Today the mothers came together again to study, discuss and share about our own experiences and feelings about praying for our children to have a servant heart as well as having compassion and kindness.
Linh made our favourite turnip pork to serve with Vietnamese bee hoon and fresh lettuce and mint leaves as sides. We can never get tired of these!
Little E was the only kiddo today, because Asher was unwell, so Cheryl didn’t bring him along. That was Little E reading the books that Cheryl brought for her. It was so thoughtful of her!
Chapter 6 – Praying for a Servant’s Heart
Attendees: Pearl, Linh and myself
A. Praying for a servant’s heart is asking God to make our children more like Jesus Christ.
It seemed natural for us to strive for position, control, and eager to be first in almost everything, regardless at the workplace, in the supermarket checkout line, or even in traffic. We live in a culture that rarely notices or rewards selflessness, is it really worth praying for our children to have a servant’s heart?
Jesus certainly thought so. The Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life as a ransom for many. (Matthew 20:28, Mark 10:45) When we ask God to give our child a servant’s heart, we are praying that he or she will be more like Jesus.
B. Praying for a servant’s heart involves praying for genuine, self-sacrificing love.
The author shared a story of how a group of teenage boys venturing into a blinding snowstorm to push a bunch of stranded cars out of the ditch. They did not do it out of expecting any reward, they endured the biting cold to help set people free.
Having a servant’s heart means being excited about making someone else successful. Heartfelt service goes beyond merely rejoicing when another person succeeds, it involves taking action that contributes to the victory.
The Bible tells of Jonathan who risked his life and his soon-to-be-inherited dynasty, to orchestrate David’s escape and helped pave the way for David to take over the kingdom. (1 Samuel 18 – 20) This kind of love compels our children to give up their “crowns” – their rights, positions and even time, to help other people. Just as what Jesus called us to do, “Love each other as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends.” (John 15:12-13)
May we ask God to let our children be motivated by love, so that they can be genuinely excited about serving others, even if it means sacrificing their own needs or desires.
C. Praying for a servant’s heart in our children means praying that they will learn to look beyond the task at hand to see the Master whom they serve.
We can pray that our children be alert and diligent, eager to go the extra mile to see a project through to completion, with kindness, compassion, generosity and selflessness as the driving forces behind what they do.
Let us count on God to open their eyes to opportunities for service. One of the author’s favourite bible verse is “Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest is we do not give up.” (Galatians 6:9) May we pray this not only for our children, but for ourselves too, knowing that Jehovah Elohim, our Lord who is both personal and Almighty, both willing and able, both loving and powerful, to sustain us through the challenges of raising our children and pointing them towards Christ Jesus.
Chapter 7 – Praying for Kindness and Compassion
A. When we pray that our children will be alert to opportunities to show kindness and compassion, we invite God to help them slip into others’ shoes.
The author started the chapter by sharing a story that teaches us about cultivating kindness and compassion in our children, reminding us to pray specifically for our kids to recognise and seize the opportunity to care for others, even in the face of uncertainty or difficulty, keeping in mind that kindness very often may go unappreciated or un-noticed.
May we also pray for our children to identify the needs of those around them, remembering that it could just be one of them who was hurting. “Remember those in prison as if you were their fellow prisoners, and those who are mistreated as if you yourselves were suffering.” (Hebrews 13:3)
B. Praying for our children’s lives to be marked with a Christlike compassion opens the door for God to work on their attitudes as well as their actions.
Compassion is having pity, feeling sympathy for another, and doing something about it. But this combination of attitude and action does not come naturally, particularly in our self-centred, fast-paced society.
There were no less than 120 references of compassion in the Bible. In the Old Testament, the picture emerges again and again of a compassionate father-figure, a God whose “compassions never fails”. (Lamentations 3:22) In the New Testament, this same compassion is what motivated Jesus to stop, listen, touch and heal, over again and again.
The following verse contains the ingredients that mark genuine kindness and compassion – a readiness to share, an ability to recognise needs, a sympathetic heart, an openness to God’s love, and a willingness to take action on behalf of others. “If someone has enough money to live well and sees a brother or sister in need but shows no compassion—how can God’s love be in that person?Dear children, let’s not merely say that we love each other; let us show the truth by our actions.” (1 John 3:17-18)
C. The most effective prayers for kindness and compassion begin with an awareness of the God-created preciousness of those in need.
How do we cultivate kindness and compassion in our children’s hearts? It is impossible to manufacture a compassionate heart, since we cannot make our kids sensitive to the needs of others, we cannot compel them to feel pity or love, and we cannot force them to translate these attitudes into action…
The author shared of how her grandmother always regarded everyone she met, regardless good or bad, pleasant or ugly, as a precious child of God. Her grandmother saw God’s image reflected in those around her, that inspired her to love others and identify with their needs. It was a joy, never a burden, to devote her time, money and energy to meeting them. “Walk with the King today, and be a blessing!” was what Grandmother would say each morning as she sent her 4 children off to school!
May we be diligent in praying for our children to walk with the King and be a blessing everyday, even if it means putting their own needs, desires or agendas on hold. Let us pray that they will see Jesus reflected in their friends, their teammates, teachers and their family, that they will not be hard-hearted, but look at the world through the loving eyes of God.
“I will give them an undivided heart and put a new spirit in them; I will remove from them their heart of stone and give them a heart of flesh.” (Ezekiel 11:19) God does not change. He is the same yesterday, today, and forever. What He did for the Israelites in the above verse, he can do for our children, turning hardened hearts of stone into compassionate hearts of flesh.
God is, after all, in the heart surgery business. 😉