Category Archives: Praying for My Children

The Power of Prayer

A few months ago, God gave me a special blessing.  I was at a fundraiser for a ministry that works with high-risk youth, the very youth I’ve worked with over the years.  When a video came on highlighting some of the youth who had been touched by God through this ministry, two of the three kids on the video were ones I had worked with in years past and ones who God had burdened me to pray a lot for even after they had moved on to other facilities.  I had no clue at the time that they had reached out to a faith-based ministry, I just felt called to pray for them.  It brought tears to my eyes to hear how God had been at work in these kids’ lives and how prayer, not just mine but many prayers by many believers for these kids, had made a difference.  I love it when God gives us a glimpse of what He’s doing in our world and that night has changed me!

I don’t “get” how prayer works but over the last year to year and a half, I’ve become such a believer that it is where our power lies.  The power is there because it is God who moves, God who works, God who heals, changes, and does miracles.  Prayer is a way He invites us to be involved in the process.  I don’t exactly know how it all works together, but I know it does, and I’m committed to becoming more of a prayer warrior than I used to be.

One of my MOPs leaders shared the following thought with our group.  I’m not sure if it’s her words or if she was quoting someone else but it stuck with me so I don’t know who to give credit to:

“We need to be intentional about our prayer life.  If Satan can get us not to pray, he has a victory.  Getting us not to pray is often our enemy’s biggest target.  It is the stealthiest way to quench our relationship with Christ rendering our lives powerless.  We need to have a plan and be intentional.”

Another quote about prayer that touched my heart is:

“The power of prayer has overcome the strength of fire; it has checked the rage of lions, silenced anarchy, quenched wars, calmed the atmosphere, exorcised demons, broken off the chains of death, enlarged the gates of heaven, curbed diseases, prevented frauds, rescued cities from destruction, stopped the sun in its course, and arrested the momentum of thunderbolts.  Prayer is an all-sufficient exercise, a treasure that does not fade, a mine which is never depleted, a sky not hidden by clouds, a heaven undisturbed by the storm.  It is the root, the fountain, the mother of a thousand blessings.”  -Chrysosom

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If you believe in the power of prayer, how have you interwoven it into your daily life?  I used to keep a prayer journal but have tried something new lately and have found it pretty useful.  An idea I got from our winter MOPs retreat was to create a list of the people or issues you want to pray regularly for and divide them by seven.  Then assign a day of the week to each of the seven groupings.  I’ve done this and hung it in my shower and it’s helped me pray consistently for what’s important to me.

What else have you done to incorporate prayer into your daily life?  Comment below!

“Pray Big” by Will Davis, Jr.

Our local MOPs sends out different resources to the moms occasionally via email.  The other day I received a moving prayer that I decided to share here.  It’s from “Pray Big” by Will Davis, Jr.20140408_171610

Holy Father, we ask you to pour out your favor on our sweet children.  Jesus, we bring them to you through holy intercession, asking you to place your hands on them and intercede for them.

We pray for their hands.  Let them be engaged in acts of giving, ministry, and service.  Keep them free from acts of sin.  Teach them to raise their hands to you in worship and surrender.  More importantly, teach them to live in a posture of worship and surrender.

We pray for our children’s feet.  O Lord, keep them clean and pure.  May our children be quick to run toward ministry and opportunities to serve others.  May they also be quick to flee from temptation.  May their feet be accustomed to traveling the high road.  Teach them to walk firmly in your ways.  Make them surefooted; let them not be tripped up by sin.  

Father, we pray for their mouths. Let them speak only what is true. Keep our children free from all forms of spoken sin–exaggeration, boasting, lying, gossip, slander, cursing, overpromising, criticism, and inauthenticity. May they be fully committed to the truth. Train them by your Spirit to always speak truth in love. We pray also that our kids would be hungry and thirsty for your Word. Let them pant and long for the promises of your holy Scriptures.

