Parenting isn’t easy. Teaching our kids to show respect, be kind to their siblings, live a life of contentment, and demonstrate a heart to serve others can feel like an uphill battle. There are so many distractions warring for our children’s hearts, but it is our goal as parents to lead their hearts away from those distractions and straight to the Lord. Only Jesus, by His saving grace and Holy Spirit can make a true heart change happen with our children. With that being said, here are five practices to help lead your children’s hearts to Christ.
5 Ways to Lead Your Children’s Hearts to Christ
Stay alert! Watch out for your great enemy, the devil. He prowls around like a roaring lion, looking for someone to devour. 1 Peter 5:8 (NLT)
1. Keep Distractions at Bay.
Leading our children to the Lord is a very real battle. We know from scripture that the enemy wants nothing more than to keep them from following God, and his tactics can be so deceptive. Just like in the garden, the apple can look good to eat, and we as parents can become deceived and buy into the lies that the world is trying to feed us in parenting too. One such lie is that we need to make our children happy, whereas God says in His Word to make them holy. We need to be alert to these lies from the culture, so we too, won’t be deceived in our parenting. Be alert to your kids environment, their peers, and their entertainment. I have talked to so many parents whose kids have turned from God in their adult years, and they regret some of the peer groups, entertainment, and the social media messages their children were exposed to at an early age. This is where the enemy lies, and we need to be vigilant to protect them from messages that are going to try to capture their heart and keep it from the Lord.
Surely I was sinful at birth, sinful from the time my mother conceived me. Psalm 51:5 (NLT)
2. Build an Awareness of Their Sin
We have all been born with a sinful nature, and the only way out of that mess is through Jesus. When our children understand what “sin” is; things we think, say, and do that do not please God, they will begin to recognize their need for a Savior. We can call out their sin by telling them when we see that their actions do not please God, and we can share from the Bible what God’s Word says about those sins. The 10 Commandments is a great place to start! We can share with them that we all sin, including ourselves, and we are all in need of a Savior.
But if we confess our sins to him, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all wickedness. 1 John 1:9 (NLT)
3. Teach Confession and Forgiveness
When our children do wrong, we can remind them that when we confess our sin, Jesus is faithful to forgive us from our sin and purify, or clean our hearts, to make them more like His. If this is new for you child, guide them through a prayer that can look something like this: “Dear Jesus, I am sorry for pushing my sister. I will make things right by giving her a hug and telling her I am sorry. Thank you that you love me and forgive me and make my heart clean again. I love you Lord. Amen.” This reconciliation process helps kids understand the Gospel, and as they grow in their understanding of Jesus’ payment for their sins, they will be ready to truly receive the hope of Jesus and put their full trust in Him. This process is different for every child, but going through this reconciliation lays the foundation for God to not only clean their hearts and give them a new start, but ultimately lead them into a relationship with Him.
For more resources on forgiveness, click here for a video to teach young kids forgiveness. Click here for a free Forgiving Heart Devotional.
“Yes, I am the vine; you are the branches. Those who remain in me, and I in them, will produce much fruit. For apart from me you can do nothing.” John 15:5 (NLT)
4. Encourage a Dependence on God
After our children have asked for forgiveness, we can encourage them to ask God for help to walk in His ways. They can pray something like “Please help me to be kind to my sister.” Because we know true transformation only comes through God’s Spirit, again, this is leading them to their need for a Savior. We can encourage them each morning to ask the Lord for help in all that they do, and God can use this to put their heart in the right place for Him to move through them.
“Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:6-7
5. Pray for God to Move
As you work through this process of leading your children’s hearts to the Christ, it is so important to pray each day for your children. We can ask for God to move in our children’s hearts and trust in Him to draw them to Himself. This also helps us to remember that it’s our job to plant seeds and water, but it’s God’s responsibility to make things grow. And how beautiful the day when we see our children’s faith become their own; when they are walking with God, and their hearts are filled with good fruit.
To go deeper with training your children’s hearts and teaching them to depend on God, A Heart Like Jesus A-Z and A Heart Like Jesus A-Z On the Go are family discipleship curriculum for ages 4-8 years of age!
“So let’s not get tired of doing what is good. At just the right time we will reap a harvest of blessing if we don’t give up.” Galatians 6:9 (NLT)