We are approaching that time of year again when kids are heading back to school. As parents, it is so important to remember that our children are a gift from the Lord and that His expectation of us is that we are doing our part to train them up in the way that they should go (Proverbs 22:6).
The definition of training carries with it the idea of teaching and forming by practice. Practice is something that you do over and over and over again. While your child may be going off to school where others will teach them about math, reading and science, it is your job to teach them about God and His Word. Deuteronomy 11:19 says, “You shall teach them (God’s Words) to your children, talking of them when you are sitting in your house, and when you are walking by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise.”
Here are several simple things that you can do to help your child stay in God’s presence even when they are away at school.
Pray with your children in the morning on the way to school, or before they leave for the bus stop.
Before they ever leave your sight, pray together with your child and set the expectation in his/her head that God is going to be involved in the day. You can pray for him/her to have a good day, to be a blessing to friends and teachers, to be protected from any harm, and to walk in peace and joy. Pray for them to do well on any tests that they have that day or to be good friends to someone in need.
Bless your children every morning.
Lay your hands on them and speak God's Word over them. Declare that your children are blessed. Speak who they are in Christ so that they get a vision for who God calls them to be and how He calls them to walk. Let your kids know that they are more than conquerors through Christ and that God has called them to walk in victory. Encourage them that they are blessed to be a blessing to others, including their friends and teachers.
Teach your children to speak God's Word themselves.
Help them memorize scripture verses that will give them victory over fear and insecurity, and bring them peace if they start to have a difficult day. Even the youngest child can learn simple Bible.
- 2 Timothy 1:7 is a great verse for any age, “for God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control.” To turn this into a confession, have your child say, “God has not given me a spirit of fear, but I have been given a spirit of love, power and self-control.” There is a lot in that one verse to help your child in all sorts of situations.
- 1 Timothy 6:18 is another great one: “They are to do good, to be rich in good works, to be generous and ready to share.” To turn this into a confession, have your child repeat after you, “I do good, I am rich in good works, I am generous and ready to share.”
Start with five verses, turn them into a confession sheet, and have your child repeat them after you before they leave the house in the morning or in the car on the way to school.
Remind your children that God is always with them and that they are never alone.
Teach them about God's promise that He will never leave them or forsake them (Deuteronomy 31:6). Let them know that He has given the Holy Spirit to them to be their helper, whether they need help with a test or getting along with someone in their class, they can ask the Holy Spirit for help and He will give it to them. Let them know if they start to feel sad or lonely, they can always talk to God, because He is right there with them. Encourage them to talk to God throughout the day and ask for His help.
Encourage your children to listen for God's voice throughout the day.
Teach your child that that little voice in their head that tells them to go and sit with the child at lunch who is all alone is actually God talking to them. Train them to listen for His directions and to follow them.
Ask your child as soon as you see them after school what God said to them that day. If they know that the question is coming, they will be more likely to listen throughout the day for His direction. Let them know that God may ask them to do hard things, like share their favorite snack with someone or let another person go first, but that their obedience pleases both God and you.
Finally, teach them to give God the credit for anything good that happens during their day.
When you see them after school and they tell you that they did well on their test, remind them that you prayed together that morning and that the Holy Spirit helped them. If they got picked to be first in line, let them know that is because of the favor of God that surrounds them.
When you reinforce the idea that God was there helping them during the day, it will make them more likely to seek out His help in the future.
If they start off with all of the bad things that happened that day, stop them and ask them to tell you at least two good things that happened. Philippians 4:8 tells us to think on whatever is lovely and good. Sometimes we need to teach our children to focus on the good so that they will see it more easily than the bad. Training them to see the good from an early age will help them as they get older to, “count it all joy when they encounter trials” (James 1:2).
On Sunday, August 30, during our 10 AM service, we'll be praying over children of all ages as they head back to school. We'd love for you to join for this special back to school prayer over our students.