This generation is better equipped than our forefathers when it comes to information on parenting. But something is still lacking in our children’s lives, and it shows as children get older. The missing link is spiritual parenting.

Five defining questions about spiritual parenting:

1. Why is spiritual parenting so important?
2. If spiritual parenting is so important, why is it so neglected?
3. What is spiritual parenting all about?
4. What makes spiritual parenting so difficult?
5. How can spiritual parenting be best accomplished?

1. Why is spiritual parenting so important?

“Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God, the LORD is one. You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might. And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise. You shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes. You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates.” – Deuteronomy 6:4-9

Three observations from the passage:
a. Children are a gift from God
b. God expects us to parent our children spiritually
c. We are to embrace the stewardship of our children

At the judgement seat of Christ, the question will not be about how well you trained your children in ballet, basketball, swimming, public speaking, music or language lessons. The question may be something like:

Did you model a life of loving God wholeheartedly by loving His word, doing His will and did you train up your children to do the same?

Other key passages:
“Only take care, and keep your soul diligently, lest you forget the things that your eyes have seen, and lest they depart from your heart all the days of your life. Make them known to your children and your children’s children.” – Deuteronomy 4:9 

“You shall teach them 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.” – Deuteronomy 11:19

“..he said to them, “Take to heart all the words by which I am warning you today, that you may command them to your children, that they may be careful to do all the words of this law.” – Deuteronomy 32:46

“We will not hide them from their children, but tell to the coming generation the glorious deeds of the Lord, and his might, and the wonders that he has done. He established a testimony in Jacob and appointed a law in Israel, which he commanded our fathers to teach to their children, that the next generation might know them, the children yet unborn, and arise and tell them to their children.” – Psalm 78:4-6

2. If spiritual parenting is so important, why is it so neglected?

There are two main extremities in parenting:

a. We idolise our children
i. Parents do not have a God-centred biblical worldview
– Parents have a man-centred, secular worldview, which prioritises carnal things
– Parents do not have a God-centred, biblical worldview, which prioritises spiritual things

ii. Parents are not clear on the certain kind of children we are to raise
– Raising a man-centred, secular worldview, carnal children
– Raising a God-centred, biblical worldview, spiritual children

b. We neglect our children
i. Parents struggle with overloaded lives and are preoccupied with their pursuits
ii. Parents think it is the job of the church to raise their children spiritually

There are four areas where parents are so overloaded in their lives:
i. Hurry overload (measured by our schedule)
We must learn to budget our time.
ii. Debt overload (measured by our spending)
We must learn to budget our money.
iii. Fatigue overload (measured by strength)
We must learn to budget our energy.
iv. Emotional overload (measured by shallow)
We must learn to budget our attention.

3. What is spiritual parenting all about?

Spiritual parenting is all about training and instructing our children in the word of God so they can fall in love with the God of the word and as a result, walk in God’s ways and be equipped to do God’s Will in their lives and they in turn will do the same in their children’s lives.

Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord.” – Ephesians 6:4 

Train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old he will not depart from it.” – Proverbs 22:6 

Paul’s testimony about Timothy’s upbringing:
“But as for you, continue in what you have learned and have firmly believed, knowing from whom you learned it and how from childhood you have been acquainted with the sacred writings, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus. All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work.” – 2 Timothy 3:14-17

I am reminded of your sincere faith, a faith that dwelt first in your grandmother Lois and your mother Eunice and now, I am sure, dwells in you as well.” – 2 Timothy 1:5

4. What makes spiritual parenting so difficult?

Many parents are living by mere rhetoric, going through the motions, doing lip service for God rather than being truly transformed. Children are not just hearing what you say, but they are watching what you do. We are not intentionally modelling for our own children, how to live a spiritual God-centred life of obedience and surrender. Children want to see if we are authentically doing what we say we believe. If we lose our witness, we lose our power to speak into their lives.

Spiritual parenting involves four steps: 
a. Discover the truth for yourself
b. Apply the truth in your own life
c. Reap the benefits
d. Then Pass it on to your children

The problem is parents tend to practice only steps ‘a’ and ‘d’.

5. How can spiritual parenting be best accomplished?

a. Renew your Perspective:
Put away secular parenting and put on kingdom parenting.

b. Spirit-led Priorities:
What comes first? It is not work or family, it is God! Let God direct your priorities in every season of your life.

c. Practice Planned Neglect:
Use your money, attention, time and energy wisely by choosing to leverage your resources to spiritually parent your children.

Practical Application

Parents must intentionally create environments for their children.

These are the three key environments:
i. Social Moments
Play time, spending time intentionally doing something they enjoy.

ii. Sensitive Moments
These are moments where they have made a mistake, or an offence, and we patiently correct their belief and behaviour in love and prayer. When we use prayer and the Word of God, we are demonstrating spiritual leadership.

iii. Spiritual Moments
Regular time of prayer for them and retelling stories from the Bible and God’s working in our lives as parents. This reinforces God’s word, ways and will, and helps them to identify God’s working in their own life in the future.

Whenever you share stories, use this threefold approach:
a. Capture their attention
b. Fire their imagination
c. Build their foundation

Our prayer is that we will become radical disciplemakers at home and raise our own children to be a certain kind of disciple who are authentic, broken and courageous, in following our Lord wholeheartedly and gladly.