Nurturing the Spiritual Development of Your Children
Start with yourself
You can’t give someone else what you don’t have yourself.
Get as close as you can to God. Spend time with Him without distractions. Wait in His presence. Talk to Him, but make sure you listen to Him, too. Ask Him what He wants to say to you. Listen to Mark Virkler about how to hear God’s voice. He has videos on YouTube about this. He teaches how to do 2-way journaling. Write your thoughts to God, and then write what you hear God saying to you. He also has some excellent books about this.
Do the necessary heart work
Ask the Lord to show you what lies you believe about yourself. You may have had a traumatic experience in your childhood, or you may have developed wrong beliefs based on immature understanding of what happened to you. Children often blame themselves for things that happen in their families. They often blame themselves for their parents’ arguments or divorce.
Identify a lie that you believe and when you started to believe that lie. Ask Jesus to go with you into that painful memory. Try to see where Jesus was while that was happening to you and how He felt about it. Ask Him to tell you the truth about you to replace the lie you believed. Go to Someone Believes in You to learn more about this from Theresa Griffith.
Pay attention to what God is saying to you through signs and messages in numbers and repeated words or phrases. When you hear a particular verse or message repeated in many different places over a period of a few hours or days, it might be God trying to tell you something.
Make heart connections with your children
Get to know your children
Spend time with them. Do things with your individual children. Think of something that your child would like to do or a place they would like to go. Take them out on a date. Take them out for ice cream, just you and your one child. If you have several children, you might need to do some creative scheduling.
Figure out their love language.
There are 5 love languages that have been identified by Dr. Gary Chapman. You can read his book called “The 5 Love Languages of Children” to find out how to identify your child’s love language.
Does she like hugs? Her love language might be “touch”. Does he respond well to your attaboys and compliments? Maybe his love language is “words of affirmation”. Find out what makes your child feel loved and then interact often with them using that language.
Pray with them.
Ask them what they would like to pray about and pray with them. Take their concerns seriously. Tell them that Jesus cares about everything that they care about. He wants to answer their prayers, and He will answer them. If we pray according to His will, we will have it. Help them to understand that we must find out His will so that we know that He will answer our prayers. Teach them how to listen to God so they can know His will.
Pray over them.
Lay hands on your children and pray for them. They will see you modeling prayer, and they will feel your love and care for them. Pray for their physical, emotional, and spiritual needs. Pray for the things they have told you they were concerned about. Pray for their walk with God. Ask God to release them into the destiny that He has for them.
Share with them what you are hearing from God. Tell them how you heard God speak to you. Pay attention to their dreams and desires. Ask them what God is saying to them or showing them.
Read the book by Shawn Bolz called “Growing Up with God”. Two of my children asked Jesus into their hearts after reading this book together! It also teaches them how to hear God.
Have videos about Bible stories available for them to watch. Use children’s Bibles like “The Jesus Storybook Bible”, “Jesus Calling Bible Storybook”.
Pray together as a family
This one can be tricky. We want to make sure this is a pleasant experience for all. We need to make sure that the children don’t feel pressured or coerced into praying, or they won’t want to do it. But we should definitely present the opportunity for each of the children to pray out loud.
Pray for the family’s needs. Pray about situations that you and your children are concerned about. Pray about relationships in the family. And pray for the people you love. Praying together is powerful. It’s another opportunity for you to model prayer for your children, and it’s a chance to show them that you really believe in the power of prayer. Praying together with others multiplies our prayer power, and I believe there is an extra dimension of power when families unite in prayer.
Keep track of answers to prayer, and make sure to tell your kids about them.
Rehearse the wonderful things that God has done for your family and the many answers to prayer that you have seen over the years.
Another thing you might want to do is start a family journal that anyone in the family can write in. Put it in a prominent place, and tell your husband and kids that they are welcome to write anything they want in it (within reason, of course). Tell them to record answers to prayer and things that the family has enjoyed together.
We can give our children a good, solid spiritual foundation and plant lots of good seeds. It is up to each child to choose their path, but we can give them a good start. If they stray for a while, we can always pray according to the scripture in Proverbs 22:6
And trust God to lead them into their prophetic destiny.