O Father, protect their eyes. Protect them from the many vile and worthless images that assault them every day. Teach them to turn away from looking at wickedness. Please protect them from seeing violence and carnality that would wound their souls. Bombard their eyes with that which is true, holy, pure, and worthy of praise.

And finally, Father, we pray for our children’s hearts. Expand their hearts. Make them soft soil. Please use your Word to grow and strengthen them. Teach our children to run the way of your holy commands. Help them see that life and freedom are found in the blessed commands of you Word. O Father, let them run in freedom and joy because they are committed to your teachings.

We pray all this for our sweet kids. Please cover them from head to toe.

In Jesus’s awesome name.

Amen.

Praying for Your Children #21—Praying for Dad

100_3105Praying for yourself not only helps you but also helps your children and your husband.  Praying for your husband will impact everyone in the family too!  Your children’s dad is one of the most important people in their lives.  As I’ve sat and pondered this, I’ve wondered, why have I not devoted more time and energy to praying for my husband?  Praying for him is a much better skill to cultivate than nagging or arguing and what a better way to truly love someone, by praying blessings for them.

Our little family had a big decision to make in July.  I had to decide whether to accept an offer to go back to a job I loved on a part-time basis.  When deciding whether to go back to work, I had a hard time assessing the possible impact on my husband and kids.  I mostly thought about it being a negative impact.

Would my children feel like I cared more about work than them? 

What about my husband?

Would our household run as smoothly if my focus was divided between work and home?

How we had thought about setting up, my sister would take care of the kids one morning a week but the other two times I was at work, my husband would be watching our kids so we could avoid childcare expenses.  That would be a big commitment on his part.  Especially because one would be a work night so he’d have the responsibility of caring for the kids after he had already finished a long day at his own job and the other would be watching the kids on the weekend for a few hours.  That would mean sacrifice on his part.

Would he get stressed out watching the kids? 

Would he feel comfortable doing it as there were times he grew easily frustrated with the kids? 

Was it selfish of me that I wanted to go back to work?

Ryan has always been great with kids.  I had the opportunity to watch him interact with a friend’s little boy before we started dating and seeing how he amazing he was with kids was one of the things that initially attracted me to him.  Later, I found out that he had never even babysat and that blew my mind!   And my assessment of how he’d be as a father has paled in comparison to the father that he actually is.  He is one amazing, feisty, invested father.  From the beginning, he rolled up his sleeves and jumped right into being a complete partner in parenting.  Back then, if he hadn’t, I think I would have had a nervous breakdown.  Evan cried a lot as a newborn and was really difficult to soothe.  If I hadn’t had someone in our house to help out with his care, it would not have been good.  Many times, Ryan could soothe Evan better than I could.  And don’t even get me started on his amazing swaddling skills!  Ryan also became the primary caregiver for Evan during part of his layoff from work.  Back then, we didn’t have a choice.  I had to work and we couldn’t afford ongoing out-of-home daycare.  I think because of the particulars of our early journey in parenthood, we have a much more egalitarian, more non-traditional relationship than my parents did.  Not that there’s anything wrong with a traditional gender-roled relationship, ours just looks different.

So what did we decide about me going back to work?  My husband and I agreed that I should do it.  I was honestly surprised at how definite, decisive, and optimistic Ryan was about the opportunity for me.  So, we agreed, there were clear benefits to our family financially and clear intellectual and emotional benefits to me personally.  And I was lucky, there I go again, blessed.  Since Ryan had been at home providing the child care for Evan in the past, he knew firsthand how important it was to get out of the house and feel invested in something else.

2-3093996D-135650-800As we’ve gone down this road, there have been freeing nights for me but exhausting nights for Ryan.  Having to figure out how to manage two active little ones without their mom was tiring.  But you know what happened?  He started to figure out ways to make it easier on himself and more enjoyable for the kids. Before, when we were both home at night, I was still the one mainly in charge of taking care of the kids and disciplining them as needed.  Because I did it all the time during the work week, it was just easier for me to do.  And at times, my husband would attempt to do it, but if I didn’t like how he was handling it I’d take over or we’d argue about it afterward, me thinking my way was better.  Not the best thing for our marriage and definitely not a good strategy with the kids.  If it continued, our kids would take advantage of their parents not presenting as a united front.  And how arrogant of me!  Thinking my way was “the right way.”  Maybe my husband’s style of interacting with the kids could not just work with them, but even work better if just given the chance!

