When I became a parent, I knew I wanted to impart my faith onto my family’s next generation. I wasn’t really entirely sure how to do it, aside from the way it was modeled to me through my parents. I’ve had friends that I’ve watched and picked up on little bits and pieces here and there. But aside from that, I wasn’t really sure where to start.
We did the usual praying bedtime prayers, occasionally talk about God, attend church on Sundays, etc. But I truly felt like there was something deeper and more meaningful; I just didn’t know how to get there.
Upon happenstance my husband and I attended a one night seminar at our church for parents. I absolutely LOVED it! It was exactly what I had been looking for and I wanted to learn more. I picked up his book Give Your Kids the Keys: Navigating your Child to a Personable and Sustainable Faith. Within no time at all, I felt like I had little things I could do to help move my daughter into a direction of establishing her own faith and reliance on God. And the biggest thing….she doesn’t have to be grown to do it! I was floored with the way God showed up in her and our family within days of attending the seminar and beginning to read the book. (For example, the next morning, she independently came into my room, picked up my bible, and asked to read about God).
A few things I learned (or were refreshed for me)…
- My 2 year old can pray for people and see God heal them! Yes, powerful! Why do we sometimes believe that children’s prayers are any less powerful than prayers from adults. Honestly, their humility and innocence probably lends themselves to pray more powerful prayers than most adults can pray.
- It doesn’t take a lot to begin the journey. I started talking about God in small ways. Whenever I saw evidence of Him, I shared it with her. And honestly, this really helped open my eyes to all the ways God IS moving in our lives. When you are diligent to point things out to someone else, you begin to see and notice them way more. Instead of saying things like “that’s just the way it is” to her unending “why” questions, I know reply with “God thought it would be beautiful to make it that color so he did” (for example).
- My bedtime prayers with her are much different than they were before. I pray with her modeling how we should pray…for those in need, those who are sick, with thanksgiving, etc. I give her the real nitty-gritty stuff and don’t dumb down my prayers to what I feel is “child appropriate.” I pray for world problems, family problems, finances, health, whatever needs prayer and is on my heart at that time.
- When I do my prayer/devotional time (which isn’t as often as it should be I will admit), I let her do it too. With her bible in hand, I show her how to look through the pictures. Sometimes I’ll ask her to look for a particular thing (such as a rainbow or a bird)…thus teaching her to search the Bible for things or answers. I feel like the bible is usually the last place I look for answers and in all honesty, it should be the first place I go.
- The most recent thing I feel God has placed on my heart is the lack of scripture I can readily recall. As a child, teen, and even young adult I was able to recite, locate, and flip through scripture very easily. Those skills have dwindled over the years. So a habit my family has decided to start is to pick a bible verse of the week. We’ll read that verse daily (maybe even multiple times a day). If my daughter can recite pages from a book that we’ve read only a few times, think of how powerful it’ll be if she begins to be exposed to the word of God in that sort of repetition as well! Not to mention, we’ll be doing it as a family, growing closer to God together! Powerful stuff!