Faith needs to be an everyday experience. Photo by kazuend on Unsplash.

Growing up in church, I watched as many of my childhood friends fell away from the faith at the onset of young adulthood.  

The reasons were myriad. Some left to pursue alternative lifestyles or were jaded by what they saw as hypocrisy in church, while Jesus simply stopped being relevant to others. 

As the saying goes: “God has no grandchildren.”

For children born to Christian parents, each has to accept God’s gift of salvation because it is not a birthright.

So when I became a parent, I started to ponder if there was anything I could practically do to lead my children to Christ. Perhaps you, too, are wondering the same.

Here are five things I believe we can do to parent the next generation well, by letting our faith come alive in our families. 

1. Connect God’s Word to the world 

In Deuteronomy 6:7, Moses appeals to the Israelites to impress God’s commandments on their children, whether sitting at home, walking along the road, lying down or getting up. 

My favourite times are when we are on the road. One time, I struck up a conversation when our car stopped at a red light.

“Have you ever thought about what would happen if there were no traffic lights?” I asked.

“The cars would crash?” replied one child. “That’s right. We need red lights and traffic rules to keep us safe,” I explained.

“In the same way, God gives us His commandments in the Bible not because He likes to tell us what we can or cannot do, but because He wants to keep us safe.”

Everyday experiences such as car rides can be a teaching moment too. All photos courtesy of Sophia Huang.

I also remember how my mentor and I were walking at night in an undeveloped country and we only had the light from a torch to find our way along the footpaths.

There and then, she reminded me of Psalm 23:4: “Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me…”.

She used the experience as an example that God’s light and presence would accompany us through our darkest paths in life.

This taught me the importance of seizing every opportunity to reveal God’s relevance in our daily lives.

As parents, we can make the most of precious moments throughout the day, using mundane experiences to illustrate God’s truth and let God’s Word illuminate our children’s lives.

2. Pray all the time – about anything and everything!

Whether it be “please heal grandma of her sickness”, “please hold the rain” or “please help me find my wallet”, we can teach our children to exercise faith from young by modelling dependency on God.

No petition is too small to bring before the Lord!

Once I was looking for a blue scooter for my middle born, who had his green scooter usurped by his younger brother.

We prayed: “God, please help us find a blue scooter with blue handles. In Jesus’ name we pray, Amen!” But despite an extensive search on Carousell, nothing turned up.

“Would a purple one be okay?” I finally asked. “Okay,” the middle born said, sounding resigned. But blue was his colour.

The next morning, something prompted me to search again.

I looked for different words until I saw it: a mint condition blue scooter with blue handles, but the seller had forgotten to add the correct search terms!

Praying for a blue scooter with blue handles became a faith-building exercise for Sophia’s middle child.

It was a teaching moment for both of us to put our faith in God, for He loves – even dotes on – my children as a Heavenly Father who provides.

Material blessings aside, our family also tries to pray throughout the day, such as before school, meals and bedtimes, so that the children are aware of God’s presence. At times, we may forget, but we keep trying!

As 1 Thessalonians 5:17 exhorts us, let us “pray without ceasing”.

3. Share what God has done for us

Whenever we are blessed with something, it is also our chance to turn our praise back to the Giver of all gifts.

I recall the time when I shared with my daughter about how Jesus healed her when she was hospitalised for a fever at seven days’ old.

On another occasion, we picked up a few boxes of toys that were discarded at our block. In the stash was an entire set of toys from my youngest’s favourite cartoon series.

To us, it was a sign of provision from God and a blessing from Him. 

One man’s trash is another man’s treasure: This unexpected Paw Patrol haul was a blessing for Sophia’s youngest child.

I have also set up an email account for each of my children where I occasionally write them stories and testimonies of what God has done for our family, besides “love letters” that they can read when they are grown up.

I tell them of how God arranged the minute details when He gave us a new home and how He provided for us during a stressful house move.

The emphasis here is on telling of the goodness of God – to tell our children of all the good things that God has done for us (Psalm 145:4).

4. Show them it’s a relationship (and struggles are okay)

It is also important to emphasise to our children that Christianity is not a religion of rules and regulations, but one that centres around a relationship with our living Saviour, Jesus Christ.

These are some questions that we can ask ourselves if we would like our children to follow us in following Jesus. 

  • Are we walking in communion and obedience with Jesus, so that our children can see what it means to be in a loving relationship with Him?
  • Do we regularly feed on God’s Word, spend time talking to Him, gather with other believers and make church a priority?
  • Are we following God’s ways and leading in our lives?

After all, faith is often caught and not taught – our children will do what they see us do.

Sophia encourages parents to open up about their own walk with God, just like she has with her eldest child.

Being authentic about our struggles in our relationship with Jesus is also helpful.

One of my sisters in Christ told me how her teenage child yelled one day: “I don’t believe in God anymore!” 

While the statement came as a shock, she immediately whispered a prayer and hugged her son, while sharing about the times when she, too, grappled with her faith. 

Over several months, she sought the help of other Christian mentors who could sow into her child’s life and continued praying for him.

After waiting patiently on God and loving her child unconditionally, her son eventually re-committed his life to Jesus.

As parents, we, too, stumble and walk away from God.

Personally, I have also shared with my oldest child about how I disobeyed and walked away from the faith, and how God brought me back into communion with Him.

Even after many years, she could recall what I had shared as a potential pitfall to avoid in her own walk with God.

As parents, we, too, stumble and walk away from God from time to time, but He remains faithful (2 Timothy 2:13).

5. Apply the gospel to difficult moments

We might have expectations that our children should behave all the time, always be good or conform to certain standards.

But even as parents, we do not always parent perfectly or do the right thing all the time. This made me ponder: Is it fair to have higher expectations of my children than of myself?

While it is important to emphasise that obedience is pleasing to the Lord, I have grown to realise that instances of disobedience can be fertile ground for sowing seeds of the gospel.

Moments of misbehaviour are often reflective of our sinful human nature and an apt reminder of why we need grace.

Rather than just labelling behaviours as “good” and “bad”, we can introduce the concept of sin and repentance.

Pray not for your children to be “good”, but for grace in the tough times when they disobey.

In our home, I struggle with my children lying or throwing temper tantrums. Before, I would dread such moments or respond by flaring up in anger.

Now, I catch these opportunities to counsel my children about how trust is broken when they do not tell the truth, or how it is not wrong to feel angry, but they should not sin or harm others in their rage (Ephesians 4:26).

In the day to day, pray not for your children to be “good”, but for grace in the tough times when they disobey.

We can also model forgiveness when they do wrong, and repentance by apologising when we lose our tempers or say harsh words in the heat of the moment.

More importantly, we can grab these opportunities to share with them the gospel – that God loved the world and sent His Son Jesus to die on the cross for our sins, so that we can receive eternal life and have a relationship with Him. 

Sophia’s three children, whom she hopes will all come to have an intimate relationship with Jesus.

Just like us, our children are in need of salvation.

When we recognise that we are also sinners – deeply loved and forgiven by the Father – then we can be channels of God’s mercy and grace to our children. 

The Bible promises that when we train our children from an early age (Proverbs 22:6), they will not turn away from the paths of righteousness.

Beyond all these daily practices, let us pray continually for the salvation of our children.

Let us put our trust in His word that when we believe, we and our household will be saved (Acts 16: 31-34). 


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About the author

Sophia Huang

Sophia is a child of God, children’s author and mother of three. She lives in awe of how the divine works in the ordinary, when Jesus shows up in the most unexpected ways.