately, our children are the Lord’s, but our role in parenting is crucial to their spiritual life and salvation.
As parents, how do we begin to teach our children to walk with the Lord? There are many helpful parenting books, but the best parenting guide available is the Bible.
Here are five ways the Bible teaches us to raise our children to love God.
- Pray. Pray. Pray.: Pray in the Spirit at all times and on every occasion. Stay alert and be persistent in your prayers for all believers everywhere. Ephesians 6:18
To guide our children to God, prayer is the key. We need to pray for our children. With our children. Over our children.
Stormie Omartian, in her book The Power of a Praying Parent writes, “Being able to positively affect your children in prayer will keep you in close contact with them and actively involved in their lives, even after they leave home. And it will continually contribute to your joy as a parent.”
Ephesians 6:18 makes it clear that we are to pray at all times and on every occasion; this certainly applies to raising kids. Pray during the times when they are potty training, dating, and married. Pray on the occasions they make us laugh, cry, and all the events in between.
Ephesians also tells us to stay alert. Being aware of what our children are feeling, enduring, and experiencing is a must. Satan does not discriminate when it comes to preying upon believers and their families. Ask your children what you can pray for together. Show them that a reliance on God is developed through prayer.
Discuss when prayers are answered, how they are answered, and what is occurring while waiting on the Lord. Consider taking turns in prayer, so that everyone hears each other pray. Showing your children the importance of prayer and the benefits it offers to them, us, and God is a great place to start parenting godly children!
- Encourage Reading the Bible: All scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting, and training in righteousness, so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work. 2 Timothy 3:16-17
Reading the Bible needs to be a top priority in the life of our children. The Bible is God-breathed, meaning it is the inspired words of God. These words are vital to our earthly life and equip us to live for Him. God created the Bible for us to use in teaching, correcting, training, and equipping our children!
Does my child see me place reading the Bible as a top priority?
Is your Bible dusty, unmoved, and unopened?
Or do our children see us reading God’s Word and taking it with us wherever we go? Encouraging our children to read their Bible will be ineffective if we are not reading ours.
Something I started doing with my daughter is reading the Bible together. There are many Bibles designed for all ages and understanding. Some have pictures, others maps. There are Bibles for babies and toddlers, with pages that cannot be torn but observed and looked at with learning in mind. Great teen Bibles and Bibles for graduates are available.
I highly recommend finding a Bible for each member of your family, and start reading what God has written for all of you!
- Memorize the Bible: Memorize his laws and tell them to your children over and over again. Talk about them all the time, whether you’re at home or walking along the road or going to bed at night or getting up in the morning. Write down copies and tie them to your wrist and foreheads to help you obey them. Write these laws on the doorframes of your homes and on your town gates. Deuteronomy 6:6-9
We want to teach our children that simply reading God’s Word is not enough. The true benefit of the Bible comes when we apply it to our lives. By memorizing verses from the Bible, we tuck those truths into our hearts, to come back to us when needed.
In Deuteronomy 6:6-9, the Bible lists some good options on how to memorize scripture with our children.
Talking about verses helps memorization as well as writing the verses down. Creating a craft with smaller children is one way to write down verses to remember for a lifetime. If you have an older child, write letters back forth to share scripture. Incorporate scripture verses in the letters and how they apply to you, what you think they mean, doodling in the margins, and adding images.
These creations can be displayed on the fridge or the coffee table as great conversation starters and reminders of God’s wisdom.
Another great way to show children memorization is important is to place verses around the house, on doors, and walls.
This combination of writing and discussing the verses seen around the house and in the Word are great memorization tools!
- Join a Church: In Christ we who are many form one body, and each member belongs to all others.”
In The Purpose Driven Life, Rick Warren discusses the importance of church, “You become a Christian by committing yourself to Christ, but you become a church member by committing yourself to a specific group of believers. The first decision brings salvation; the second brings fellowship.”
Our children need to be around other Christians in a church setting. This is vital.
In a church, our family walks with others who are growing in their faith, just as we are. There are other parents raising children of God, just like us. There are children developing their relationship with the Lord, just as ours are.
The Church is the body of believers around the world who love and seek the Lord, but a church is a foundational gathering place where we and our children develop godly relationships with other believers through scripture, song, Christ-centered events, and more.
A church facilitates a place where our children can learn from others what it feels and looks like to have a heart for the Lord. Everyone encourages each other and holds one another accountable. A church, where it is safe to be a sinner who receives grace, becomes a home children will come back to for the rest of their lives.
I can think of no greater blessing than to be in the presence of the Lord, with my children and fellow believers by my side. Such a moment raises children of God.
- Start Now: I have no greater joy than to hear that my children walk in the truth. 3 John 1:4
You are a parent with a lot on your plate. You have soccer games to coach, birthday parties to plan, lunches to pack, dinners to cook, a house to clean, a dog to feed, clothes to wash, and a job to keep. Life is chaotic, and making time to complete the things I have discussed above seems daunting and even tiring.
I am in your shoes, too.
But raising children of God is more important than any soccer game or clean house. The salvation of our children, their relationship with Him, and the guarantee that they will spend forever in Heaven is the most important thing we need to make time for when parenting.
Memorizing scripture, family prayers, and Bible reading during times when we want to finally rest will be challenging. Getting our children dressed and ready for church will be stressful.
But as I make these five things a part of the life of my child, just like the soccer games and birthday parties, raising a child who loves the Lord becomes second nature. As we place God in the center of our parenting, we will draw on His strength and parent with Him. This is how raising children was meant to be.
No matter the age of your children, you can begin implementing these truths right away. It is never too early, or late, to parent your children on loving the Lord!
And knowing our children are walking in the truth gives us the rejuvenation and joy we need to keep raising children who love God!
Edited by Jennifer Hacker, founder of The Center of Help and Hope.