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The best parenting advice that I have ever received was the exhortation to pray for my children. Paul Miller said that in his book, A Praying Life. His advice is timely, especially if you have come to the place in your parenting where you have exhausted all your tips and techniques on how to parent well.
I think most parents know the importance of prayer. There is something about holding an inconsolable crying baby that triggers thoughts of helplessness, which propels loving parents toward the hope-filled and transformative power of prayer.
These parents intuitively know that “Dear Lord, help me!” is as good as it gets. They launch into the mysteries of childrearing knowing that tips and techniques are useful, but prayer is better. Much better.
If praying for your children is not your number one parenting strategy, I highly recommend you move that tip to the top of your priorities. May your parenting be characterized by prayer. It’s wise. It’s humble. It’s effective.
When serving new parents, with children that are under ten years old, one of the most common questions they ask is about their primary parenting focus. What should be their main focus?
These parents feel overwhelmed when thinking about the complexities of parenting. It can be discouraging. At times it can be paralyzing, and even more so after a Google search where 111,000,000 results jump out of your computer screen in 0.72 seconds.
Rather than becoming overwhelmed and demotivated by all the possibilities, what if you focused on one thing only. The main thing? What if this main thing was indeed the main thing that defined your parenting?
I’m going to give you a few examples of what a gospel-centered parenting model could look like in your home. I also added a few actionable items–questions and thoughts–that you and your spouse could think about, as you practicalize your parenting around the gospel.
Follow Us As We Follow Christ
These four parenting tips are common sense attitudes and behaviors that roll out of the four imitation verses in the New Testament.
Paul and Peter are appealing to their readers to imitate God. That is what I have done with these four parenting tips. I want you to think about them by asking yourself these three questions in this order:
With these things in mind, here are four attitudes and behaviors of Jesus. I want to you take these questions to your closet and work them out with the Lord.
Then share what you and the Lord talk about with your spouse for mutual improvement and accountability. Also, share with your children if they are mature enough to help you.
Kindness: Jesus Is Kind
Respect: Jesus Is Respectful
Self-control: Jesus Is Self-control
Serving: Jesus Is a Servant
You must model and teach effective and transformative parenting–in that order–rather than instruct them only. You should be what you want your child to become because your children will grow into some version of you.
They will either model you or reject you, which is why you must model Christ to them. Christ modeled for us what He wanted us to become.
Practical Instruction on Structure and Support
In addition to the questions above, I’d like for you to read and reflect on 1 Peter 2:18-25 to discern how Peter presents Christ as our example while urging us to follow in His steps.
Discuss with your spouse (and children if they are mature enough) about how a gospel-centered lifestyle modeled has short and long-term benefits in your home and community.
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