We all pray for our children. We want them to do well in school, or to get a good job, or to stay healthy. But their greatest need for prayer is their spiritual lives.
The longer I am a parent, the more I see the truth in the Apostle John’s words:
I have no greater joy than this, to hear of my children walking in the truth. —3 John 4
If our children have a genuine walk with God, they will be better equipped to make wise choices throughout their lives. Our challenge, then, is how to pray for our children in this way.
When our daughters were only toddlers, Cathy and I participated an excellent parenting class that gave us a handout called: “How to Pray for Your Children.” We prayed through this list for years. In fact, as I read through each point today, I can remember specific instances in which God answered the prayers. He is still answering them.
I have edited the list and added some verses to it. I have also made a PDF you can download and print to keep in your Bible or prayer journal.
It’s never too late to begin praying for your children—and your grandchildren.
It is one of the greatest investments you will ever make into their lives.
You’ve heard the old cliché, “Prayer changes things.”
Yeah, okay, but what about the times when it just flat doesn’t? What’s wrong?
Why doesn’t God answer your prayers? As I’ve searched the Scriptures, I have discovered at least 5 reasons.
In some cases, we are not waiting on God; He is waiting on us.
Most Americans find it difficult to identify with the Jews who rock before the Western Wall in Jerusalem. I know I did at first.
It seemed, well, just . . . odd.
Then I thought about my traditions. Are they any less bizarre?
Oddness just comes in different flavors. They’re called “traditions.”
- Jews pray with their heads covered; we take our hats off.
- Their prayers are public and loud and showy; ours are private and quiet and restrained.
- They rock back and forth and mumble from a book; we bow our heads, close our eyes and utter unrehearsed words.
It’s easy in the familiarity of our own traditions to shake our fingers at the oddities of others. Jews pray while rocking, Muslims kneel with their bottoms in the air, and Christians bow our heads and close our eyes.
Blend any tradition—bowing, standing, prostrating, rocking, kneeling or jumping—with no personal relationship with the true God, and it’s totally pointless.
Maybe we Christians should open our eyes during prayer for a change.
Today you will be told to face the facts. Usually, that means bad news.
- You don’t have the money.
- The doctor’s report doesn’t look good.
- Time is running out on your biological clock.
- The friends whom you’ve been close to for years suddenly dump you.
Facing the facts is a hard part of life.
But think about it: facing the facts isn’t our problem. It’s that we fail to face all of them.
God has facts to factor into our thinking as well.
For many people, the holidays draw up painful memories. Sore spots from childhood or the loss of loved ones hit hard during this sentimental season.
While many people celebrate the joys of Christmastime, others suffer lonely holidays.
During one of the most desperate times of King David’s life, the anointed future king of Israel found himself running from two separate enemies—hardly a time to celebrate. With the Philistines to the west and King Saul to the east, a distressed David sought refuge in the cave of Adullam (1 Samuel 22:1–2).
David felt very alone.
His situation offers encouragement to us during lonely holidays.
I’m convinced that one of the greatest challenges we face is finding balance in the Christian life.
Think of a man walking on the high wire. There’s never a point at which he says, “Finally, I have balance!” and then just strolls across effortlessly. Balancing life’s tightrope proves no different.
It is a continual effort with constant adjustment.
“All we need,” we keep telling ourselves, “is just a little more time.”
Have you ever noticed that somehow Jesus balanced it all? The demands of His work and ministry left Him exhausted at times, of course—yet somehow He found time to get it all done.
Jesus perfectly balanced the demands of life—with the same 24 hours we have.
I remember in the 2008 election when Barack Obama conducted his world tour as part of his presidential campaign, he visited the Western Wall in Jerusalem.
You may remember that he inserted a prayer in the wall. The Jews consider this a sacred act—even if the individual represents another faith.
(Photo: Paul J. Richards / AFP – Getty Images)
After Obama left the Western Wall Plaza, someone scrabbled out the prayer—written on King David Hotel stationary—and took a picture of it.
Here’s what Obama’s prayer said:
In my previous post, I wrote about a Christian’s struggle with sin and 4 lies we believe about our sin.
Let’s take it a step further.
In addition to taking a defensive mindset against the lies we often believe, we need to take an active approach to sin and temptation.
Here are 4 basic strategies to help you battle the tug of temptation and sin on your heart.
God had promised a son to Abram. At the same time, God prevented conception.
This is the will of God? Go figure.
(Photo by Daniel Skorodjelow (Own work CC-BY-SA-3.0 or GFD), via Wikimedia Commons)
This tension eventually proved too much for Abram’s wife, Sarai. It seemed the only thing worse than the barren land she lived in was the barren womb she bore.
So Sarai pointed to Hagar, her Egyptian maid, and told Abram to provide a child through her (see Genesis 16:1–16). The culture allowed for this custom, but it was never the will of God.
The story is anything but ancient. These are decisions we’re tempted to make every day.
But there’s a wiser choice.
Unfair. That’s how it feels. Remember that childhood Christmas when your sister opened the gift you wanted? Or when your brother got a T-bird for graduation and you got stuck with the family Nova? Not fair.
Fast forward to today and ask yourself how it hits you when:
- A coworker gets a raise but you do more work—or perhaps, his work?
- A neighbor decorates her home from an unrestricted budget and you’re gluing the peeling wallpaper back on the wall?
- Your job reduces your salary because of the economy, but another business gives raises and bonuses?
We find ourselves kids again pouting around the Christmas tree.
There’s a reason Scripture has to command us not to covet. It’s in our nature. It’s systemic. If we can’t have more than others, at least we want it equal.
But less than others? Uh, no. That’s not fair.