These commandments that I give you today are to be upon your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up.
From Our “Here”…
Forget kindergarten, pre-K and even preschool. To really give a child a head start in life, some education experts claim, you need to think prenatally. One company markets a series of heartbeat-like recordings a mother can play for her child in the womb by holding a speaker against her stomach. Some parents play classical music during their pregnancy in the belief that Bach or Beethoven can prep their bundle of joy to become the next Einstein.
How well these measures work is debatable, but the Bible offers parenting tips beneficial from the womb and throughout life. Any adult who influences a child should follow them.
Prayer: It’s never too early to pray for a child. Isaac prayed during Rebecca’s infertility, and God answered with Jacob and Esau (Genesis 25:21). Rebecca prayed about the twins before they were born, and God gave her prophecies concerning their destinies (vv. 22,23). Isaac later prayed a blessing over Jacob and prayerfully sent him to find a wife (27:1 through 28:5).
Instruction: Early in their history, God gave the Israelites His parenting plan summarized in Deuteronomy 6:6,7. Whenever parents can do so—at home or out and about, whether resting or working—they should share with a child how a day’s events connect with scriptural truth.
Personal Example: Did you know a key to receiving God’s blessing is to demonstrate a holy life to your children? God’s covenant with Abraham rested in part on God’s confidence that Abraham would “direct his children and his household after him to keep the way of the Lord by doing what is right and just, so that the Lord will bring about for Abraham what he has promised him” (Genesis 18:19).
…To God’s “There”
Missionaries who grew up in a Christian home can tell you their parents’ prayers, teaching and personal example helped them discover God’s plan for their lives and ministries. Others who were not so blessed were impacted by spiritual “parents.” Whether or not you ever share the gospel overseas yourself, one or more of the children you influence could do so.
If you are a parent whose child is called into missions ministry, it can be a deep personal sacrifice to release that loved one and endure long seasons of separation. When a child is at risk while ministering in a nation that suppresses Christianity, that only adds to a parent’s concern. The same foundation stones that prepared a child in infancy can sustain an adult in ministry. Pray for those young missionaries you know and love. Offer godly counsel and comfort as you communicate with them on the field. Continue to be a godly example of personal missions involvement and support.
Making the Leap
Take inventory of the people you influence, including children. Identify avenues of encouragement you can offer that will help them see their potential to be communicators of the gospel. Be the person who blesses and encourages them to follow God’s call.