Thoughtful Thursday: Love and Acceptance

Welcome back to Thoughtful Thursday.  We are working through “Power of a Praying Parent” .  If you are just joining us stop by here to get started: Introduction

by edenpictures

Chapter 4: Love and Acceptance

Love and acceptance. The desire for love and acceptance is universal. As adults we want to be loved by our spouse and children and generally accepted by our employer, friends and neighbors. We say and do based on our desire for unconditional love and acceptance.

While we strive to love our spouse, children and those around us unconditionally there was only one that did it perfectly.

Biblical Basis for Love and Acceptance

1 John 4: 7-21

7 Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God. 8 Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love. 9 This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him. 10 This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins. 11 Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another.12 No one has ever seen God; but if we love one another, God lives in us and his love is made complete in us.

13 This is how we know that we live in him and he in us: He has given us of his Spirit. 14 And we have seen and testify that the Father has sent his Son to be the Savior of the world. 15 If anyone acknowledges that Jesus is the Son of God, God lives in them and they in God. 16 And so we know and rely on the love God has for us.

God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in them. 17 This is how love is made complete among us so that we will have confidence on the day of judgment: In this world we are like Jesus. 18 There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love.

19 We love because he first loved us. 20 Whoever claims to love God yet hates a brother or sister is a liar. For whoever does not love their brother and sister, whom they have seen, cannot love God, whom they have not seen. 21 And he has given us this command: Anyone who loves God must also love their brother and sister.

That is the biblical basis for love and acceptance! God is the lover (vs. 7) and we are the loved (vs. 10) for whom he gave everything. As we walk with him he gives us this love unconditionally (vs. 13-16) and only asks that we do the same in return (vs. 11, 21).

We need to understand as parents what love is, where it comes from and what it means to be loving before we can show a deep seeded love and acceptance to our children.

Remember that only God loved perfectly and gave us the living example of that through Christ. We will not love and accept perfectly every time but God is also gracious! On page 47 this week our author says “…And don’t listen to the devil weighing you down with guilt about past failures.  These are lies from the pit of hell and part of Satan’s plan for your child’s life.  If you are tormented by guilt or feelings of failure in this area, confess your thoughts to God, pray about it, put it n God’s hands and then stand up and proclaim the truth.” 

Love, Acceptance and Children

In the book on page 48 Ms. Omartian makes a very clear  point of asking: what constitutes love and acceptance for our kids? She lists the following:

  • Eye contact
  • Physical Touch
  • Loving Acts
  • Deeds
  • Words

(Gary Chapman of 5 Love Languages fame restated this as words of affirmation, quality time, receiving gifts, acts of service and physical touch.)

Based on this list fill in the blanks:  My child ___(NAME)____ feels loved and accepted when (Specific Way/Time/Event).

Stop right now and pray that God would provide an opportunity this week to interact with your child(ren) in this way!









Love and Acceptance: Extra Credit 

Group Hug by deltaMike

You can stop with the exercise above but if you want to dig deeper here are some ideas:

Pray: Pinpoint one situation for your child(ren) and pray that God will show them love and acceptance this week for that particular thing. Are there specific or isolated situations in your child’s life when he/she feels rejected? Do you think this is a real concern, or has your child believed something that has no basis in the truth? How could you pray specifically about that?

Proclaim God’s Truth: Pick a verse about God’s love from the Study or elsewhere in the Bible and pray it over your child(ren) every day this week.

Practice: Commit to take the opportunity God puts in place for you to show love and acceptance to your child(ren) one time this week.

Participation: When your time and energy are running low ASK for participation from others! Reach out to a friend or family member and ask them to participate in showing your child(ren) love and acceptance this week!

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Thoughtful Thursday: Securing Protection From Harm

Welcome back to Thoughtful Thursday.  We are working through “Power of a Praying Parent” .  If you are just joining us stop by here to get started: Introduction

by Guttorm Flatabø

Chapter 3: Securing Protection From Harm

“The Bible assures us that our prayers play a vital part in keeping trouble from them (our children). And when a painful thing does happen, they will be protected in the midst of it so it will be to their betterment and not their destruction.” (Omartian, Page 41)

Before reading Chapter 3 I have always been slightly overwhelmed by thinking that it was MY job to protect MY children from everything. Every scrape, every hurt, every heartbreak, every pain. My thinking is flawed in two ways.

