This post was written by Leann Woelk, a member of the INCM Blog team.
Several years ago, when my son was 5 years old, he was having a terrible time going to sleep. He was restless, and every time I checked on him I could see he was tossing and turning, getting frustrated that sleep wouldn’t come to him. I finally asked him if everything was alright and with that, his eyes welled up with tears and his lower lip began to quiver. I immediately went to him and asked him if he would like to sit in the rocking chair with me. He nodded his head, and I scooped him up in my arms.
We sat down in the familiar chair, he laid his head on my chest. As we began to rock, I stroked his hair and asked him what he thought might be going on in his heart. With that question, the floodgates opened and he began to sob.
He lifted his head off my chest, “It’s sin!” He wailed, and then he dropped his warm, wet cheek back close to my heart.
In the quietness of the night and the distractions of the day gone, God was speaking to my child.
You might be surprised that such a statement came from a little boy. But because my husband and I were committed to teaching spiritual disciplines to our son from his toddler years, he recognized that the Holy Spirit was speaking to him about something he had done that was wrong.
“Would you like to go to the Throne of Grace and ask Jesus for forgiveness for this sin you have committed?” I asked.
His little face rubbed against my chest, nodding in agreement that he knew that’s what he needed to do.
“Ok. Let’s do that now.”
I repositioned him onto my lap so I could see his face. I took his chin into my hand and lifted his face up to look me in the eyes. “Jesus is very glad you know that you can come to Him at any time,” I said. His big blue eyes, still wet with tears, looked at me with acknowledgment of the things he had been taught in our home.
We then went to prayer, bringing him to the throne of our gracious God where he would receive mercy and find grace in his time of need. I led him through repentance and forgiveness in words he could understand. At the end of the prayer, I told him to take a deep breath and when he exhaled, his little body relaxed and he fell back onto my chest and within a few moments fell fast asleep.
Then this mama had her own moment with God. With tears streaming down my cheeks, I held my child close and thanked the Lord for all the mercy, grace, and righteousness He had extended to me and that my husband and I now had the privilege of teaching our son. There is nothing more important than to teach our children biblical truths and foundations of the faith.
Three Spiritual Principles
Here are three spiritual principles we have found very effective to teach our children when they were young and I pray you will find them to be helpful as you share spiritual truths with families who need God’s word to guide them now more than ever.
Prayer – Children need to know that they can come with confidence to the throne of our gracious God where they are accepted and loved by God and He is faithful to forgive them of their mistakes and sin even when they are a Christian.
So let us come boldly to the throne of our gracious God. There we will receive his mercy, and we will grace to help us when we need it most. (Hebrews 4:16 NLT)
Confession – God convicts us of our righteousness and although it is hard to watch our kids struggle through these moments, they are necessary for their spiritual growth. What a privilege it is to take our kids to the throne room of God, where they will receive mercy and find grace in their time of need.
People who conceal their sins will not prosper, but if they confess and turn from them, they will receive mercy. (Proverbs 28:13 NLT)
Thanksgiving – Thanks be to God for providing the way of salvation and we can teach our children that when they put their faith in Him they belong to the Most High God. No matter what they do or how far they go, they can never be separated from the love of God. They belong to Jesus and we need to be thankful in all circumstances for His amazing grace!
“Be thankful in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you who belong to Christ Jesus.” (1 Thessalonians 5:18)
As we teach these principles to the kids in our ministries and to their parents, they will grow to grasp the truth of God’s word for them in their everyday lives. They will come to know the God who is in the pages of scripture in a personal way. And we will see the fruit of them knowing a God who sits on the throne of grace, forgives them as they confess their sin, and rejoices with thanksgiving with them.
As a wife, mother, and leader in the ministry of children, Leann has been serving churches, camps and conferences with enthusiasm for over 30 years with whimsical creativity and thrifty practicality. Her desire is to care for the hearts of those who are on the front lines of ministry. She partners with Children’s Ministry Specialists and their churches to provide training, support and care for them and their ministry.