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Friday, August 5, 2011

Going Beyond "God Bless Them Today"

I've borrowed the title to this post from a chapter title in the amazing book A Mother's Heart: A Look at values, vision, and character for the Christian Mother written by Jean Fleming.  I read this book several years back when my now 13 year old daughter was very little.  Back to that chapter is just a minute.

Yesterday, our family left our house at 10:30 am and did not get back home until a little after 7 pm.  What did we spend all that time doing you ask?  Why back to school shopping of course!  School starts for my kiddos on Monday.  It seems a little awkward to be saying "kiddos"...Cecily (our oldest) is going into 8th grade and Bentley (our five year old) is going into Kindergarten.  Not to say it was any less hard seeing Cecily start school in Kindergarten, but I worked outside the home when she was little.  I had been away from her in her preschool days (something I often regret).  Bentley has never been in daycare or stayed anywhere outside the home.  He's always been at home with me. 

Monday morning is going to be tough on this mama!  You won't waste a prayer on me if I come to your mind on Monday!!

Anyway, back to preparation for school...

As we were in and out of the car shopping for tennis shoes times two and school uniforms times two and well basically everything times two, there was a constant check in my spirit.  I kept thinking to myself:  "You know this is a lot of effort and money being put into today.  We've got everything they need as far as supplies and clothing for school, but..."

But, are they covered?  Sure on the outside, but are they really covered?

I mentioned A Mother's Heart by Jean Fleming.  This is what she has to say in the chapter titled Going Beyond "God Bless Charlie" where she speaks about the importance of praying for our children:
"If Jesus Christ faced you squarely with the question, 'What is it you want?' - what would you ask Him to do for you?  Then think of your children.  What would you want Jesus to do for each of them?  What requests should you make for them?  Are there any guidelines to help you know what to pray?  How can you get beyond simply, 'God bless Charlie?'  Grappling with these questions forces us to examine our glib, quick, conscience-easer prayers and to rethink our motives and the content of our prayers for our children."
Ms Fleming goes on to share these three "guidelines" that will help you "ask big" in your prayers for your children:
  1. Pray for them to have a place in the kingdom - pray for each child's salvation.
  2. Pray that they would be a credit to the kingdom - that each child will develop a godly character.  Are the gifts we prepare for our children stitched and formed in prayer?  Is your child keeping bad company?  Are you concerned about various unpredictable influences in his life?  what character qualities could you ask God to develop in your child's life?  Is he responsive to God's Word?  Is he conscious of God's presence?  Is he seeking to obey God?  Is he trusting God in prayer?
  3. Pray that they wold be used to promote the kingdom - that each child will become a servant of others.  The job description is immaterial.  It is their heart for the kingdom that counts.
One thing I have found helpful in my prayers for my children is the Scriptures themselves.  A couple of years ago, Angie Smith (wife of Todd Smith who sings with the group Selah) had some helpful Scripture guided prayers posted on her blog Bring the Rain.  I actually printed them off and keep them in my Bible along with pictures of each of my kiddos:
  1. That Jesus will call them and no one will hinder them from coming:  Matthew 19:13-15
  2. That they will respond in faith to Jesus' faithful, persistent call:  2 Peter 3:9
  3. That they will experience sanctification through the transforming work of the Holy Spirit and will increasingly desire to fulfill the greatest commandments:  Matthew 22:37-39
  4. That they will not be unequally yoked in intimate relationships, especially marriage:  2 Corinthians 6:14
  5. That their thoughts will be pure:  Philippians 4:8
  6. That their hearts wil be stirred to give generously to the Lord's work:  Exodus 35:29
  7. That when the time is right, they will GO!  Matthew 28:18-20
Angie also had these specific prayers to pray over your children at very specific time throughout the day:
  1. When they wake up:  "Let the morning bring _________ word of your unfailing love, for she has put her trust in You.  Show ______ the way he/she should go, for to You he/she lifts up her soul."  Psalm 143:8
  2. When they are getting dressed:  "Therefore, as God's chosen child, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourself with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience.  Lord, help _______ bear with others and forgive whatever grievances he/she has against others.  Help him/her forgive as the Lord forgave him/her.  And over all these virtues, help him/her put on love, wich binds them all together in perfect unity."  Colossians 3:12-14
  3. While they are eating:  "Teach ________ the secret of being content in nay and every situation whether well-fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want.  Teach him/her that he/she can do everything through Him who gives him/her strength."  Philippians 4:12-13
  4. When they go out of the house:  "May ________ not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of his/her mind.  Then ______ will be able to test and approve what God's will is - His good, pleasing and perfect will."  Romans 12:2
  5. While they are taking a bath:  "Lord, give _______ clean hands and a pure heart, and let him/her not lift his/her soul to an idol or swear by what is false.  Let him/her receive blessing from the Lord and vindication from God his/her Savior.  Let him/her be part of the generation of those who seek Him, who seek Your face, O God of Jacob."  Psalm 24:4-6
  6. When they are going to bed:  "The Lord Your God is with you; He is mighty to save.  He will take great delight in you, He will quiet you with His love, He will rejoice over you with singing."  Zephaniah 3:17
  7. While they are sleeping:  "I pray that ______ will do everything without complaining or arguing, so that he/she may become blameless and pure, a child of God without fault in a crooked and depraved generation, in which he/she shines like a star in the universe as he/she holds out the word of life."  Philippians 2:14-16
So, won't you join me in making sure our kids are really covered this new school year?  We've bought the clothes and shoes and supplies, but will we commit to put the same amount of effort, no more effort, into covering our kids in prayer?

Blessings on you and your family as a new school year begins,


A Nest in the Rocks said...

I've seen lists of scripture for praying for your children over the course of a month, but never this type of time-specific prayer. I love it!

My oldest started K last year, and it was very hard. As a social butterfly, I was afraid peer pressure would sway her. She held firm and was great, though - but this will be a continued prayer for a long time! It's hard to send them
'out' for so many hours a day without us. I'll be praying for you on Monday!