Posts Tagged ‘Prayer’

We use them every day. We have keys that open the door of the house, or the office, or the car. Keys that lock important items or documents behind secure doors. We even have electronic keys – we call them “passwords.”


Jesus told His disciples, “And I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven, and whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven.” Matthew 16:19 (NKJV).


The keys to which Jesus is referring is the gospel of salvation. We have the information to share with others that will enable them to access the same resources for eternity that we have. The key Jesus was talking about is prayer. I love the words in that small, special book, Steps to Christ, “prayer is the key in the hand of faith to unlock heaven’s storehouse, where are treasured the boundless resources of Omnipotence? (SC p.93–95).


Use prayer and the gospel to open heaven’s storehouse to your family.

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Watch therefore, and pray always that you may be counted worthy to escape all these things that will come to pass, and to stand before the Son of Man.” Luke 21:36 (NKJV)

Here are a few more ideas to teach our children to pray from Children’s pastor Pete Hohmann.[i]

24 hour prayer vigil.  This would work well if you join other parents, and their children.  Kids sign up for a 30-minute time slot and pray around the clock for a specific reason.  This also works well during camps or weekend retreats when all the children are together in one place, or during a school lock-down where teachers, parents, and kids spend an entire night, locked inside a school, both in prayer and playing.

Outreach Prayer. Teach kids how to pray for others, particularly in preparation for some outreach activity such as an evangelistic effort.  If you are aware that the pastor or a member of the church is preparing someone for baptism by studying the bible with them join your children in praying for those studying and those providing the studies.  If your church is mailing fliers to invite the community for an event at the church or if there is an event scheduled spend time praying for those fliers and for each person that will receive them that they may respond and attend the event.

Prayer Retreat. A prayer retreat allows kids to reach deeper levels of intercession.  Plan to have short presentations about prayers, inspirational stories, question and answer periods, and also periods of prayer based on what is being discussed.

Debriefing.  It is good to  debrief times of prayer.  Talk about such things as, what did God show you?  What did you learn?  How did God use you during prayer?  How do you feel?

While prayer should become as natural as breathing, our children need to learn about it: “By your own example teach your children to pray with clear, distinct voice. Teach them to lift their heads from the chair and never to cover their faces with their hands. Thus they can offer their simple prayers, repeating the Lord’s prayer in concert.”[ii]

Father God, help our children to experience and enjoy communion with you through prayer, and may it become as natural as breathing.

[i] http://singles.ag.org/singleparents/spirituallife/?targetBay=d101cc3a-9cb6-411a-95b0-9ed87e198c95&ModID=2&Process=DisplayArticle&RSS_RSSContentID=22938&RSS_OriginatingChannelID=1255&RSS_OriginatingRSSFeedID=4964&RSS_Source=

[ii] White, E.G. Child Guidance, p.522

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Teach them to pray – 2

He will convince parents to look after their children and children to look up to their parents. If they refuse, I’ll come and put the land under a curse.” Malachi 4:6 (MSG)   

Children’s pastor Pete Hohmann[i] gives us a few more suggestions to teach our children to pray.

Prayer Meetings. Weekly prayer meetings could include touching base, in other words, sharing how your week went.  You can also include praise and worship, video clips, global intercession and personal prayer needs.

Prayer Walks.  You can walk around your child’s school stopping to pray for the teachers and students, the principal and the cleaning personnel, the facilities and the playground. You can walk around your church praying for the pastor, the church leaders, the members, and those who visit the church.  Stop at every classroom, the sanctuary, even the foyer asking for a blessing on every person who will be there on that day.  You can also do a prayer walk around your neighborhood, praying for the people in every home.  One other special prayer walk can be a hike in nature, stopping every so often to admire God’s creation and to thank Him for it.  Other places to pray walk may include government offices (city hall, post office, court house, etc.), prisons/jails, places where historic events took place, etc.

Prayer Watches.  As the kids get older, you can try this for a period of time; for instance. 7:00 PM to midnight works well.  Plan prayer activities that change at least every hour (worship, conversational prayer, prayer walks, and refreshments).  If you plan to pray without a break this time will not be enjoyable and will probably become more of a burden than a joyful experience.

