Proverbs 1:2 says, “Their purpose is to teach people wisdom and discipline, to help them understand the insights of the wise.” (NLT) This verse explains the purpose of proverbs. They are to teach wisdom and discipline so that people will receive help to understand the insights of the wise. God used and guided King Solomon to write the book of Proverbs. He was guided by the Holy Spirit to impart to us truth filled with advice and wise counsel. The question we need to ask ourselves is, will we follow His words and seek His discerning voice to instruct our children?
Proverbs 22:6 says, “Direct your children onto the right path, and when they are older, they will not leave it.” (NLT) Other ways this verse is translated or paraphrased are…
- “Start children off on the way they should go, and even when they are old they will not turn from it.” (NIV)
- “Train children to live the right way, and when they are old, they will not stray from it.” (NCV)
- “Teach a child to choose the right path, and when he is older, he will remain upon it.” (TLB)
- “Point your kids in the right direction—when they’re old they won’t be lost.” (The Message)
Direct, start, train, teach, and point are words used to describe a parent’s role and responsibility to guide their children on a specific life course. Most, if not all, parents want their children to move through childhood in the right direction so that, when they are adults, they are not misled in a way that can be detrimental to their well-being. Isn’t that how parents think and feel? Isn’t that how you feel. We as parents don’t want our children to leave the path, turn from it, stray from it, or get lost. We want them to remain on it. I believe that is the heart of most parents and needs to be the desire and goal of all parents.
I’m thankful that my parents wanted this for me. They sought to raise me in a way that would allow me to be successful. They enrolled me in school, took me to church, and allowed me to play sports…all of which benefited me incredibly. They encouraged me, supported me, disciplined me. They taught me the importance of trusting in Jesus as my personal Savior and growing in my faith. And when I became an adult, they released me to further my education, pursue ministry, and marry an incredible lady.
One of the most important things they did was pray for me. I knew that they were committed to lifting me up to the Lord on a regular basis. In Judges 13 we read about a father who cared so much for his unborn son, Samson, that he prayed for help from God on how to raise him. In verse 8 it says, “Then Manoah prayed to the Lord, saying, “Lord, please let the man of God come back to us again and give us more instructions about this son who is to be born.” They had just received counsel and begged God for the man of God to return and give further instructions. And God answered his prayer. I encourage you to read the whole chapter to get the full picture.
My challenge for you is to regularly pray for your children. Pray for them when they’re in the womb, infants, toddlers, and school age. Pray for wisdom and discernment on how to best raise them and, in addition, be an example to them regarding how to live a God honoring life. This is how we as parents best serve our children and point them to God. Then, when they become adults, they will more than likely not stray from God or, if they do stray, will return to Him. Remember, proverbs are not promises but rather wise insights. Although, I believe there is greater likelihood for our adult children to follow God if you pray for them and lead by example.
That’s my hope and prayer for you and me. God’s best to all parents because He is a good, good Father. Listen to this song by Chris Tomlin and be encouraged because we can lean on God to provide us with help to raise our children if we ask Him.