My almost 8-year-old son never wants to pray out loud with me at bedtime. I know enough not to make it a big deal or make him go through the motions if his heart is not in it. But, it still bugs me that he is not interested in talking to God with me.
Tonight I took him with me to a high school FCA event I was speaking at (out of convenience mostly but with the hope he would enjoy it). He asked me to use his Bible and was excited to come along. He seemed to enjoy sitting in the living room with a room full of high school athletes watching the Rival short video he has seen a dozen times or more (as his dad helped make it) and listening to me talk about what motivations athletes in their sport and how to play in freedom knowing you are loved and accepted by God. Towards the end of the hour meeting, he passed out cards for athletes to check out his dad’s book The Assist and we drove home. He started to talk in the backseat of the van, “Mom how do you talk to people you don’t know like that? You didn’t seem scared or embarrassed. I was embarrassed handing out the cards.” “Mom, I learned something tonight, when that boy in the back talk about playing to win, that is what I think about in my soccer and basketball games.” Then he preceded to tell me about his favorite Bible stories and asked me about my favorites ones. He then starts talking about how his best friend Finn is a fast reader ( 1st graders are all about getting to the next level in reading) and how he wants to give Finn a bible since he doesn’t go to church and he could read it so fast.
This conversation warmed my heart but what happened when we got home and I asked, like I do every night, if he wanted to pray was even better for my heart! It reminded me of a very important lesson. He said YES he wanted to pray! He was inspired by our time doing ministry together. He prayed a beautiful prayer (as are all prayers) thanking God for creation and praying for safety for his friend whose moving, and for help for his sister with her temper! It was a priceless night with my boy!
I’m reminded that more is caught than taught! That the way I live my life and the way I let my children see me live my life is of utmost importance. I get frustrated that I can not keep a consistent family devotional time at dinner for Lent. I get discouraged that I am not reading the Bible with my children daily. I get discouraged that my prayers at bedtime often aren’t specific and become routine. There is always more I can do as a mother and I will never be the perfect mom. But, tonight I was reminded that my children will be shaped more by what they see me doing and not doing. My life and where and how I am investing my time will make a bigger impression on my children’s lives then how many times we read a family devotional together. I am grateful for this gentle reminder from Jesus that my obedience to Him is the greatest thing I can do for my children. Matthew 5:16 “Let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in Heaven.”