Teaching Your Children to Fear the Lord

Can our children know and experience God at a young age? And if so, what’s the best way to raise God-fearing children?

As Christian parents, one of our deepest heart’s desires is for our children to know Jesus and grow in a relationship with Him. While we can’t make this decision for our children, we can teach them about God. The million-dollar question is, what’s the best way to teach them? 

I recently read a study on faith formation in children that answered part of this question. A group of graduate students conducted a study at Wheaton College, where they studied how young children responded to liturgy, reflection, and prayer (1). The results astounded them! 

As part of the study, they removed all toys and distractions from the classroom. The researchers wanted to create an uncluttered space with a child-sized altar, prayer corner, and praise corner. To let the children know how sacred the space was, they had all the kids remove their shoes outside the door. The teachers didn’t rush from one activity to the next, and they intentionally spoke softly. 

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Are you teaching your children the fear of the Lord? There are blessings to fearing God! Find out why and how to teach this biblical principles to your children.

At first, the children responded as expected—loudly and with lots of questions and interruptions. But soon, their reactions changed. One student said, “This is not like Sunday school. This is God’s class.” After a few weeks, the researchers noted the children developed a sense of awe and wonder and an eagerness to engage in prayer and communion with God. Even parents noted they saw differences in their children at home. The researchers concluded that if we want our children to encounter God, it may happen in the stillness, not in action-packed, stimulating activities.

Since reading about this study, I haven’t stopped thinking about it. As parents and teachers, we often assume that children need high energy, bright colors, and loud noises to stay engaged. We need to grab their attention, right? 

But what if we’re approaching this the wrong way? Is God bigger than catchy music, fun ice-breakers, and over-the-top Bible lessons? 

Then I started reading John Bevere’s The Awe of God, and that’s when it hit me. The researchers at Wheaton College found success because they taught the children to fear the Lord. 

What is the Fear of God? Why should we fear the Lord?

Initially, when you hear the word fear, you often think of a negative emotion—a feeling you want to avoid. But when the Bible talks about the fear of the Lord, it means reverence or awe. While understanding the love of God is vital, that’s not a complete picture of God. The fear of God shows us God’s majesty, holiness, and power.

John Bevere puts it this way, “Holy fear is not to be scared of God and thereby withdraw from Him. It is to be terrified of being away from Him.” (2) The fear of God draws us closer to Him.

We find opportunities to teach our children about God's faithfulness and goodness. God is all around, but often we are too busy to see Him. What happened to being still and knowing He is God? We can teach the fear of the Lord by brainstorming ways to bring God into our family's everyday life

The Bible talks about fear more than 365 times, but I want to specifically look at a few fear of the Lord Bible verses.

Fear of the Lord Bible Verses:

The secret of the Lord is  with those who fear Him,
And He will show them His covenant. Psalm 25:14 NKJV

The angel of the Lord encamps all around those who fear Him,
And delivers them.
Oh, taste and see that the Lord is good;
Blessed is the man who trusts in Him! 
Oh, fear the Lord, you His saints!
There is no want to those who fear Him.
The young lions lack and suffer hunger;
But those who seek the Lord shall not lack any good thing.
Come, you children, listen to me;
I will teach you the fear of the Lord. Psalm 34:7-11

Surely His salvation is near to those who fear Him,
That glory may dwell in our land. Psalm 85:9

He will fulfill the desire of those who fear Him;
He also will hear their cry and save them. Psalm 145:19

The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge,
But fools despise wisdom and instruction. Proverbs 1:7

Do not be wise in your own eyes;
Fear the Lord and depart from evil.
It will be health to your flesh,
And strength to your bones. Proverbs 3:7-8

The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom,
And the knowledge of the Holy One is understanding. Proverbs 9:10

The fear of the Lord prolongs days,
But the years of the wicked will be shortened. Proverbs 10:27

The fear of the Lord is a fountain of life,
To turn one away from the snares of death. Proverbs 14:27

And His mercy is on those who fear Him
From generation to generation. Luke 1:50

As you can see, there are many blessings for the person who fears God. The Dake Study Bible outlines five blessings in Psalm 25 alone (3).

5 Blessings to Him Who Fears God (Psalm 25):

  1. He will be taught by God (v 12)
  2. He will be safe and at peace (v 13)
  3. His children will be blessed (v 13)
  4. He will know God’s secrets (v 14)
  5. He will know God’s covenant (v 14)

As you read in Psalm 34, children should be taught to fear the Lord. We also see that in Deuteronomy 4:10 and 6:1-9. 

So, how do we practically teach our children to fear the Lord? 

Here are three ways:

  1. We must teach our children what sin is and train them to hate it.
  2. As we saw in the study from Wheaton College, we must teach our children to recognize God’s holiness.
  3. We must bring God into our everyday lives.

In my book Unshakable Kids, I teach parents how to confront sin in their children. I go step by step on how to point sin out and explain how Jesus offers us forgiveness of sin. Lastly, in the appendix, I share Scripture references for the most common childhood sins so parents can bring their children to God’s Word. 

We can teach our children to respect God and recognize His holiness by teaching them to take good care of their Bible and not take the Lord’s name in vain. Additionally, when we enter God’s presence by singing as a family or reading His Word, we can explain to the children this is a special time. It’s not a time to play or horse around. 

When we follow the instructions in Deuteronomy 6:7:

You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, when you walk by the way, when you lie down, and when you rise up.

We find opportunities to teach our children about God’s faithfulness and goodness. God is all around, but often we are too busy to see Him. What happened to being still and knowing He is God? We can teach the fear of the Lord by brainstorming ways to bring God into our family’s everyday life. For example, when you drive by an accident, pray out loud for the families involved.

Finally, I believe it’s important to note that we must be careful not to become legalistic in our daily rhythms.

Often when we hear a list of to-dos to draw closer to God we can start to see our relationship with Him as transactional. If we do XYZ, then God will bless us. 

But the law cannot save us. We can’t do anything to have God love us more than He does right now. And by grace we have been saved (Ephesians 2:8-9). Our salvation is a gift from God. Doing everything perfectly will not earn us God’s favor. Being the perfect parent will not save our children. 

The only thing we can do is tell our children about Jesus and teach them His ways. It’s the Holy Spirits job to convict, draw, and save.

Have you intentionally taught your children the fear of the Lord? I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments below!


  1. Building Church Leaders, Children’s Ministry: Spiritual Formation for Kids (Christianity Today, 2015).
  2. John Bevere, The Awe of God: The Astounding Way a Healthy Fear of God Transforms Your Life (Nashville: W Publishing, 2023), 13.
  3. Dake, Dake’s Annotated Reference Bible: The Holy Bible (Lawrenceville: Dake Publishing, 2013), 836.

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