Are you a parent who wants your child to love and live for Jesus? Do you wonder, “How can I help my child grow spiritually?” Are you sometimes unsure about how to make it happen?
Here are five parenting practices to develop your child’s faith:
Connect with the Bible.
Regular interaction with the Bible changes children’s lives. Every child should learn the activities or methods we use to connect with the Bible. Teach your children how to read, reflect, remember and respond to God’s Word. The primary factor affecting the spiritual health of your child is Bible engagement.The primary factor affecting the spiritual health of your child is Bible engagement. Click To Tweet
Lifeway Research in the USA discovered that children who regularly read the Bible have 12.5 percent higher spiritual health than children who don’t. So, teach your children to listen, read, study, interpret, contemplate, journal, memorize, sing, pray, discuss, and apply God’s Word.
When children pray, God fortifies their faith. That’s because prayer develops intimacy and humble reliance on God – an essential ingredient for spiritual formation. It’s, therefore, a no-brainer that we should prioritize regular prayer in the home. As you do, recognize that prayer is multi-faceted. No two children pray the same way. Yet every child should learn how to pray prayers of adoration, supplication, intercession, thanksgiving, petition, confession, repentance and transformation.Teach your children how to pray the Scriptures; it provides content for their prayers and helps them pray according to God’s will. Click To Tweet
Also, teach your children how to pray the Scriptures; it provides content for their prayers and helps them pray according to God’s will.
Actively participating in church or community service projects is another decisive factor affecting the development of your child’s faith. When you involve children in serving others, they experience what it means to be like Jesus. In consumer cultures, providing opportunities for children to help others is crucial because it counters the spirit of entitlement.When you involve children in serving others, they experience what it means to be like Jesus. Click To Tweet
You can establish service habits by encouraging children to do chores at home, go on mission trips, volunteer at community events, assist with church activities, or care for the environment by planting trees or doing creek cleanups.
Listen to Christian Music.
Augustine, the renowned church father, said, “We sing the truth into our hearts.” Introduce and encourage your child to download and enjoy Christian music. When children listen to Christian music, their faith is stimulated. Conversely, when children mainly listen to secular music, their faith declines.When children listen to Christian music, their faith is stimulated. Click To Tweet
Maybe in part, that’s why Paul says, “Let the message of Christ dwell among you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom through psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit, singing to God with gratitude in your hearts” Colossians 3:16 (NIV).
Model your Faith.
One of the themes in Kara Powell’s book Sticky Faith is that parents must be what they hope to see in their children. Stop and think about that. How children observe your faith in action really matters. Do your children see you reading the Bible, praying, sharing your faith, worshipping God, serving others, pressing into Jesus, emphasizing forgiveness and grace, and structuring your life around a Christian worldview? In most cases, the quality of your faith is reproduced in your child. You are the most potent human force nurturing the faith development of your children!You are the most potent human force nurturing the faith development of your children! Click To Tweet
You have far more influence on your children than you think. Like it or not, your beliefs and practices are the benchmarks for your child’s faith formation. Concisely stated, your children usually value what you value. If your faith is nominal, your child’s faith will probably be minimal or non-existent. If your faith is vibrant, your child’s faith will probably be vital.
The findings of Christian Smith and Amy Adamczyk highlight the vital role parents play in the faith formation of their children. Their book Handing Down the Faith: How Parents Pass Their Religion on to the Next Generation concludes that regularly and naturally discussing faith in the home matters most. Why? Because children know that what their parents talk about is what they care about.
Make it Happen.
Finally, research reveals that church activities have a limited influence on a child’s spiritual health if the core parenting practices mentioned above are not happening in the home.You can’t outsource your child’s faith formation. Click To Tweet
You can’t outsource your child’s faith formation. What takes place in your home is the primary influence on the spiritual health of your child. Having your child involved in church activities like Sunday School or Vacation Bible School will only supplement what you do at home. So, make it a priority to activate and maintain these five parenting practices to develop your child’s faith.
© Scripture Union, 2023