Our dog, Dakota, prays with us at dinnertime--we pour his food, sit down, and he sits and waits for us to pray. When we're done and we begin eating, so does he. As i watched this one night while the girls were gone, I thought, "Wow, I wish the girls were obedient like this!" The dog does what you tell him to do--it's an awesome thing!
Then, it struck me...yes, Dakota is obedient...he's doing EXACTLY what we have taught him to do! BUT...does he KNOW what he is doing? NO! He's "praying" out of obedience, not out of a desire to communicate with the Lord!!!
Almost immediately, God spoke to my heart, "That's not what I wish you to accomplish with your children--obedience for obedience sake! I look at that heart, and my wish is that you would work on establishing a surrendered heart to my Word; then the overflow from their heart will be expressed through their behavior!"
When our children are toddlers, we are in the business of teaching obedience because they are incapable of reasoning as an adult and therefore are following a "do it because i said so" mindset. But as our children grow and begin reasoning and making their own decision, it is our job to help them think through their choices and the decisions they have to make. We are responsible to teach them HOW to make WISE decisions so that their behavior will reflect their heart...that can be accomplished only by pouring into them and filling their lives with the truths of God's Word and the example we set...24/7!
In this may I be found faithful, so that from the overflow of their hearts will be blessings; in turn, my cup will then overflow with the same!