First, my children are not mine, they are God’s. They are on loan to me to love, cherish and train to look at God and know who he is for themselves. Secondly, God didn’t just dump my kids at my front door and leave.  He is a constant presence in my life and theirs. This chapter then began to make a lot more sense!  I hope it does for you too.

Below is my outline of thinking through what it means to Secure Protection From Harm.  It isn’t as hard as it sounds and our prayers go a long way!

(Note:  This chapter had me thinking so the notes are a little long!)

Innocence

What is Harm?

Harm: Physical injury or mental damage; hurt: moral injury; evil; wrong. OR “I pray specifically for protection from accidents, disease, injury or any other physical, mental or emotional abuse.” (Omartian, Page 43)

Complete this sentence:

 “My child is most likely to face harm this week when ________________.”

For some this is an easier sentence to complete than others! This week my son is likely to get hurt playing soccer, my daughter is likely to trip over herself and I’m just trying to keep the baby healthy during allergy season. It is so easy to think our children will not encounter harm until we break it down into their realistic every day circumstances.

Pray over even the small things!

What is my job as the parent?  Securing

Securing: To free from danger or harm; make safe. It is our God given job to provide, with God’s guidance, physical and emotional security for our children.

Physical security is a very tangible thing.  We can hold their hands when they cross the street, we can make sure their shoes are tied on the playground and that everyone is buckled safely in the car.

Emotional security is a little more difficult but God has blessed us with the ability and discernment to guide our children.  With prayer and partnership with Him, he will use us to bless our children, even emotionally!

Praise the LORD.

Blessed are those who fear the LORD,
who find great delight in his commands.

2 Their children will be mighty in the land;
the generation of the upright will be blessed.

Psalm 112:1-2

Pray that God will show you how to provide both physical and emotional security for your child!

What is God’s promise? Protection
Protection: Preservation from injury or harm.  With God’s help and guidance we can provide some earthly protection for our children by making good choices on their behalf and teaching them to do the same. However, there is so much in life that we cannot control.  Those things are in God’s hands.

Scripture is FULL of the promises of God.  Pray them over your children!

Psalm 46: 1-3

God is our refuge and strength,
an ever-present help in trouble.
2 Therefore we will not fear, though the earth give way
and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea,
3 though its waters roar and foam
and the mountains quake with their surging.

Also check out Psalm 91 and Psalm 121.  If you have time underline all the promises of God to protect and shelter.

Harm is Real. God empowers YOU to secure.  GOD Protects.
Pray in faith that GOD is in control! 

Thoughtful Thursday: Releasing My Child Into God’s Hands

Welcome back to Thoughtful Thursday.  We are working through “Power of a Praying Parent” .  If you are just joining us stop by here to get started: Introduction

by Mayr

Chapter 2: Releasing My Child Into God’s Hands

Do you ever have that (almost) “perfect” day with your child?  Where they obey every time, are pleasant and delightful to be with and you see in them a growing beauty?

OR do you seem to have days where nothing goes right. Your child does not have a heart of obedience, seems more like work than wonder and you look up to the heavens and wonder if you are doing this whole “parenting” thing right?

Regardless of what kind of day we are having Chapter 2 encourages us to completely and fully release our children to God in every circumstance.

“He (God) gave me the knowledge and assurance that after the initial pain of releasing our children there comes joy and peace, both for them and us.”  (Chapter 2, Page 34)

When we are able to give our children to God and see them as His and be open to His leading, both we and are children are changed.

 “We can’t be everywhere. But God can. We can’t see everything. But God can. We can’t know everything. But God can. No matter what age our children are, releasing them into God’s hands is a sign of our faith and trust in Him and is the first step toward making a difference in their lives.  Prayer for our children begins there.” -S. Omartian

How? 
The big question then is HOW do we go about releasing our children to God?  Here are a couple suggestions about practically doing this!

1. Complete this statement:

I am experiencing (emotion: fear, frustration, confusion, anger, etc) because (Child’s Name) is dealing with (current situation).