In the book Child Guidance we find these words: “Pray much more than you do. Lovingly, tenderly, teach your children to come to God as their heavenly Father. By your example teach them self-control and helpfulness.”[ii]  Prayer does not have to do only in times of need, only kneeling, or only with our eyes closed.  We can teach them, as Jesus told us, to pray always. (Luke 21:36)

Father God, bless our children and may they cultivate a strong faith and trust in you all the days of their lives.

[i] Ibid.

[ii] White, E.G. Child Guidance, p. 478

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But Jesus said, “Let the children come to me, and don’t try to stop them! People who are like these children belong to God’s kingdom.” Matthew 19:14 (CEV)

Children’s pastor Pete Hohmann[i] says that sometimes we “spiritually abort” a child’s desire to pray.  Did you ever act as though you were spiritually superior to children, or ignored what a child was saying because you didn’t believe that God would speak through them, or preferred to have adults pray for you rather than children?  Did you ever exclude children from participating in prayer activities with adults, or view a child’s prayer as “cute,” but not as an effective means of making a difference, or failed to mentor children and release them to pray?  Here are a few things you can do to mentor and encourage your children, from the time they’re small, to make prayer a personal, daily habit.

Conversational prayer.  Pray short, simple, natural, to the point, “kid” prayers.  Pray for one topic at a time.  Don’t make the language long and complicated but  rather use the words that they understand and use at every stage in their lives.

Praying the Scriptures. Read a Scripture and then turn it back into a prayer to God.  Try praying Psalm 23.

Identificational prayer.  Encourage kids to be more specific in their prayers.  God often speaks to children through mental pictures.  He knows they are concrete thinkers.  When we pray “global;” or “general” prayers we sometimes don’t recognize when they have been answered.  Praying “bless everyone” does not mean as much as “help aunt Mary so that her headache may go away.”

50/50 Prayer.  Teach your children to pray for someone with the same need in a different country.  What do children in another part of the country lack and need?  How about praying for a child they know and doing something to help them meet that need?

Songs as Prayers. Look for songs like “Shine, Jesus, Shine,” or “This little light of mine,”  “Open my eyes, Lord, I want to see Jesus,” or “Pass me not o gentle Savior,” and many more.

Father God, even as we speak to you in prayer, help our children to have this personal conversation with you from the time they are young.

[i] http://singles.ag.org/singleparents/spirituallife/?targetBay=d101cc3a-9cb6-411a-95b0-9ed87e198c95&ModID=2&Process=DisplayArticle&RSS_RSSContentID=22938&RSS_OriginatingChannelID=1255&RSS_OriginatingRSSFeedID=4964&RSS_Source=

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ScriptureHear my prayer, O LORD, And let my cry come to You. 2Do not hide Your face from me in the day of my trouble; Incline Your ear to me; In the day that I call, answer me speedily. 3For my days are consumed like smoke, And my bones are burned like a hearth. . .   This will be written for the generation to come, That a people yet to be created may praise the LORD. Psalm 102:11-3, 8 (NKJV)


Observation: Some think that David penned this psalm at the time of Absalom’s rebellion; others that Daniel, Nehemiah, or some other prophet, penned it for the use of the church, when it was in captivity in Babylon, because it seems to speak of the ruin of Zion and of a time set for the rebuilding of it, which Daniel understood by books, Dan. 9:2. Or perhaps the psalmist was himself in great affliction, which he complains of in the beginning of the psalm, but (as in Ps. 77 and elsewhere) he comforts himself under it with the consideration of God’s eternity, and the church’s prosperity and perpetuity, how much soever it was now distressed and threatened. But it is clear, from the application of v. 25, 26, to Christ (Heb. 1:10–12), that the psalm has reference to the days of the Messiah, and speaks either of his affliction or of the afflictions of his church for his sake. In the psalm we have, I. A sorrowful complaint which the psalmist makes, either for himself or in the name of the church, of great afflictions, which were very pressing (v. 1–11). II. Seasonable comfort fetched in against these grievances, 1. From the eternity of God (v. 12, 24, 27). 2. From a believing prospect of the deliverance which God would, in due time, work for his afflicted church (v. 13–22) and the continuance of it in the world (v. 28). In singing this psalm, if we have not occasion to make the same complaints, yet we may take occasion to sympathize with those that have, and then the comfortable part of this psalm will be the more comfortable to us in the singing of it. [Henry, M. (1994). Matthew Henry’s commentary on the whole Bible: Complete and unabridged in one volume (888). Peabody: Hendrickson.]


