“These commandments that I give you today are to be on your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up.” Deuteronomy 6:6-7 (NIV)
My firstborn had just received his driver’s permit. Yikes! So there we were, in an empty parking lot. I asked my younger son to buckle up as his big brother was about to take over the wheel. When I turned around, I couldn’t help but laugh. He had every seat belt in the backseat somehow strapped on him. What a perfect image of how I was feeling at that exact moment!
Every stage of raising our children is exciting but scary. I’m no parenting expert, but thankfully, God is, and His Word is filled with timeless truths to help us navigate this parenting journey. Here are three biblical, practical actions we can do every day to make sure we’re parenting our kids God’s way:
#1. Pray. Don’t ever underestimate the power of prayer. It’s the most powerful tool we have. Pray for the present; pray for the future. It’s never too early or too late to start praying for your children’s schools, friendships, spouses, careers and ministries. Yes, I said ministries! Set aside one day a week (or even one meal a week) to fast and pray specifically for your children.
Philippians 4:6 tells us, “Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God” (NIV). And every situation means everything! From potty training to driving lessons, if it concerns you, it concerns the heart of our loving heavenly Father.
Let prayer for our children be our go-to and not our last resort.
#2. Protect. Our children need our protection, not just from obvious predators but from themselves. Proverbs 22:15 says, “Foolishness is bound in the heart of a child ...” (KJV). Even the best of kids, left to themselves and to their own curiosity, may do things they normally wouldn’t do. They need our active protection in their lives from dangers they won’t recognize.
We can protect our kids by being authentically present, being involved in what our kids are taking in and being lovingly vigilant in guarding their innocence. God gave us to our kids for a reason!
#3. Teach. Two hours of church a week isn’t much time for our children to learn everything they need to know about God. We must teach our children the Word of God practically through everyday life experiences.
In Deuteronomy Chapter 5, Moses summoned the entire Israelite community. Once gathered together, Moses read aloud the Ten Commandments “in [their] hearing” (Deuteronomy 5:1, NIV). He urged the people not to just obey these commands but to pass them on to the next generation.
“These commandments that I give you today are to be on your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up” (Deuteronomy 6:6-7).
So whether we are in the car, at home eating dinner or saying a quick prayer over them before they head out the door, God wants us to take advantage of every moment we have with our children. They may not always appear to be listening, but we can trust that as we obey God’s command in Deuteronomy 6, He is allowing something to soak into their minds.
We won’t always get it right, and that’s OK. Keep praying, keep protecting, keep teaching and keep trusting God. He is faithful, “… keeping his covenant of love to a thousand generations of those who love him and keep his commandments” (Deuteronomy 7:9b, NIV).
Kids will be kids … but parents still need to be parents. So buckle up and enjoy the ride.
Heavenly Father, teach us as we teach the next generation. I pray that Your Word spoken through our mouths will fall on good soil and will reap a harvest of godliness for generations to come. As King Solomon prayed, so we pray: Give us the wisdom that we might lead these great people. (2 Chronicles 1:10) We cannot do this in our own strength. We need You. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
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FOR DEEPER STUDY
Proverbs 22:6, “Train up a child in the way he should go, And when he is old he will not depart from it.” (NKJV)
Is there a young one in your life whom you can pray for today? It may be your child, grandchild, niece, nephew or even a family friend. Ask this individual what they need prayer for, and then pray for them … either face to face, on the phone or via text. Be sure to tell them how much God loves and cares for them. And share your thoughts about today’s devotion in the comments!
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