A Prayer for Your Children

“Love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength. These commandments that I give you today are to be upon your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up.”

-Deuteronomy 6:5-7

Heavenly Father, I thank You for Your Word. Your Word is truth; it sets me free and keeps me free. According to Your Word, I thank You for teaching my children to fear You, for surrounding my children with divine favor, and for sending to my children godly friends. I consider it done in Jesus’ name. Amen.”

This prayer by Joe McGee is based on Psalm 34:11, Proverbs 9:10, Proverbs 1:7, Proverbs 3:16; Psalm 5:12 and Proverbs 27:17. He encourages parents to pray it daily for their children.

Joe McGee Ministries in Tulsa, Oklahoma, has many resources for families right here.

May we all be diligent this summer in passing on a strong faith in Jesus to our children, teaching them about Him when we are at home and on the road, morning and evening!

13 Years of Bliss

Michael and I celebrated our 13th anniversary yesterday. Some folks dislike that particular number, but having had our firstborn on Friday the 13th, we don’t subscribe to such silliness as luck! I am so blessed to have married a man who fears the Lord and loves me and our children so deeply. Thank You, God!

I recently came across some excellent and useful prayer tools on the topic of marriage and husbands. They are from a ministry called Revive Our Hearts, and I believe they are simply too good not to share.

First is a scripture-based daily prayer guide for praying for your husband. You can download the PDF here.

Next is the 30-day Husband Encouragement Challenge. The challenge is that you can’t say anything negative about your husband — to him or anyone else — and you must say something you admire or appreciate about him — to him and to someone else. I am going to attempt this one, and I’m asking my husband and my friends to keep me accountable! The file includes daily scriptures and encouragement for wives taking on this challenge. You can download the PDF here.  Anyone else up for it?

Last, and Michael’s favorite title, is 15 Ways to Please Your Husband. I was surprised to see “Keep your junk out of the garage” made the list. I never would have thought of it! You can download the complete list here .

On the same site — Revive Our Hearts — I came across theologian Jonathan Edwards’ 70 Resolutions for Godly Living. They drip with profound wisdom. Here a just two of my favorites:

#28: Resolved, to study the scriptures so steadily, constantly and frequently, as that I may find, and plainly perceive myself to grow in the knowledge of the same.

#69: Resolved, always to do that, which I shall wish I had done when I see others do it.

You can read through the complete list of 70 resolutions here.

Happy reading!

May God Bless America

Today is the National Day of Prayer, and as I look out the window I see a beautiful spring day. Buds have turned to growing leaves on the trees. The rustling grass has grown a vibrant green. It’s a sunny, breezy, 71 degrees in Minnesota. What a beautiful country we live in!

God has blessed us! How can we not respond with thanksgiving? How can we not praise the Maker of the beautiful creation around us? He is worthy to be praised. 

Today I am saddened to hear that the White House is not participating in the National Day of Prayer. When in our nation’s history has there been a more urgent need for prayer? So many Americans are without jobs today. So many are off fighting for freedom in distant lands. So many suffer from countless diseases and heartaches.

Especially when the leader of our country choses not to humble himself before God, the rest of us must continue to pray fervently and humbly. Let’s pray that God takes hold of our president and changes his heart. Let’s pray that the veil over the president’s eyes is lifted. Let’s pray that these remarkable trials draw our president into a right relationship with the One True God. Let’s pray that God will forgive our country’s arrogance, our self-sufficient attitudes, and our idolatry. Let’s ask Him to continue to bless the United States of America.

The prayers of the righteous will avail.

Believing in Miracles

A friend of mine asked me today how I respond to stories about God miraculously healing someone. She asked this knowing that I am a believer and knowing that my mother died of cancer when I was 17. Do I feel like my prayers for her healing went unanswered? Do I feel jealous? Do I feel disappointed? Do I question whether God wanted to heal her?

My short answer was that I used to feel that way, but now I rarely do. I think the more I learn about who God is, the less I question why my mother had no sudden healing on this earth. My temptation to feel jealous of other’s healing miracles still surfaces sometimes, but that’s when I must focus instead on the truth in God’s word. He is sovereign. He is all-knowing. He numbers our days. And He has purposes for suffering, divine purposes.

I have more thoughts on healing and miracles that I’d like to share, so perhaps this post will have a Part 2.

Visual Reminder: A Prayer Calendar

So earlier I posted that one of my resolutions for 2009 is to pray more intentionally for my two daughters. As a visual way to keep reminding myself of this, I created a prayer “calendar” page for all 12 months of 2009. Each month features a specific prayer and verse along with a favorite photo I’ve taken of Laurel, Linnea or both girls. I’ll keep one in my prayer journal and one on the bulletin board in our school room. Just thought I’d share the images here for anyone who wants to modify the idea for their kids. Of course, you are welcome to pray for Linnea and Laurel, too! (By the way, click the thumbnail for a larger view.)

Resolution: To Pray Better for My Kids

One of my all-time favorite verses is Philippians 4:6-7: “Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God, and the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.”


I memorized this verse when I was expecting my firstborn, and reciting it brought great peace through some big challenges I faced right before my bundle of joy arrived. Six years later, I can’t count the times this verse has brought peace in all sorts of situations as a mother.


Whether our children are still in the womb, asleep upstairs or all grown up and living half-way around the world, we moms and dads are frequently tempted to be anxious about our children. But then what an opportunity we have to meditate on biblical truths as we pray God’s Word, the sword of the Spirit, to fight for our children!


