One day, in downtown Montgomery, I saw a homeless stranger sitting on a bench. Because of his haggard appearance, I walked past him without acknowledging him. A half-hour later, a friend and I were walking toward a coffee shop. Suddenly, he sat down next to somebody. To my astonishment, my...
Some say it’s not the quantity of time with your kids that matters, but the quality. God calls parents to be intentional about the quality of time we spend with our kids, with every bit of quantity we have. Colossians 3:23-24 tells us, “Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the inheritance as your reward. You are serving the Lord Christ.”
We must recognize we are on holy ground even when we are in a car, at the dinner table, or walking the dog.
Once in a while, God allows me to see an answered prayer, when in a conversation, or in the testing of my child’s faith, I see them turn to God’s Word for answers. Occasionally he allows us to see the “A-ha” moments, the breakthroughs, the answered prayers, and the brokenness that brings transformation in the hearts of our children and ourselves.
But we know that God is always working. I have faith in the promise that God has started a good work in me and my children who profess faith in Christ, and he will “bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ” (Philippians 1:6).
Do you also desire to daily communicate the gospel to each of your children, wherever you are?
Here are three intentional habits to do so:
How to Intentionally Communicate the Gospel to Your Kids
1. Saturate them with the Word of God.
God tells us that faith comes by hearing the Word of God (Romans 10:17).
I drive my kids home from school almost every day. The short ride is a time where I can not only ask about the “highs” and “lows” of school, but also share Scripture with them. Here are some examples:
- When I talk to them about why there are four main types of clouds, I remind them that, “In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth” (Genesis 1:1).
- I can share God’s truth that although the day may bring unexpected bumps, God is unchanging (Malachi 3:6).
- When my children share the difficulties of living set apart for Christ, I can share that just as Abraham walked up the path to sacrifice Isaac (Genesis 22), we need to follow God’s commands — even when they go against what the crowd might be telling us to do.
These are opportunities to remind my kids of God’s command to not only be hearers of the Word but also doers — “to love him and keep his requirements, his decrees, his laws, and his commands always”, knowing they will be blessed (Deuteronomy 11:1 NIV, Luke 11:28).
So read God’s Word to your kids — both encouraging verses, and those that show our sin and our need for forgiveness. Without knowing Scripture (the law) and the depth of our sin, they will not realize their need for the Savior (Romans 3:20).
Here are some practical ideas for how to do this:
- You can read Scripture to them at bedtime, dinnertime, or even in the morning. It can be a special time where they hear God’s Word even if they can read it on their own.
- You can write encouraging Bible verses on their mirror or pack a short verse in their lunch.
- You can talk about the message on Sunday after church, and talk about the passage used and how it applies to their lives.
2. Pray Scripture for them daily.
Like exercising, I need to pray for my kids more often than just when I feel like it. I need to do it daily, knowing that God commands us to pray and blesses us for it (Matthew 7:11).
There is power in intentional prayer. The Lord comes near to those who pray:
The LORD is near to all who call on him, to all who call on him in truth. (Psalm 145:18)
In Isaiah 55:11 God says that his Word “shall not return to me empty, but it shall accomplish that which I purpose, and shall succeed in the thing for which I sent it.” So that is what I pray over my children — his Word. I pray for their awareness of their need for Jesus Christ, for his salvation from sin in their lives. I pray that they will daily die to themselves and take up their crosses for the glory of the Lord (Luke 9:23).
Let us not grow weary in praying for our children. Let us not grow faint, but every day put prayer into our schedules. Here are some practical suggestions for how to do this:
- Write specific prayers down for each child and then record your praises when God answers them!
- Pick specific verses for each child for the year. Pray that verse over him or her every day.
3. Bring them to church.
Hebrews 10:24-25 tells us that going to church is not optional. It’s God’s command for us:
And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near.
And yet, we need to also remember it’s not just the act of bringing our kids to church that is important, but also the attitude with which we bring them. I and my husband have the responsibility to communicate that church is a treasure — a privilege that we are able to enjoy every week. Noel Piper says,
The greatest stumbling block for children in worship is that their parents do not cherish the hour. Children can feel the difference between duty and delight. Therefore, the first and most important job of a parent is to fall in love with the worship of God. You can’t impart what you don’t possess. (desiringgod.com)
Reminders of Grace
Being intentional takes time, planning, and discipline, but in the end, this investment will not only bless our children, but us as well. As we recite God’s truth, pray his Word for our children, and bring them to church, we are reminding our children of the beautiful gift of amazing grace.
For Jesus Christ came to give us new life in himself. He is Lord over every moment of our lives. As we read his Word, we see how far we are from living as we ought because of our sin, and we realize we are in desperate need of his salvation. But we also grow in knowing our great Savior. For he came to free us from sin and give us real hope: the hope of living by the power of the Holy Spirit, and the hope of a life in eternity with him.
Each day as we seek his help through prayer to live for him, and worship with his people, he sanctifies us. He works to deepen our faith in him and our love for him. God has instructed us to practice these habits and he promises by the Holy Spirit to continue to work in our children and in us.
Time spent pursuing these habits will be wisely used, no matter the quantity.