Principles of family prayer (part 2)

When praying with your kids, make sure to include a lot of Scripture. They need to get their prayers from God’s Word, and they need to see what God says about their situation. We must keep our minds fixed on the Lord (1 Cor. 10:3-6).

We can’t know everything about a situation. We must get the mind of the Lord, properly applying the Word to the situation. Heb. 4:12 Our children must learn how to search God’s Word for themselves. Teach them how to use a concordance and how to pray scriptures. One book I highly recommend is Praying the Scriptures by Judson Cornwall.

Show then the Bible isn’t just a dusty old book on the shelf. It is alive and filled with God’s solutions. He will speak to them from His Word just as He does you. Let them own that. Give them opportunities to hear from God through His Word.

When they read God’s Word faithfully, they will increase their spiritual vocabulary. It is the highest form of literature and it will improve their prayers, making them more articulate and spiritually relevant (making more targeted prayers and not simple “bless my mommy” type prayers). They can read the prayers of others and it will inspire their own prayer time.

It will give them ammunition in their thought life. When ungodly thoughts come to mind they are able to combat them with scripture prayers. If fear tries to come, they can pray, “I thank you father, you have not given me a spirit of fear, but a spirit of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.” Instant prayers are contained in the Scriptures that come to mind in a crisis.

And speaking of a crisis, make a list of scriptures for emergency situations. When things are swirling, that is not the time to crack your Bible and try to find that scripture you can’t quite remember. One way you can do that is to have a file box in your kitchen or other central location. Use dividers for topics like healing, love, peace, relationships, etc. and write on scripture on each index card and place in the box. If you ever need them, there they are.

I hope you will use your Bible more with your children in your prayer time, not just as inspiration, but as a part of your armor of God (Eph. 6). The sword of the Spirit is a very effective weapon in your prayer time and teaching your kids how to use God’s Word effectively will transform your family prayer time

Principles of family prayer (part 1)

You may or may not know that I am the coordinator for kids prayer at my church. I love praying with kids, especially my own. There is such an purity and trust that comes through when they pray. Prayer is simply a conversation with God, and children love to talk to Him–and to hear from Him too.

 I have been teaching a series on “The 7 Be’s of Family Prayer” at different churches for over a year now and have had a lot of positive response.  I wanted to summarize this teaching to help your family in this area. I hope something that is said in this series will ignite your family to pray together more often. 

Principle 1: Be Consistent

God rewards faithfulness. Prayer is something that we do everywhere, all the time (Eph. 6:18). Be instant in season and out of season, ready to pray anytime. Make it a lifestyle. When you pray through your day, your children see that you don’t just pray at church or at mealtimes, but God is always ready to talk with us. If you hear of a tragedy somewhere or you pass an accident on the road, take a moment to pray about it. If someone comes to your mind several times, especially if you do not often think of them, pray for them. Pray all events that happen in your family.

Encourage your children to have quiet time with God. Even 4 or 5 year-olds can listen to praise music or a Bible on tape and have a few quiet moments to think about God. Schedule it into their day and as they grow older it will be a habit they treasure.

Make it a routine, not a stale ritual, to take everything to the Lord in prayer. You will grow closer together as a family, you will have more peace because you allowed God into your daily life and you will have greater joy seeing the answers to those prayers.

Our little garden

In art time I had my girls paint a picture. It could be about anything they wanted, so long as it fit the artistic criteria we were studying. What she did made my day.

g garden

The picture is a garden, with her family as the flowers. Jesus is watering us with His Word and God is shining down on us with rays of hope. When I asked her to write details about it so we can remember what it was about, I should have specified to write it on the back!

I am so glad to see that she is understanding what we are doing. She is “getting it,” and it is coming out of her even in her free time. Thank you Lord!

BTW, the drawing is in black crayon, the background is in cool colors and the flowers in warm colors. the crayon will keep the colors separate, unless you really go crazy with it. I think it’s lovely.

Has it really been a year already?

It was a year ago today that my father died suddenly of a heart attack. He was at home with my mom and laid down to take a nap and just didn’t wake up. There’s more to the story but that’s all I’m going to share here. It just seems hard to believe that it has already been a whole year.

My kids still talk about him from time to time. We laugh about things he said or did. I used to feel guilty that it seemed to easy to just go on with life. I don’t really feel that way now. It was good for me to get back into life, cry and laugh and hug my kids. It’s okay to feel all those feelings, good and not-so-good. They are all part of the healing.

There are things I miss. I will never have him show up at my door when I called with a computer problem, offering to fix my wayward machine. I miss his steady rhythm of life and the way nothing really shook him. I miss the smell of his cologne when I would give him a hug. His sense of humor was dry and sharp–just my style. I’m sad that I can’t call him for advice, have him there at life’s milestones or just sit and talk.

My dad was the strong, silent type. He didn’t say much, so when he did, you wanted to listen. There’s so much I took for granted and now he’s gone and I’ll never get that back. But what I can do now is live every day like it may be my last. I’ll try to hold my tongue but not leave the good stuff unsaid. I’ll believe in people more and be less focused on what I can get.

But more than that, I’ll work to look more like my Heavenly Father–fruit of the Spirit abounding and compassion overflowing. I’ll work hard to be my Father’s daughter. I want Him to be proud.