I will start out by saying, this is NOT a guarantee. Every kid is different, and as I’ve said before, there are no guarantees in parenting. You can do everything “right,” and your kid can still walk away from his or her faith. However, I think you can exponentially raise the odds of your child not falling away from their faith when they move away from home with these 4 secrets.

#1 Pray for your children. You are probably thinking, “Well, duh, Rosanne. I know I am supposed to be doing this. I thought you were going to tell me something NEW!” But I was recently reading a series of posts on prayer that was written by my good friend Erin Cobb (you can check out that post HERE), and she mentioned something that really caught my attention. She said that she had noticed that in the New Testament, the prayers that were written down are all about other people’s spiritual growth. They weren’t about an upcoming test or an illness or anything like that. Nope, Paul, who was in essence the father figure to the churches he had planted, prayed for specific types of spiritual growth.

Now, it’s not wrong to pray for people’s more tangible needs. In James 5, James talks about prayer being the answer to whatever state you find yourself in, and he specifically instructs people to ask for prayer and anointing when they are sick. But I think we miss a huge opportunity when we neglect to pray for specific spiritual growth in our children. Prayer is a battle, and to truly be effective, it can’t always be done on the fly or in tiny time pockets. It involves some sweat and tears.

To give you a starting point, I’ve  put together a set of prayer cards with the six verses I regularly pray over my kids’ lives. You can either click HERE or on the graphic below to get your set. Feel free to expand from here. I find as I pray for the people in my life, God often brings a verse or verses to mind that I can pray over them. 🙂

Luke 10-27

#2 Make Sure They Know Faith is About Relationship, Not a Bunch of Rules. In our rush to, “train up our child in the way he should go,” it can become easy to fall into making our faith seem like a bunch of dos and don’ts. We can easily fall into the trap of emphasizing our outward behavior and not about the inward transformation made possible by God’s grace. The thing is, though,  it’s crucial that our kids know that what we do and don’t do is BECAUSE OF our relationship with Christ. Every single “don’t” in the Bible is given because God loves us. It is not to prevent us from having fun or keep us restricted. It is because God wants what is best for us and is FOR us. A relationship with Jesus means a life of joy and freedom – not a life of rules and restrictions.

The better you know God personally and intimately, the easier that is to believe. After all, religion without a relationship is just a bunch of meaningless rules and rituals. If that key piece of relationship is missing in your child’s faith walk, when they get out into the world, it will be so easy to believe what the unbelieving world tells them – that their religion is causing them to miss out or that their religion is narrow and old-fashioned and irrelevant to their every day lives.


#3 Bring God Into the Every Day. This brings me to my third secret – make God part of your every day life. It’s all too easy to compartmentalize our relationship to God into the spiritual box. This is often an outgrowth of a faith that is more religion than relationship. It’s pretty easy to relegate God to Sundays and maybe Wednesday nights when we aren’t experiencing a passionate, intimate relationship with Jesus. If He is just a distant figure who hands out that list of dos and don’ts, bringing Him into our every day seems a bit over the top.

But if you are in a relationship, then God becomes a part of the fabric of your very life – not something you do one or two days of the week. I’m going to tell you the hard truth – if God isn’t a part of YOUR everyday life, don’t expect Him to be a part of your child’s either. While what our kids do with Jesus is their choice, what they observe in the daily, one-foot-in-front-of-another walking out of the Christian life is also your choice. What kind of faith are you showing them?

#4 Tell Them the Why Behind the Rule. I know – it’s so tempting when your child is being stubborn or rebellious or you are just beyond tired, to tell them they have to do what you say, “Because I said so!” Again, just throwing out a bunch of rules without any reason behind them, is a recipe for a kid to rebel – especially when he is no longer under your roof and direct reach. I think it was Josh McDowell who said that rules without a relationship leads to rebellion.

Especially as our kids get older, it isn’t realistic to expect them to blindly follow rules without knowing why you have them in the first place. And honestly, isn’t it better that your children develop the ability to think critically about things, rather than just blindly following people because they happen to be an authority figure?

While I want my boys to respect authority, that doesn’t necessarily mean I want them to never question authority. That is just a recipe for disaster. The filter for their life should be the Word of God, not the words of men.



#5 Listen. I mean REALLY listen, not the pseudo listening a lot of parents do where they don’t say anything, but they have already made up their minds about what their child is talking about (not that I’ve ever done that, of course). Listening means truly hearing what the other person is saying – not thinking up your response while the other person is talking. (been there, done that!). A child who feels heard will feel loved. It’s all too easy to react, particularly if your child comes to you with something that is shocking or hard to hear. Try to take a deep breath, listen, clarify what they are saying by repeating it back and then ask questions.

#6 Be Real. I don’t know about you but I do NOT have it all together. I’ll also let you in on a little secret – my kids know that probably better than anyone. Trying to act like something I am not just makes me seem like a hypocrite to my children. I have to be willing to talk truthfully about my own struggles, doubts and difficulties (within age appropriate boundaries, of course). I have to be willing to humble myself and apologize when I mess up or if I didn’t handle something well. Your child will not think less of you because you are real. Instead, he will trust you because you trust him with the truth. 

Being real with our children has the added benefit of letting them know that there is no such thing as perfection. Instead, our own realness about our failures gives our kids permission to fail too. It’s not failing that keeps you from living out your faith. It’s failing to get back up afterwards. We have the unique privilege of modeling how that works.


#7 Don’t Expect Your Kid to Be More Spiritually Mature Than You Are. We can be all about our children holding onto their faith, especially as they get ready to leave our homes to go to college or start in the work force, but if you never pick up your own Bible or spend any time in prayer, why do you expect your child will be any different? If your faith seems to have little, if any, impact on your own daily life; if you show no desire to spend time with the God you claim to love and follow, why would you expect your child to hold fast to her own faith when the voices around her are shouting that, at best, her faith is  irrelevant and at worst, it’s destructive?

Kids have this amazing ability to spot a phoney a mile away. They don’t listen to what you say, as much as they watch what you do. If you say it’s important to have integrity and never show any yourself, don’t expect your child to do the right thing when it goes against his own self interests.

Faith is a personal thing. You can’t believe for someone or hold onto their faith for them. What you can do, as a parent, is pray for your children and model for them this life of faith with all its inherent struggles and joys.

How are you instilling a faith that will last in your children? I’d love to hear about it!

Blessings, Rosanne

If you are just joining us, this is Part 5 of the Purposeful Parenting Series, Start at Part 1 HERE.

P.S. Don’t forget to sign up for my book give away! Just click on the graphic below and it will take you to the give away post. The give away is at the end of the post. 


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

CommentLuv badge

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.