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So, now, instead of continuing to worry about all the ways I could be harming my family by working again, I’ve seen benefits not only to our family financially and me personally, but have also seen the benefit for my children and my husband.

Has Evan been testing his Dad? 

Absolutely.

Have I come home to a completely exhausted husband? 

Frequently.

But I also believe that as I get out of the way, relationships will be strengthened and confidence in managing the kids’ behavior will be heightened.  It might take a little while for my husband and kids to find their groove without me, but I know it will happen and our little family will be the better for it.  And in the midst of the growing pains and the chaos, there have been so many sweet moments.  Whether it’s receiving a picture on my phone from Ryan of Makenna delighting in her chalk drawings or seeing the pride on my husband’s face after a long night with the kids because he felt like he not only survived but thrived, there are so many moments that are beautiful.  Messy but beautiful.  Ryan is feeling more and more skilled at caring for and loving our kids in his own way.  I just needed to get out of the way.Mak and Daddy

I’m reading a book right now called LEAN IN: Women, Work, And The Will to Lead by Sheryl Sandberg.  Its all about how women hold themselves back at times from leadership opportunities in their careers and how to better manage having a family and a thriving career.  She quickly admits that women cannot have it all.  Something will have to give if a woman is focused on having a career and a family, but she does not agree that the kids have to be the thing sacrificed.  For women who want to have a family and work outside of the home, she challenges women to work with their partner to have an equitable relationship when it comes to home life.  That the men help out more with household duties and childcare.  Not only does this help the woman, but there’s a huge positive impact on the kids in the situation.

Studies have found that children “benefit greatly from paternal involvement.  Research over the last forty years has consistently found that in comparison to children with less-involved fathers, children with involved and loving fathers have higher levels of psychological well-being and better cognitive abilities.  When fathers provide even just routine child care, children have higher levels of educational and economic achievement and lower delinquency rates.  Their children even tend to be more empathetic and socially competent” (Sandberg, 113).

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These results were found regardless of whether the mother was highly involved.  Dads have a HUGE impact!  Every day when I’m at work, I see how the lack of a father’s involvement has played out in kids’ lives.  It makes me thank God over and over for Ryan being my children’s daddy specifically!  That said, I need to be praying for him more.

So, here are some ways to pray for your husband.  This is a way I can put into action my desire to pray for my husband.  This is the third part of a weekly-formatted prayer handout my mom gave me that has really challenged me in a good way.  (Curious about the first two sections from this handout?  Check out Praying for Your Children–Day by Day and Praying for Yourself).

Praying for Your Husband

Sunday

1.)    That he might become a holy man, a man of prayer, mature in the Lord, growing in His knowledge of God (I Thess 5:23, Col. 4:12, Eph. 1:18-19, 3:16-19, 6:8).

2.)    That he might daily seek God with all his heart, walking in the Spirit moment by moment, growing in his dependence on Him (Ps 27:4, 119:1-2, Prov. 3:5-6, John 15:5).

Monday

3.)    That he might learn to take every thought captive, to not be conformed to the world’s thinking and to think Scripturally (Rom. 12:2, II Corin. 10:5).

4.)    That he would learn to not depend on his circumstances for happiness, but on God alone (Hab. 3:17-19).

Tuesday

5.)    That he might have new strength in the midst of his busy schedule and that the Lord might infuse him with His strength (Is. 40:31, Eh. 3:14-19).

6.)    That his self image might be a reflection of the Lord’s thoughts toward Him (Eph. 1:17-18, Rom. 12:3, Ps. 139).

Wednesday

7.)    That he might become a called man, not driven, with well-thought-through and prayed-through goals in life (I Corin. 9:24-27).

