You are probably not intentionally raising such a child – drilling the Michigan fight song every night or teaching them player nuances – it just sort of happens doesn’t it? Because you are interested, they become predisposed.
What about raising a Jesus fan?
Is that just “happening” in your household without any effort on your part?
I’ll admit, when my kids were young, I did not focus much on raising them to be disciples of Christ. My thinking went along the lines of:
- Who me? I can’t do that. (That’s the church’s job.)
- I don’t know enough. (I didn’t go to Bible school.)
- I’ll screw them up / turn them off to religion. (I’ll probably say something wrong!)
Raising a Jesus fan takes some intention.
Does it help you to know that Jesus struggled with the role he was to play in God’s plan of redemption for the world?
We see it prominently in the Garden Of Gethsemane, the spot where Jesus and his followers went after the Passover meal (the one we now call the Last Supper). Jesus knew he faced imminent distressing events — arrest, torture, and death on a cross. At this critical juncture, Jesus is compelled to spend time with God in prayer.
Spend Time in Prayer.
Share your feelings of uncertainty with God. Jesus did. Matthew describes a time of intense agony in amongst the olive trees, with Jesus’ words expressing his anguish:
My Father, if it is possible, take this cup of suffering away from me.
This is like Jesus saying: “If it is possible, can’t we do this in some other way?”
Christians believe that in Jesus, God became fully human; he was a human being who faced temptations and feelings of anxiety! Isn’t it freeing to realize that we don’t have to stand up to pressures and trials with super-sized strength? It is okay to be fearful, questioning, angry, and to feel agony.
It is okay to struggle!
We know from the prayer that Jesus prayed in the garden, that in the very same sentence of asking for a different path, Jesus turns and submits completely to God, “I want your will, not mine.” This is not an admission of defeat; he says it with a cadence of perfect trust.
Acting as Jesus did can be a tough pill to swallow. Here’s what I tell myself when faced with something I’m unsure I really have the guts to do:
Do the next thing. Do it with prayer.
Here’s something to pursue this week: Be on the lookout for a “trigger” which prompts a short burst of prayer.
Taking a cue from the Garden of Gethsemane, when you see something green (a houseplant, some produce, a stray toy) thank God for the ability to speak openly with him in prayer!
Try this out yourself for a couple of days. Then report back to your kids. Get them onto the hunt for a little green prompting.
What spiritual practice can you include in your family’s life this Lent? How will you plant seeds of faith in the lives of your Jesus fans?
Stay tuned for other Lenten prayer hints.
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