Application: A mud slide destroyed many homes and killed many people, in fact, it wiped out an entire community.  A airliner crashed killing all its occupants and leaving many families grieving their loss.  A child was diagnosed with terminal cancer and her life was cut short at the tender age of three.  Three firefighters were killed fighting an apartment fire in a large city.  A building collapsed killing many of its residents.  Five soldiers were killed with a road-side bomb.

We read, hear, or see stories like these almost every day in the news or online.  We hear them so often that they lose their impact the more often they happen.  It is as if we become immunized to the bad news a little at a time…until it happens to us or to someone we know personally.  It’s one thing to hear of a plane crash, but it’s another to know one of the passengers.  It’s one thing to hear of a police officer that was killed, but it’s another thing to have known him personally and attend his funeral.  It’s one thing to hear of the young cancer victim, but it’s another thing to be her pastor, her parent, or her grandparent.

For any one of us experiencing deep pain and sorrow David’s words become ours.  While we’re going through the darkest moments in our lives it is as if God were not there.  We cry out, “God, please, don’t hide from me in my pain!”  But the psalmist words are also very encouraging.  God is not hiding His face from us in our pain and sorrow.  On the contrary, His face shines in our darkness, His warmth surrounds us when we feel alone, and at the end we will sing His praises.


A Prayer You May Say:  Father God, thank You for always being next to us in our pain and sorrow.  We trust You and that one day we will be able to praise Your name and tell others of your love and encouragement during our darkest hours.

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Scripture:  “I thank my God always, making mention of you in my prayers.”  Philemon 1:4 (NASB)

Observation: My prayers. Sharing with God the joys and sorrows of life as friend to friend, is prayer at its best. Again, Paul reminds Philemon of the deep respect and gratitude the apostle feels toward him. Tactfully, Paul prepares the way for Philemon to accord Onesimus a kindly reception. There is an abundance of encouragement in the certain knowledge that a beloved and respected friend is praying for us, that this friend has full confidence in our integrity and sanctified judgment (see vs. 5–7). Such is the assurance that Paul gives Philemon. 9 The Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary, Volume 7. 1980 (F. D. Nichol, Ed.) (379). Review and Herald Publishing Association)

Application: Do you see your child as a gift from God?  He has entrusted you with one of the greatest treasures you will ever own. Yet, do our words regard them as such? If we were to take an inventory perhaps we would be surprised at how often we speak in ways that are to the contrary.

Focusing on the negative is an easy trap to fall in to. Complaining and griping is one of Satan’s tactics that all too often work. Do you often find yourself speaking negatively about your child? It is easy to make our daily prayers look more like a “fix it” list. That list becomes long as we spend prayer time asking God to “fix” our children and our spouse. We gladly hand God His “to do” list every day. Our prayers ascend to the heavenly throne and sound like this… “Lord, fix John’s grumbling, make Katie quit fighting with her little sister, help Michael study harder and make better grades, and please let Susie sleep through the night. ”

When was the last time that you devoted prayer time exclusively to thanking God for each member of your family?  Mention them by name and thank God for specific things about each one. And, don’t forget to tell them too. Knowing that you have been a praise on someone’s prayer list can be powerful. By focusing on the positives our daily “fix it” lists to God can become times of thanksgiving and praise. ” Lord, thank you for John’s ability to see things that need changing, thank you that little Katie can stand up for herself when she sees injustice, thank you that Michael enjoys being out in your creation, and thank you for little Susie’s energy. ”

A Prayer You May Say: Dear Lord, thank you for (insert your child’s name). Thank You for the awesome priviledge of being his/her parent. Thank you for the gifts such as (be specific and list positives).  In the name of Jesus. Amen.

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Scripture: One day some parents brought their children to Jesus so he could touch and bless them. But the disciples scolded the parents for bothering him. Mark 10:13 (NLT)


Observation: Little children brought to Christ, v. 13. Their parents, or whoever they were that had the nursing of them, brought them to him, that he should touch them, in token of his commanding and conferring a blessing on them. It doth not appear that they needed any bodily cure, nor were they capable of being taught: but it seems, 1. That they had the care of them were mostly concerned about their souls, their better part, which ought to be the principal care of all parents for their children; for that is the principal part, and it is well with them, it if be well with their souls. 2. They believed that Christ’s blessing would do their souls good; and therefore to him they brought them, that he might touch them, knowing that he could reach their hearts, when nothing their parents could say to them, or do for them, would reach them. We may present our children to Christ, now that he is in heaven, for from thence he can reach them with his blessing, and therein we may act faith upon the fulness and extent of his grace, the kind intimations he hath always given of favour to the seed of the faithful, the tenour of the covenant with Abraham, and the promise to us and to our children, especially that great promise of pouring his Spirit upon our seed, and his blessing upon our offspring, Isa. 44:3. [Henry, M. (1994). Matthew Henry’s commentary on the whole Bible: Complete and unabridged in one volume (1799–1800). Peabody: Hendrickson.]


