I remember reading once about a mom’s frustration over her child acting like a child during a Sunday morning worship service. (How dare children act like children! Ha!) If my memory serves me correct, the mom left church that day thinking that she should have just stayed home. As she murmured her complaint before the Lord, she heard Him say – “Did you ever consider what I (God) got out of your child being in church today?” Suddenly the mom was made to realize the importance of teaching our children how to praise.
Psalm 8:1 O LORD, our Lord, the majesty of your name fills the earth! Your glory is higher than the heavens. 2 You have taught children and nursing infants to give you praise. They silence your enemies who were seeking revenge.
This prophecy was fulfilled on the day of Christ’s triumphal entry into Jerusalem. As Jesus entered the Temple area, children began to cry out – “Hosanna to the Son of David!” (Mt 21) Literally the children were declaring that Jesus was God’s anointed Messiah. Exactly who these children were we’re not told; yet we are told who taught them how to praise. The psalmist says – “You (God) have taught children and nursing infants to give you praise.” Matthew’s Gospel says – “Out of the mouth of babes and sucklings thou hast perfected praise.” God filled their mouths with praise!
Scripture teaches us that the inhabitants of heaven will be child-like in their demeanor. Even though our bodies may reflect those who are much older, we will be as children in our relationship with God. There will be child-like innocence in the way we act. There will be child-like dependence upon our heavenly Father. There will child-like simplicity in our worship.
Having raise two daughters of our own, Tammy and I understand how difficult and frustrating it can sometimes be to teach children how to act properly in church, yet the reward is worth all the effort. As John the Apostle wrote – “I have no greater joy than to hear that my children walk in truth.” (3 John 1:3) From what we have learned today, perhaps the Father also has not greater joy than to hear children give Him praise.
- Talk with your children about the importance of worshiping God. Share with them portions of scripture such as Matthew 21:15-16 and discuss with them how God used children to bring Him praise.
- Encourage your children to sing with you during the time of worship. Listen to Christian music and teach them the words at home.
- Make sure that your child has a Bible they can read on their level and help them find the primary passage of scripture.
- Provide a special drawing pad (crayons) for your child to use during the church service. Instruct them to draw a picture that represents what they have experienced during the service and reward them for doing so.
- Talk about the message as your are going home and reinforce what you believe are the primary principles God wants us to learn.
A good resource on this subject is – Parenting in the Pew, by Robbie Castleman, Intervarsity Press, ISBN – 0-8308-1627-5