“Fix these words of mine in your hearts and minds; tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. 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.” (Deuteronomy 11:18-19, NIV).
It’s pretty simple to bring a child to church. Leading a child to God, however, takes a little more effort.
It’s easy to sit in church as a family, dressed nice and listening to the pastor on Sunday. It’s easy to take notes, make the children behave (most of the time), and even attend Sunday School . The Pastor pours his heart and soul into the sermon. Everyone listens intently, nods in agreement at the points that are particularly thought-provoking and even throws out the occasional “AMEN”, but what happens after church?
What happens after church is what truly leads children to God.
Like a lot of people, we have had those moments after church where we waved good-bye to all our church friends as they drove out of the parking lot and then 10 minutes later we got frustrated with someone who “doesn’t know how to drive”.
When that happens to me, I know my daughter is watching.
In that situation, I have the opportunity to teach her to love one another in Christ, even if we don’t agree with their words or their actions. How I react, will be a gauge for her future reactions in similar situations.
“Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God” , (1 John 4:7).
We pray several times a day as a family. We are not experts, but, we make sure it’s a family event.
Each morning, we pray as a family before we leave the house. We pray for safety and guidance for the day. Before meals, we pray for the food to nourish our bodies and we thank Him for the work that my husband does that provides the meals.
At night we pray for safety throughout the night. We pray for big decisions, people we know, and for forgiveness.
When my daughter was younger, she would hear different prayers and ask about them. We thanked God for the rain (after 5 straight days of it).
She asked, “Why did you pray for this rain? We had to cancel our plans!” We told her the farmers needed the rain and we eat the food that the farmers provide.
When we thanked God for the red lights, she said, “Why did you thank God for the red lights that made us late?” We told her, the red lights are God’s way of telling us to slow down.
On several occasions, our daughter has seen us take meals to sick friends, watch the neighbor’s kids during an emergency, or offer a friend a ride whose car is in the shop. When she asked about these deeds, we told her that it’s the right thing to do to help people because they need our help.
My husband and I know we have to take our daughter to church, but we also know that in order to lead her to God she has to see the church in us. We have to lead by example.
Our children need to see us lean on God, turn our troubles over to God, trust God to help us and see us love the people around us as God loves us.
We have to lead them to God hand in hand.