By: Nicole Lisa Schrader
I had very little exposure to Christianity growing up. I wasn’t familiar with the Bible, I rarely attended church, I didn’t know how to pray. But I knew I desperately needed a Savior.
At seventeen, I accepted Jesus Christ and truly everything was new! I listened to Bible teachers, watched the way Christians behaved, and even mimicked their prayers. I guess you could say, I learned by imitation – at least at first.
As Christian parents, we know children also learn by imitation – which has benefits and drawbacks. But only a genuine salvation experience with the Lord Jesus Christ will lead them to desire to spend time with him in prayer and in his word (the Bible).
So, let me begin by saying, it’s not your job to save your children – you can’t. But it is your job to teach them about God and to show them what a sincere relationship with him looks like.
In the Bible, the Lord tells parents,
“You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might. And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise.” Deuteronomy 6:5-7 (ESV)
- Teach your children what a relationship with the Lord looks like
“You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might…”
Children are very perceptive and pick up on our expressions, tone of voice, passions. Our love for God and our devotion to him in prayer will be their first lessons about who God is and what a relationship with him looks like.
Confess regularly. Seek forgiveness quickly. Surrender control daily. Give thanks always.
- Teach your children who God is and what he does
“And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart.”
Our children all begin as unbelievers. Their predisposition is not to love God, they are in rebellion. Our expectations must be realistic. They will not naturally exhibit the fruits of the Holy Spirit – love, peace, patience, kindness, gentleness, etc.
Demonstrate the love (and at appropriate times, the grace and mercy) of God and point out his hand at work in the world around them, then your children will begin to recognize the character and presence of God.
- Teach your children about God at every opportunity
“You shall teach them diligently to your children and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise.”
Our relationship with God isn’t restricted to Sunday church services or our daily quiet times, God is actively involved in our lives every moment of everyday. He neither slumbers nor sleeps! Take every opportunity God has given you to teach your children about him.
Read the Bible to them, pray with and for them, sing spiritual songs to them, memorize scripture with them. Give them a Christian worldview (Worldview pillars: Origin, Purpose, Morality, Destiny). Most significantly, present the gospel and pray for their response.
- Teach your children how to have a quiet time
I home-schooled my three children, which made teaching them about God, his word, and how to develop a relationship with him very convenient. Every school day began with morning devotions. After praying, we read a Bible passage together; beginning with the New Testament.
I used an inductive Bible study approach:
1. Read the passage together. Have one child retell the passage in their own words.
2. Ask: What does the passage mean?
3. Ask: How does this passage change the way you see God? People?
4. Ask: How should it change the way we live today?
When they made a confession of faith to Jesus, I encouraged my children to have their own quiet times in addition to our morning devotions. To help them get started, I bought them simple Bible studies and worked with them.
When they were able to work independently (somewhere around ten years old), I gave them an hour after lunch each day to have their own quiet time. They had age-appropriate Bibles – illustrated versions at first and readable translations as they got older. They also chose unlined journals for writing out prayers or responding with drawings.
Ultimately, each of our children’s relationship with God is between them and God. But we are to faithfully train them and pray for them. It’s my prayer you’ll one day join me in saying,
“I have no greater joy than to hear that my children are walking in the truth.” 3 John 1:4 ESV
My Favorite Resources Include:
- The Jesus Storybook Bible: Every Story Whispers His Name by Sally Lloyd-Jones (ages 4-8)
- Child Training Bible with Mindy Dunn (go to www.childtrainingbible.com) (all ages)
- Adventures in Odyssey Bible published by Focus on the Family (ages 8-12)
- Laugh and Learn Bible for Kids (the Gospel in 52 Five-Minute Bible Stories) by Phil Vischer (ages 5-8)
- Adventures in Odyssey 90 Devotions for Kids by Focus on the Family (ages 6-10)
- Dinosaur Devotions by Michelle Medlock Adams
- Wise for Salvation, Sacred Pathways, Lead Me to Pray by Christie Thomas
- Fuel:10 Minute Devotions to Ignite the Faith of Parents and Teens by Joe White
- https://littleshootsdeeproots.com (Christie Thomas: Cultivating Authentic Faith in the Home)
- https://www.focusonthefamily.com (Resources for Christian Parents)
- https://www.youtube.com/bedtimedevomama (Hope-filled Videos for Spiritually Parenting)
- https://birdsonawiremoms.com (Encouragement and Support for Christian Moms)
Nicolelisa is a retired homeschool mother of three and currently lives in central Florida with her husband, Greg. Nicolelisa loves to read to and with children and actively encourages mothers of
young children online, in homeschool groups, churches, and in her community. She gave her life to Christ as a teenager and was discipled in a Japanese-American church in Chicago. Whether writing stories for children or posts for Wholehearted, her goal is to revere Jesus Christ as Lord and share the hope she has with gentleness and respect. For more about Nicolelisa, go to www.nicolelisamaria.com.