What most Christian parents miss

Many Christians parents miss teaching one of the most important skills of the Christian life.They read Bible stories to them, pray over them, and take them to church. They teach their sons and daughters how to fold their little hands in prayer, drop money in the offering plate, and quote memory verses. While these disciplines are important, many Christian parents miss teaching something vital--how to recognize the voice of the Holy Spirit.

Learning to recognize the voice of the Holy Spirit is vital to our children’s spiritual lives and can have far-reaching effects.

Here’s why.

We make moral decisions for them as we teach them right and wrong.

“Share with your sister,” we tell them.

“Stealing is wrong.”

“Be kind to animals.”

Through instruction and example, we teach them what is acceptable behavior, how to know right from wrong, and how to treat others.

As children mature, they begin to make decisions based on what we’ve taught them. If they are believers, the Holy Spirit uses this training, along with scripture they’ve memorized and lessons they’ve learned, to guide them. He keeps them from sin and brings them to repentance.

It’s important that our children learn to recognize the Holy Spirit’s voice, because we won’t always be around to make moral decisions for them. The most important way to help them recognize the Holy Spirit’s voice is to teach them how the Holy Spirit speaks

The Holy Spirit speaks:

 • Through God’s Word. Whenever scripture or scriptural principles pop into our children’s minds, that’s the voice of the Holy Spirit at work. “I have hidden your word in my heart that I might not sin against you”  (Psalm 119:11).

 • Through godly men and women. This includes pastors and teachers, spiritually-mature friends, counselors, and advisers. God will often use others to share his truth. “The way of a fool seems right to him, but a wise man listens to advice”  (Proverbs 12:15).

 • Through the “still small voice” within their spirits (1 Kings 19:12). To help them understand this, we can share stories of how we’ve been tempted to sin and the Holy Spirit has spoken to our hearts, reminding us to do what’s right. It’s especially important to teach them that God will never lead them contrary to the Word of God, which must always be their plumb line.

As we model a life surrendered to God’s guidance, we have opportunities to share how the Holy Spirit speaks to us. Warning: This usually requires transparency. 

We might say, “I was tempted to be selfish and not give to the offering for the children’s home this morning, but then the Holy Spirit reminded me that we’re supposed to help support the widows and orphans, so I gave.” Or “I got so angry today that I wanted to yell at that rude cashier. Thankfully, my friend Sally reminded me how we’re supposed to ‘be angry and sin not,’ so I chose to speak kindly to her instead.”

Teaching them not only to hear the voice of the Holy Spirit, but to obey it quickly will enable them to make and follow through on right moral decisions.

How have you learned to recognize the voice of the Holy Spirit in your life, and how have you shared this understanding with your children? I'd love to hear your thoughts. Leave a comment below and share what God has taught you. 

If you enjoyed this post, you might like, "Can Waldo help us find God?"

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  1. You are so right as without the Holy Spirit in our children's lives they will only be 'good' people which doesn't save them from their sins.

  2. Modeling our faith (as opposed to simply moralizing our kids) is imperative!

    1. I agree, Helene, it's true that the most important lessons in life are caught, not taught. But we still need to teach!

  3. Lori, this post was fantastic, thank you. It is just what I needed to read. Tara.

  4. I need to read more on the holy spirit speaking to us. Any books or scriptures you'd recommend?

    1. Linda,
      Billy Graham and Andrew Murray, two great men of faith both have written book on the Holy Spirit. I also just found out that Frances Chan's latest book is on this subject,
      I haven't read it yet, but have loved his other books. It's called
      Forgotten God: Reversing Our Tragic Neglect of the Holy Spirit

  5. ooo, what an excellent reminder. Thank you for this post, I'm going to start being more aware and giving credit to the Holy Spririt and verbalizing it around my not quite 3 year old. I hadn't thought about needing to train my daughter to listen for His voice before.

  6. When my children were very young, we would individually read a chapter each morning. They were instructed to ask God what He wanted him to learn from the passage. Then we came together and each shared what he had heard or which verse was meaningful to him that morning. This allowed them each the opportunity to practice hearing God's voice on their own.

  7. Teach on, Lori!
    This is such an important message for all of us no matter the ages of our children.

  8. What a great post! It is so important to remember the Holy Spirit is the only one who can really change them and grow them toward Christ.

  9. Anonymous10:53 AM

    Great post and thank you for sharing :)

    This is such a great point: "As we model a life surrendered to God’s guidance, we have opportunities to share how the Holy Spirit speaks to us."

  10. Great post! This is so very true! We want our children to not be bound by rules and religion, but by a living relationship with their Creator/Savior/Lord. This comes as they learn to listen for and hear His voice! Love this!

  11. Love this. I'll be sharing this on my FB page tomorrow! Desiring God just posted about not wanting to raise 'good' kids, but kids that know they cannot be truly good apart from Christ - I need the reminder. Thank you!

  12. I love this! Thank you so much! I've been writing a "Instilling Values in Our Kids" series on my blog and wrote about helping our kids make good decisions as well as having faith in Jesus Christ, but you are RIGHT! Teaching about recognizing the Holy Ghost is SUPER important! It's hard for me, because, I admit, I'm not very good at recognizing it in myself, and probably because it wasn't taught to me. You have inspired me to be more active in that recognition. Thanks for your words.

  13. I love that your emphasis is on training them to listen for themselves to the Holy Spirit, Lori. We shouldn't do the connecting for them! All of your points are so true and so important! Great thoughts and I'm so glad you linked it up with Wedded Wed, my friend!

  14. What a great post & reminder to parents! Thanks for sharing. I found you on Works for me Wednesday. I would love it if you shared at my new link-up: :)

  15. Anonymous1:54 AM

    I don't have my own kids yet, but I've worked with lots of kids. I remember one of them asking me the question, "How big is the Holy Spirit?" I wish I had read this article before chatting with this girl because I feel like I missed the mark. However, I'm going to tuck away these nuggets of wisdom for the next time I'm asked this question and/or when I have children of my own.

  16. Good morning! Your post is among this week's featured and will be shared on FB, Twitter, and pinned to Pinterest. Thanks for linking up at A Mama's Story and help yourself to a featured button. :)

  17. Thanks for this little bit of direction!


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