We all want healthy, happy and successful children but most of all we want our children to know the God of the universe and live in an understanding of his will and ways. But in this world that seems “hell bent” on turning our children away from God there is a constant fear that they will wonder away from the Lord and end up missing the eternal hope that can only be found in him. No amount of success in education, career or family will compensate for missing the very reason we were created.
But so many of our children are missing the narrow gate and seem oblivious to the destructive road they are on. There could be no greater tragedy than if they achieve everything else but miss the most essential thing in life. So how do we help them find “the narrow gate”? First let me tell you how not to attempt to lead your child back to God.
- Don’t be overly anxious. You’re fears and anxiety will do nothing to help your children find God. They will only drive them further away from you and lessen their desire to trust the Lord. Who wants to be a part of a worrisome, anxious an uptight religion?
- Don’t be insecure about your walk with God. Let the love you have for God authentically come out of you in every area of your life. Don’t confine your talk of God to only “religious” subjects. Many children reject God because they see Christianity as irrelevant to what really matters to them.
- Don’t argue points of theology with them. If they disagree with you (and they will) that is their right and no amount of proving them wrong will change their minds. Be patient, you’ll be surprised how relevant God becomes when they encounter the trials that comes with maturity.
Finally I want to give you the one most essential thing you can do for your children to turn their hearts to God. Are you ready?
Some of you may be thinking, “Come on James; give me something more practical, something I can dig my teeth into”. But I’m telling you right now that there is nothing you can do or say that will be more powerful than crying out to God in fervent prayer for them. This passage has three very essential elements.
- Prayer is personal. Our relationship with God has a direct association on the effectiveness of our prayers. Do you want to have a powerful prayer life? Then have a constantly maturing, deepening relationship with God. There are a lot of reasons for this but let me put it simply. The closer you get to God (righteous person) the greater will be your ability to discern his will. And the greater you discern his will the more your prayers will be in line with his purposes.
- Prayer is powerful. That is what we need when we see our children heading down the wrong path. There are powerful forces at work in the world that have the goal of leading our children away from the Creator. But prayer is accessing the awesome power of God and can overcome any obstacle.
- Prayer is effective. This means that prayer has the ability to move our children closer to God. Prayer is our direct access to the greatest power in the universe and will never prove futile.
Finally I want to speak very personally about the prayers of a parent. God has shown himself as a parent through the incarnation. Jesus was constantly referring to his Heavenly Father with great love and affection and the Father spoke to Jesus saying how pleased he was with him. In other words, God gets the love between parent and child. I believe with all my heart that God understands the parent’s cry for their child and he hears those prayers in a special way. We have been invited into this parent/child relationship with the Father and he knows how our hearts ache are for our children. Do you really think he could turn a deaf ear to these prayers? No, that is just not like him.
So pray to your Father for your children with the confidence that he understands your pain. Pray to your Father knowing that he loves your child more than you do. Pray because he answers the fervent prayers of parents and will call their children to himself in his love. After all, that’s the only way any of us come to the Father, we are wooed by his love and won by his mercies.
If you have stories of God’s faithfulness please share them with us. We’d love to hear from you.