It’s essential to heal wounds in our hearts and break family patterns we don’t want propagated in our children’s lives.

Parenting Next Generation Lovers of God

by Patricia Bootsma
6/16/15 Ministry and Outreach

Be a Model

Parents long for their children to excel in what really matters in life—loving God with all of their heart, soul, mind, and strength. I’ve always been burdened with a strong desire to fulfill the God-given destiny on my life, as well as see all in the Body of Christ fulfill theirs, yet the greatest ministry we will have is the ministry within our own home. As Jesus modeled, our highest priority is to give to those closest to us, those we parent and mentor. I don’t want to change the world only to lose my children in the process.

The Loudest Words We Speak

Whether we know it or not, or like it or not, as parents and mentors, the loudest words we speak are the lives we live. Little eyes are watching, little ears are hearing, and family patterns are propagating.

If we exemplify in our lives and homes the fruit of the Spirit, we will propagate children and protégés of similar character. A plentiful supply of love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control (Galatians 5:22–23) are evidence of the Spirit reigning over the flesh in our lives. We will help produce children of a parallel nature.

Conversely, hatred, discouragement, hostility, impatience, harshness, fear, shame, inconsistency, and lack of self-control in our lives will propagate insecurities, wounded hearts, and similar behaviour in younger lives.

Jesus as Our Model

Jesus was not only the greatest model on earth, but He also taught the principle of modeling. He followed His Father’s footsteps, saying, “The Son can do nothing of Himself, but what He sees the Father do; for whatever He does, the Son also does in like manner” (John 5:19).

Being Christlike is a colossal aim in life. Jesus modeled servanthood, telling His disciples that He did not come to be served but to serve (Matthew 20:28). He modeled prayer, forgiveness, power, authority, humility, and, most of all, love.

Healing of the Heart

So what can keep us from being a good role model to our children? Oftentimes it is the things that were modeled to us, largely by our parents, but also by authority figures, peers, friends, culture, and society. Additionally, issues of our hearts that have wounded us cause ungodly reactions or expressions in our behavior.

One of the greatest gifts you can give your children is a healthy marriage, and one of the greatest gifts you can give your marriage is a healthy you.

It’s essential to heal wounds in our hearts and break family patterns we don’t want propagated in our children’s lives.

For example, anger was frequently demonstrated in the home I grew up in. I reacted wrongly, initially holding unforgiveness toward my father and judging him as being an angry, impatient man. And guess what? I was on track to be just like him. Easily irritated, impatient, angry—the very things I didn’t like in my father became traits I demonstrated. Forgiveness, repentance, deliverance, and application of the power of the cross to set me free from these patterns were crucial.

The journey of healing hurts from the past and freedom from generational sins or curses is well worth the effort taken to receive prayer ministry or counseling. If you don’t do it for yourself, do it for your children!

“Blessed is the man who fears the Lord, who delights greatly in His commandments. His descendants will be mighty on earth; the generation of the upright will be blessed.” (Psalm 112:1–2)

Modeling the Pursuit of God

Years ago the Lord spoke clearly to me, saying, “If you fulfill your calling, your children will fulfill theirs.” It was a directive that my pursuit of His destiny for me was not just about me, but also for the next generation.

May our children find us spending time in prayer each day. May they find us studying the Word of God. May they find us worshiping, listening to worship music in our cars and home. May they be led by us in diligent church attendance and, most importantly, in a radical pursuit of the “pearl of great price”—Jesus Christ.

Adapted from Raising Burning Hearts: Parenting and Mentoring Next Generation Lovers of God.

Patricia Bootsma


  • Sr. Associate Pastor, Catch the Fire Toronto

Patricia Bootsma and her husband, John, are the senior leaders of Catch the Fire Canada. Patricia has been leading houses of prayer for over fifteen years and has a heart for all to walk in passionate love for the Lord and in the fullness of His destiny for them. Patricia is the author of three books: Convergence, Raising Burning Hearts, and A Lifestyle of Divine Encounters. She and John are parents (of six amazing children) as well as grandparents.

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