Cultivating within your child a love for the Lord and His word actually begins with You.
In Scripture, God specifically places the responsibility for nurturing a child’s spiritual development on the parents, as seen in Deuteronomy 6:1-7 and Psalm 78. We are told to seek God and His word for discovering the values we should pass on to our children. The most powerful influence we have upon our children’s early spiritual formation occurs through how we love and relate to them amidst the throes of life.
Begin with the End in Mind
I feel it’s also important to “begin with the end in mind.” Think through the foundational truths and values that are most important to your family, as that will dictate how you invest your time and resources.
Deuteronomy 6:1-9 was a pivotal passage in guiding me as a new believing mom. I especially like the wording from The Message. We see in verse 5 that we must first love God 100% with ALL of our heart, soul, and strength. Rarely will you meet a young child who doesn’t want to be like their parents.
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Love God, your God, with your whole heart: love him with all that’s in you, love him with all you’ve got.
Next, I see that it is imperative to know and follow God’s commands and then teach them to my children. I like how the New Living Translation says in verse 7 that we are to repeat them again and again to our children. This is consistent, continual, and repetitive teaching.
Deuteronomy 6:6-9 (MSG)
Write these commandments that I’ve given you today on your hearts. Get them inside of you and then get them inside your children. Talk about them wherever you are, sitting at home or walking in the street; talk about them from the time you get up in the morning to when you fall into bed at night. Tie them on your hands and foreheads as a reminder; inscribe them on the doorposts of your homes and on your city gates.
5 practical ways to pass on your faith
Be an example.
Our children will mimic us as we are their ultimate role models. As the saying goes, more is caught than actually taught. A spiritually engaged parent will often rub off on their children. How do your children see you respond to hard situations – do you run to others or turn to God?
Be passionate about God’s word.
Psalm 119:105: “Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light for my path.” We must think through and apply God’s instructions to our life issues (anger, complaining, love, hope, patience, etc.). When I had a child who struggled with lying, together we would find out what the Bible said about lying. There are many great topical reference guides on biblical child training.
Be real and interested.
Share why God is important to you and the impact He has had in your life. I didn’t need a degree in theology to impart biblical truth to my children. Yes, my girls asked many questions I did not know, but together we learned.
I suggest having a plan for family devotions and prayer. There are so many wonderful devotionals available for parents these days. Find one that appeals to you because your excitement will come across to your children. As a family we pray before meals and at bedtime. We pray as a need arises and in the moment (i.e. when we see an accident or someone is hurt or struggling). If our children see us praying throughout the day, they realize the importance of prayer and will participate. With consistency, over time you will build a precious habit of faith.
Jesus came to serve and therefore we should find ways to serve our church, neighbors, city, and the world together as a family. When the girls were younger we visited a local nursing home weekly, worked with a homeless ministry, and went on family mission trips. By serving together, our daughters have learned valuable lessons that they continue to practice today in their local area.
May God bless your family as you train up your children to love God and His word.
Now it’s your turn!
We’d love for you to share some ways that your parents passed on their faith to you and how you are passing on faith to your children.
For more parenting insights, check out our resources, Motherhood 101 and Grace Rules.