Building Faith In Children
By Kim Butts
As parents and grandparents, it should always be our intent and passion to raise children to build a faith of their own – one that stands independently from ours. Cover them in much prayer throughout every day, and pray together as a family. Seeking the face of the Father is the beginning place, as well as the continual activity that allows the Holy Spirit to work in the process of establishing a home and lives upon a foundation of faith.
The Tools of Faith
“His divine power has given us everything we need for life and godliness through our knowledge of Him who called us by His own glory and goodness” (2 Pet. 1:3). If children can learn that God is the Source of our very being, and that our dependence is upon His grace and not upon our own striving and effort, they will learn how to be content and satisfied with who they are in Christ. Let’s look more closely at this verse:
• “His divine power”: It is important to train children that everything worthy of the Lord is accomplished through His power alone. When we attempt to do things in our own power, we will not succeed in ways that will honor God. Teach children to depend upon God’s power and not their own. It is God’s power that provides everything they need. He uses parents and grandparents to be instruments of His mighty power, but children must ultimately learn to live dependently upon God before they can learn to live confident Christian lives when they leave our homes. How can you do this in a practical way? Read the prayer of David in First Chronicles 29:10-13 and talk about what this teaches you about God’s power. Pray this prayer over your family often. Look for other passages of Scripture that describe God’s power.
• “Has given us everything we need for life and godliness”: If children learn that God is the Giver, they will learn to receive from Him. God has already given us what we need to live the way He calls us to. Godliness is the reverence we have toward the Father that rules over every part of life. Therefore, training children how to revere God will train them to have the kind of humility before Him that directs them into lives of kingdom significance. If children are confident that all of the resources of God are in place for their lives to be worthwhile and useful, and they see it lived out in practical ways in the lives of their parents, they will be more likely to be content and joyful. They must know that you actually believe what you are telling them is true. If you do not, then before you take another step, please get on your knees and ask God for His supernatural faith to believe that you have all that you need for life and godliness. Ask Him to increase your faith for your own sake as well as for your children.
We must not display a form of godliness that denies the divine power of God! A practical way to teach this concept to your children is to be certain that thankfulness permeates your home. Consistently give thanks for all that you have and point out to your children what He has done, is doing, and will continue to do in all of your lives. Especially point out answered prayer and encourage your children to do the same. What God does through our prayers is faith-building.
Be careful to give God the credit for all things and make a point of teaching humility as you recognize together that all that is accomplished, God has done for you (Isa. 26:12). Children must also learn that God is present and giving in the midst of less than good circumstances! Whenever life is difficult, God is still there and they need to learn to count upon Him and rely upon Him to walk them through those times. Be a godly example of one who trusts the Lord to be who He says He is! Remind them that it is God who provides your family with everything you need for life and godliness!
• “Through our knowledge of Him”: Following God is a choice our children must make and that we cannot make for them. Their faith must become their own faith based upon their own relationship with God. Therefore, it is crucial that they truly know Him as Savior and Lord. They may have head knowledge, but their hearts must also be connected to the truth of Christ. Children must accept the most important gift of all: “...God has given us eternal life, and this life is in His Son” (1 John 5:11). Parents and grandparents, if you fail to take seriously the salvation of your children and grandchildren, assuming they will somehow “get it” on their own, you are not faithfully discharging your responsibility before the Lord.
For a practical way to train your children in the knowledge of God, walk your children carefully and patiently through the Gospels and study the things Jesus said and did. Every time He tells your family what to do, practice doing it until it is a part of each person’s lifestyle. Every time you come across something that shows the character of Jesus, practice this character trait in the midst of your family, in your friendships, and with others. You will begin to see a transformation as your family grows in the knowledge of Jesus Christ.