The mothers group met again for book discussion and fellowship this week! We were so blessed to have Linh prepared lunch for us all today. It was so delicious most of us had second or third helpings to it!
While we had lunch in Judah room, Leng was taking care of Little E and Asher in the fellowship hall where there are lots of toys. Naturally, they were drawn to the police cars again.
They joined us upstairs only after they had their fill of play and mingling, to fill their hunger next!
Chapter 2: Praying for your Child to Love God’s Word
Attendees: Cheryl, Pearl, Linh, Hazel, Judy
The author began the chapter by sharing how her 2 of her children were role-playing the account of Palm Sunday, noting how well her 5 yo daughter had remembered the true story in the Bible, further reciting the anguish of the cross, the fear and confusion of Christ’s followers, and the incredible triumph of the resurrection to her 3 yo brother.
1. Praying for our children to know, love, and use God’s word is one of the most effective ways to pray for their spiritual protection.
God’s Word acts as a guiding light for our children especially in the complex world today: when peer relationships, academic challenges, and other pressure that can generate a cloud of darkness, confusion or distraction in their lives. As we can see in the author’s 5 yo daughter, a love of Scripture can begin at an early age. Psalm 119:105 likens God’s Word (including His laws, His commandments, His promises), to a lamp for our feet, that sheds light on our path. Here, we see that God’s word illuminates. It reveals to us the good and the bad, the wise and the unwise. It is the ultimate tool in learning how to live the best possible life, free from the restraints of stumbling in darkness.
Furthermore, God’s Word is truth, plain and simple. “Sanctify them by Your truth. Your word is truth.” (John 17:17) We can have perfect confidence in the fact that His words are accurate, true and unerring. When followed, they guide us without fail in the paths that we need to walk.
God’s Word acts as a protective shield against the satanic schemes and assaults they often mask. Our prayers can undoubtedly be the 1st line of defence against these evil temptations, imagine that! and believe it! As 1 Peter 5:8 warns, “Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.” We ought to be careful to guard against his devices and schemes that sow seeds of tension, rebellion and destruction in our families.
The apostle Paul wants us to wield God’s word as the Sword of the Spirit. It is one of the pieces of spiritual armor Paul tells us to put on as part of the “full armour of God” that will enable us to stand our ground against evil. Unlike all other pieces of the armour of God mentioned in Ephesians 6, which are solely defensive, the sword is uniquely suited for both defensive and offensive roles. As soldiers in God’s army, it is our responsibility and duty to use His Word to discern the truth and then follow it. When God’s Word shows us something wrong in ourselves, we can use this spiritual weapon to “surgically” remove the offending thoughts and actions (2 Corinthians 10:4-5).
Hence, let’s pray for our children to be equipped with the knowledge and prayerful application of God’s Word so that they could withstand and overcome the devil’s pressures and temptations that come their way.
2. When we ask God to hide His word in our child’s heart, we are asking Him for the blessings of wisdom, protection and freedom.
In Luke 4, Jesus showed us the one key to withstand the devil’s schemes is to know and use God’s word against him. Not through intellectual prowess, physical strength or willpower, instead, only the Word of God is the sole counterattack against the devil’s attacks. Having Jesus and following Him as our perfect example, if our children knows and loves the word of God, they will be well-equipped to withstand the attacks and temptations that come their way. Although the pressures themselves do not disappear for good, they will nonetheless become easier to address.
God’s commands are not meant to limit our freedom, rather, they are meant to protect us and show us how to live life to the fullest. “… the truth will set you free.” (John 8:32) The freedom Jesus offers is a spiritual freedom from the bondage of sin, releasing us from the lifestyle of habitual lawlessness. Jesus is the Truth (John 14:6). Knowing the Truth will set one at liberty, free from sin, free from condemnation, and free from death (Romans 6:22; 8:1-2). Jesus came to proclaim liberty to the captives (Luke 4:18). “Live as people who are free, not using your freedom as a cover-up for evil, but living as servants of God” (1 Peter 2:16).
We ought to pray for our children to see God’s word for what it is: a guiding light that illuminates the pathway to God’s blessings. Let us pray according to Psalm 119:11 that our children will love God’s word, hiding it in their hearts to keep them from sinning against God and interfering with the blessings that God wants to provide.
