How in the World Do You Impart Faith to Your Children?


It was the night before the first day at a new school. I came in her room to tuck her in and pray with her about the school and the people and the bus ride home. But she had other things on her mind.

“Mommy,” Addie began, “How do you ask Jesus to be your Savior? I really want to, but I don’t know how.”

The boys were in the other room fighting over pajamas. What had my daughter just asked me? My eyes widened at the realization of the moment. I had not anticipated this conversation that night. I asked her to wait as I ran downstairs to tell Jason to tend to the boys and I grabbed my tattered, purple Bible.

Running upstairs, I breathed a prayer that God would give me words to describe the great mystery of salvation only found in Jesus Christ. The salvation that had changed my life forever. And Jason’s.

I came into her room, the room Jason and I only a few weeks back had prayed over as we dedicated the rooms in our new home to the Lord. I closed the door and sat on her bed. And her eyes were urgent with anticipation. I took a deep breath and began to talk about the gospel. The good news that Jesus had come to earth to live and die and rise again to make us new and clean and take away our sins and give us a new life. It is so simple. And the most powerful thing in the world.

But she has heard this good news since she was a tiny girl. I remember her telling it to Jeremiah when she was three. Telling him all about the garden of Eden and Adam and Eve and the first sin and how God had to send Jesus to come rescue us.

But this day was different. This day Addie wanted a part of the story. She wanted Jesus to save HER.

And so as best as I could, I explained to her that all you have to do is ask Jesus to save you. You turn from the old way of life to the new way. You turn from sin and turn to Jesus.

I asked her if she wanted to kneel with me by her bed and pray. She hopped off fast and we knelt together, mother and daughter, as I helped her communicate to God that she was turning from sin to Jesus. From death to life. She was beaming with joy when we finished. And I found myself dizzy with the privilege of leading my little girl to Jesus.

I was suddenly struck by a realization as I opened my Bible to the place where I had recorded when I prayed to ask Jesus to save me as a little girl. January 6, 1988. I was eight years old. This day was January 7, 2013 and Addie was also eight years old. But my birthday is December 11 and my daughter’s is December 12. This means that we both chose to follow Jesus when we were the exact age. To the very day! This is no small thing. A precious detail in both of our stories to show that this was completely God’s timing and not my own. A gift from Him.

How in the world do you impart faith to your children?

I had long felt the pressure to lead Addie into that “sinner’s prayer”. But, I can’t make my children choose Jesus! All I could do was pray on my face for the salvation of my children and live and speak and love like Jesus. That is it.

God did everything in Addie’s life. He caused her heart to seek His. My boys will have a different experience that their sister’s. But God is able to reach them exactly as they understand and I will keep loving and praying for them. O what a holy calling to be a mother! And a discipline in self-control to let the Holy Spirit do His job.

On Pentecost Sunday two weeks ago now, we all watched as Addie Rose chose to tell the world that she has chosen Jesus over all other things. Through baptism. Buried with Christ in the likeness of his death, raised to walk in newness of life.