I sent a quick text message to a friend asking if we could bring our kids to the party. I wasn’t sure they were invited since it was an adult’s birthday. After a few minutes, she replied that they were welcome to come. I was glad because we didn’t have a sitter and we really wanted to go.
As parents, we encounter situations where children keep us from participating with friends or going to events the way we might have before they came along. Early bedtimes and the unavailability of someone to watch our kids means that we might have to turn down invitations and say no more often than we’d like. We constantly have to ask ourselves, “Is this a kid- friendly event?”
But can I say something super honest here? I think a lot of us view the time we spend in prayer or the time we spend reading the Word as “adults only.” I don’t mean that we tell our children that they have to go away so that we can pray or read. I definitely don’t mean that we are getting a sitter just so we can read the Bible.
I just mean that when many of us think of pausing to spend time in God’s presence, we look for moments when we are alone. We think of how we can find time without the kids so that we can focus. There is nothing wrong with wanting to be free from distractions so that we can spend time fully tuned into the voice of the Father, but I believe our children need to see us read the Word. They need to see us pray when things get hard. They need to see us stop and ask the Lord for direction and insight right where we are.
Our children need to witness their parents’ relationship with God and not just eat the fruit of this relationship. Think of it. Reading the Word and spending time in prayer while our children are in the room is like allowing our children to watch us garden. Children have a deeper appreciation for food when they know how it’s grown. When our kids watch us spend time with Jesus, they will begin to understand that our love of God grows when we spend time in His presence.
Jesus knew the value of children watching their parents. As He was teaching, many people questioned His authority. But He told them, “Very truly I tell you, the Son can do nothing by himself; he can do only what he sees his Father doing, because whatever the Father does the Son also does. For the Father loves the Son and shows him all he does.”
Everything that Jesus did on earth, He saw the Father do in heaven. Every healing, every teaching, every encounter that Jesus had with people was because the Father had revealed these things to Him. Jesus personally knows the impact of a parent who demonstrates how to be the light of the world.
I think this is one of the reasons that He made a point to say, “Let the little children come to me” as He was teaching. The disciples thought they were protecting Jesus’s time with the adults, but Jesus knew that time with Him is not an adults-only party. Children need to be brought into His presence as well.
When we do more than teach our children about God, when we show them what it looks like to worship Him, to be led by Him, and to read His Word, we are doing what our Father in heaven did. We are showing our children how to be more like Him.
He’s saying to us the same thing He said to the disciples, Let the children come to Me. Let them hear the Word. Let them encounter the Word. Let them watch you as you meet with Me. This is not something you have to do in private. This is not something you have to do distraction free. This is a family meeting. As you model for them what it looks like for an adult to be a lover of My presence, you give them something to practice now and replicate when they’re grown.
Finding time to spend with the Lord can be hard in seasons of constant going, but when we bring our children to the party too, we are doing eternal kingdom work. That just might change how we look at studying the Word in the presence of our kids.
Excerpted from TRUTH UNCHANGING by Becky Thompson Copyright © 2019 by Rebecca F. Thompson. Published by WaterBrook, an imprint of Random House, a division of Penguin Random House LLC on April 16, 2019.