When we look at our children, most of us if not all want kids that obey rules, respect us and others, love God and the Bible and make us happy all the time. We dream of kids who live out the lyrics of the Christian song I sang while in nursery school;
Day by Day, day by day, oh dear Lord,
Three things I pray,
To see thee more clearly,
Love them more dearly,
Follow thee more nearly,
Day by day.
But then, every day makes this dream far too high to reach. We wonder, how are we going to raise this child in the way of the Lord? How are we going to make sure they read their Bible and pray every day? The questions are endless. But do we stop doing anything because it feels like whatever effort we make will never be enough? No, we find a way that works and stick to it.
Here are a few practical ways to go about discipling your child:
Ask for HELP! Every area of parenting needs help from God as you already know. From schoolwork, to choice of friends and peer pressure, to training them in God’s way. Because each family is special and peculiar, there is no one size fits all. So, ask God to help you see what will work in your household per season. Pray constantly for the heart of your child to be drawn to God and His word.
Model Christ to your children. Children learn far more by looking at us and what we do rather than what we say. As we train them to know and love God, we have to exemplify this every day not only in the way we act and speak but also in the way we show them the importance of the Bible, worship, community, etc. When our son was little, we were volunteers in church and because we served in Children’s ministry, our son was always in the kid’s church. He saw us teach and sing with the older kids. We modeled the importance of gathering with other believers and at a young age he knew so many Christian songs for kids, he danced around the house and watched tons of Bible stories. You don’t have to be in Children’s ministry to do this, the internet and YouTube are full of resources and videos, find them, listen to them and use the ones that teach the truth of the Scripture to point your child to Christ. Model what prayer is, pray with them daily. Pray over meals, pray in the morning or night, remind them to pray for their friends, cousins, teachers, etc.
Modeling is very important but it’s not enough. You have to spend time teaching. It doesn’t have to be structured all the time, seize those teachable moments when they appear. As you discover these resources, use them to teach your child about Jesus. Don’t try to do it all at once. Step by step, day by day, one at a time. I remember a few months ago someone gave our 2year old daughter a very good children’s Bible. I was very excited to read it to her, I thought to myself we will read one chapter a day and she’s going to love it. She did love it, but she only wanted to read the first two stories about Creation and Noah and the ark! So, we kept reading them for months till she was ready to read other parts of the Bible.
Make it fun for them, we also used Bible app from YouVersion for both kids, then we moved to other age-appropriate Bibles like read and share devotional for kids and the Jesus story book Bible and now our son who is 7 has his own Bible that has devotionals included in it. We use these different ranges of resources to keep it fresh and fun!
Discipling our kids can be hard and tiring with our busy schedules but When the Bible says “train” I believe it’s a continuous effort, if today doesn’t work as planned, you have another opportunity tomorrow. Keep moving don’t stop the train now! Be committed to raising Godly Children who will seek God daily, love him with all their heart, soul and mind and follow him all the days of lives. The Church is there to help you, but the main responsibility is yours, grab it with both hands.
And when you feel like you don’t know what you are doing, reach out to other families close to you and ask what they are doing. I found this very helpful. You are not alone in this parenting and discipling journey, find a circle of men or women who can be real and honest with you and who are ready to open up about their successes and failures as Christian parents. You will learn so much and impact them too.
One of my greatest prayers for my husband and I is that we would lead our children to Christ. Our desire for our children is that they are saved at a young age and follow God. May this be the cry of your heart too as you train up your child in the way of the Lord.
Funke Awojide seeks to follow God daily and this has influenced her passion to see children come to know God and love Him. She enjoys ministering to kids especially when there is fun involved. She also loves baking, hanging out with friends and writing. She is currently city church’s children ministry coordinator. She is married to Debo and they have two wonderful children.