I was asked by one of our readers to share a little about how we raise our children to know the Lord Jesus. I need to be completely honest. I know that nothing I say will guarantee that anybody’s children, including my own will choose to follow Jesus. I often say that my children can’t piggy back their way to Heaven on my faith. We can tell them who Jesus is, we can model a living relationship with Christ, we can read the Bible daily, but we cannot do the work of the Holy Spirit. Only God, by His grace can save our children, but as parents we have the task of teaching His ways and nurturing their relationship with their Saviour.
Practically speaking, what have we done to help our children to know Jesus? Let me preface this by saying that we are far from perfect, but we do worship our perfect God and He says that we can take anything to Him in prayer. Wow, what a privilege! We have a free entry into the throne room of the most high God and we can speak to Him and petition Him for the needs of our children. The most important thing we have ever done for our children is to pray for them. From before conception I, as the family’s prayer warrior, (well I do like to take every opportunity to talk!) have prayed for our children. I have prayed that they will know their Saviour, that they would love Him and serve Him every day of their lives.
I know that children who love the Lord will have a positive impact on this world and they will have a joy filled life, as well as eternal security and this drives my prayers. Their lives will not always be easy, but they will know the peace and joy that comes with following the One who loves them so much that He gave His life for them.
We continue to pray for them daily throughout their lives, by their beds each night when they are small, or as they grow older when we say goodnight, and every time there is a hurdle in their lives. If they come to me with a problem, the first thing I will often do is pray. Each night before bed, Phil and I pray together (Phil sometimes mumbles between snores if we hit the wrong side of midnight 😉). It is at this time that we will bring our children before the Lord together and ask for His help in their lives.
Arrow prayers during the day, when the children are driving me nuts, help to bring peace where there is conflict and wisdom where there is confusion. Asking the Lord for help with every situation saves us time and enables us to help our children handle everything that comes their way. It doesn’t guarantee that at least once a day I won’t need to hide in the utility room with chocolate though! These kind of prayers also demonstrate to the children the best way to handle any problem. If we pray before we act, things always go better.
We also read the Bible with our children. Once a day, normally at the evening meal, we read the Bible to our children. This post explains more about how we do this. https://www.lifeinallitsfullness.blog/uncategorized/goldby-food/
We encourage the children to read the Bible on their own, preferably before their day begins, but this is more of a goal than a reality. Like the rest of us, they are still growing in self discipline, and often prefer sleep to Bible reading! We don’t force it, we just encourage and leave the Holy Spirit to do the rest. If anyone has any suggestions to encourage this I’d love to hear them.
Each home ed child, in our family, receives Postal Bible School every month. I LOVE PBS. They send out free age appropriate Bible worksheets each month, to anyone who registers. It teaches them the Bible, it’s free and it’s fun. The worksheets drop through our door once a month, what child doesn’t love receiving post? I just need to get more organised to not lose any sheets and get them all back on time (tidiness and order are not my strengths). Anyway, the children are each designated a specific person to mark their work and the last month’s sheets are always returned with lovely comments and points earned. Every six months there is a prize sheet from which the children choose prizes from. What’s not to love?! Here is the link, if you want to register. https://postalbibleschool.com/
During the lockdowns we have worshipped as a family or in the park with other Christians. Sometimes the children complain about joining in, as without friends it is harder to be motivated, but we just encourage, we don’t make them. Showing the children that worshipping God is something we believe is essential even when church is shut, demonstrates to them much more than telling them ever could.
I would say that the old adage of ‘more is taught than caught’ applies to this subject. Our faith is everything to Phil and I, although it is lived out imperfectly. We try not to make decisions without first praying and when we read the news we consider it from a Biblical perspective. When people contact us with problems we pray for them, often on the phone and the children hear those conversations (privacy is my dream, not my reality!). We take our children with us when we help neighbours, or when we attend evangelism events and so for them this is a natural way to live. By nature, Phil and I would often rather do things without the children, because it is often easier, but home education means we are almost never alone during the day, but the bonus of that is that the children see our lives of faith lived out. The children see our failings, and there are many of them, but they also see us asking God to help us with them. If children see a life lived in Christ and the joy that brings, that will encourage within them a desire to seek this way of life for themselves.
We don’t shield our children from the events in the world, on the contrary, we want them to make a difference in this world and so they need to understand people and understand world events, but all through the lens of faith. We want them to have compassion on everyone and so we try to show compassion. We want them to love God and so we try to show them how much we love God. It’s all about seeking first the kingdom of God for ourselves and trusting that He will help us with all other things, including giving us all the wisdom we need to raise our children and to point them to Jesus.
We do our best to bring our children up in faith, but we know that it is God which does all the work. He helps us to parent when we struggle with patience, when our children don’t treat each other kindly, when we just want to give up because attitudes are sharp and angry. If it was down to us then our children would be lost, but thankfully God works through our small efforts. It’s a good job, because some days we’re completely hopeless!
P.S. We have figured out how to add a share button to the posts now, so please do share any posts you feel would bless others.