As Christian parents, one of the highest priorities is guiding our children toward a personal relationship with God through Jesus.
Most often, our children’s faith starts out as a love triangle between us, God and our kids. Part of the process of discipling our children is to turn that triangle into a vertical line. The goal is for them to develop a real, deep relationship with their Lord that can sustain itself with or without us.
So how do we work towards this “holy grail” of Christian parenting?
The simple answer is modeling. But how do we model a personal relationship with God? To test where you are with this task, ask yourself these questions:
- Do my kids know that I love Jesus or do they have proof of it?
- Do my kids hear about my love for the Lord or do they see it?
Here are some concrete examples of how you can live your faith out loud in front of your children. Some might require you to be more intentional. Some might seem a bit awkward or forced. But remember, these are important elements of training our children overtly about a process that is often internal.
1) Read your Bible where they can see you.
2) Give voice to the small thanks you utter to God in your head. (i.e. “Thank you God for protecting me just then.”)
3) Verbalize the prompting of the Holy Spirit before or after the fact. (i.e. “I feel God telling me to help that woman out with her bags.” Or “I let that man go first because I could sense that God wanted me to.”)
4) Pray in your room with your door ajar.
5) Invite them into your “fox hole” prayers. (i.e. “I don’t know what to do about this. I am going to ask God right now.”)
6) Share what God is revealing to you. (i.e. “That reminds me of something God showed me in my reading this morning . . .”)
7) Share your struggles. (i.e. “Sometimes I feel really close to God and other times, I do not. But I trust what I know rather than what I feel. God will never leave me or forsake me.”)
8) Pray for their personal relationship with Jesus out loud with them. (i.e. “Lord, I ask that you would draw _____ closer to you every day and that _______ would see you as his/her very best friend.”)
If you are concerned about falling into Pharisaical territory by all of these “faith out loud” activities, remember it is all about the heart. Jesus condemned the Pharisees not because they prayed out loud, but because their motivation was for self-glorification. [Read Matthew 6 and Matthew 23 for further study on hypocrisy and the intent of the heart.] When our motives are to disciple and train, not self-promote or glorify, God will be honored by what we do.