Friday, October 14, 2011

One Mother's Prayer

I think I could pray all day long for my children and still have more to pray: for their physical protection, for their spiritual growth, for their relationships, for their attitudes, their accomplishments, their character, their future . . . if you’re a praying mom, you know just what I mean!

Several years ago, I wrote out this prayer for them. This is a "work-in-progress" in that I often start praying it and then think of other things to add, but somehow, having it written down helps me stay focused. Each prayer point is based on scriptural truth.

Whether we write out our prayers for our children, speak them aloud, or utter them silently, may the Lord who hears us answer them out of His Fatherly love for us and for our children.

Before they call, I will answer; while they are still speaking, I will hear. --Isaiah 65:24

• Lord, would you pour out your mercy so that my boys would know Your perfect love
and they would joyfully trust You, even when my imperfect love for them falters.

How great is the love the Father has lavished upon us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are . . . 1 John 3:1

• Lord, would you protect and purify their bodies, minds and spirits, so they would be more like Jesus even though it’s hard for me to see them tested.

Be imitators of God, therefore as dearly loved children, and live a life of love, just as Christ loved us and gave Himself up for us . . . Ephesians 5:1-2

• Lord, develop in them godly character: compassion & gentleness, hope & vision,
industry & diligence, humility & love, self-control & patience,
joy & peace, integrity & courage —
that their character would be strong even in areas where mine is weak.

See the character qualities listed in Galatians 5:22-24 & 2 Peter 1:5-8.

• Lord, work out your purposes for my boys,
which You knew when You formed them inside me,
even when those purposes differ from my own expectations.

My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in the secret place,
When I was woven together in the depths of the earth,
Your eyes saw my unformed body.
All the days ordained for me were written in Your book before one of them came to be.
Psalm 139:15-16

• Lord, please defend my children when they face spiritual attack
that would threaten their closeness with You,
and strengthen them to stand firm in their faith.

Be self-controlled and alert. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. Resist him, standing firm in the faith . . . 1 Peter 5:8-9

• Lord, surround my boys with friends and mentors who will help them in Your ways,
and as they mature, bring people to them that they also can encourage in their faith.

• Lord, may they always know Your presence and recognize Your loving hand in their lives,
even when I am gone.

But from everlasting to everlasting the Lord’s love is with those who fear Him,
and His righteousness with their children’s children —
with those who keep His covenant and remember to obey His precepts.
Psalm 103: 17-18

• Lord, help me to persevere in parenting the children You’ve given me with Your love and grace.
Keep me from fear as I train and teach them in Your ways.
Help me to remember that they are in Your hands, even more than they are in mine;
Help me to fully enjoy them each and every day.

• And Lord, I praise you in advance for the wonderful things you will do in their lives,
things I cannot imagine, in answer to my prayers.

He tends His flock like a shepherd: He gathers the lambs in His arms and carries them close to His heart. He gently leads those who have young . . . Isaiah 40:11

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Resting in the Storm

Suddenly, a great tempest arose on the sea, so that the boat was covered with the waves. But [Jesus] was asleep. — Matthew 8:24

What a picture: Jesus naps as the boat beneath Him threatens to go under! How can He rest peacefully while the ship tosses and turns on furious waves? Seasoned fishermen familiar with storms, the disciples are anxious about the violence of this particular one. Certain that Jesus’ fatigue had rendered Him clueless as to their doom, the disciples call upon Him to wake up: "Lord, save us! We are perishing!" (Matthew 8:25)

 But before rebuking the raging storm, Jesus rebukes the disciples: "Why are you fearful, O you of little faith?" (Matthew 8:26). Only then does He calm the waves and the storm. Instantly, both the seas and the disciples are quieted.

Is God sleeping in your storm? As the water rises, is it tempting to think that He is not paying close enough attention to your plight? If He’s not coming to the rescue, well, then, we’d better take matters into our own hands!

We may not recognize our thought patterns and our actions as "little faith," to use Jesus’ words. We scheme to turn the tide to our advantage; we are worried and uncertain of our future; we are sure that the plight of our family or our career rests in our own hands. We can’t hear His voice over the howling winds; we can’t see His face because we’re busy watching the waterline rise against our battered boat.

But when we turn to our own self-rescue plan, we are living as though God were asleep at the helm, as though He were not the Ruler and Provider and Protector that He has clearly and repeatedly declared Himself to be. And for all our fretting and figuring, we do not have the power to quiet a storm.

It takes the Word of the Creator (often at the very last minute!) to bring peace and purpose. As He begins to still the waves, we understand that He has never once looked away from us. "He who keeps you will not sleep" says Psalm 121:3. At the same time, we are humbled before Him, to see how easily we forget who God is, how quickly we turn from His resurrection power to our own human efforts.

How do we remind ourselves that He isn’t asleep? By fixing our eyes on Jesus alone, growing in our relationship with Him, through fellowship with Him in God’s Word and prayer. Only by knowing Him better will we more readily rest in His faithfulness and be prepared to trust Him in the inevitable "next storm."

You . . . still the noise of the seas and their waves
and the tumult of the peoples. -- Psalm 65:7