Leading Children to Jesus
by Cindy Batson
How do we know when a child is ready to put their faith in Jesus? Are there signs? Should parents bring up the subject, or do we wait for the Holy Spirit to speak to a child’s heart? These are some of the questions a parent asks.
Our daughter, Courtney, put her faith in Jesus as she was approaching her seventh birthday. Let me share what led up to her decision.
Courtney comes from a Christian home; her father is a pastor. From the time she was an infant, she attended Sunday school, church services, Vacation Bible School, and many other church activities. She listened as we read Bible stories at home and helped her to memorize Scripture verses. She was exposed to Christian songs, musicals, movies, and plays. For her to believe that Jesus died for her and to ask Him to be her Savior was a natural step.
One day she began to ask probing questions: “Will everyone be saved when Jesus comes again? What is the meaning of baptism?”
I answered her questions one by one, and shared the simple gospel message with her. I could see that the Lord was speaking to her. I wondered if she could really understand these things. Quietly I prayed that the Lord would continue to speak to her.
Within a few days she attended a special service in our church. As we entered the building she said, “Mommy, I’m ready to ask Jesus to be my Savior, because Jesus is coming soon, and I want to be ready!” Her eyes were bright with excitement. She had a big smile on her face. The service was about to begin, so I told her that if the guest evangelist gave an invitation, she could go to the altar to accept Jesus as her Savior.
Courtney sat very still and listened as the guest pastor spoke about being ready for the return of Jesus. When an invitation was given, she raced down the aisle to the altar. She was the only one to respond that night. Willie and I prayed with her at the altar. That night Courtney eagerly asked Jesus to enter her life.
Can a young child understand the meaning of salvation?
You may wonder, “Can a young child understand the meaning of salvation?” Here is where we are misled. We think that a child must “understand” rather than “believe” the message of salvation. Where does it say in the Bible that we must “understand” in order to be saved? It does say, however, “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and you shall be saved.” Salvation is God’s gift to us, isn’t it? Have you ever noticed how quickly a child will accept a gift? He happily reaches out and accepts it, without wondering what he needs to do to earn it.
Parents should be ready to present the gospel and not be afraid to repeat the message often. Remember to pray for your children. Ask the Holy Spirit to prepare their hearts, just as adult hearts are prepared. Children should never be forced into accepting Christ; on the other hand, when a child is ready, we should not reject their decision by saying, “You’re too young,” or “You don’t understand everything.”
After a child becomes a Christian, remember that he needs to be discipled. It is important to praise the child for his decision, and rejoice with him. Encourage him to tell others of his conversion experience. When Courtney accepted Jesus as her Savior, she called her grandmother the next morning to give her the great news.
Children can be led to faith in Jesus. God made the message simple so that even a child could hear and respond. Take every opportunity to present this wonderful message to your children while their hearts are eagerly open.
©1998 Cynthia Batson – All Rights Reserved
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