Praying with Kids

Shelly and I have talked at length about some of the challenges,lessons, and ideas God has laid on our hearts since our time at the Prayer Summit with Richard Blackaby and Claude King.  One thing God clearly child_prayer3_679979819impressed on our hearts was the conviction that we need to be more diligent/consistent in praying with our children.

Shelly had the idea of daily prayer emphases, so we’ve started doing that with our kids as part of our bedtime routine.  As an idea generator, I thought I’d share the categories we’re using each day of the week.  It’s just an idea, so feel free to take and make it your own.  The point isn’t our methodology (or any methodology for that matter) but to continue growing as spiritual leaders in our family in all areas – including prayer.

MondayMissionaries (We pray for those sent from our church and with missionary cards we’ve received from both the IMB and NAMB).

TuesdayTeachers (The kids pick a teacher from school or church and we pray for them by name).

WednesdayWisdom (We pray for wisdom in decisions we/they are making).

Thursday Teaching (We pray about something God has/is teaching us that week).

FridayForgiveness, Faith, Future (Depending on what we’ve been discussing we pray for forgiveness for our sins and that God would help us forgive others…like siblings they’ve fought with like cats and dogs earlier in the week.  Faith covers things we’re praying in faith and trusting God for.  Obviously future is for our kids/families future – spouse, college, career, etc.)

SaturdaySin (We’re reminding the kids about the importance of confession and cleansing.  Sometimes we use a cleansing guide that lists a Bible verse and has questions for reflection with the older two.  We also have a copy for them to have and keep as they grow up and head out on their own someday.  This is an area of spiritual growth that we want them to grow and mature in for the rest of their lives).

SundaySalvation (We’re praying for FRAN’s and FRANC’s in our lives – Friends, Relatives, Acquaintances, Neighbors, and Co-workers/Classmates).

Again, this is A way, not THE way to pray with your kids.  Whatever your method, just remember, the power in prayer comes from the God to whom we’re praying, not the form we’re using to do it!

Basketball by the Bible

BasketballMy favorite sporting event is HERE…NCAA March Madness.  Got my brackets filled out.  Collected brackets for our staff competition.  Set the DVR to catch the games I want to see.  I’m all set and ready to go.  And just in case you didn’t know…GO CATS! (Kentucky Wildcats that is)

You may have seen the University of Virginia coach, Tony Bennett, give praise to Christ and honor his Dad in his post-game interview on Sunday after his team won the ACC Tournament, in addition to winning the ACC Regular Season Title.  It’s been a great season for UVA, Coach Bennett, and Cavalier fans.  (I confess, I pull for UK and whoever is playing Duke, North Carolina, and now Syracuse as part of the ACC as well, so I’ve been a UVA fan several times this season!).

The Richmond Times Dispatch wrote an article on Coach Bennett, highlighting his faith, called, Cavaliers’ Success:  By the (Good) Book.”  You can click here to read the article.  In the event you don’t, here are what coach Bennett calls the five ‘pillars’ he learned from his Father (a former basketball coach who developed the five pillars) that are the foundation for UVA’s success on the court (and in life as the players apply them there as well).

Humility

Passion

Unity

Servanthood

Thankfulness

Let me clear, I’m not predicting that UVA is going to win the title because Coach Bennett is a Christian, because he thanks Christ in his interview, or because he has a coaching/team building philosophy built on Biblical principles.  Even if they win, we must be careful not to equate ‘success’ as an indicator of God’s blessing in our lives.  That’s the root of prosperity theology – “if you obey, serve, pray, or _____, then good things will happen in your life” – like winning a Basketball Championship.

God doesn’t always work that way.  What about other Christian coaches who have teams in the tournament?  Are they less blessed or favored by God if their team doesn’t win?  What about believers struggling with health issues, financial hardships, emotional/psychological disorders, or sin strongholds? Are they not doing their faith ‘right’ since they aren’t ‘blessed’ with good things?  Just because things go well, and we give honor and praise to Christ, doesn’t mean we’ve done anything meriting God’s grace, goodness, or blessings in our lives.  We’re sinners saved by grace and every ‘good thing’ that happens in our lives is a ‘gift from above’ (James 1:17).

Theology lesson over, now let’s apply it to basketball…and life.  As I read the article on Coach Bennett’s five pillars I couldn’t help but think of their application to the church.  Look again:  Humility, Passion, Unity, Servanthood, Thankfulness.  I can’t think of any place where those traits wouldn’t pay rich dividends toward “success,” regardless of how you define the word success.

Two things for you to consider and reflect upon:

1)  Prayerfully reflect on how you’re applying his five pillars in your own life.  Are they, in ever-increasing measure, being evidenced in your church?  Home?  School?  Neighborhood?  Sports Team?  Band?  Small Group?

2) Prayerfully consider what your five pillars are.  There are a myriad of truths/principles/pillars we can glean from the Bible.  Coach Bennett (Sr & Jr) wrote down and built their coaching/life philosophy around their five.  While our levels, and places, of leadership vary, everyone is called – and has opportunities – to lead in some capacity.  What ‘pillars’ govern how you life your life and lead in your circles of influence?  Take some time to prayerfully consider what things are guiding your life.  Are they Biblical?  Are they the ones you desire?  Are they ones that God has given you or have you picked them up from other sources?  If they need to change, what are you going to do to change them?  Where are they taught or illustrated in the Bible.

Consider these for example:  Love; patience, holiness, purity, excellence, preparation, joy, kindness, just to name a few.

What ‘pillars’ guide your life and areas of leadership?  Pray through it.  Reflect upon it.  Ask God to help you make changes as He leads.

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