8.)    That the Lord might give him wisdom to lead his family physically, emotionally, mentally, and spiritually (Eph. 1:17-19, James 1:5-7).

Thursday

9.)    That he might stand firm against the schemes of the devil and resist Satan in all circumstances (Eph 6:10-18, James 4:7).

10.)  That he might not be deceived into unbelief or sin (Matt 13:58, Gal. 6:7).

Friday

11.)  That the fruit of the Spirit might be exhibited more and more in his life (Gal. 5:22-23).

12.)  That he might learn to love as God has commanded (I Corin. 13:4-7, Rom. 12:8-10).

Saturday

13.)  That the Lord might protect him, guarding his course (Prov. 2:8).

14.)  That he might learn to manage his time well (Eph. 5:15).

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How about you?  What do you pray about for your husband?  Have you thanked God and your husband lately for the amazing father he is to your children?  Count your blessings. There are many fatherless, whether physically or emotional, children in the world.  If your husband is present and invested, your children are blessed to have him in their lives.

Back to School Prayer (Prayer #20)

Okay, so I promised to post “Ways to Pray for Your Husband” but didn’t.  Don’t worry, I will next week.  This post seemed more appropriate for this week.

100_3391School has started again.  I was really emotional the first two times Evan went to preschool, but wasn’t this time around.  I am super thankful that his preschool class size is significantly smaller than last year.  Not as excited that the classroom is also smaller, but hey, focus on the positive, right?

As the school year resumes, here are two posts from bloggers I follow that I love.  The first one is a prayer for children as they return to school.  The second one is a talk to have with your children about having the right perspective about their peers and teachers.  About having compassion.  Compassion is one of the biggest things I hope Evan learns.  If he is the valedictorian but is unkind, ruthless, and heartless, I will have failed as a mom.  Hope you guys enjoy these as much as I have:

We Are That Family–A Prayer As My Children Return to School

“The Talk” by Glennon Melton–Instilling Compassion in Our Children

Ways to Pray for Yourself (Prayer #19)

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So I’ve committed to writing once a week about praying for my children, but occasionally, I’ve diverted.  Today is going to be one of the diversions.  It’s a good one.  This is the second of a three part prayer resource given to me by my mother.  Last week’s was “Ways to Pray for Your Children” written up in a week format.  This week will be “Ways to Pray for Yourself,” again in a week format.  And next week’s?  It’ll be “Ways to Pray for Your Husband.”  Again, let me give a caveat—this handout my mom gave me did not credit whoever came up with it.  If you’ve stumbled across the same content elsewhere and know who put it together, let me know and I’ll add their information to these posts.

As we pray that God change our hearts, our thoughts, our motives and desires, we will become the parents He has us to be for His children.  Praying for ourselves isn’t selfish.  It isn’t self-absorbed.  It is THE WAY God works in our lives and, through us, in our children’s lives.  The only way I can be a grace-filled, patient, loving, and insightful mom is by Christ in me.  I can’t will it.  I can’t think it into being.  It can only come from Him and God works through prayer.  I want my children to be influenced more by my attitudes and behaviors than my lectures and intentional “teaching moments.”  I want my faith, my joy, and my integrity to be contagious.  Lord, change me!

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Sunday

1.) That my attitudes towards people and circumstances in my life would glorify God (Heb. 4:12).

2.) That my thought life would be honoring to God (Phil. 4:8).

Monday

3.) That I would fight selfishness in my life and work at serving the Lord in everything I do (I Sam. 12:20, 24; Eph. 6:7).

4.) That when I’m called to serve God in an area I feel weak in, I will step forward in faith because His power is perfected in my weaknesses (II Corin. 12:9-10).

Tuesday

5.) That I would learn true humility as modeled by Jesus (I Pet. 5:6; James 4:10; Eph. 4:2).

6.) That I would learn to hold my tongue more today and listen more to God and those around me (James 1:26).

Wednesday

7.) That I would truly and sincerely be contented with all that I have (Phil. 4:11, Heb. 13:5).

