10/20/14
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What is a Parents’ Role in Spiritual Nurture? by Elanie Bonner


GCPOut of many passages that refer to the spiritual nurturing of our children, the following two scriptures always particularly come to my mind:

Deuteronomy 4:9, “Only be careful, and watch yourselves closely so that you do not forget the things your eyes have seen or let them slip from your heart as long as you live. Teach them to your children and to their children after them.”

And

Deuteronomy 11:16 – 19, “Be careful, or you will be enticed to turn away and worship other gods and bow down to them……Fix these words of mine in your hearts and minds; …Teach them to your children, talking about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up.”

Spiritual nurturing is living a transparent life of faith before our children. It includes allowing the children to participate as we practice our faith. The old adage that “actions speak louder than words” certainly pertains to parents as they nurture their children. Spiritual nurturing is intentionally modeling our faith with our children from the time they are born. There are minimally five major areas of participatory modeling that are very important.

First and foremost is worship. Worship is a privilege that we should enjoy personally as well as with our children. The enthusiasm that parents show toward worship is contagious! Preparing the children for worship is extremely important. A few suggestions would be: singing the hymns and praise music, playing worship music cds at home or in the car during the week; reading the scripture together before and after the service; discussing the sermon as a family; sharing with the children what the scripture and sermon mean to you personally and to how it will affect your life in the coming week. Children will catch the joy that their parents feel as they go to church, worship, and apply scriptural truths to their lives.

Secondly is prayer. As children hear and see their parents loving to pray, then they will also desire to pray. Some of the most beautiful prayers I have heard have come from the mouths of two year olds! Fortunate are the children whose parents pray consistently with them at home and give their children the opportunity to pray themselves. Valuable to their spiritual growth are prayers from the heart – talking intimately to God as their Father with praise and thanksgiving as well as expressing their supplications.

Thirdly is daily Bible reading and devotions. From infancy, children should hear the scriptures read to them as well as Bible stories. All of the Great Commissions Publications Sunday School material has “take home” papers for the children two years and older. These papers are an excellent spring board for daily devotions. Devotions do not need to be long. A minute per year of age is a good rule of thumb. Also a good book to use for daily devotions is Training Hearts, Teaching Minds by Starr Meade.

A fourth very important way of sharing your faith with your children is to share the sorrows and joys of your every day walk with the Lord with them. As the children see you giving thanks and trusting Christ in all areas of your life, they will learn to see Christ working in their lives. When children see their parents depending on Christ in every area of their life, they will learn to do that as their parents help them to apply biblical truths to the events in their lives.

The choices you make are a fifth modeling opportunity. For instance, choices of going to the lake instead of church or choosing to ignore the times of fellowship with your church family in favor of watching television. (Please understand that you do not have to be at church every time the doors open, but being a part of the body does bring with it responsibility to serve and support the church family.) Another choice is to always be truthful instead of the “little white lie” that we use for convenience.

I like the quote from C.H. Spurgeon’s Spiritual Parenting, “Children must be fed. They must be well-fed, or instructed, because they are in danger of having their cravings perversely satisfied with error. The only way to keep chaff out of the child’s cup is to fill it brimful with good wheat. The more the young are taught, the better; it will keep them from being misled.”

We all need help as we spiritually nurture our children. Consider asking someone to come along side of you as a prayer partner as a support for you. Great blessings come from being obedient to God’s Word both for ourselves and the next generation.

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