Before my wife and I put our children to sleep we sing a song and pray. Recently, they started picking up our routine. My daughter sings along. My son mumbles noises shaped like the melody. They slightly bow their heads and say "amen." I'm fully aware they are mostly unaware of the details and depth of the Christian faith woven through the song and prayer. But they are picking up on something. We sing "Come Thou Fount." Aspects of the song are loosely based on a passage in 1 Samuel. It reads, "Samuel took a stone ... and called its name Ebenezer; for he said 'Till now the Lord has helped us'" (1 Samuel 7:12). This whispers one of the largest themes in Scripture — God rescues people.
As far as I can tell, an Ebenezer stone was a "stone of help." It was meant to foster belief in current and future generations. And as God rescued people in Samuel's day, he has rescued my wife and me. Now we haven't put a stone in the middle of Chicago, but we have stories commemorating our own spiritual liberation — stories we are compelled to share with our children ... if but through a song and a prayer.
Sharing Your Faith with Your Children
I wonder what future generations thought about Samuel's stone. I imagine some were drawn to consider God's faithfulness. Others I'm sure were less impressed. It represents one person's or one group's thoughts and experiences of the divine, but that's all. The story was isolated for a particular people for a particular time.
Today I think many people think this way. For example, when some of our friends who are also parents hear that my wife and I are raising our children to know the Bible, love Jesus, be a part of church community, and pray to God, we get mixed reviews. Since I'm a pastor we often get a sort of "it figures" look followed closely by a subject change. Other times when I've had the opportunity to enter into a richer conversation I've heard many respond differently.