Faith is a principle of action. We can read about faith and talk about faith, but until we actually put faith into ACTION we will not really UNDERSTAND and KNOW what faith can do in our lives. How can we teach children the power of faith and how to exercise it if we are not willing to set the example and take leaps of faith in front of them?
The answer is simple… we can’t.
Teach Children the Power of Faith
This can be a very scary proposition! It requires us to be listening to the Holy Spirit and to trust that God will fulfill His promises. I learned about faith by watching my parents take those leaps and my children have learned the same from my example. Those experiences have shaped testimonies in our family. We have recalled them over and over again as we have needed strength. I want to share two of those personal experiences.
When I was in first grade my father told my mother that he wanted to attend dental school. My father going back to school required significant changes in our standard of living and relocation of our family of six. They prayed to know if this is what God wanted them to do and where they should attend school. Despite the difficulty that this new life path presented, they felt it was the path God wanted them to follow. After applying to several schools, my parents felt the best about attending school in Nebraska. Despite the fact that this was several thousand miles away from friends and family, they made preparations to move our family while they waited to see if my father was accepted. I remember my parents including us in prayer and sharing with us the feelings and impressions they had. I came home from my last day of school to find the house empty and the moving truck in our driveway. My father still had not received word that he had been accepted, yet they had acted on faith to the answers they had received through prayer. They moved forward, sold their home, purchased a significantly smaller home, and prepared to move. They trusted that God would reveal to them what they were to do next. Right before they loaded us in the truck, the phone rang. I remember my dad hanging up and starting to cry. As a child of 7 years, I did not realize the stress and pressure that he had been under as he took this leap of faith. With tears in his eyes, my dad told us the good news that he had been accepted. I still remember kneeling in prayer and hearing my dad thank God for blessing our family and answering their prayers. I felt God’s love and I felt the spirit that day. I knew my parents had great faith and now I had experienced the power of faith as well. That experience formed the foundation of my testimony of the power of faith and prayer.
We must teach children the power of faith through our experiences
The second experience I want to share occurred when my husband was in medical school in Minnesota, and we had 3 small boys of our own. My oldest son, Alex, had a lazy eye and had to wear glasses to help correct that problem. One evening in October when my husband was working and I was making dinner for the kids, I let them play in our backyard while it was snowing. When dinner was done I called them in to eat. Alex showed up at the door without his glasses. After questioning him, it became apparent that they had gotten snowy and he had taken them off. We made a quick trip around the yard to look for the glasses, yet we were not successful. Money was very tight, and I knew that we did not have funds for new glasses. However, I also knew that with my son’s condition that it was crucial that he have them. My heart began to sink, and the thought to pray entered my mind. I felt this would be a great way to have my children experience the power of prayer. I gathered them together and explained that I had faith that God would help us find Alex’s glasses. We said a prayer and went outside to look. The snow was coming down harder now. I grabbed rakes from the garage and we began to rake through almost a foot of newly fallen snow. As the evening progressed, it began to get dark, and I began to worry. I knew that the snow would not melt until May and that we desperately needed to find those glasses. I also worried that my children would receive the opposite lesson about faith and prayer that I had intended. After over an hour of looking and with a very hungry tummy, I cried out in frustration, “God, how am I supposed to teach my children about faith if we don’t find the glasses? How could you prompt me to tell them what I did if you were not going to help me!” My tone severely lacked faith. Fortunately, the prayer was in my head and not spoken out loud for my children to hear. We looked another 10 minutes, and then in frustration, I threw the rake down and told the boys to come inside for dinner. As I stomped up the steps, there folded neatly in my path on top of the newly fallen snow, were my son’s glasses. The words, “Oh ye of little faith,” entered my mind, and I quickly felt ashamed of my earlier accusation. I gathered my children around inside and explained to them how God had answered our prayers even though my faith had faltered. We talked about how God sometimes waits to answer our prayers so that our faith will have the opportunity to grow. Then we prayed to thank him for our ‘little miracle.’ My children still remember and talk about that experience, and it is a story that we share often.
What if my my parents had been too afraid to involve us in their prayers about moving? What if I had been afraid to tell my children that God would help us find the glasses?
Those testimony building experiences would have never happened. We need to involve our children in our leaps of faith so that not only our faith grows, but they have opportunities to develop their own faith as well.
How are you able to teach children the power of faith in your life?
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