My children pray a certain way because they’ve seen the way my wife and I pray. Indeed, imitation is a crucial part of child development. What children see around them, they often mirror. As parents, we have the incredibly important job of instilling culture into our kids. When we hear the word culture, we often think of the values and customs of a certain country, city or even a church; but culture is always formed at home.
In the United States, our children do not learn English from the school system, but rather develop it further. Children do not go to school to learn English; they go to school with English. They’ve spent their entire lives in a home where English is consistently spoken, and they pick it up easily from being around it so much.
In the same way, we want to have children who come to their church, school and city, already living a supernatural lifestyle. In fact, whether or not culture is expressed through the children is the way to truly recognize a culture.
Here are a few ways that my wife and I create a culture in our home that demonstrates and guides our children to see and connect to God in daily life:
1. Let your kids observe your relationship with God.
My wife and I ask God questions out loud throughout the day, whenever and wherever! Our desire is that our children can observe our relationship with God and how this relationship works in real life. Of course, we make a point to ask these questions in a way that doesn’t seem like we’re talking to ourselves or over-spiritualizing our lives.
We also lead our children to ask God questions too. When they don’t know something or need direction in an area, we’ll encourage them to talk to God about it.
2. Teach your kids to see God’s story in everything.
As you may know, I get some of my greatest revelations (and sermons!) from watching children’s movies. I personally look for Jesus and God’s story in everything, so for me, it’s normal to see Him in everyday life. When I watch movies with my kids, I often point out the gospel to them.
As parents, we have the incredibly important job of instilling culture into our kids.
For example, when we watched the movie Frozen, I explained to my kids that the main character, Anna, is a great example of Jesus. I told them that we are like the older sister, Elsa, who struck Jesus in the heart by our sin. Our sin killed Him at the exact same time He gave His life to save us. We killed Him and He gave His life simultaneously.
I believe that God gave us this story, and many others, to help us understand Jesus clearer. By sharing these beliefs with my kids, I’m teaching that God is speaking to us all the time. I’m letting them see the way their own dad listens to hear God’s voice and I’m teaching them to do the same.
3. Make Bible reading personal.
When we read the Bible at home, I’ve noticed my children often want to read the same stories over and over. When children are drawn to a Bible story like this, it’s likely that they’re attracted to the characters in the story because they share a similar calling or characteristics. We take these opportunities to encourage our children and to speak destiny over them.
For example, my daughter loves the story of Moses. When we finish reading the story, I tell her she is a great leader like Moses and that, like Moses, God is going to use her to help many people, set them free and lead them. I also share revelations that God has given me personally about the stories we read, not just what the children’s Bibles say.
As you can see, these are simple ways that we make God a part of our daily life and conversation with our kids. Our hope is that the norm of having God involved in all aspects of life creates a culture in their hearts.