“Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. Honor your father and mother” –which is the first commandment with a promise—that it may go well with you and that you may enjoy long life on the earth” Ephesians 6:1-3 (NIV).
It’s that time of year again, “Back to School,” and many parents including myself are freaking out. We’re freaking out because we have small children entering school or Kindergarten for the first time. We have older children who are advancing to Middle School or High School. It can be an anxious time for concerned parents and children.
If you’re like me, you’ve already taken advantage of your state’s tax free shopping weekend and purchased school supplies, shoes and clothes in preparation for the new school year. However, with all of the excitement and busyness of the season, don’t forget to prepare and equip your children spiritually for the academic year. Here are some simple things you can do to make sure you don’t exclude God in getting the little ones ready for school.
Start with prayer.
“Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus” Philippians 4:6-7 (NIV).
Invoke the presence of God into your life and into the lives of your children. Make your requests known to God. Ask Him to go with your children throughout the day. Pray that God will lead, guide, encourage and protect your children. Cover your children in prayer every day, and teach them how to pray to God throughout the day. There is supernatural power in prayer, and we should teach our children how to tap into that power.
Arm them in the Spirit.
“Put on the full armor of God so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of the dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms”–Ephesians 6:11-12 (NIV).
Your children may not be old enough to fully understand how the spiritual armor of God works in their lives to enable them to stand against evil and wickedness, but you can start by speaking God’s word over them and affirming them using the spiritual concepts of what the armor represents. For the helmet of salvation, let your children know God loves them, died for them and is with them. Tell them He has uniquely created them for a purpose and to do great things. For the belt of truth, tell them who they are in Christ and that they’re fearfully and wonderfully made, and on and on. You don’t have to get super deep with your children. Use the word of God to speak life and power into their spirits.
Put them in God’s hands.
“Into your hands I commit my spirit; redeem me, O Lord, the God of truth” Psalm 31:5 (NIV).
At the end of the day, our children do not belong to us and nothing is in our control. Commit your children to God by trusting that God is the ultimate provider, protector, teacher and healer of our children. Lay your children down at the altar so to speak, and allow God to do His perfect work in their lives. You can symbolically do this by anointing or consecrating your children with oil. Purchase some olive oil, pray over it and only use it for holy purposes. Anoint your children. Show God that you are setting them apart for His service and purpose and that you trust Him with the outcome.
Sending your children into the world and trusting their care to strangers can be very nerve wracking, especially with all of the demonic and wicked forces our children are up against in today’s society. However, if we nurture and prepare our children spiritually, there’s nothing they can’t stand up against and overcome through the power of Jesus Christ.