By Jason Houser, Founder of Seeds Family Worship
I remember standing on a familiar stage in Dallas, Texas, this summer, where I have been leading worship for families each year for the past 15 years. It was promotion Sunday for all elementary-age students in their church community, so the lead pastor called all the children to fill a platform on the front of the stage. His words masterfully articulated what I have been seeing and experiencing myself as I serve families in ministry.
While all the eyes in the church looked across the platform at the young, impressionable faces smiling back at them, he said, “I remember when the front line of the battle for the hearts of young people was with college students. Then years later, I watched the battlefront move to high school and then to junior high students. But now we are in a season where the front line of the battle for the hearts of the next generation is here with these young elementary school children.”
His words fell heavy on the hearts of the congregation because they knew he was speaking the truth. We have read it in the headlines as educators seek to teach sexuality and gender to kindergarten children in public schools. We’ve seen it in the not-so-veiled attempts of media companies, as leaked videos showed Disney executives laughing as they shared their intentions to infuse homosexual characters into animated films targeted at young children. The battle lines have been drawn, and it is time for parents and grandparents—and the Church as a whole—to hear the same words that Nehemiah cried out to his people.
“Do not be afraid of them. Remember the Lord, who is great and awesome, and fight for your brothers, your sons, your daughters, your wives, and your homes” Nehemiah 4:14.
It is time for us as a community to stand up, pray, and ask God how He desires for us to fight for the hearts of this generation. Nehemiah proclaimed these words in response to the resistance and confusion his enemies attempted to create as his people were rebuilding the wall in Jerusalem. We are dealing with the same strategy from our enemy. He is creating much confusion in the hearts of the younger generation. How do we combat the confusion and desperation plaguing so many homes?
We must boldly confront these lies with the truth and hope found in God’s Word. We must encourage each other by worshiping God and reminding each other that God is telling a greater story. And finally, we must remember that Jesus was the light of men, and His light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it (John 1:4-5).
The Blueprint for Battle
I have been leading a nonprofit media ministry called Seeds Family Worship for over 18 years. We create Scripture-based worship music for kids and their parents. Our mission is to get God’s Word into as many hearts and homes as possible around the world—and we do this through music, videos, and creative content based on teaching young people who God is through His Word and how to walk with Him. I’ve done this long enough to see an entire generation learn God’s Word through these songs, and I get to hear stories about how these kids that grew up on Seeds are now teaching the songs to their own children.
As our ministry team has served this new generation, we have all heard a crescendo in the intensity of the lies being heaped upon children at much younger ages. The way we fight against lies is to arm ourselves and our children with truth from God’s Word. Deuteronomy 6 gives parents a blueprint to fight for truth in our homes. It outlines the lifestyle of parents that make it their top priority to pass their faith to their children.
“Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might. And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise” Deuteronomy 6:4-7.
Battle Priority #1 for Parents: Seek God and Have a Fruitful Relationship with Him
Parents are told to establish a godly culture in their homes first by acknowledging there is only one true God (v. 4). Then they are commanded to love Him themselves and to make their relationship with Him their personal top priority. They must have His commands in their hearts to successfully pass them to their children (v. 5-6).
Battle Priority #2: Teach Them Diligently
Our relationship with Jesus and knowing His Word will create the right environment to help our children establish their own relationship with the Lord. The text here tells parents to “teach them diligently.” To be diligent is to show great care in your responsibilities and duties. To be diligent is to have a plan.
The verses go on to encourage parents to teach children about the ways of the Lord as we are in our homes and as we go about our days together. At Seeds, we encourage families to have a spiritual family night, which means scheduling a time together (other than attending church service) centered around God and includes prayer and learning God’s Word. This can take place at different times and contexts based on the rhythm of your family and the ages of your children. We believe what matters most is a commitment to the plan and consistency in making it a priority.
The Way Forward
We have entered into a new season of parenting for the next generation. The process of building a godly home will look more like the builders of the wall of Jerusalem—laboring with one hand and protecting their family with the other.
“When our enemies heard that it was known to us and that God had frustrated their plan, we all returned to the wall, each to his work. From that day on, half of my servants worked on construction, and half held the spears, shields, bows, and coats of mail. And the leaders stood behind the whole house of Judah, who were building on the wall. Those who carried burdens were loaded in such a way that each labored on the work with one hand and held his weapon with the other” Nehemiah 4:16-17.
We believe the Lord has called our ministry team to use our resources to equip families for these battles. We have created over 200 songs and videos to help families sing God’s Word and store it in their hearts. We encourage families with the phrase, “kids who sing God’s Word, know God’s Word.” Our ultimate goal is that parents will successfully pass their faith to their children, as illustrated in Deuteronomy 6. There is no greater goal or mission for us as Christian parents!
So, to fight this battle well in your own home, you will need to make it your mission to spend spiritual family time and teach God’s truth to your children. By God’s design, parents and grandparents are the most influential voices in the lives of children. It may not always feel that way day-to-day as you deal with challenges as a family, but trust me, it is true.
Put on the Armor of God and Fight
Ephesians 6 encourages us to put on the armor of God and to take our stand against the schemes of the devil (v. 10-11). We are encouraged to recognize that we are engaged in a spiritual battle (v. 12). We are called to put on the armor to guard us against the enemy’s attacks and schemes (v. 13-17). We also are given offensive weapons to fight with in the spiritual realm: the Sword of the Spirit (the Word of God) and Prayer in the Spirit (v. 17-18). We encourage you to read these verses and ask the Lord how He wants to equip you for the battle to fight for your family. We are committed to continuing to create resources to help your family take up the Sword of the Spirit and fight for truth in your home.
Where the Battle Begins: Prayer
I want to encourage you to take time to pray—to literally bow down and pray to the Lord, and if you are married, pray out loud together. If you are not currently praying out loud with your spouse, it is time to get started or reignite the flame of praying together. I promise you that you are going to need it! Prayer is essential to being successful in this great calling. My wife and I have made many mistakes as parents, but we always prayed for our children and are confident that it made the greatest difference in our parenting journey.
We encourage you to pray for each of your children and grandchildren by name. You can use this prayer as a starting point:
Lord Jesus, we pray that You will help ______, ______, and ______ know that You are the one and only God. Help them repent of their sin and find their true identity and purpose in You. Help us to fight for our children in the Spirit and set an example of faithfully walking with You by the power of your Spirit in us. We pray that our home will be centered in Your grace and established in Your love and truth. We dedicate our children and our home to You.
In Jesus’ name, Amen
Finally, here is what I believe the Lord is saying to parents who desire their children to follow Jesus more than anything else: I am calling you deeper into the fight for your children. It is your season to fight, and the time is now. Prepare yourself because the battle is coming to you. You are ready.
“Remember Me, your great and awesome God and fight for your brothers, your sons, your daughters, your wives and your homes” Nehemiah 4:14.
Jason Houser founded the Seeds Family Worship ministry eighteen years ago and has led teams in creating over two hundred Scripture worship songs and videos to help kids and parents sing God’s Word. He has co-written the well-known CCM songs Broken Things and The Motions and co-wrote a parenting discipleship book called Dedicated with Bobby and Chad Harrington.