8.) That I would be more disciplined in my spending habits and be committed to not worrying about finances (Matt. 6:24, I Pet. 5:7).

Thursday

9.) That I might be generous in my giving to others: time, money, gifts, abilities, and talents (Phil. 4:15, I Pet. 5:7).

10.) That my motives in all that I do might be pure, righteous, and holy (James 4:3, I Thess. 2:3, I Corin. 4:5, Prov. 16:2).

Friday

11.) That I will be honest and sincere with others, not hypocritical or fake (Mark 7:6-7).

12.) That I would work at building Christ-like qualities in my life, working hard not to boast, brag, or do anything to selfishly build myself up (Matt. 23:12, Luke 14:11, James 4:16).

Saturday

13.) That my private life and daily decisions would reflect an obedience to Christ (I Pet. 1:14, II Corin. 2:9;10:5).

14.) That my emphasis would be on inner beauty and character instead of outward beauty (Prov. 31:30, I Pet. 3:4).

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As you read through this week’s verses, what stuck out to you?  Two spoke to me right away.  That I would fight selfishness in my life and that I would hold my tongue and listen to God and others…

What would you add if you created your own list?

 

And Now From My Momma…(“Ways to Pray for Your Children” Prayer #18)

Mom and Evan having fun in the leaves….no, Evan wasn’t sleeping, the sun was bright, but my mom looked so beautiful here, I couldn’t resist sharing this photo!

Sorry, I haven’t been writing more often.  I know, I know,  there are some out there that have been waiting for the next posting with bated breath!!! Kidding.

The last two weeks have included a weekend retreat, my parents coming to town, and my blog getting moved from one location online to another one (a better one–like it?  I think I will once I get used to it).  So, with all of that and the fact that I’m writing reports for my part-time job, writing on the blog has been on the back burner lately.  So, here we go!  Let’s talk some more about praying for our children….

My mom is and has always been a prayer warrior.  Whenever I call her about something going on in my life or my children’s lives, the first thing she offers to do after listening to me is to pray.  So about a month ago, I asked her about her prayers for us when we were younger.  Specifically, I asked her if she remembered seeing certain prayers answered in her children’s lives.  Initially, she shared that she couldn’t remember specifics because raising five kids was kind of a blur now, but when she came out to visit this past week, she brought me something that she has used to pray for her children, her husband and herself.  I’m going to share a section of her prayer list for the next three weeks starting with what she’s prayed for her children. Unfortunately her list doesn’t have a reference of where it came from.  She thinks it was from a former pastor but wasn’t sure.  So if anyone knows where this is from, let me know so I can give credit where credit is due.  This is definitely I’m going to keep handy to use in my own prayer time!

As I’ve read through what my mom has used to pray for us over the years, I am struck by what is on this list.  I see different aspects of these prayers being fulfilled in the lives of me and my siblings.  The one that stuck out to me the most from my own life was #12.  I have truly seen hedges of protection in my relationships and in the places I’ve gone.  I do find it kind of funny that I’ve worked in high security correctional facilities and yet still clearly see the hedges.  I’ve been protected whether at college, traveling overseas, and in the correctional facilities!

Thanks Mom for praying!

Ways to Pray for Your Children

Sunday

1.)    That they will know Christ as Savior early in life (Ps. 63:1, II Timothy 3:15).

2.)    That they will have a hatred for sin and evil (Ps. 97:10).

Monday

3.)    That they would be caught when guilty (Ps. 119:71).

4.)    That they would be protected from the evil one in each area of their lives…spiritual, emotional, physical, etc. (Luke 2:52).

Tuesday

5.)    That they will have a responsible attitude in all their interpersonal relationships (Dan. 6:3).

6.)    That they will respect those in authority over them (Rom. 13:1).

Wednesday

7.)    That they will desire the right kinds of friends and be protected from the wrong friends (Prov. 1:10-11).

8.)    That they will be kept from the wrong mate and saved for the right one (II Corin. 6:18-20).

