How to Encourage Your Children to Follow Jesus
As a mom, I want the best for my children. I want them to grow up to be men and women with wisdom, courage, strength, leadership abilities, patience, and the ability to make smart decisions. That's why I pray for them, pray for their development, and I pray for wisdom for myself. Gosh, the amount of times I cry out for wisdom! But more importantly, it's why I want them to know Jesus. I want to first preface this first by saying, I don't have it all figured out. I wish I did, who doesn't? But what I can say is that God has taught me a few things in the VERY (emphasis on very) short amount of time that I've been a mom. I know there are many moms out there that know so much more than me! But if you're here, and you're like me, you're trying your best to give your kids the best you can. And that means teaching them about Jesus and modeling to them what a relationship with Christ looks like. What Does A Relationship With Jesus Even Mean? If you've been walking with God for any length of time, then you already know the answer to this! But if you haven't, a relationship with Christ is the same as it is with anyone else in your life. It's spending time with Him, serving Him, and living alongside Him. A friendship is laughing with someone during good times, crying during hard times, and continuing to build a relationship during the often mundane or boring times in life. Our relationship with Jesus works the same exact way, and even more than that, it's a full surrender of yourself to God's will and plan for your life. Sometimes, it's a really, really hard commitment. But it's so worth it! And that's what I model for my children every day. That even when I don't feel like it, I turn to Jesus. If one day they come to me and say that what I taught them growing up was how to walk with God, all my prayers will be answered, and my life will not have been in vain. The gospel of Jesus will outlive me, and I want my kids to be a part of the future generations that spread it to the four corners of the earth. So with that in mind, here are a few ways that I am modeling what a relationship with Jesus looks like. I Pray With My Kids I started praying with Skylar when she was 5 months old. Mikael and I would pray for her quietly as we put her in the crib. As she got older it became a part of our bedtime routine. Now it's so ingrained in all of us that she'll remind us if we forget. At first I was just praying that she would grow in wisdom and stature in the Lord. But our prayers have evolved over the past few years. Now we pray for whatever challenges we are facing with her, that she would grow in the wisdom and knowledge of Jesus, and finally we ask her if she wants to pray for anything. One day, my husband asked me where his wedding ring was (after he took it off to workout), and I didn't know. So I prayed that God would help us find it. As I was praying I felt that prompting from the Holy Spirit to include my daughter in the prayer. I knelt down next to her and let her know that we were going to pray that God would help us find daddy's wedding ring. I explained why we were praying, and that we ask God for His help when we are in need. And then we prayed together. (In case you're wondering, I found it about an hour after we prayed). After that day, I started including her in the daily little prayers that I throw up to heaven. "Lord, help me with my patience." "Lord, give me wisdom for this situation." "Lord, I pray for your hand of favor on my husband's meetings today..." I know that the seeds I'm sowing in her today as a little girl will grow and strengthen her into a woman of faith later in life. And by including her in my daily prayers, she will see that her mom is a woman who depends on God daily, and what that looks like. We Read The Bible Around the time our daughter hit 2 1/2 she started crying at bedtime because she was afraid of the dark. I didn't like that. It hurt my heart. And more importantly, it meant something had to change. We decided to switch out her normal bedtime books for the Bible, because I know that God's Word has the power to eradicate fears and give us a sound mind (2 Timothy 1:7). I researched quite a few toddler Bibles before deciding on this one. It doesn't add anything to God's Word, and it breaks it down into stories easily understandable for a 2+ year old. Now, every night before bed, we read a few Bible stories to Skylar. When we first started reading it, she wanted her normal books. But as the days went on, she began to ask for her Bible before we even went to bed. She always wants one more story! And wouldn't you know it, but about two weeks into our new routine her nighttime fears completely vanished. I was delighted with the change. The Bible is amazing. It refreshes our souls and strengthens our hearts. And there is nothing more powerful than the Truth of God's Word. We Take Communion Together Communion is a powerful tool that God uses to provide us with breakthroughs, heal our bodies, and strengthen our minds. The fall of mankind happened through the act of eating. As believers, we can reverse the effects of the fall through communion, the symbol of eating and drinking the body of Christ. If I'm being honest with you we don't do this every day, although I wish we did! But a few times a week Skylar and I (and the babies join in on the bread part 😉) break bread and drink grape juice together. We honor the sacrifice Jesus made on the cross to heal us, to forgive us of all of our sins, and to give us a wholeness only God can provide. We remember what He did, and we accept it with humility. Skylar might not completely understand the meaning behind communion yet, but she will have the memory that it was something we did together to proclaim the Lord's death until he returns. (1 Corinthians 11:26) Put On Praise & Worship God has a lot to say about music in His Word. Music and worship to God was used before battle, in battle, and after battle. It brought about victory, kept the Israelites from defeat, and took down giants. It does the same thing for us today. Music tears down our giants, gives us victory in our spiritual battles, and fortifies our minds against the attacks of the enemy. Paul says in Colossians 3:16 “let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom; teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord.” Paul is saying that when we sing to the Lord, hymns and songs, that He will teach us and admonish us. Admonish literally means to caution, advise, or counsel against something. Our worship to God will bring about His counsel to our hearts, either for something (teaching), or against doing something (admonishing). In 1 Samuel 16 David plays music for the king and it refreshed his soul. The same thing happens to me and my kids when we listen to Christian music. It refreshes our souls. I can tell when we don't play music for a few days, and the change that happens when we do. The Spirit of God is activated in our home when I play worship music, and it completely changes all of our attitudes. I want worship to be a tool that my kids turn to when they're struggling with anxiety or fear or depression. When the enemy attacks them, praise music should be our first line of defense. By training my kids today to revere worship, as adults they won't wonder how to combat Satan's threats. They will already being doing it and quenching his fiery darts. For our family, it's as simple as playing music from our little Bose player that sits in the kids' playroom. And We Bring Them To Church We bring them to church. Obviously Covid-19 has changed the in-person church experience for us and everyone else right now, but we still do church as a family on Sundays. What my husband and I want our kids to know is that a relationship isn't just a "Sunday Experience". It's what we do Monday through Saturday that makes a difference. It's how we choose to live our days, and where we spend our time. What we want them to know is God is for us every single day. We're showing them what a daily routine looks like, and forming habits in them today that will last a lifetime. As always, I would love to hear from you! If you have found something that strengthens your children's faith, please share it with me. We're all in the parenting trenches together. Writing to you with joy, Jessica Please note that this blog post includes affiliate links from Amazon. If you do choose to purchase something, I may earn a small commission – at no additional cost to you. All thoughts and opinions expressed in this post are entirely my own. Thank you for your support!