Application:  We’re often reminded of this story on those days when we have a service of dedication of children in church.  It is then that we affirm their parents for making that important decision and confirm their commitment to raise their children to love and follow Jesus.  But we have to be reminded, as parents, that dedicating our children to God should not be something that happens early in the life of the child, once and for all, but rather something that we do every day of their lives, even (or maybe specially so) when they have grown up and have moved away from home.

We’ve talked about the importance of praying for our children daily in other places.  This prayer that we speak about today is not simply a prayer of requests but a dedication, or a presentation of our children to God.  It is as if we lifted them up so they may be closer to God.  And isn’t that the best place for them to be?


A Prayer You May Say:   Father God, I lift my children up to you today.  May they draw closer to you each day.

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Turn Humbly Toward God

Scripture: But I, the LORD, won’t destroy any of your people who are truly humble and turn to me for safety. Zephaniah 3:12 (CEV)


Observation:  These verses emphasize the fact that the judgment on the day of the Lord is a purging judgment. The reason why “you shall not be shamed” is that the blot of wickedness will be removed from Jerusalem. The “remnant of Israel,” that is, those who are saved from the judgment, pattern their lives after the Lord whom they serve (v. 5). They live humbly, trustingly, and righteously under the watchful care of their God.[ Andrews Study Bible Notes. 2010 (J. L. Dybdahl, Ed.) (1207). Berrien Springs, MI: Andrews University Press.]


Application: Insurance companies have termed catastrophic events in nature, such as tornadoes, earthquakes, and hurricanes, as “acts of God.”  In that sense, Satan has continued to spread widely lies about God blaming Him for the things that he and his evil companions cause upon this earth and its people.  The promise of this verse is that God won’t destroy any who turn to Him humbly for safety.

As I think of all the marriages and families falling apart, the destructive hand of the devil has caused painful havoc to many innocent children’s lives.  The security and safety of their homes, the loving atmosphere of their parents’ marriage, the peace and comfort they should enjoy during their growing years has been exchanged by yelling, anger, and even physical harm.  It is no wonder that many children, growing in such homes, don’t seem to have any interest in God or what He has planned for them.  If parents facing marriage difficulties would stop to consider the damage they’re causing their children instead of only looking at the pain they’re experiencing at the moment they might take the steps to change their home situation for the benefit of all.

Today’s verse holds a promise for all of us wishing to have a happy, healthy home.  Turn humbly toward God for in Him we will find our safety zone.  Commit yourself and your family to God every day, humbly submit to His power and His guidance, and rest confident in His protection.  The key word is “humbly.”  Our sense of self wants to be independent, but God wants us to learn to depend on Him.  We want to be self-reliable, but God offers to help us if we rely on Him.  Humbly submitting to God may be the hardest thing we have to do, but also the best thing for us and for our family.


A Prayer You May Say:  Father God, today we come humbly before You, asking You to help us, change us, and be our safety.

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Praying for Our Children

Scripture: Therefore we also pray always for you that our God would count you worthy of this calling, and fulfill all the good pleasure of His goodness and the work of faith with power, that the name of our Lord Jesus Christ may be glorified in you, and you in Him, according to the grace of our God and the Lord Jesus Christ. (2 Thessalonians 1:11, 12 NKJV)


Observation: count you worthy—The prominent position of the “You” in the Greek makes it the emphatic word of the sentence. May you be found among the saints whom God shall count worthy of their calling (Eph 4:1)! There is no dignity in us independent of God’s calling of us (2 Ti 1:9). The calling here is not merely the first actual call, but the whole of God’s electing act, originating in His “purpose of grace given us in Christ before the world began,” and having its consummation in glory. [Jamieson, R., Fausset, A. R., & Brown, D. (1997). Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible (2 Th 1:11). Oak Harbor, WA: Logos Research Systems, Inc.]


