A child molded into a masterpiece will have a personal relationship with God.
As parents, we have the beautiful responsibility to teach our children how to have a personal relationship with God. A child that is deeply connected to the Lord that has been taught by word and example. We’re gonna talk about some ways to start encouraging a personal relationship with God.
Talk About God Often
When our grandson, London, was 5 when his mom, Tiffany, got to talking about Heaven when putting him to bed for the night. She turned on her phone to record this priceless conversation. He kept saying all the neat things he was going to see and do and went on and on about how awesome Heaven is going to be. He asked if we would have stores in Heaven and then exclaimed,
“Oh no, God is going to give us all the food! And we won’t have beds cause we won’t have to sleep. That means we have to throw out all the Captain America beds.”
He brings up Heaven often and loves to talk about when he will see Jesus. Make it a common conversation in your home. It will put a desire in your kids to go to Heaven and they will do what is necessary to get there.
“But as it is written, eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him.” I Corinthians 2:9
Talk to your child about the things of the Lord…before school, in the car, around the dinner table, on the way to and from church, and before tucking them in at night. Talk about the sermon, the Sunday School lesson, a Bible story, how a friend was healed, or that God answered a prayer. Please don’t let all your conversations be about ball games, video games, a new outfit, an upcoming party or even homework. If you make it a priority to talk much about God, you will be implanting in them knowledge of the Lord and helping to cultivate their relationship with Him.
God wants to be someone your child knows on a personal level.
Do they know more or talk more about a superhero than they do about the hero of all heroes? (just a thought) What they’re drawn towards can be influenced by you, parent.
Teach Them to Talk to God
They may see and hear you pray, and all that is very necessary, but we must also teach them how to pray. Who else will? They will not have a close personal relationship with God unless they learn to talk to Him. It doesn’t have to be complicated or hard….just show them how to talk to Jesus as they would anyone else. They can be praying at the dinner table as soon as they learn to talk. It’s best not to teach them a poetic prayer that rhymes, but rather teach them to say what they feel. Now of course, if they hear you say the same prayer every meal, they will do the same. (another thought to ponder) We were at the beach house this summer and London wanted to pray for the food. Of course he added all kinds of requests and made us smile, but his last request was “Please save all the people in the world and I want to be saved too.” What a great way to start a meal with family!
“…Lord, teach us to pray…” was the cry of the disciples. Luke 11:1
This is also the cry of little ones since they rely on parents to show them the way…
“Mom and Dad, teach us to pray.”
When our grandson, Arken, was 5, he learned how to pray with so much fervency that it would shock you. Wish you could have heard some of those powerful prayers. It’s apparent that he will be one that intercedes. He prayed for snow all winter, but Leesburg never got enough to play in. It was into March and he still kept praying with faith. Sometimes even during his prayer at the dinner table he would throw in a request for snow. Well, strange as it is for March, I was listening to the forecast one day and the weatherman said that Virginia got some unexpected snow and Leesburg got the most! Now isn’t that how God does? Arken got to play in God’s creation of snow with his brother and knew that God had heard his prayers. Spring could now arrive!
The Lord hears the simple prayers of kids and takes them seriously.
Teach your child to say what it is on their heart at bedtime. Have a checklist of who or what to pray for but let them say it like they want to. Teach them how easy and cool it is to talk to God along with how prayer really works when we ask for something. Our 10-year old granddaughter, Ashtyn, has her prayer list by her bedside and prays every night for a missionary. Teaching them to pray for others – not just their needs – is important.
What joy to see our kids praying in church and not just watching those around them talking to God. Let’s take them to the altar and teach them to raise their hands and talk to God. Some are naturals as our 9-year old Slater is. Oh how he gets into worship and prayer. But then there are others that have to be instructed and encouraged to pray at the altar. Please be certain that you have been responsible to your parental role in teaching your children to pray. If we wait until they are preteens, it can be much harder. Start while they are young and easier to mold. If you have preteens or teens that still need to learn to pray, it is never too late for that lesson and guidance.
When our kids were young, our girls had a prayer life that developed naturally. Our youngest, Jason, was taught how to develop a prayer life. As a 10-year old boy with ADHD, it was not natural at that point. He had his checklist of chores on his closet door and one thing to mark off was if he had 5 minutes of prayer time that day. We can’t just hope they get the hint, but they must be taught. Now he is his 30’s and is our Associate Pastor. Prayer is a major part of his life that he learned about when he was just a child.
Teaching our children to pray at an early age will set them on a beautiful path for a lifelong relationship with the Lord.
To Do: Have a heart to heart talk about God and Heaven with each child. Make it exciting and fun to keep their attention. Ask them what they think Heaven will be like and what they look forward to the most. We don’t know exactly what our eternal home with the Lord will consist of, but always keep this in mind…it will be much better than anything we’ve ever seen or done down here on earth. We want to look forward to it with excitement!! Also…don’t forget to let your kids of all ages say the blessing at dinner this week.
Suggested Family Time: Involve all the kids and make some cupcakes and decorate them. Have them give one to someone they love outside of family. Watch their faces glow as they hand them a cupcake that they created! So much fun. Amanda and her boys made cupcakes last year and added a card. The boys took them to a single, lonely neighbor. No way to describe the joy it brought to her and I am certain she felt the love from Arken and Slater.
Time to Smile: One evening a dad was left with his 5-year son as Mom went out. “Where is Mommy, Dad?” he asked. Dad quickly responded with “Mommy is at a Tupperware party.” Of course the 5-year old wanted to know what in the world a Tupperware party was, so the father decided to answer him with a simple answer. “It is when a bunch of ladies that sit around and sell plastic bowls to each other.” The son nodded, indicating that he understood and then burst into laughter. “Come on, Dad…what is it really?”
Recommended Reading: Breakthrough Parenting – John Maxwell
Previous Recap: Speaking Their Language. Did you get to shopping with your kids and surprise someone with a gift they bought? Continuing to practice this act of giving every so often will help them learn the joy of giving and how much better it is to give than receive. This gift doesn’t have to be bought, but it can be a baked good, a picked flower or a handmade card. You are helping to create a masterpiece when you teach your child to give, give and give some more. Stop and think, do they bring up the subject of wanting to give or is it rarely mentioned? If they have the desire to do it often, then it is the parent’s responsibility to teach how to give more.