(Note: This post about how we can talk to God about our children appeared earlier this week over at Club31Women as part of their new Strength and Dignity Devotional series. Thought I’d share it here in case you missed it. Happy Fourth!)
Don’t Talk to Your Kids about God?
“Don’t talk to your kids about God.”
I exchanged a look with the woman sitting next to me at the young mother’s Bible study. Where was the teacher going with this?
“Don’t talk to your kids about God,” she repeated, “nearly as much as you talk to God about your kids.”
Ahhh. That made more sense. And over the years, as our four children became teenagers and then young adults, that value of that advice grew right along with them.
My husband and I wanted our kids to love Jesus. We wanted to showcase God’s attributes—his faithfulness, his mercy, his power, his love—so our children would know Him. We wanted to talk about His Word, like Deuteronomy 6:6-8 says, sitting at home and walking on the road, from early in the morning until late at night.
We wanted to talk about God all the time—and there were plenty of days when our kids might say that we did.
But there were also plenty of days when they did not want to listen. Plenty of days when it felt like our children were out of our reach, emotionally and spiritually, even if they were sitting just across the dinner table. Plenty of days when all our best parenting wisdom fell flat.
The answer, those days, wasn’t to talk louder, or more. The answer was to talk to God.
Mindful of verses like Isaiah 55:11 (which promises that God’s Word does not come back empty but accomplishes his purposes), we used Scripture to give shape to our prayers.
We asked God to captivate our kids’ attention: “Make _____’s heart a stream of water in Your hand; turn it wherever You will.” (Proverbs 21:1)
We asked God to let their words and deeds line up with his plans, to give our children “the desire and the power to do what pleases him.” (Philippians 2:13)
And we prayed that our kids would know how much they were loved: “I pray that _____, being rooted and established in love, may have power to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ and be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.” (Ephesians 3:17-19)
We prayed prayers like these (and we’re praying them still), knowing that shaping our kids’ faith—along with their character, their relationships, and their future—is not up to us. It’s up to God. And honestly? Even though His answers have not always looked like what we expected (or wanted, sometimes), I can say with confidence that God has been faithful.
He has listened.
And He has been good.
The next time you feel like your kids are tuning you out or like they don’t want to hear what you have to say (or like you aren’t sure how to help even if they did want your advice!), don’t be discouraged. Instead, talk to God. He’s the one who, as Romans 4:17 puts it, “calls into existence the things that do not exist.”
He can create anything—even faith—out of nothing.
Today, our need is for ___________. Please call that into existence, even if there seems to be nothing there now.