Application:  Praying for our girls began before they were born. Before they entered into the world, we prayed for that baby developing inside the womb. At each stage of life our prayers focused on different things. The prayers targeted the specific challenges that each stage of life brought to them: choices of friends, academic challenges, peer pressure, media choices, etc. We quickly realized that as they grew, so did the importance in the choices they made. Academic challenges in elementary school gave way to college and career choices. Choosing childhood friends gave way to choosing a marriage partner. As the significance of choices increased, so did our prayers. Even now, as the parents of two young adult daughters, the prayers continue.


One of the most important gifts you will ever give your child is your prayers on their behalf. Your child will depend on those prayers. He/she will go forward into difficult circumstances with the knowledge that mom and/or dad has them covered in prayer. As they face daily challenges pray with them. Tell them that you will be in prayer as they take a math test or deal with a classroom bully. Prayer should be a part of everyday home life. Children should be taught to take all matters- great and small to Jesus. Model prayer by praying out loud and seeing you on your knees should be a normal sight.


And, no matter how old your child gets, never give up praying for them!   Prayers make a difference and prayers change things! This is one of the greatest life lessons that you as a parent can teach your child.


A Prayer You May Say: Dear Lord, thank you for giving me the privilege of being a parent. I pray that my children will be worthy of Your calling. I pray that they will live their lives in uncut a way to glorify Your name. And, I thank You that Your grace is sufficient for them.

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Scripture:  Rejoice in hope, be patient in suffering, persevere in prayer. Romans 12:12 (NRSV)


Observation:  Rejoicing in hope. The three brief injunctions in this verse seem even more pointed when the word order of the Greek is retained: “In hope rejoicing, in tribulation enduring, in prayer persevering.” Paul has already commended the spirit of cheerfulness (v. 8). In ch. 5:2 he spoke of the believer’s rejoicing “in hope of the glory of God.” This Christian hope, which is the cause of such cheerfulness, has been explained in ch. 8:20–25. This hope enables the Christian to look beyond the darkness and trouble of the present moment to the things that are unseen and eternal (2 Cor. 4:17, 18). The fact that hope, like so many of the Christian virtues, springs from the basic virtue of love is indicated by 1 Cor. 13:7, love “hopeth all things.” [The Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary, Volume 6. 1980 (F. D. Nichol, Ed.) (621). Review and Herald Publishing Association.]


Application:  Chapter 12 of the book of Romans is rich in guidance and instruction from the apostle Paul to the members of the church in Rome and to all of us.  Paul probably understood the coming challenges that the Christian church, and in particular the members of this church would face.  To prepare them for the upcoming persecution and the falling away of the faith, Paul tells them to rejoice, be patient, and pray.

The three bits of advice Paul wrote to the Roman believers can be so practical and helpful in marriage.  As good as a relationship may be, there will be ups and downs, there will be good and bad days, and there will be challenges that come to interrupt the peace and calm we enjoy.  Some may even come to the place where they feel it’s best to call it quits, separate, or even divorce.  They would rather take the “easy” exit than do the hard work of staying in their relationship and making it work.

Consider the three pieces of advice from Paul:

1.Rejoice in Hope.  Recent research shows that couples that report unhappiness in their relationship and who are considering divorce, when they choose to remain together, within five years report a higher level of satisfaction than they did during those days when they had considered ending their marriage.  What this tells us is that there is hope, if we only choose to remain together and fight for our marriage, so rejoice in that hope.

2.Be Patient in Suffering.  Patience, in the original Greek of the New Testament, is not simply sitting passively waiting for good things to happen.  Patience is more like the tenacity you need in the midst of strong winds, holding on with all your might to a light pole.  You don’t just sit there praying the winds will cease, you hang on for dear life.  Patience in the suffering that may come to your marriage means hanging on to the relationship until the dark days pass.

3.Persevere in Prayer.  During the darkest hours of our lives, whatever causes that darkness, we can’t cease from praying, we don’t give up praying, we don’t lose our hold on God’s hand.  It is during those most challenging days that we hang on to Him even more tenaciously.

Take these three words of Paul to heart, and see your relationship survive and thrive.


A Prayer You May Say:  Father God, bless us, during the challenging days, that we may see the hope beyond the darkness until we experience the sunshine of love and peace in our marriage.

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