Jesus said, “Let the children come to me, and do not prevent them; for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.”
As Christian parents, how do we develop our child’s faith? We have a responsibility to train our children in the ways of God and one of the first steps is to cultivate their faith.
Faith is an important part of our spiritual journey here on earth so how do we share this with the younger generation?
What is Faith?
The Catechism of the Catholic Church defines faith as our response to God who reveals himself and gives himself to us, at the same time bringing us a superabundant light as we search for the ultimate meaning of our life.
Faith is not simply believing that God is our creator, master and king, it is manifesting that belief in our daily choices and using our Heavenly Father as a light to guide our everyday lives. Our faith, therefore, is an important part of who we are as Christians.
How to nurture your child's faith?
Train the young in the way they should go;
even when old, they will not swerve from it.
As Christian adults, we have a responsibility to share our faith to our children. How do we do this?
1. Read Stories from the Bible
The Word of God is a good source of wisdom for deepening your child’s understanding of faith. Make Bible reading a part of your activities with your son or daughter. There are countless of stories in the Bible about men and women whose faith were tested and strengthened. Aside from the Bible, there are also books and devotionals with colorful illustrations that captivate young readers.
Here are some stories about God’s people overcoming great trials by faith:
- The story of David and Goliath in 1 Samuel 17 shows how David, the champion of God, defeated Goliath, a gigantic man who was the champion of the Philistines. The young boy overcame Goliath with a sling, stone and, more importantly, his unwavering faith in God.
- Matthew 8:23-27 shows how Jesus calmed a raging storm while on a boat with his disciples. This story is a wonderful reminder of how nothing is impossible with God and that He is master over everything, even natural forces.
- Matthew 9:20-22 tells the story of a woman who suffered from a hemorrhage for 12 years and her miraculous healing. She was healed from her ailment simply by touching Jesus’ cloak and for her strong faith in God.
2. Share Personal Testimonies
Parents can best teach their children by example. Do not just stop at reading stories about faith, share personal experiences in which your faith was tested and strengthened. We need to be living examples of our faith for the younger generation and one way to do this is by living faithfully by God’s commands.
3. Pray Everyday
Prayer is an important part of our walk of faith. In 1 Thessalonians 5:17 we are told to “pray without ceasing.” We need to teach our children that prayer is not just about asking God to give us what we want. It is opening our hearts to Him, having gratitude for all the blessings we received and pouring our deepest concerns to our Heavenly Father.
Teach your son or daughter that our God is a living God. He cares for us and wants us to grow closer to Him. We can only do this if we spend enough time to pray. Just as we need to regularly keep in touch with our loved ones, we also need to regularly communicate with God.
4. Support your Child's Dreams
Every child has a dream and as parents and guardians it is our responsibility to support that dream. When we encourage our child’s dreams, we are giving them a simple demonstration of what it means to believe. But we must not forget to remind them that blessings and opportunities come from God. We need to help our children become self-confident but still humble and grateful.
5. Meditate on Bible verses
You can nurture your child’s faith by encouraging them to meditate on Bible verses. The Bible is filled with inspiring stories and words of wisdom that can be used for navigating difficult situations. If your son or daughter is going through tough times, give them a passage from Scripture that you can reflect on together.
Even if your child is not going through a tricky circumstance, you can still encourage them to meditate on the Bible. Encourage your child to make it a habit to read and reflect on Bible verses even for at least 10 minutes every day before going out of bed or before sleeping.
Here are some verses about faith to get you started:
“Therefore I tell you, all that you ask for in prayer, believe that you will receive it and it shall be yours.” - Mark 11:24
“May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that you may abound in hope by the power of the holy Spirit.” - Romans 15:13
“But he should ask in faith, not doubting, for the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea that is driven and tossed about by the wind.” - James 1:6
As a child, what are your earliest experience of your faith being tested? How do you cultivate your personal faith?
Here are a few of our favorite books to share with your little one.
Click images to learn more about each book.