Thursday

9.)    That they, as well as those they marry, will be kept pure until marriage (I Cor. 6:18-20).

10.)    That they will learn to totally submit to God and actively resist Satan in all circumstances (James 4:7).

Friday

11.)   That they will be wholeheartedly sold out to serving Jesus Christ (Rom. 12:1-2).

12.)   That they will be hedged in so that they cannot find their way to wrong people or wrong places, and that the wrong people cannot find their way to them (Hos. 2:6).

Saturday

13.)   That their children and grandchildren will know Christ as Savior and serve HIM with their whole heart, soul, mind, and strength (Matt. 22:37-38).

14.)   That, when they leave home, it would be with an eternal perspective and Christ-like values and characteristics (Is. 40:8).

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If you were to create a list similar to this, what verses or concepts would you include on your list?  Does a list like this that is divided up by days of the week work for you?  Would love to hear from you!

Praying For My Children (Prayers #1-17)

So I’ve been posting one prayer a week for my children (and occasionally someone else like my nephews when they were in the NICU) for a few months now.  Some weeks have been easy, just sharing from my heart.  Other weeks have been hard.  It’s made me stop and reflect: What do I sense God may be doing in our family?  What is He doing in my life, my heart that impacts me as a Mom?  What can I pray about that will help me align with God’s will for me, our family, and our children versus praying what I want? 

 

Here’s a recap of the prayer journey so far. 
Prayer #4: NICU Prayer
What prayers have you enjoyed?  What topic or prayer issue do you feel is missing from this list? 

 

A Prayer for My Daughter 2 (Prayer #17)

I can’t believe Makenna turned two last Friday!  It has gone so fast.  She decided that because she is now two that she needed to start showing off some new skills so now she’s walking up the stairs instead of crawling up them and climbing into her high chair by herself.  She decided to do both on the same day.  And here’s what she was up to in the car the other day:

She had managed to get Evan’s goggles on by herself.  She was so proud!  And here’s her loving Home Depot–after all, she is her father’s daughter!

One blog tip I stumbled upon the other day articulated the importance of keeping each posting shorter.  Forgive me that some of my entries have been so long! : )  So I’m going to try to apply that recommendation.  I decided to break up one of my longer postings from before into two.  So here’s the second part to “A Prayer for My Daughter.”

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Lord, Reveal to her who You have made her to be.  May she know how much You delight in her and may this always be the framework through which she looks at herself—her strengths, her weaknesses, her quirks, and her purpose.  May her strengths shine brightly and may she be able to look at her weaknesses and mistakes with grace, seeing them as You do…merely more opportunities to lean on You and to trust that You can redeem anything. 
As a precious daughter of the King, may she treasure her sexual purity.  Despite what her boyfriends, friends, and peers want, may she value herself and You enough to save those experiences for marriage.  May she desire to share herself emotionally and physically only with those who are worthy of her—those who honor and respect who You have made her to be.  Give her wisdom and discernment about who to “do life” with, both her close girl friends and boyfriends. 
Teach her to value character, integrity, and intelligence more than external beauty.  May her life be full of joy and laughter. May she not take herself too seriously!  From a young age, may she feel good in her body, in her own skin.  Help her to rightly assess the messages our culture sends her way about beauty.  May they hold no power over her.  And may she have a healthy relationship with food.
 
Lord, cultivate a heart in her for Your Word.  May Your Words nourish and sustain her.  May she always hunger to know You more through Your Word.  May she also love reading in general!  Through books, music, and movies, may she gain insight into others’ perspectives, learn through others’ painful mistakes, and may it teach her much about You.  May she seek out new experiences in order to grow.  Keep her safe from harm.  Help her to listen to Your still small voice and her gut. 
It is already so evident how much she is loved by her Daddy.  May you bless that relationship.  May he speak into her life in a way that no other man can.  May the love she sees shining in his eyes for her remind her of how special You’ve made her to be.  Thank you for giving her a father to protect her, equip her, and love her.
May she trust Your timing.  If she must wait, help her to use that time wisely.  Cultivate patience and hope in her during those times.  Wherever she goes, whatever she does, may she bring beauty, grace, hope, and peace to all those around her. 

