Christian Book Study Fellowship (CBSF) – 15012015 “Introduction and Chapter 1”

The mothers in MBSF were blessed to come together again this week to review and discuss on a book introduced to us by Cheryl – “Praying the Scriptures for Your Children”. In her own words, Cheryl has described this book as being so good she couldn’t wait to share it with us.

Hence this year, besides meeting for bible study, we meet for book study too! More opportunities and time to spend with these blessed ladies!

Before the study proper, we met for lunch at the fellowship hall as usual. That was Asher and Little E, the little police on patrol today. As we enjoyed our lunch fare, these two officers were patrolling the hall for any act of mischief or impropriety… Hahaha…

The Book – Praying the Scriptures for Your Children

Prayers permeated with the Word of God bring about changes in our children and keep us in touch with God’s priorities. This book is a great platform for us to start our own prayer circle with others for our children or for the children in our church and our sphere of influence. Indeed, there remains no place like God’s Word to turn to when you want to pray confidently, specifically and expectantly for the faith, character, safety, relationships, and future of our children.

Introduction: Getting Started in Prayer

Facilitator: Cheryl
Attendees: Linh and myself

I like how Jodie Berndt started this section comparing the fairytale story of “Sleeping Beauty”, which opens with all of the fairies in the kingdom bringing baptismal gifts to an infant princess. One fairy gives beauty, another offers virtue, a third bestows kindness, and so on until the little girl has everything she needs to grow into a wise and lovely young woman. I believe every mother who has read the story would have wished for the same blessings for their own children. The blessings in the story were so easy to come by – just by throwing a christening party, invite all the fairies, and “Voila!” your child would be covered.

But God gives us a far better way to provide these gifts (and so many more) for our children. He invites us to pray. He invites us to come to Him with our prayers and petitions. And we can be certain that He will fulfil our heart’s desire, when we pray according to His will.

What more if we learn to use God’s actual words as the foundation for our prayers? Our prayers come alive as our lips utter and pray straight out of the Bible, carrying the full weight and power of the infallible Word of God. As God says in Isaiah 55:11, “My word… will not return to me empty, but will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it.” And as pointed out in Scriptures, “the Word that God speaks is alive and full of power (making it active, operative, energizing, and effective).” (Hebrews 4:12)

A busy mom of 4 active children, Jodie Berndt found it difficult to set aside uninterrupted, protected time for her to pray undisturbed… until she was advised to “Just do it”, and she never turned back. It became a habit for her to pray wherever, and whenever she wants to meet God in communion.

Pastor and author Jack Hayford likens prayer to a partnership of the redeemed child of God working hand-in-hand with God toward the realisation of His redemptive purposes on earth. As we slip our hands into our Heavenly Father’s, prayerfully working with Him to see His purposes fulfilled in the lives of our children, may we come face-to-face with the God of Ephesians 3:20: “the One who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine.”

Sleeping Beauty may have a bevy of fairies in her nursery, but we have access to the throne room of the King of kings! May we all become prayer warriors for our own children!

Chapter 1: Praying for Your Child’s Salvation

1. When we pray for our children, we join God in the work He is doing in their lives.

Jodie Berndt shared the real stories of 3 mothers who pondered about the grace of God and the salvation of their children. God is not bound by our human failings. No matter how many parenting mistakes we make, His grace is more than sufficient to cover them. On the contrary, no matter how many things we do right to point our children to Christ Jesus, we cannot make them love The Lord, for faith cannot be forced upon someone. As it is written, For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith, and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God, not by works, so that no one can boast.” (Ephesians 2:8-9)

The sooner we realise it is not about what we do but about what God does, the sooner we will stop focusing on ourselves, our efforts and/or shortcomings, and begin focusing on God and His power. Similarly, the sooner we quit worrying about doing our part, the sooner we can start rejoicing in the fact that God is doing His part. And the sooner we recognise that God is at work, the sooner we can jump in and join Him.

2. Praying for our children’s salvation is asking God to give them the only gift that lasts forever.

Jodie Berndt shared an amazing story of a mother who prayed for her children’s salvation even before they were born, that they would be first a Christian, and second, be healthy. In other words, let her children live to be saved, regardless how old or young they might be.

Her prayer was answered in 2 of her children, but very significantly in her fourth child who was diagnosed with Endocardial Fibroelastosis, a very rare condition where the patient hardly survives past age one. Her child died at age 7.5 yo, seven months prior to his unexpected death, his father prayed with him to accept Christ as his Lord and Saviour, and he was baptised the week after. God let him live long enough to be saved.

In placing her children’s salvation as priority in her prayer list, and the fact that she prayed them even before they were born, this mother demonstrated spiritual maturity and an incredible faith in the One and true Living God who saves. She recognises what so many of us miss: that a relationship with the Saviour is far more important than anything else. A child can be blessed with a healthy body, good grades, outstanding character, etc. But without a relationship with Jesus Christ, it all counts for nothing! Amen!

3. When we pray for our children’s salvation, we can be confident that we are praying in accordance with God’s will.

Praying for our children to know and love God often demands incredible patience, perseverance and trust. Jodie Berndt shares the story of a mother who has not given up praying for her 3 children, of which 2 of them love The Lord, while one is what she calls “a work in progress”. She understands mothers who really grieve when their children are not in the fold.

Nonetheless, do not give up praying for our children. Holding on to God’s promises in Habakkuk 2:3,For the revelation awaits an appointed time… Though it linger, wait for it; it will certainly come and will not delay.” helps us to envision the day when our children will love The Lord with all their heart, mind and soul. 

Along with other promises in the Bible e.g. Jeremiah 31:16-17, Isaiah 54:31, Joel 2:25-26, etc. we can be assured that our prayers are aligned perfectly with God’s will for our children’s lives. As pointed out in 2 Peter 3:9, The Lord is not slow in keeping His promise, as some understand slowness. Instead He is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.” God desires our children to be saved.

Conclusions

Godly patience is the art of letting God set the timer.

1. Pray with an attitude of thanksgiving.

Thank God for the work He is doing in the lives of our children, even if we cannot see it at the moment. “Devote yourselves to prayer, being watchful and thankful.” (Colossians 4:2)

2. Build our faith.

Ask God to show us promises from His Word, then make them a focal point of our prayer life. This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us. And if we know that He hears us—whatever we ask—we know that we have what we asked of Him.” (1 John 5:14-15)

3. Be persistent.

Jesus tells us we should “always pray and not give up.” (Luke 18:1) Regardless we are praying for our children’s salvation or for someone or something else, we can all benefit from the advice found in Hebrews 10:36, You need to persevere so that when you have done the will of God, you will receive what He has promised.”

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