And they said, “Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved, you and your household.” (Acts 16:31)
Nothing concerns Christian parents more than the salvation of their children. And God is concerned even more than we are.
God created the institution of family to reflect his own desire and love for his family. He sent his Son to bring us into his family. When God saves us he adopts us as his children. He becomes our heavenly Father. He loves us as his precious children and makes us joint-heirs with Christ. Scripture is filled with his promises to parents. Promises like:
Isaiah 54:13 All your children shall be taught by the LORD, and great shall be the peace of your children.
Isaiah 59:21 “And as for me, this is my covenant with them,” says the LORD: “My Spirit that is upon you, and my words that I have put in your mouth, shall not depart out of your mouth, or out of the mouth of your offspring, or out of the mouth of your children’s offspring,” says the LORD, “from this time forth and forevermore.”
Psalm 102:28 The children of your servants shall dwell secure; their offspring shall be established before you.
We should pray that God would fulfill these promises for our children, our grandchildren and all our descendants. If God has saved you, then you have good reason to believe and hope that he plans to save your children.
Speaking of Paul’s words to the Philippian jailer in Acts 16, Charles Spurgeon says this:
Acts 16:31 “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved, and thy house.” Does the father’s faith save the family? Yes! No! — Yes, it does in the sense that the father’s faith makes him pray for his family, and God hears his prayer, and the family is saved. No, the father’s faith cannot be a substitute for the faith of the children, for they must believe also. When a man has believed, there is a promise that his house will be saved. The father should not rest satisfied until he sees all his children saved. If he does rest, he has not believed correctly. Yet, there are those who only believe for themselves. Take the promise as broadly as the Word states and claim from God your little ones as well.” (Charles Spurgeon, Characteristics of Faith, in The Triumph of Faith in a Believer’s Life, Robert Hall, ed, 60)
“The father should not rest satisfied until he sees all his children saved.”
The church father Augustine was a wild and immoral teenager. When he got older, he rejected his mother Monica’s Christian faith and joined a cult. He fathered a child outside of marriage. Yet his mother never stopped praying for him, and near the end of her life, when he was 29, he became a believer. She died at age 56, and said on her death bed, “There was indeed one thing for which I wish to tarry a little bit in this life and that was that I might see you a Christian before I died. My God has exceeded this abundantly.”
Don’t stop praying for your children. Don’t give up. God hears our prayers for our children and grandchildren. He desires their salvation more than we do. If Jesus saved you, you have good reason to believe he intends to save your children as well. Pray that he will save them for his glory. Don’t rest satisfied until you see your children saved. And when he does save them, KEEP praying for them!