Ways to Connect Your Kids to God’s Spiritual Strength
We all want to be in the habit of regularly praying for our kids. We know it’s important and that we should do it more. But what do you pray for? The list is long but one of the big things we want for our children is that they connect with God for themselves. That’s what will bring maximum spiritual power to your child’s daily life.
Not only does prayer work and change your child, but it also helps you as a parent align yourself with God and his plan. With his strength you’ll be less likely to blow up in anger and you’ll have more wisdom for dealing with life’s challenges.
First, Pray for Yourself
Each day, pray that God will give you the strength to maintain your personal control as you work with your children. It’s tempting to blow up in anger or give in to constant nagging. Parenting requires continual perseverance and strength. God provides spiritual resources when emotional resources seem scarce. Learning to trust in him and pray every day for strength will go a long way to provide you with the ability to face the challenges of parenting. And, you’ll have greater talking points because you can model for your child what spiritual connection looks like.
Also, pray that God will change your child’s heart. It’s important to note that nowhere in the Bible does it say that parents change children’s hearts. We do read that people can change their own hearts. God calls that repentance. We also see that God changes people’s hearts directly. Ezekiel 36:26 reveals this promise, “I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh.” That’s the prayer we want to have for our children every day.
Of course, God does use parents to be the instruments to motivate kids to change their hearts, so your prayer will be one that allows you to partner directly with God in the changing of your child’s heart.
Pray for Your Connection With Your Child
You’ll also want to pray for relational connection opportunities in the course of your day. After all, much of the business of family life requires that you be firm with your children. That toughness often wears at the relationship and so times of connection are important. Remember that children can only take as much pressure as the relationship allows. It is important to Balance Firmness with Relationship.
Ask the Lord to provide some fun times in your day or a meaningful conversation or a moment where you and your child are able to connect in a deeper way than usual. Those moments are precious. They often come at bedtime or when a child needs comfort, or even in the midst of correction. Pray that God would give you those moments in your day to strengthen the relational bonds.
Also take time to pray that God would provide you with teaching opportunities. Often it’s a thoughtful comment or a creative idea that connects with a child’s heart. See 11 Ways to Connect with Your Child’s Heart. Those can come spontaneously as gifts directly from the Lord. So, take time to pray for insight. God may use your own walk with him to give you an idea, or you may discover a truth in a book you’re reading or some advice or encouragement you heard on the radio.
Be on the lookout for tools to teach. Just like any good teacher, you want to always be looking for ideas of ways to bring about the lightbulb moments in the hearts of your children. God provides those and we can ask him for them.
The reality is that parenting is the toughest job in the world. We need all the help we can get. God promises us that we can ask him for wisdom and he’ll give it to us. James 1:5 says, “If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to him.”
Parenting so often brings us to our knees. Sometimes we think we know what we’re doing as parents but that feeling of confidence doesn’t usually last too long. In fact, our weaknesses as parents can give us a greater appreciation of our Heavenly Father who wisely provides guidance, discipline, and strength in just the right measure for us.
During your prayer time take a moment and thank God for his faithfulness to you. One of the greatest gifts we have is to become part of God’s family. We are his children if we have trusted Christ as savior. That’s an awesome privilege that we enjoy. In fact, you’ll want to pray regularly for opportunities to help your children understand God’s grace in that same way. As you express to your children the appreciation you have for God’s love and mercy in your life, your prayer is that they’ll see the need to seek God for themselves and develop a personal relationship with him.
When family life gets difficult and you feel stressed by the challenges of the day, remember to go to the Lord for strength. You might even want to check out the “911 Psalm” in the Bible. Psalm 91:1-2 says, “He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High will rest in the shadow of the Almighty. I will say of the LORD, ‘He is my refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust.’ ” We all need rest and a fortress sometimes. God is our strength. Prayer is the vehicle God designed to transport your heart into his presence. Use it often and you’ll be a better parent for it.
Connecting Your Child Directly to God
Helping children develop a personal faith often requires that parents be intentional. Too many parents back off because of fears of legislating faith, or appearing legalistic, or they have concerns that the child’s heart isn’t in it. Those are reasonable concerns but you have to move forward in faith as a parent that the structures you create will be used by God to breathe life into your child’s faith.
Here are some things to consider that can help you pass on the experiential side of the faith, not just the academics.
Look for ways to help children access God’s strength for personal challenges. Pray with and for kids, but encourage them to pray on their own. Talk about prayer and encourage it. The best prayers aren’t “Lord give me something,” although they aren’t wrong. The best prayers are, “Lord how can I fit into your plans today?”
2. The Bible
Talk about God’s Word, sharing verses and stories. Teach the Bible in Fun Ways. Discuss its relevance to everyday life. Ask children what God is saying to them through God’s Word. After all, sometimes God speaks to parents through their children.
3. Spiritual Awareness
Ask your child, “How have you seen God work today?” Many children know that God works on Sundays but what about the other days? How does he work and how does he reveal himself to us?
4. Holy Spirit
Discuss with children how the Holy Spirit is working in their hearts. He guides, convicts, empowers, and reveals God in life. He’s the coach who walks along side our lives.
Identify specific qualities that God is developing in your child. As children see growth they can attribute it to God’s work in them.
God is concerned about how (process) things get done, not just what (task). This means that cheerfulness and initiative and cooperation are commendable before God.
7. God’s Church
When attending church many things can happen. “What did God teach you today?” is an appropriate question that brings Jesus home. “How did you contribute to the lives of others today?” We don’t just go to church to receive. We also give.
Engaging and learning how to teach Spirituality to children can happen in a lot of ways. Much of it can happen in and around life itself. Start back at the top of this article to get your own heart in a position to be used by God to influence your kids spiritually.
Listen here to Dr Turansky’s podcast on 3 Ingredients for Passing Faith to Kids.
See Dr. Turansky’s Live Facebook post.