Few Sundays ago, I was getting ready to get to the pulpit and I caught a glimpse of my eight-year-old daughter keenly observing me. That led me to wonder, what do my kids and other kids in our church family think of gathering together for corporate worship? Do they look at other families and all the leisure activities that they plan for Sundays and wonder why our family’s priority is different? Do they sense the excitement in the hearts of parents and other believers about gathering together and worshipping the risen Lord Jesus Christ and joining the heavenly chorus? I am sure they must be definitely impacted by our gathering together as a church family. I also believe that when we gather during the week in our homes for family worship, there is definitely an influence upon their lives.
This can be proved Biblically. In 1 Corinthians 7:14, The Bible says – For the unbelieving husband is made holy because of his wife, and the unbelieving wife is made holy because of her husband. Otherwise, your children would be unclean, but as it is, they are holy.
This passage in the least says, that to have an unsaved spouse, willing to stay with a believer, is a good thing. It also says that children benefit from a holy influence when one or both of the parents are believers. They are not automatically saved by virtue of being children of believers because salvation is by grace through faith as stated clearly by the same author Paul in Ephesians 2:8. So, what are the wonderful means God uses and can use in our homes? The first one is the Word of God. God wants our kids to be exposed to the Word of God so their receptive minds can have a biblical worldview. See Deuteronomy 6:6-8, 20-25. It is worth noting that in Deuteronomy 6, after the ‘great commandment’ of loving God, God instructs His people to teach their children about His greatness and His law as the very next thing.
But there is another way that we can influence our children and that is by praying for them and with them in a family worship setting. Prayer is a blood-bought privilege to come before the Father through our Lord Jesus Christ. We can come with all thanksgiving and make our requests known to God (Phil. 4:6-7). As a child growing up in a praying home, I was impacted in many ways. I was spiritually lost, but yet I could not help but notice how prayer and talking to God was such an important part of my parents’ life. I saw the joy and strength it brought them to live out their Christian lives. In times of trial and sorrow, I observed how prayer was such an important lifeline to unburden their hearts before God. Looking back, I now realize how they had unknowingly made such a deep impression upon my life.
As a father of two children, I, too, would like my kids to be deeply influenced by the grace of God so that when God graciously saves them, there are various lessons already in place for them to flourish spiritually. So, when we allow our children to be in an environment of prayer, I think these are the wonderful influences that are coming into their lives. Hopefully, these motivations below will encourage all of us to continue to be godly families devoted to prayer.
- Coming Before A Kind Father: Our children learn from our prayers that God is not just a King who gives many commands for our lives, but He is also our loving Heavenly Father whom we can approach by faith any place and any time. He is King, but also an amazingly kind and good king who provides us spiritual and physical resources for our Christian lives. When we pray, we are modelling for them a place of refuge to run to. Our hope is that one day they will be convicted of their sin and bankruptcy, and run to Christ for cleansing by calling upon Him and being saved. (Ps. 46:1, Rom. 10:13)
- Not A Work But A Delight: Our children learn that prayer is not just another religious work like other religions promote, but a delight for believers. By God’s grace, we need to model this through our lives. We should not be creating an atmosphere that our salvation and relationship with God depends upon our Bible reading and prayer. But rather, Christ has accomplished everything for us and opened the way through His perfect work to God, who is our delight and strength especially in times of trouble. (Gal. 4:4-7)
- Bring All Kinds Of Burdens Big Or Small: Our children learn that God hears His children and His people can call upon Him for the big issues of life and also the smallest concerns we have. We model this when we bring with thankfulness, our every request. Even a lost cat, a lost shoe, the Lord easing up a traffic jam, are not embarrassing burdens to bring to our God, for He cares for us. What an amazing lesson for them when we pray in a Traffic Jam. They learn that He is the Sovereign Lord over traffic jams too (1 Pet. 5:7, Matt. 6:11)!
- One Prays And The Other Agrees: Our children learn by observing how believing parents agree with one another and how their minds and hearts are drawn together in closer spiritual unity as we pray together. This definitely is reinforced in their minds as they see the corporate worship and how believers join in one mind with the one who is leading in prayer. They are learning about the ‘one another’ life that exists in the body of Jesus Christ and how we need each other, especially, when we ask for prayer (Phil. 1:19, Acts 12:5).
- Evangelism And Missions: Our children learn by observing how we pray for lost souls and see how it burdens our heart that people should repent and believe in Christ in our City, State and Nation. They see and hear that God is the only One who saves. They are also observing that we love and care for biblical churches all over our land and we intercede for labourers in hard places that the Lord will strengthen and use them in their circumstances. So, they are indirectly learning that life is not ultimately for the temporal, fleeting pleasures and allurements of this world, but about our knowing Christ and making Him known. (Eph. 6:18-20)
In this highly digital world and difficult days, may the grace, wisdom and strength of God help us parents to continue influencing our children. All so that God, by His grace, may save them and take them to greater spiritual heights than the generation that was before them.