Leading your children to God involves much more than simply talking to them about God, taking them to church, or reading the Bible to them. Leading them to God involves at least two important additional aspects:
- Demonstrating your own belief and your own relationship with God in a way that they can overtly witness it;
- And teaching your children how to talk with Jesus themselves, how to hear from Him, and how to recognize Him.
We often think of our relationship with God and our conversations with Jesus, as a very private matter; however, once you have children, those conversations need to become household-wide shared experiences. The two of you need to pray together over your children, intentionally and with purpose, and daily. Pray for their protection, for guidance as you lead them, and for their hearts to know Jesus. Pray against enemy influence, and against generational sin (because the threads laid in by the enemy in generational lines are strong bondages, and need consistent prayer across generations to be removed). It matters what you pray. Ask Jesus to be a very real and very present experience in their lives.
When our kids were very young, we had a chair set out in our family room which we designated as Jesus’ chair. No one else was allowed to sit in it. We used that at the time as a very concrete reminder to everyone in the family that Jesus was always present and always available to help us. We would tell the kids to ask Jesus if they had a question for us before they asked us, and we would also pray and ask Jesus in front of the children for input before we responded. We openly talked in our home about asking Jesus about decisions we would make, about including Jesus in our experiences, and about having Jesus fight against the enemy for us and with us. These conversations were commonplace so that it was simply expected and part of our routine to include Jesus in all of our discussions. Our kids saw us praying about everything, and we openly shared what we heard from Jesus with them.
Beyond modeling your relationship with God, you also need to openly discuss and practice with your children how to listen to God in prayer. We believe it is the best gift you can give to your children, to teach them how to talk and listen to Jesus. It is our experience that the ability to hear and see into the spiritual realm is much easier for children, and if they learn it young, they will remember it forever. We encourage you to start very early with talking to Jesus with your children and helping them to listen with their hearts and see with their spiritual eyes, in order to learn the truth directly from the Source.
Your children will “catch” what they see you doing more than they will do what you say. In everything you do, model the character and nature of someone who loves God. This modeling happens in a million tiny ways and hundreds of major ways. In demonstrating caring and love for other people, you model the second commandment of Christ. In being where you said you would be when you said you would be there, you demonstrate consideration and care, a quality of Jesus. In holding your tongue when you feel like yelling, you model His patience and grace. In giving to others in need, you are fulfilling what Jesus asked of all of us. In serving and sacrifice, you model the nature of Christ as shown on the cross. Putting others ahead of yourself, you model Christ’s love. Each and every day, your children will learn about Who Jesus is by who they see you being. If you can remember to take the time to talk with Jesus and listen for His direction before you react, difficult times can become peaceful opportunities for learning and growth. At the same time, your children are learning about love. I Corinthians 13 tells us what love looks like: Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails.
Your children learn how to be patient by seeing you being patient; they learn how to be kind by seeing you being kind. They will not be self-seeking if they see you being selfless. All of these aspects of love are the qualities you want to model for your children, and the guides you can use for your actions and responses with your children. Through these choices, you lead them to God.