Parenting on Purpose: Intimacy with God
Whether you turn to the right or to the left, your ears will hear a voice behind you, saying, “This is the way; walk in it.” Isaiah 30:21 NIV
When it comes to Parenting our kids on purpose, the second most important thing we need to teach them is how to have a personal, intimate relationship with God. As I type this, I’m reminded of the story of Eli and Samuel in 1 Samuel 3. In this story, Eli is training Samuel to be a priest. One evening, they both laid down for the night in their usual fashion. This was no ordinary night though. On this night, as Samuel was trying to drift off to sleep, he kept hearing the sound of someone calling his name. “Samuel, Samuel,” the voice called out. The first three times Samuel got up, went to Eli, and said, “”Here I am; you called me.” Initially, Eli responded back with, “My son, I did not call; go back and lie down.” The third time Samuel came to him, the light bulb went off and Eli realized God was calling out to Samuel. This time Eli told Samuel, “Go and lie down, and if he calls you, say, ‘Speak, LORD, for your servant is listening.'”
The whole time, God was calling the name of Samuel, he didn’t realize it was God. That’s eye-opening. He hadn’t learned yet how to discern the voice of God. Being able to hear from God is a big part of having an intimate relationship with him. We are responsible to teach our kids what that looks like.
One thing I have learned as a parent is that our kids learn more by our examples than by our words. Telling my kids something is important,with out modeling it decreases the weight of my words. So one of the key ways we teach our kids how to have an intimate personal relationship with God is by having one with him ourselves.
For me, I love my time with God first thing in the morning. I get up early just to sit with him, pray, worship and read my Bible. It’s the best start to my day. My kids have learned that when I am spending time with God, its sacred. They know not to disturb me unless it’s an emergency. I’ve taught them that, because I want them to see that my time with God is very important to me, just like my time with each of them.
A few months ago, I went upstairs a little before the time we normally wake the kids, and I found my third son Ethan sitting at his desk. He had his hands folded in prayer, his head bowed. He had gotten up early to spend time with God. I didn’t say anything. I didn’t disturb him. I just smiled inwardly – it so warmed my heart. I treasured the sight of my son rising early on his own to talk to God. I couldn’t help but think, he is learning by our example.
Our goal for our kids is for them live a surrendered, dependent relationship with God — that they would be able to hear and discern his voice and want to do His will above all else. And in the end, reach Heaven and hear “Well done, my good and faithful servant.” For this to happen, they need to understand how to have an intimate, personal relationship with God and the value of following hard after Him. In addition to modeling this in our lives, we talk about the Bible, have times of prayer and devotions as a family, and attend church together.
How do you teach your children how to have a personal, intimate relationship with God, and why do you feel this is important?
Copyright © 2014 by Amy O’Donnell. All Rights Reserved.