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You want the best for your children. That’s why you homeschool. You have also seen in your children the natural human tendency to want to “do it myself!” Children need to learn independence, but Christian believe self-reliance is not the best way. Ephesians 6:10 urges Christ-followers to “be strong in the Lord and in the strength of His might” (NASB). How do you instill that attitude in your children?
Abide in Christ
John 15 urges believers to abide in Christ: “I am the vine, you are the branches; he who abides in Me and I in him, he bears much fruit, for apart from Me you can do nothing” (v. 5 NASB). What does it mean to abide in Christ? The Greek word used here means to remain, stay, abide in, or not leave a person’s presence. We do this by regularly reading Scripture, memorizing it, thinking about it, and practicing 1 Thess 5:17, “pray without ceasing” (NASB).
There is something powerful about God’s Word. Isaiah looks to the water cycle to explain the mysterious power of God’s Word.
10 As the rain and the snow
come down from heaven,
and do not return to it
without watering the earth
and making it bud and flourish,
so that it yields seed for the sower and bread for the eater,
11 so is my word that goes out from my mouth:
It will not return to me empty,
but will accomplish what I desire
and achieve the purpose for which I sent it.
Isaiah 55:10-11 (NIV)
Ephesians 6 calls it “the Sword of the Spirit which is the Word of God” (NASB). The author of Hebrews continues this analogy. “For the word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart” (NIV). (Here is an easy, memorable guide for “How to Study the Bible for Kids.”)
We know we should read the Scriptures (Ps 1:1-2; Matt 4:4; 2 Tim 3:16-17; Rev 1:3), but have you ever prayed God’s Word back to Him? Many of the Psalms are songs of prayer written to be used by others. For example, the explanatory note which begins Psalm 9 reads, “For the choir director; on Muth-lebben. A Psalm of David.” Many English Bibles put these notes in smaller print above the words of the Psalm, but these words are part of the original text of Scripture handed down through the generations. The Psalms are the prayers of God’s people. John 15:7 also closely links Scripture and prayer. “If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you” (NIV).
Praying Scripture over our children speaks life into them. It reminds them of God’s promises and commands while helping them see themselves as God sees them. The Holy Spirit may use it to convict them of sin throughout the day or to encourage them to keep doing the good they know they need to do.
Some may shy away from this practice worried that using someone else’s words to pray could lead to “empty words.” This is a valid concern. Matthew 6 provides warnings about prayer.
“And when you pray, do not be like the hypocrites, for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the street corners to be seen by others. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward in full. But when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you. And when you pray, do not keep on babbling like pagans, for they think they will be heard because of their many words. Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask him” (NIV).
However, Paul often records his prayers for churches. 2 Thessalonians 1:11-12 is one of my favorites.
With this in mind, we constantly pray for you, that our God may make you worthy of his calling, and that by his power he may bring to fruition your every desire for goodness and your every deed prompted by faith. We pray this so that the name of our Lord Jesus may be glorified in you, and you in him, according to the grace of our God and the Lord Jesus Christ.
Aren’t those the same things we want for our children? Do they know we pray things like this for them? Are they seeing us pray so they can learn from us?
Today’s the Day
I strongly urge you to consider praying Scripture over your children. Start today! It could be without their knowledge in your prayer closet or while they are asleep, but pray it aloud with them too. Let children hear you praying God’s promises for their life. Let them discover how God sees them through your eyes.
Parent Road Ministries just released a new eBook, 40 Scriptures to Pray Over Your Children. Use this as a starting point or search the Bible for verses specific to your child. Either way, pray God’s Word over them. He promises it will not return without accomplishing the work for which He intended (Isa 55:11).
“Now may the God of peace, who through the blood of the eternal covenant brought back from the dead our Lord Jesus, that great Shepherd of the sheep, equip you with everything good for doing his will, and may he work in us what is pleasing to him, through Jesus Christ, to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen” (Heb 13:20-21 NIV).
Nancy Ruth is the co-founder and primary author at Parent Road Ministries. She is passionate about seeing families study the Bible and grow together in Christ. Learn more about Nancy and her ministry at http://parentroadmin.com.