Hannah, a young woman married to a man named Elkanah, experienced something most women may never want to endure: She was unable to conceive a child. In her anguish, she went to the temple to pray. During this time, she begged God to give her a child, and through His faithfulness, God gave Hannah a child – a baby boy whom she named Samuel. (1 Samuel 1:19-20)
Fast-forward through Samuel’s life, and we learn of the significant things he has accomplished. He becomes a prophet to the nations, a priest, and a judge; he appoints and anoints the king of Israel, David, and throughout his life, we see he has been faithful in serving the Lord.
And while in early Jewish culture, this was a definition of success, we measure our achievements differently in today’s society.
We have high hopes that our children will grow and acquire significant jobs, ones in which they are making a lot of money. We long for them to drive nice cars and live in beautiful, spacious homes. We want them to become successful in all they put their hands to.
But none of that matters unless they have a vibrant, living relationship with Christ.
Raising Children to Hear and Follow God’s Voice
Are your children actively listening and obeying God’s voice?
In life, we all have decisions to make, and a child must learn to understand and recognize when God is speaking to them. Unless they are aligned with His spirit, they won’t have the spiritual guidance of the Holy Spirit to help them when deciding on a friend group, what college to go to, and even who to marry!
So, together, let’s look at what we can learn from Hannah and Elkanah as they raised Samuel in a way that was pleasing to the Lord.
Pray For Your Children
“Then she made a vow and said, ‘O Lord of hosts, if You will indeed look on the affliction of Your maidservant and remember me, and not forget Your maidservant, but will give Your maidservant a male child, then I will give him to the Lord all the days of his life, and no razor shall come upon his head.’”
1 Samuel 1:11, NKJV
Hannah began praying for Samuel long before he was conceived in her womb.
You see, there is something powerful about the prayers of a mother. They are powerful enough to intercede on behalf of a prodigal, they usher the presence of God into homes, and they relentlessly cover the heads of their children when the enemy is out to harm them.
I remember when my wife was pregnant with each one of my children. All six times, we talked to them, read the Bible to them, prayed over them, and praised God for them. Even though your children have not yet been born into this side of heaven, praying for them can shape their destiny.
Raise Your Child in the Church
“Now when she had weaned him, she took him up with her, with three bulls, one ephah of flour, and a skin of wine, and brought him to the house of the Lord in Shiloh. And the child was young.”
1 Samuel 1:24, NKJV
The problem I see far too often is that parents begin to bring their older children to church when things are falling apart. I challenge you to raise up a child in the way they should go and start when they are young. Create a taste and hunger in your children for the presence of the Almighty God!
Now, even though I acknowledge that God is present everywhere, you can really learn to identify the presence and the power of God while you’re in His temple worshiping. Let them learn to witness the atmosphere where God moves and where the anointing is.
The rule in my house for my children as they were teenagers was as long as I was paying for the roof over your head, the clothes on your back, and the food in your stomach, you would be in somebody’s church on Sunday.
Make sure your children are in church; it will change the trajectory of their lives.
Dedicate Your Children to the Lord
“Then they slaughtered a bull, and brought the child to Eli.”
1 Samuel 1:25, NKJV
Hannah not only prayed for her son, but she dedicated Samuel to the Lord all the days of his life.
It is essential that we dedicate our children to the Lord. In doing so, we are praying and believing for God to put a shield around our kids.
We are asking God to cancel any scheme or plot of the enemy. The devil wants to take our children out and cause them not to become all that God created them to be because as they grow into God’s will, they will represent a threat to the devil’s kingdom!
Worship With Your Children
“Therefore I also have lent him to the Lord; as long as he lives he shall be lent to the Lord.’ So they worshiped the Lord there.”
1 Samuel 1:28, NKJV
Did you know that your child isn’t yours? Technically, God entrusted you with His child, and you get to partner with Him to steward them well. Along with that responsibility is how you choose to live your life and Who you decide to worship.
Fathers, I challenge you to be a model of what it looks like to worship the Lord all the days of your life. There is something sacred about when your children see you with your hands raised and mouth open in praise. Your child sees and knows there is an authority over you, and you are not the end-all with all the power and say-so. They need to see you have an authority in your life just as they have an authority in theirs.
You may have heard it said, “A family that prays together stays together.” I believe a family that worships together accomplishes mighty and beautiful things.
Serve With Your Children
“Then Elkanah went to his house at Ramah. But the child ministered to the Lord before Eli, the priest.”
1 Samuel 2:11, NKJV
The word minister in this verse means to serve.
Samuel served God in the temple at a young age and learned how to worship through his acts of service. God gave him the opportunity and privilege to minister to Him, and He also gives the same to us.
As parents, We must train up our children to serve the Lord.
The problem in our community is that many families are substituting service to the Lord with service to other things. Our schedules become oversaturated with sports practices and games, school activities, and busyness, and our children’s service to the Lord gets pushed aside.
Church, I dare you to sit a game out so your children can worship our Almighty God.
Power In the Testimony
You must teach your child to recognize God’s voice over yours because yours won’t always be there. But God’s will.
God’s word teaches us how to help our children hear his voice, which is taught through the stories of all that God has done.
Testify about the miracles.
Share the answered prayers.
Identify the impossible doors that miraculously were opened for you.
Let your children hear you talk about the mighty works of God and watch as God does a mighty work in them!
Raising your children to hear and obey God’s voice is a process. But it is one in which He is with you every step of the way.q