If we want to experience the joy of watching our children walk in the truth, we must pray for them, says Pastor John Piper of Desiring God Ministries (www.desiringGod.org). Watching your children walk away from the truth, he adds, is crushing.


“To lay hold on this joy and to prevent this pain, we must pray daily (sometimes hourly) and earnestly for our children,” Piper says.


Desiring God offers this list of seven things to pray for your children. My goal is to pray through these each week for both of my daughters.


1. Pray that Jesus will call them and no one will hinder them from coming. “Then children were brought to him that he might lay his hands on them and pray. The disciples rebuked the people, but Jesus said, “Let the little children come to me and do not hinder them, for to such belongs the kingdom of heaven.” And he laid his hands on them and went away.” (Matthew 19:13-15)


2. Pray that they will respond in faith to Jesus’ faithful, persistent call. “The Lord is not slow to fulfill his promise as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance.” (2 Peter 3:9)


3. Pray that they will experience sanctification through the transforming work of the Holy Spirit and will increasingly desire to fulfill the greatest commandments. “And he said to him, ‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the great and first commandment. And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ ” (Matthew 22:37-39)


4. Pray that they will not be unequally yoked in intimate relationships, especially marriage. “Do not be unequally yoked with unbelievers. For what partnership has righteousness with lawlessness? Or what fellowship has light with darkness?” (2 Corinthians 6:14)


5. Pray that their thoughts will be pure. “Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.” (Philippians 4:8 ) 


6. Pray that their hearts will be stirred to give generously to the Lord’s work. “All the men and women, the people of Israel, whose heart moved them to bring anything for the work that the Lord had commanded by Moses to be done brought it as a freewill offering to the Lord.” (Exodus 35:29)


7. Pray that when the time is right, they will go! “And Jesus came and said to them, ‘All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.’ ” (Matthew 28:18-20)


Also, not too long ago one of my best friends forwarded this list of 12 petitions to pray for children; specific verses accompany each petition. The instructions suggested praying for one petition each month so that, after a year, you’ll have thoroughly prayed for each petition. If you memorize the verses as you pray, you’ll also have a great stash of biblical truth to draw on in times of trouble or need.


Below is the list of petitions to pray for your children and references for the corresponding verses. I looked up each of the verses and wrote them down in a handy spiral-bound book of index cards to review as I pray.


Here are 12 more ways to pray for your children:


1. Pray that they will know Christ as Savior early in life. (Psalm 63:1 and 2 Timothy 3 :15)


2. Pray that they will have a hatred for sin. (Psalm 97:10)


3. Pray that they will be caught when guilty. (Psalm 119:71)


4. Pray that they will be protected from evil in each area of their lives: spiritual, emotional, physical. (John 17:15)


5. Pray that they will have a responsible attitude in all their interpersonal relationships. (Daniel 6:3)


6. Pray that they will respect those in authority over them. (Romans 13:1)


7. Pray that they will desire the right kinds of friends and be protected from the wrong friends. (Proverbs 1:10-14)


8. Pray that they will be kept from the wrong mate and saved for the right one.  (2 Corinthians 6:14-17)


9. Pray that they, as well as those they marry, will be kept pure until marriage. (1 Corinthians 6:18-20)


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


11. Pray that they will be single-hearted, willing to be sold out to Jesus Christ. (Romans 12:1-2)


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


Armed and Dangerous

(Please note: This is a piece I wrote last month for our church newsletter. I had intended to post it here several weeks ago, but I somehow got distracted.)

Lately God keeps reminding me to hide His living, active Word in my heart and to speak His Word in prayer. And it seems no matter where I go, this is the message I hear over and over.


The first reminder came as I was preparing to teach our Sunday School class of preschoolers and Kindergarteners. We were learning about Jesus in the desert being tempted by the devil, and there it was: Jesus victoriously using God’s Word, the sword of the Spirit, to fight the enemy and his lies. The devil had to flee, remember?


Oh, I wish you could have seen the surprised faces when I drew my plastic sword to hook the kids’ attention! As a mother of two girls, I never imagined those little boys would have so much to say about swords. They were ready to fight!


Hebrews 4:12 says, “For the word of God is living and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.”


The next reminder came in my Thursday night women’s Bible study Believing God, as author and speaker Beth Moore told us to be “armed and dangerous.” That is, armed with God’s Word and dangerous to the devil. Beth recounted a time when she was walking her dogs with her husband at his deer lease. A rattle snake reared its ugly head, ready to strike. In one very swift movement with his shotgun, Beth’s husband Keith immediately blew off the snake’s head. My apologies to any snake lovers that may be reading this, but what a vivid illustration of how God’s Word can crush the devil!


Finally, at our annual fall luncheon for women, another reminder came from keynote speaker Phyliss Masters, a retired missionary. Just 18 months before her husband was martyred, Phyliss had resolved to memorize God’s Word. She memorized one verse of Scripture a day, rehearsing and reviewing each verse for 49 days so that she would hide it in her heart for life. Phyliss had hundreds of Bible verses memorized at the time of her husband’s death, and she says God’s Word proved itself quick and powerful over and over again.


God not only licenses us to conceal and carry His Word as a weapon, but He also empowers us to use it, as 2 Timothy 3:16 says, for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness. May we always be quick on the draw!