1 Peter 5:6-7 says that we should humble ourselves before God and cast ALL our anxiety his way!  Take the statement above and pray over it every day this week. Release your child and their current circumstance to God NOW!

2. Choose a Life Verse for Your Child

Choose a life verse for each of your children.  A life verse is one verse from scripture that you will continually pray over them starting now. Using scripture to directly pray for your child will remind you daily to release your child to God!

Ways to find a verse:

  • Check each chapter of the Power of a Praying Parent book and the scripture she uses
  • Think of words that describe your child and then use a concordance to find a matching scripture
  • Think of a character trait you would like your child to have and then find a coinciding scripture
  • Ask other people for their favorite scripture verses

My hope this week is that we can each open our hearts and let God have our children, their past, present and future, so that He can lead them and guide them in all moments, at all times, He is the perfect parent!

Thoughtful Thursday: Becoming a Praying Parent

Welcome back to Thoughtful Thursday.  We are working through “Power of a Praying Parent” .  If you are just joining us stop by here to get started:  Introduction

Chapter 1: Becoming A Praying Parent

By Irina Patrascu

 

“It’s never too early and never too late. At every stage of their lives our children need and will greatly benefit from our prayers.” -S. Omartian

This is a great sentiment to start out the new year!  Being a praying parent is a process of becoming a praying parent.  There is no parent that prays perfectly but the idea is that we can always start the journey, so why wait!

As you look at your own life where are you on the journey? Here are some thoughts and ideas…

“I’m a newbie.”  Some have never considered focused prayer for a child to be part of our job description.  Welcome!  Anyone can start anytime. First, be encouraged by scripture that you are to pray for your child.

“Pour out your heart like water 
before the presence of the Lord! 
Lift your hands to him 
for the lives of your children”
Lamentations 2:19 

Second, know that there is no wrong way to have a conversation with God.  He longs to hear your voice.  Talk to him.  While you do dishes and listen to your children play, thank Him for their presence.  When you are exasperated with their behavior ask God to give them obeying hearts.  As you drop them off at school don’t hesitate to reach out and talk to God about your hopes and fears for their day.

“I pray regularly for my child, but want to do better.”  You have come to the right place.  There are those of us who think of our children in times of prayer but long for a more fruitful prayer life or just need encouragment to continue what often seems like an endless quest.  You too should be encouraged by scripture:

“Take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God, praying at all times in the Spirit, with all prayer and supplication. To that end keep alert with all perseverance, making supplication for all the saints”  Ephesians 6:17-18

Be refreshed. Be reminded that the Bible is full of encouraging words and scriptures that we can pray on behalf of our child. Don’t feel stuck in a rut, instead know that God has armed you with the right tools to lift up your child uniquely in prayer, praise and petition. Ask God to give your heart eyes to see how you might better cover your child in prayer.

“Begin by submitting yourself to God and asking Him to help you be the parent and intercessor He wants you to be. Pray as the Holy Spirit leads you, as you listen to His prompting in your heart for your child.”
-Omartian page 29

Thoughtful Thursday: A Change & A Challenge

As I mentioned previously (here) I’m on a very interesting personal journey.

One of the things I have realized is that this blog could use a little more transparency and a little less pandering to the people (whomever you are!). So, Travel Thursday is now Thoughtful Thursday!

by Brian Hillegas

I’d like to invite you to start this Thoughtful Thursday journey by joining me in a study.  A group of women and I are studying the book “Power of a Praying Parent”.  I’d invite you to grab a copy, pull up a chair and join us!

Every week I will post our thoughts, questions and challenges on each section. Some weeks we will read one chapter and some weeks we will read two.  I will do my best to let you know what we are covering in advance so you can follow along with us!

Here is a (somewhat lengthy) introduction…prepare your hearts.  Next week we will start with Chapter 1.

*****

Pursuing Our Purpose: Preparing Our Hearts

As women and as moms we know, either through our God-given nature as women or personal experience, how to relate.  We are relational beings.  Maybe we don’t struggle with the idea of interpersonal relationships at all.  But what about our individual covenants and interpersonal relationship with God?

