Saturday, 27 April 2013

Praying for our children

When we are raised in a particular denomination, I think we get comfortable with certain ways of doing things.  We are used to organ music or a drum kit, dismissing the children from the main service or having them sit with you, hearing a minister preach or congregational members.  There aren't any right ways or wrong ways, just the ways we are used to.  I'm always fascinated with seeing the different ways people worship.  It helps me to keep my own methods of worship from becoming rote, stale, repetitive.

Something I came across a few years ago has really left a deep impression on my heart.  Prayer was always an area I struggled with.  I could easily "say my prayers" at all the right times, and I even knew what a desperate plea was, and the typical "popcorn prayer" of a busy mother.  But I never really understood when I heard people saying they could spend a half hour in prayer.  What on earth are they praying for during all that time?  If I sat in one place for that long, my mind would be sure to wander, and I would simply be trying to fill "x" number of minutes instead of engaging in a real conversation with God.  Prayers, as I had been raised, were prayed from the heart, without any prompts.

Then I came across the idea of praying scripture.  This involves finding verses in the scriptures, promises from God, that you then personalize to yourself, your loved ones, or for whomever you are praying.  Wendy Blight put it this way:

"Hebrews 4:12 tells us that as we pray the Scriptures, we are praying God’s living and active Word into our circumstances and into the lives of our children.  Praying God’s Word is what makes our prayers powerful and effective.  Why?  Because we’re laying God’s promises before Him and and appropriating them for our [loved ones]."

What does this look like?  Here are some examples from Wendy's blog:

Maybe you want your child to know and love God’s Word.
- Hide Your Word in Grayson’s heart so his desire is to please and obey You in all he says and does.  Psalm 119:11
Help Betsy to trust in You with all her heart and lean not on her own understanding and to acknowledge You in all her ways.  Proverbs 3:5-6
Give Tyler wisdom beyond his years, Father, keep him pure by leading him to live according to Your word.  James 1:5, Psalm 119:9
Maybe you want your child to experience the deep love of God.
- Father, penetrate Christina’s heart with Your love, help her to love who You have created her to be, and ensure that she knows how long and wide and high and deep is Your love.  Psalm 139; Ephesians 3:18

Maybe your child needs freedom from anxiety and worry.
- Father, help Maddie to not worry about anything, but instead to pray about everything with a thankful heart.  Help her to understand that it is then that she will experience Your peace that passes all understanding in a way that will guard her heart and mind. Philippians 4:6-7

Maybe your child needs to learn humility.
- Clothe Spencer in humility and teach him to put others first.  Help him to see that it is when he humbles himself that he will be exalted. Ephesians 4:2; Colossians 3:12-13; Luke 18:14
Maybe your child is fearful.
- Father, teach Ellen to understand that You do not give a spirit of fear, but of power, love, and a sound mind. 2 Timothy 1:7
Maybe your child struggles with despair.
- Father, return to Ellie, the joy of her salvation.  Teach her to say, “This is the day the Lord has made, I will rejoice and be glad in it,” no matter what her day may hold.  Psalm 118:24; Psalm 51:12

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