3. Enlisting the support of a praying friend multiplies the power of your prayers and invites God into your prayer circle.
Jodie Berndt shares a true story of her friend who has 4 kids, with one teenage child Emily, who was under the pressures of high school life that took away much of her time from family devotionals and Christ-centered activities. Her busy school life robbed her interest and love for God’s word, leaving her no time to pray and read the Bible. Then Emily volunteered in a month-long summer camp run by Young Life, an organisation that shares the gospel with high school students. There, she forged friendships that helped her realign her priorities. She began imitating the habits of other volunteers, reading the Bible and looking forward to Bible study discussions.
The few weeks following the camp saw Emily transformed. She was a new person, her faith has grown leaps and bounds. She even gave her best friend a devotional book so that they could study the Bible together. Then school started again, before long, the “old Emily” reappeared. She won a place in the varsity soccer team, and that, coupled with the heavy workload of her semester, left her no time and energy to get together with friends, let alone to read and study the Bible.
Is the above story familiar? As Jodie the author, and her friend prayed together, they were reminded of the Parable of the Sower recorded in Luke 8, Matthew 13, as well as Mark 4. (http://wp.me/p48223-vQ) Seeing that Emily was like a healthy plant being choked by thorns (e.g. homework, sports, peer pressure, relationships, busy schedules, etc.), they prayed according to Luke 8:15 that Emily’s heart would be good soil, that she would hear the word, retain it, and by persevering, produce a good crop.
Jodie and her friend are still praying for Emily and they are both still waiting to see how God will answer their prayers. Although they do not know how or when God will answer their prayers, they are certain that it will come, because God always keeps His promises. “Again, truly I tell you that if two of you on earth agree about anything they ask for, it will be done for them by my Father in heaven. 20 For where two or three gather in my name, there am I with them.” (Matthew 18:19-20)
From providing directions to offering protection, God’s word is brimming with promises that is useful in our lives. One of the best way to foster a love for God’s word is to encourage our children to memorise Scripture, tapping into their seemingly limitless capacity for memorisation.
The more we know and understand the Word of God, the more useful we will be in doing the will of God and the more effective we will be in standing against the enemy of our souls.
Chapter 3: Praying for your Child’s Gifts
Each one should use whatever gift he has received to serve others, faithfully administering God’s grace in its various forms. (1 Peter 4:10)
1. Praying for our children to recognise their giftedness can help them gain a sense of destiny as they consider the ways God might use them.
God gives us and our children talents or abilities for a purpose. Learning to recognise their gifts will enable them to discern more clearly the ways in which God might use them. By paying attention to our children’s gifts will also allow us to encourage hem to use their God-given gifts for God’s kingdom.
2. When we ask God to help us identify and appreciate the unique gifts He has given our children, we invite Him to show us our kids as He sees them: glimmering diamonds in the rough.
We can be certain that every good and perfect gift is from God who is above all. Nonetheless, while the gifts that God gives us are perfect, we may not always use them in the right way, as He has intended us to use them.
Knowing that gifts can be misused can help us as parents to not focus on our children’s negative traits. Instead, it gives us the power to nurture their underlying talents and abilities. May God give us wisdom to guide our children according to the gifts that He has exclusively given them. Any mistakes or shortcomings in our children can be turned into talent-shaping opportunities.
3. Praying that our children will stay close to the Lord can help them yield their gifts and talents to accomplish His purposes.
No matter how talented or gifted our children may be, as long as they walk close to the Lord, we can be certain that they will be truly successful, in that they will be able to do God’s work.
As parents, we ought to guard ourselves from obsessing over our own children’s giftedness. We must be aware and remember that the gifts God gives us are meant to build up the body of Christ. Our job is not so much to develop our children’s gifts and talents as it is to encourage them to stay close to the Lord.
As parents, we want to give our children the very best. All the more, our Heavenly Father longs to shower them with blessings and equip them with everything they need to love Him deeply and serve Him effectively. Let us ask God to empower them through the Holy Spirit, and then watch as He blesses them with gifts, talents and abilities that are far better than anything we could imagine.