Consider for a moment:  As women, our struggle is not necessarily a commitment to one another but instead, our struggle is making a commitment to the purpose God has for us at this very moment in time.

As we pursue praying for our children let us consider our commitment to God and his purpose for us at this precise moment in time – exactly where we find ourselves in life today.

Think about it this way:

If you keep silent, if you fail to demonstrate God’s love, your friends and neighbors will find encouragement elsewhere.  If you refuse God’s purpose for your role as woman, mother and/or spouse your family will suffer.  But maybe, just maybe, you’ve been put here – in this town, with this job, with these kids – to contribute, to give, to serve, to love, to be uniquely who you were crated to be, for such a time as this.

Be encouraged by scripture:  Esther 4:8-17

Esther’s history:

1) She became Queen
2) She was a Queen without privilege, she was at the Kings beckon call
3) She was Queen at a time when her friends/family/nation (the Jews) were being threatened
4) Now, Esther is being challenged to take a stand – confront her king, face the possibility of death but to plead for the salvation of her people.

Isn’t it interesting that we have all become moms, our families are regularly threatened by a sinful world and we are called on as mom’s to plead for the salvation of our families by pursuing Christ and exemplifying His calling in our lives for the benefit our children’s salvation?

Esther 4:8-17

Mordecai also gave him a copy of the written decree issued in Susa for their destruction, that he might show it to Esther and explain it to her and command her to go to the king to beg his favor and plead with him on behalf of her people. 9And Hathach went and told Esther what Mordecai had said. 10Then Esther spoke to Hathach and commanded him to go to Mordecai and say, 11“All the king’s servants and the people of the king’s provinces know that if any man or woman goes to the king inside the inner court without being called, there is but one law—to be put to death, except the one to whom the king holds out the golden scepter so that he may live. But as for me, I have not been called to come in to the king these thirty days.”

 12And they told Mordecai what Esther had said. 13Then Mordecai told them to reply to Esther, “Do not think to yourself that in the king’s palace you will escape any more than all the other Jews. 14For if you keep silent at this time, relief and deliverance will rise for the Jews from another place, but you and your father’s house will perish. And who knows whether you have not come to the kingdom for such a time as this?” 15Then Esther told them to reply to Mordecai, 16“Go, gather all the Jews to be found in Susa, and hold a fast on my behalf, and do not eat or drink for three days, night or day. I and my young women will also fast as you do. Then I will go to the king, though it is against the law, and if I perish, I perish.” 17Mordecai then went away and did everything as Esther had ordered him.

 Take a moment and reflect on Esther’s Story:

  1. Esther was approached with a Godly challenge, to save her people, by someone who loved her (vs 8 )
  2. Esther was hesitant to accept and use her position (vs 11)
  3. Esther committed to act (vs 16)
  4. Esther engaged her community to act with her in pursuing God’s purpose (vs 16)

Reflection: Can you relate to Esther and in the process become a woman of God:

  1. Have you, or are you now through this study, being approached with a Godly challenge?  Ask yourself:  Do I acknowledge that my position as women, mother, resident of my city and child of God is my calling in life right now?
  2. Have you ever hesitated to accept your place in life?  Ask yourself:  Have I been or am I currently, hesitating to accept the position God has given me today?
  3. Are you committed to acting?  Ask yourself:  Going forward, what will be my commitment?  Can I commit wholeheartedly to God’ current calling for my life?
  4. Who is your community and can you engage them?  Ask yourself: How can I engage my community (family, moms group, friends and others) in helping me accomplish God’s calling in my life?

This week pray that..

1)      You can acknowledge any discontentment in your life and realize it is dishonoring to God and His purpose for you.

2)      You would be able to recommit yourself to God’s purpose for your life as it is in this very moment.

3)      God would provide His Spirit and people in your life that would be encouraging, help give you endurance in your pursuit and who would be gracious.

4)      Be thankful for what has already happened in your life and you acknowledge God as the source of your gifts and purpose.

Let us again consider our commitment to God and his purpose for us at this precise moment in time – exactly where we find ourselves in life today.

 For who knows…maybe you are here for such a time as this?