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"Is She Saved?"

"My daughter is 5. I have led her to pray to receive Christ as her Lord and Savior, but how do I know if she understood what she prayed"?

A. It's great that you want your daughter to have a strong footing in the Christian life at such an early age and I commend you for taking her faith formation seriously.

I also want to reassure you that God honors the prayers of tender hearts time and time again. Since God meets us where we are, your daughter's prayer was heard and accepted.

While your daughter's prayer is an important part of her spiritual formation, it is really the start of a lifelong process of discovering how to live as a follower of Jesus. I'd like to suggest some ways you can help guide that process:

Cover your child with prayer. The consistent prayers of a parent are one of the most powerful ways to give a child to God. Pray that her relationship with God will deepen, pray for Christian friends in her life, pray for wisdom and clarity as you raise her to be a woman of God.

Live your faith every day. Sing praise songs while you play together. Listen to Christian music as you drive to the store. Pray together whenever the mood strikes. Make godly choices. So much of what your daughter will learn about being a follower of Jesus will come through your example. Do everything you can to show her that your life is different because you know Jesus.

Welcome questions. A 5-year-old is unlikely to have the tricky questions about God that a 10-year-old will have, but it's not too early to start encouraging conversations about God. Ask questions like, "Why do you think God made that bird blue?" or "Where do you think God got the idea for eyebrows?"

Keep your expectations realistic. Opinions vary dramatically in what people consider the age of decision—the age at which a child can understand what it means to make a lifetime commitment to God. In a way, only God can answer this question because only God knows our hearts. Nonetheless, it is safe to say that most children under 10 have a hard time conceptualizing a "lifetime commitment." That doesn't mean your daughter's faith is any less real. It simply means she probably doesn't understand the eternal nature of this decision.

With all of that in mind, you can boldly claim your child for God and rest in God's graciousness.

Karen L. Maudlin, Psy.D., is a mother of two and a licensed clinical psychologist specializing in marriage and family therapy. She is the author of Sticks and Stones (Thomas Nelson).

Read more articles that highlight writing by Christian women at ChristianityToday.com/Women

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