How to train your children to love God
This week we became grandparents! To say we are overjoyed is an understatement. As we held our grandson for the first time, we were reminded of the enormous responsibility all parents have as they raise their child to “love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, all your mind, and all your strength.” (Mark 12:30)
As we gazed into this little one’s eyes, we oohed and ahhed over all his features. His long, thin fingers. His eyes. The way his lips are formed. How he creases his brow. His cute nose. And his full head of hair. We are grateful to God for how he looks on the outside, but even more important to us is what he will be on the inside.
How will his mom and dad (and grandparents) raise him to “love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, all your mind, and all your strength?”
Commit to pray every day for your children and grandchildren. Pray about everything because nothing is too small for God.
- Pray for their health, protection, decisions, finances, school, friends and strength.
- Pray they will learn to handle disappointments and trust God.
- Pray for the people who will influence their lives like their pastors, teachers, coaches, and their friends.
- Pray for the Lord’s favor to be evident in their life.
Enlist your friends to pray for your kids. Our friends have prayed our children through law school, injuries, mischief, health concerns, dating, weddings, the birth of a baby, career choices, jobs, college, trips, promotions, and so much more. Share prayer requests – and pray – with your godly friends and watch God work in the lives of your children and theirs.
2. Raise your children in church.
It’s important for children to know the importance of God’s Word. Although this should be reinforced at home, a church is where our children are in community with other believers. It’s where they study God’s Word and sing songs of praise to our Father. The Bible reminds us in Hebrews 10:25 to meet together for encouragement. We need to take our children to church so they can experience life with other people who love God.
3. Find friends who reinforce your values to your children.
When our three kids were growing up they had aunts and uncles who loved them deeply. But unfortunately these relatives lived thousands of miles away. We were blessed to find another couple with children the same ages as our kids. Our friends, Steve and Luann, loved our children as their own. They invested in our kids. At one point, our oldest daughter, Tovey, even had a bed at their house because she slept there so frequently. Steve and Luann did what we couldn’t do – they reinforced our values and beliefs into the lives of our three kids. Through the comments they made and the advice they gave our kids they were instilling the same godly practices as we were. And our kids received it because it came from someone other than their parents!
4. Talk about God and spiritual things.
Deuteronomy 6 says we should talk to our children about God’s ways – a lot. Spiritual discussions should take place naturally and should be repeated.
“Talk about them when you’re at home and when you’re on the road and when you are going to bed and when you are getting up….” Deuteronomy 6:7
Make spiritual conversations a part of everyday life. If you do this, your children will have the foundation to grow strong in their love for God. We know parents who say Psalm 23 to their baby personalizing the Psalm with the baby’s name. We know of other parents who have sung the Doxology to their young toddler. Other parents have their children memorize a life verse or a family creed on what it means to be a godly member of the _____ family.
When you’re raising kids it may seem like the days are long, but in reality the time is short to instruct them. Don’t waste your time. Be an intentional parent.
5. Remember your children (and grandchildren) are your legacy so be intentional in training them.
When our eyes saw our grandson for the first time, we wondered about his life. What would he enjoy? What would his personality be like? Who would he marry? What would his legacy be? What would his children be like? How could we encourage him in his walk with the Lord? How could we best help our son and daughter in love raise him in a godly home?
One of the biggest blessings we can have is to know that our children and grandchildren are people who love God. 3 John 1:4 says, “I could have no greater joy than to hear that my children are following the truth.” When a godly legacy is passed to the next generation it is a gift that lasts forever because those family members will spend eternity together in the presence of the Lord.
So today, think about your legacy. Talk to your children and grandchildren about the Lord. Find friends to reinforce your values. Take your kids to church, and pray for your children (and grandchildren). As you do this, you will build your marriage – and your family. Now we are heading out to hold our grandson again!