Teaching your children how to worry

Posted on · Posted in Parenting, Prayer, Worry

Your children were born to worry, just like you. If you allow the issues of each day to dominate your life the result will be worry. Believing you alone have to care for your needs each day leads to worry. This means you will model worry for your children. Defensively, you and I might respond like this, “oh, I am not an obsessive worrier. I don’t worry about dirty doorknobs. But I am concerned about the things that are really important, like our meals and other basic important things.” Nice try, but this can still be worry.


If Jesus instructed you to ask God for your daily bread, then you can trust God to provide. By reading the verses that come after the Lord’s prayer in Matthew 6, we can see that Christ was talking about more than just asking God for bread. Three times, (in verses 25, 28, and 31), Jesus commands that we do not worry about our life, clothes or or food. If God’s kingdom is our treasure and we desire his will to be our own, then worry is out of step with the truth of the Lord’s Prayer. 


Worry is not the same as being responsible. Responsibility is choosing the path of obedience and trusting God to honor you as you obey. The Israelites cowered in fear and worry about the giant Goliath. How can we defeat this human killing machine? Surely, if there was a good reason to worry, Goliath would qualify.  But, David was responsible, he was concerned about God’s honor. While others were consumed with fear and worry, David was consumed with God’s honor and killed the pagan champion.


When you begin each day with your family, you will, no doubt, have an abundance of things to accomplish. Jesus says to seek God for what you need to serve him. So, based upon Christ’s instructions, your morning prayer with your children could be similar to this:

Dear holy, heavenly Father, you have given each of us a lot to do today. We have school and other work to do, we have appointments and practices to go to, we need food to sustain us, and we need your protection as we travel about. We need the power of your Holy Spirit. Help us not to worry about these things, but cause us to praise you in all that we do today. By your grace, may we seek your kingdom first in all that we do. Right now, this day, may we serve you. If you bring us into tomorrow then we will deal tomorrow. Please father, give us what we need today, our daily bread, so that we can serve and honor you.  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

This prayer takes about 35 seconds to pray out loud. Teach your children to move beyond worry and trust in God’s faithfulness to do what he has promised.


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Jay Younts
John A. (Jay) Younts is the Shepherd Press blogger, and is a ruling elder serving at Redeemer Associate Reformed Presbyterian Church in Moore, South Carolina. He has written Everyday Talk, Everyday Talk About Sex & Marriage, Finding the Right Track, the In Touch With Paul stewardship series, and What About War. He has studied and taught about biblical childrearing for 30 years. He and his late wife Ruth have five adult children.