The mothers met again for book discussion and fellowship today! Lunch today consisted of my multigrain fried rice, and Linh’s spring rolls and burbur chacha! We indulged in the feast in Judah room, together with our children, 4 yo Isaac, 3 yo Caleb, 20 mo Little E and 17 mo Asher.
While we fellowshipped over lunch, Little E and Asher were busy playing alongside each other. It was very thoughtful of Cheryl to bring along Asher’s stash of toys and storybooks to share with Little E.
Chapter 8: Praying for Self-Control, Diligence, and Self-Discipline
Attendees: Cheryl, Pearl, Linh
We discussed the following questions today:
- What are some of the things or ways you use to help your children to exercise self-discipline, diligence and self-control?
- Do you think these traits are natural? Born-in traits? Or are they acquired traits? Do you see your children having them as part of their character or did you have to teach them such traits in their growing years?
- Have you prayed Susan’s prayers for your kids before? If not, will you pray her prayer for your kids? Touch a little on Amos Yee. (pg 98)
- Is there a tendency that you may be similar to the protective and defensive parents described on pg 100?
- What are some of the struggles you experience in interacting with your kids? (pg 101)
- By praying together with our kids, they can hear what exactly we pray for them, and for them to see how the prayers are answered specifically, helps them to believe that God hears us and answers our prayers. (pg 102)
A. When we pray for our children to learn things like diligence and self-control, we are asking God to give them attributes that are absolutely essential to their future happiness and success.
The author shared a real-life example of her friend who have 2 sons: One is usually cheerful, docile and eager to please; while the other is often defiant, disobedient and prone to fits of temper. Same parents, very different kids.
Some children are born with tendencies toward self-discipline and self-control, and some are not. But worry not, because this doesn’t mean that those who are not born with such traits cannot acquire or learn them. In fact, to become happy, productive and satisfied adults, children should learn to acquire these important traits.
Hebrews 12:11 promises that discipline will produce “a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it.” And 2 Peter 1:5-9 reminds us that for those “who possess these qualities in increasing measure, they will be kept from being ineffective and unproductive in their knowledge of the Lord Jesus Christ. And for those who do not have such qualities, they are nearsighted and blind, forgetting that they have been cleansed from their past sins.”
They are mandatory assets without which genuine happiness, contentment, and satisfaction become impossible to attain.
B. Praying for God to give our children diligence, self-discipline and a sense of responsibility often demands a willingness to allow them to learn from their mistakes and be taught by pain and difficulty. → Learn to see trial as teachers.
The author shared how a friend of hers would pray specifically for her 6 yo son to be caught for stealing and lying, that he would admit to being a liar and thief, and that he would be sorry for his sin. Her son had been returning home with a few “extras” in his bag pack (pencils, erasers and other classroom “treats” he claimed to have been rewarded for his work). After confirming with the teachers, her son was the prime suspect for disappearing classroom supplies.
From the account above, we all agree that it is better to get nabbed at a relatively young age and learn an important lesson, than to grow up never paying the consequences, and miss out on learning traits like self-disciplne and self-control. If we as parents pray for (and enforce) a dose of self-control when our children pilfered pencils in elementary school, their characters can be polished to a brighter shine when the teenage years rolled around.
We will be giving our children the priceless gifts of hope and life by using such experiences to foster discipline and self-control in them. “Discipline your children, for in that there is hope; do not be a willing party to their death.” (Proverbs 19:18)
C. When we pray for God to work in our children’s lives, we can trust His promise to finish the job. → Do your best and let God do the rest.
As parents, we face the inevitable endless worrying for our children, no matter how effectively we parent or how committed we are to disciplining, encouraging, and praying for our children, we will never be “finished” with our parenting. None of our children (even those who seem to be born with a measure of diligence or self-control) is perfect. And so are we (not perfect). Take heart that the wonderful news is that God is with us through it all. When we pray for our children, we invite God to work in their lives. How encouraging and what a relief to know that we need not do it alone. May we have the confidence to entrust our children to God’s perfect care, through faith and persistent prayer.
“Being confident of this very thing, that He which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ.” (Philippians 1:6)
The author shared how she had been praying together with her daughter throughout one whole year, specifically for her to exercise diligence and responsibility in her schoolwork. That year end, her daughter came home with excellent marks on her report card. The amazing thing was that her teacher who had no idea what they were praying for, had remarked, “Hillary had worked so diligently and has shown great responsibility in learning and completing assignments.” Of all the things the teacher could have commented on, she specifically pointed to Hillary’s diligence and responsibility.
In addition to reinforcing our conviction that God hears our prayers, by praying together with our children, they can withhold tangible evidence of the faithfulness and love of our Heavenly Father when our prayers are answered. These are attributes of God that our children can depend and rely on as they grow.
- As parents, we need to equip our minds and hearts with the Word of God so that we will be prepared to pray with wisdom and power in any situation.
- Build our own prayer bank by “depositing” scriptures that we can pray for our children.
- When a prayer need arise during a situation, we may not always have a Bible handy, and even if we could get our hands on one, how many of us would know where to look for an appropriate verse to pray?
- Examples of prayer verses: Psalm 91:11, Philippians 1:10
- Whichever verses you choose, take the time to learn them by heart. So that when the prayer needs arise, we will be ready to approach God on our children’s behalf.