In Jesus’ Name, Amen

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For the first Daughter prayer, check out this link: Prayer for My Daughter Part One.
How about you?  What have you prayed for your daughter(s)?  If you’re a grandparent, aunt, or friend, what do you pray for young girls that you know?

The B-I-B-L-E, Yes That’s The Book For Me…(Prayer #16)

“Praying for your children to know, love, and use God’s Word is one of the most effective ways to pray for their spiritual protection.” 

Jodie Berndt 

Anyone who knows me knows that I’m a voracious reader.  Yep, I used the word “voracious”.  I would probably mispronounce it, but I know what it means and can spell it so I’m gonna use it! J  Anyway, I hope my love of reading is contagious to my children.  I hope they love reading as much as I do. 

Not only do I hope they love reading in general, but I also hope they love reading the Bible.  Over the years, there have been many times where I have loved being in the Word and have experienced it as the “living” Word.  It has been like water to my parched soul.  Then there have been moments where it’s been dry and hard for me to understand.  And other times when I’m just apathetic and don’t even open the book.  I wish it wasn’t true, but, hey, I’m human.  So often, when I finally return and am self-disciplined, I’m saddened that it took me so long to get back to this habit because it changes me.  It changes my perspective.  It helps me hear from God.  Who doesn’t want that?  All that to say, I know people can experience the Bible in so many different ways.  And it’s important.

It’s important because I believe that the Bible is God’s Word to us.  Besides Jesus, it is His biggest message to us….revealing Who He Is and What He’s About.  And I believe that the Word transforms.  I want my children to love the Bible.  To know it inside and out.  To enjoy it.  To be transformed by it.  And I believe all of this is a supernatural request. 

It’s funny because while the Bible is important to our family, we never bought Evan one. 

Why? 

Because we were given 4 – 6 of them!  

We got some as gifts.  

Others were ones someone had gotten for free and wanted them to go to good use.  

Then there was the small, leather bound one.  Light blue.  Tiny print.  Seemed like an heirloom. A beautiful one.   

These are just three of Evan’s Bibles…what I found
after looking for 30 seconds in his room….
Several geared towards toddlers with rhyming words and fun pictures.  One even had a handle
so Evan could carry it around if he wanted to. 
Another one is geared toward preschoolers on up. 
Initially I thought I’d “spread the love” and pass some of them on, but when I’d set aside one or two to give away, Evan would get upset.  He loves his Bibles.  All of them!  He regularly asks for us to read from them…each of them at various times.  Honestly, he probably asks for it more than I initiate it.  And that Bible with a handle?  Yep, he LOVED it.  When he was two, he went through a phase where he carried it all the time. 
I was excited when we received the girl’s version of the handle Bible for Makenna.  How awesome it was going to read about the different women in the Bible, ones who loved passionately, risked much, and changed history.  Then I opened it and found that it was the same Bible as the little boy version, it just had more pink!  I was so bummed.  Not that little girls can’t learn from the guys of the Bible, but I want Makenna to hear about strong, vibrant women of faith.  It became my mission.  And I found one. 
It’s called “My Princess Bible” by Andy Holmes.  I know, funny that it’s likely written by a guy, but I love it because it talks about Sarah, Rahab, Deborah, Esther, Hannah, Abigail, and many others.  And I’m not a huge “princess” person, but this book takes the princess theme and then goes deeper.  It highlights a truth from each woman’s story such as “A princess thanks God for His surprises” (Sarah), “A princess keeps her promises” (Hannah), and “A princess shows other people how happy she is to know Jesus” (woman at the well).  I’m excited to see if Makenna likes it…I guess if she doesn’t, I could always keep it for myself. J  (We found ours through the Focus on the Family Bookstore.  Here’s the link for this specific book: Toddler Princess Bible.  It was cheaper through this site than through Amazon.  Check it out!)
All this to say, it is a prayer of mine that my children love Scripture and that that love and interest start at an early age.  How about you?  What are some ways that you have introduced your children to the Bible?  Have you found any particular versions that your children especially resonate with? 

