William Scribner writes here about an expectation that many Christian parents neglect. This is the expectation that parents should encourage the conversion of their children at an early age. Scribner writes:
Although praying for our children is clearly a biblical duty it is too frequently neglected. Often this arises from a secret unbelief in regard to the likelihood, or possibility, of conversion and real religion in childhood and early youth. This has arrested and prevented prayer and effort for this great blessing.
The early conversion of all the children of the Church should be intensely desired and incessantly prayed for. Many who are converted only as adults suffer from evil habits developed in their youth. Not only would these be prevented, but habits which none but a true Christian prizes — habits such as daily and systematic prayer, determined fighting with sin in its various forms, generosity, watchfulness over self, and others of a similar kind — are usually formed strongest when young.
In addition, we should expect the conversion of the children of believers as much as, if not more than, others who attend the church and who are not yet believers. The same means of grace have been enjoyed and the exhortations and warnings of the gospel are as understandable to a child as to an adult.
The biblical evidence that it is God’s will that the children in the Church should be born again at an early age, is found in Matthew 19:14:
“Let the little children to come to Me.”
Often children are not converted because parents leave their work to others. valuable though Sunday school teachers are, no parent can be released from the obligation of striving by his own personal efforts to lead his children to Christ. We are commanded to bring our children up “in the fear and nurture of the Lord.” In the case of the children of believers, parental training should be the first and usual means of their salvation. The work to be done by parents includes:
1. Instructing them in the faith.
2. Setting them a holy example.
3. Restraining them.
4. Praying for them.
(Based on “An Appeal to Parents to Pray Continually for the Welfare and Salvation of their Children” by William Scribner)