7 Simple ways Christian moms can help grow their children’s faith
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For us Christian moms, finding ways to teach our children about God is important. More than anything, I want to help my children learn about and know God in a personal way. I love them so completely and fully. Yet, I also know I can’t be there for them every moment. It’s neither possible nor feasible. But, God can. And He knows what the future holds for them. He loves them even more than I do.
While we want to be intentional as Christian moms to teach our children about God, we also need to find the best ways to do so. Long theological lectures aren’t going to convince a 6-year-old that she needs to ask God into her heart. Trite, vague answers aren’t going to convince a 16-year-old that he needs to follow God.
It’s certainly a precarious balance and one that my husband and I continue to work on as we are raising our kiddos. Just as I want to teach my children how to take care of themselves physically, I also want to teach them how to take care of themselves spiritually.
I’m still learning and growing on my journey as a Christian mom, but over the past 13 years of motherhood, I have found a few things that work for us.
Praying for our children is important. Praying for ourselves as Christian moms is equally important. I pray daily that I’ll be the kind of my mom my children need to raise them according to God’s will and plan for their lives. I also pray in the moment. When my kiddos are asking me questions about God, the Bible or anything faith-related, I silently pray things like, “God, give me the right words.”
Faith questions are difficult and even with kids who are only 9 and 13, we’ve already been asked some deep questions. Turning to God to help us answer is my first stop. I’ve been surprised by answers that have come to me as a result and discussions I’ve been able to have with my children. And I know that wouldn’t have happened without God’s help.
Praying with our children is also incredibly important. Each evening before bedtime, our family has prayer time together. This has a been a great time to teach our kids what praying to God can be like. We talk about prayer requests and remind them they can talk to God just like they do anyone else. They don’t need to recite memorized prayers but can really talk to Him.
In order to keep lines of communication wide open, I think honesty with our kids is important. My husband and I have a policy with our children that if they ask us a question, we will answer them honestly. We have adhered to that policy while also keeping their ages in mind. This is true with faith. If our kids ask us something we don’t know, we’re honest about that. We’ve told them that if we don’t know the answer, we will help them find it. We’ll turn to the Bible and our pastor to get a good answer for them.
We are also honest that some topics are debated in Christian circles. So we share our own experiences and interpretations as well as some differing views. But, we also always get back to the fact that no matter what disagreements there are, the most important thing is knowing Jesus died for our sins and wants a relationship with us.
Talk about your faith.
This might seem like a no-brainer to us Christian moms, but I think it can be easier to talk to our kids in more abstract ways about God and less about how He is working in and through our own lives. I have shared stories with my kids that happened recently and in the past of how God has helped me through situations or ways I’ve seen Him work.
You don’t have to get a 20-minute testimony to your children, but taking a minute to point out how God answered your prayer is powerful. It helps our kids realize God is still working and impacting lives today. And it shows them what a daily walk with God looks like. My hope is that it also helps them be able to see Him at work more easily in their own lives.
Listen to Christian music.
Christian music is another subtle way Christian moms can help teach their kiddos about God. I love music and have it on in the car, while I’m working and often in the kitchen as well. My kids notice it in the car the most. Without necessarily realizing it, Christian music lets them soak up the message and promise God’s love and faithfulness.
Christian radio is a great source, but I also love having my own playlist with a wide variety of Christian music. You can find the Families with Grace Playlist on Spotify with nearly 11 hours of contemporary Christian music. I keep adding to it, because it’s the playlist I listen to most often myself!
Get into God’s Word together.
Spending time together in God’s Word is important. I know my own faith walk is strongest when I’m in God’s Word. You can do this in a variety of ways. Of course, you can read the Bible together. Here are some of our favorites:
“The Jesus Storybook Bible” by Sally Lloyd-Jones is our favorite from when our kids were younger. It’s perfect for preschoolers through early elementary, but it also speaks to my heart just as much as it does to the kiddos!
“The Action Bible: God’s Redemptive Story” is a comic book style Bible. It is perfect for more visual kiddos or those who love graphic novels. This Bible works really well for my 9-year-old who is dyslexic and prefers the shorter lines of text in graphic novels.
“Hands-On Bible” is a great option for third grade to fifth graders. It’s the New Living Translation, but it also has lots of additional content designed to engage kiddos as they are reading.
“NIV True Images: The Bible for Teen Girls” is the Bible my daughter is currently using and enjoying. She’s now 13, but she got this Bible when she was 12. It’s an NIV Bible with various pull-outs of text targeted to teen girls to help them go deeper.
Because my son is only 9, I don’t have a favorite for teen boys or a gender neutral version. However, this “NIV Bible for Teen Guys” looks really similar to what my daughter has, just geared more for males. There is also the gender neutral “NIV Teen Study Bible.”
Along with reading the Bible together, take time to talk about what you’ve read. Mention relevant Bible lessons when your kiddos are struggling with something. For example, if one of my kids is afraid and stressed out at bedtime, I often remind them of my favorite Bible verse from Isaiah 41:10 (NIV), “So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.” I have shared with both of my kiddos stories of how this verse has gotten me through various situations in life.
Try a devotion book.
This goes right along with being in God’s word together. There are a couple of ways this can work. You can read through a devotion book together as a family or read through a book separately and discuss it. Even if this isn’t something you do every day, give it a try.
We always go through a family devotion book together at Christmastime. We use “A Family Christmas,” which is a series of two five-minute Christmas devotion books for busy families I wrote because I couldn’t find one I liked very much for our family. “A Family Christmas Volume One” is ideal for families with preschool through early elementary children. “A Family Christmas Volume Two” works well for families with upper elementary through teens.
Try a journal and devotion book combo that get you into and talking about God’s Word through writing. My daughter and I published a faith-based mother and daughter shared journal last year called “Connecting with Grace.” It’s great for moms and daughters to get to know each other even better and share about everything from boys to school to faith and more.
Another great option for moms and daughters is a devotion book from Stacey Pardoe and her tween daughter Bekah. “Girl to Girl” has 60 mother and daughter devotions designed to help moms and daughters deepen their faith and grow their relationships.
Go to church.
I know there can be many feelings around going to church. Unfortunately, some Christians don’t show the love of God as they are supposed to. But, being at church is important. The Bible tells us to meet together with fellow believers. Find a Bible-believing and preaching church for your entire family to get involved and grow in your spiritual walks together.
My husband and I pour so much into our children; however, having other Christians who pour into them as well is important. They hear other perspectives besides our own. And sometimes kiddos listen better to people other than their parents.