Brush your teeth. Wash your face. Pick up your toys. Be nice to your sister. As parents we have to Be Intentional about our children’s lives. We make sure they get enough rest, eat the right foods, learn proper manners. But what are we doing about teaching them a life of faith?
To nurture your child’s faith, you must Be Intentional. If it is not natural for you to mention God in conversation, start. Start small and easy, such as when waking your children say “Rise and Shine and give God the glory!” Sung is even more fun if you remember the song. Or simply say, “This is the day that the Lord has made, let us rejoice and be glad in it. Make sure prayers before meals always occur, even when eating out.
Just as we make time for work, meals, school, activities, make time for praise to God. Be Intentional about devotional time, both alone and with the family. Alone, your devotion time fills up your spiritual tank, then a devotional time with your children teaches them faith is ongoing and active, not just a Sunday morning event. Parents are charged with teaching their children the Words of God. Deuteronomy 6 says 4"Hear, O Israel:(E) The LORD our God, the LORD is one.[b] 5You(F) shall love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might. 6And(G) these words that I command you today shall be on your heart. 7(H) You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise. 8(I) You shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes. 9(J) You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates.” Believe me your child’s Sunday School teacher will appreciate children whose families reinforce lessons and biblical truths at home.
Look at Sunday School as a supplement or as group lessons for your children, not as their only religious education. Just as children do not attend school only one day a week, so faith is not taught one day a week. It takes parents who are Intentional about imparting their faith to their children. Fill your young child’s day with bible story books, bible songs and prayers. As your children get older, Be Intentional about praying for and with them. Are they having trouble with a friend? Do they have a test coming up? These are perfect times to pray with your child for God’s guidance and wisdom. Remind your children daily of their baptism, that they are children of God, forgiven and washed clean of their sins.
Yes, it takes time to Be Intentional. It may take some planning at first. Discouragement can be your enemy. But remember that nurturing your child’s faith is not a one day event but an ongoing process. Think marathon, not sprint. Keep your eye on the prize, Jesus and the eternal bliss of heaven.