As I sat down to write this post, I realized this post is a lot like the last one. I posted an answer to a question I received on my blog about my children accepting the Lord at an early age. I mentioned that I would post what Patrick and I and my girls thought made them to continue to walk with the Lord after their salvation. Now, I realize my oldest 3 are 21, 20 and 18 (very soon to be 22, 20 and 19). I know they have much of their lives left to live and they will daily face choices of whether to serve the Lord or not. They have not arrived. And Patrick and I are far from perfect parents. But, I am very thankful that they have grown and blossomed in their walk with Christ. They have a personal walk and relationship with Him. They have joy in serving Him.
So, how did that happen?
I chatted with my girls about this and the answers they gave lined up so much with the previous post on how they accepted the Lord as their own Savior. It really is the same 3 steps.
Pray About It- After praying for your child's salvation, your job is not done. Continue to pray fervently on a daily basis for them. You know them best and you see their struggles. Have you talked to the Lord about it? Pray they will be faithful. Pray the Holy Spirit will convict them when wrong, and encourage them to do right. Pray they will make wise choices. Pray protection around them. Pray, pray, pray! And it does your child good to know that you are praying for them. Do they ever "catch" you praying? Do they wake up in the morning and see you on your knees praying to God? I love it when I just finish praying and a sleepy eyed little one comes into the room, fresh from a good night's rest. I love telling them how I just prayed for them. And then tell them exactly what specific needs I prayed for for them.
Talk About It- You can tell what someone's interested in by what they talk about. What is your primary thing to talk about? Do you tell your children what the Lord is working on in your own heart? Do they hear you thanking God for His blessings?
Let them hear how good God is from others as well. Surround them with people you want them to be like. Influence is so important! Who is influencing your child?
Let them hear preaching. Don't miss one service at church. Their faith will grow with hearing the preaching of God's Word! Of course be at church for every single service, but strive to hear even more preaching in between. Revivals, special meetings, missions conferences....all those caused my children's heart to grow closer to the Lord.
We also have to be careful about the wrong kinds of influences in our children's life as well. We want the voice of righteousness to be louder than any other voice they will hear! Don't be afraid to tell them no and not let them do things that other people are doing. Protect your child and what they will hear!
Live It- Just like I mentioned before, be real to your children. Don't be afraid to ask forgiveness when you've failed. They need to see real christianity. And they need to see it in you!
Also, your child's love for God will grow if they get to know Him. How do they do that? Same way that you and I do...read His Word! As soon as my little ones learn how to sound out words, they are having their own devotions in the morning. Is this something they desire and do on their own? Not at first. This is something that I tell them they need to do. I explain that God wants to speak to their heart and for them to spend time with Him! I tell them to look on the page for any words they can sound out. When they finish a chapter I tell them to have time talking to God. As they grow in their reading, their understanding will grow. They are developing Godly habits that I pray they will keep the rest of their lives. They know that when they wake up (after brushing their teeth!) that they are to grab their Bible and begin their day with God.
So these are just some of the principles we've put in to place with our older 3. And now we're using them with our younger three. How impressionable and precious they are!
I pray they will have a heart for souls and to do the Lord's work. What a responsibility that we as parent's have.
"I have no greater joy
than to hear that my children walk in truth."
3 John 1:4