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Lord,

Thank you for my son’s desire to read the stories from Your Word.  May this be just the beginning of his love and hunger for spending time in Your Word.  Please also put a heart for Your Word in our daughter’s heart too.  May she love her Princess Bible and through it learn so much about what it means to be a little girl of faith.
Lord, please hide Your word in both their hearts.  May Your Word bring wisdom, guidance, protection, and blessing.  May they see through Your Word that You cherish and use flawed, broken people to achieve Your purposes.  Guide them with Your Word.  May they experience it as a light to their path. 
And thank you for reminding us in Isaiah 55:11 that “just as rain and snow descend from the skies and don’t go back until they’ve watered the earth, doing their work of making things grow and blossom…so will the words that come out of My mouth not come back empty-handed.  They’ll do the work I sent them to do, they’ll complete the assignment I gave them.”
And Lord, if it’s Your Will, please help both kids be skilled readers.  Readers who love getting lost in a book and ones that retain what they read.  Reading is such a great gift. 
Amen

Keep It Simple (Prayer #15)

One of the blogs I have recently started following is called “The Actual Pastor.”  The author’s name is Steve Wiens and he’s a pastor at a church I attended and LOVED in Minnesota, called Church of the Open Door.  My sister sent me this link: Wins and Losses which is a great refreshing read for parents (seriously, check it out!).  I decided to check out his blog and connected with a lot of what he’s written. 

 

One of the things I liked that he shared was this prayer from Krista Tippet: “God, I am willing to do what you have put me on this earth to do.”  It was simple, but after reading it once, it echoed in me for days.  I actually went back to the blog to get the words phrased right and then put them up on my refrigerator.  I am willing.  I want to do what His purpose is for me today.  And it really is this simple.  It’s a breath of fresh air from my normal over-analyzing, wanting-to-know-the-whole-plan-now self.   I am willing.  I don’t have to figure EVERYTHING out for the rest of my life.  I am willing, today.
Recently, we were faced with a big decision as a family.  It would involve me spending a significant chunk of time outside of the home.  I wanted to make sure that we were right in our choice as it would really impact our family.  I started to stress about it….ah, back to my old over-analyzing tendencies again!  Then, I stopped, took a step back, and calmed down.  This past year, I’ve really been learning to focus on what God has had for me each day, not necessarily trying to figure out the big picture. 
It’s been freeing. 
It’s been easier. 
And the simple statement on my refrigerator totally resonates with this focus.  So we’ve made our decision and I’m trusting.  Trusting that as I am willing, God is going to lead not just me, but our entire family in the big decisions and in little choices. 

 

Thinking about all of this brought me back to some Francis Chan (from Forgotten God):

I think a lot of us need to forget about God’s will for my life.  God cares more about our response to His Spirit’s leading today, in this moment, than about what we intend to do next year.  In fact, the decisions we make next year will be profoundly affected by the degree to which we submit to the Spirit right now, in today’s decisions.  It is easy to use the phrase “God’s will for my life” as an excuse for inaction or even disobedience.  It’s much less demanding to think about God’s will for your future than it is to ask Him what He wants to do in the next ten minutes.  It’s safer to commit to following Him someday instead of this day.

God wants us to listen to His Spirit on a daily basis, and even throughout the day, as difficult and stretching moments arise, and in the midst of the mundane.  My hope is that instead of searching for “God’s will for my life,” each of us would learn to seek hard after “the Spirit’s leading in my life today.”  May we learn to pray for an open and willing heart, to surrender to the Spirit’s leading with that friend, child, spouse, circumstance, or decision in our lives right now.

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Lord,

May each of my children’s hearts cry out, “Lord, I am willing to do what you have put me on this earth to do.” And help me to live out this prayer each and every day.

In Jesus’ Name,
Amen