One of the most important things you can do to give your children a good foundation in life is to help them establish a personal relationship with God, through Jesus. Children need to know that they are special to God. They need to learn that no matter what, Jesus loves them and will always be there for them. When your children are young, it is very easy to lead them to receive Jesus as their Savior. Once they have Jesus, they will learn to love and more easily understand His Words.
Children can pray and receive God’s gift of eternal salvation, through asking Jesus to come into their hearts, at an early age. You can hardly find anybody more sincere or believing than a small child. That’s why Jesus said we must become as little children to go to Heaven (Matthew 18:3). As soon as they are old enough to pray the simplest of prayers, they are old enough to receive Jesus.
As soon as you have taught your child who Jesus is (children’s picture Bibles are great for this), you can explain: “Jesus wants to come and live in your heart. He loves you very much, and He wants to be your best friend and stay with you always. If you ask Him to, He will come and live in your heart. Then He will never ever leave you! Do you want Jesus to come into your heart?”
You can then pray a simple prayer that your child can repeat after you, best he or she can. Even if your child is very young and can only manage to say the last word or two from each phrase, that’s enough for Jesus because it’s the heart that counts. Simply pray: “Dear Jesus, please come into my heart. I believe in You and want to love You like You love me. Please forgive my sins, and give me Your gift of eternal life. Amen.” And Jesus will come in; your child will be eternally saved. That is God’s promise (Revelation 3:20; Romans 10:13).
Older children may need a fuller explanation of salvation, like the following:
“We all have weaknesses and are not perfect, and sometimes we do wrong things that separate us from God. But God loves us so much that He wants to forgive us and help us change. He has worked a great miracle—a plan to save us—and He made it so simple that anyone can be saved. All you need to do is receive Jesus into your heart. When Jesus comes into your life, He will help you right now, and He will also give you eternal life forever in Heaven. Salvation is a great gift from God to all those who love and believe in Jesus. God wants everyone to be saved, but He gives everyone the freedom of choice. Each of us must decide personally if we will accept Jesus and His gift of eternal life.”
It’s a wonderful experience for parents to be able to share in their child’s discovery of Jesus and His salvation.
Excerpted from "Feed My Lambs: A Guide for Parents and Teachers" by Derek and Michelle Brookes. © Aurora Productions.