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<< Discover the Book, with Dr. John Barnett

Discover the Book - May 20, 2009

  • 2009 May 20

What Happens When Couples Pray?



What Happens When Parents Pray?


One of my great heroes of the faith is a missionary who lived from 1824-1907. His name was John Paton, and he was born in a “farm cottage not far from Dumfries, Scotland, May 24,1824. He was the eldest of eleven children. After some snatches of elementary education, he set out to learn the trade of his father -- the manufacture of stockings. For fourteen hours a day he manipulated one of the six "stocking frames" in his father's workshop, using for study most of the two hours allotted each day for the eating of his meals”.


To learn the secret of his life as a pioneer missionary is to learn of the power of his parent’s prayers for him. Remember that prayer catapults us to the frontiers of what ever God is doing around the earth, and that is exactly what John Paton had been taught by example.


“It was New Year's Day, 1861, on the island of Tanna, in the New Hebrides. The missionaries had spent the day taking medicine, food, and water to the villagers, hundreds of whom were smitten down with a virulent type of measles. In the evening, the missionaries knelt in the mission house in a fervent prayer of consecration of their all to Christ and of petition for the salvation of the cannibals among whom they lived. They solemnly committed themselves to the protecting presence of their Lord, not knowing that even then the house was surrounded by fierce savages, armed with clubs, killing-stones and muskets, determined to slay and eat the foreigners whose God, they believed, had brought disease, hurricanes, and other troubles upon them.


After the worship, the younger missionary stepped out of the door to go to his own house close by. Instantly he was attacked and fell to the ground screaming, "Look out! They are trying to kill us!" Rushing to the door the older missionary shouted to the savages, "Yahweh God sees you and will punish you for trying to murder His servants." Two cannibals swung their ponderous clubs and struck at him, but missed, whereupon the entire company fled into the bush.


The younger missionary was in such a state of excitement that for days he was unable to sleep. In fact, his nervous system was unhinged by the shock of the attack, his mind gave way under the apprehension of being killed and eaten by savages, and in three weeks he died. The older missionary had already survived many such attacks on his life and was destined to survive many more. John G. Paton -- for such was his name -- found in the presence of his Lord the antidote to fear and the assurance that his life was immortal until his work was accomplished. "During the crisis," he says in his Autobiography, "I felt calm and firm of soul, standing unafraid and with my whole weight on the promise, 'Lo, I am with you alway...”


What prepared John G. Paton for that kind of perseverance — another fifty years of rugged, faithful missionary labor? His parent’s prayers. Paton's father, James, was converted at seventeen and immediately convinced his mother and father that the family should have morning and evening prayer together. Paton writes about his father:


"And so began in his seventeenth year that blessed custom of Family Prayer, morning and evening which my father practiced probably without one single avoidable omission till he lay on his deathbed at seventy-seven years of age. None of us can remember that any day ever passed unhallowed thus; no hurry for market, no rush to business, no arrival of friends or guests, no trouble or sorrow, no joy or excitement, ever prevented at least our kneeling around the family altar, while the High Priest led our prayers to God, and offered himself and his children there."


How could we ever see our children do anything of this magnitude? How can we penetrate the lives of our children with these truths? How can we see God unleashed in their lives? How can we every day be actively using God's Word and seeing it touch those children and grandchildren we love so much?


The answer is in the most powerful tool in the arsenal of weaponry to win spiritual battles that God has given us. The key to raising, nurturing, and launching children that please the Lord is learning how to pray for our children.


That is why Jesus prayed so much and His apostles commanded us to follow that example! To feel the heart of Jesus on prayer, please open with me to Luke 11 and follow along as I read the first 13 verses.


So we as parents have a biblical opportunity and obligation to PRAY FOR OUR CHILDREN.


·        1 Samuel 12:23 "Moreover, as for me, far be it from me that I should sin against the LORD in ceasing to pray for you; but I will teach you the good and the right way. (NKJV)

·        Ephesians 6:18 praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, being watchful to this end with all perseverance and supplication for all the saints -- (NKJV) And what are we watching for? God answering those prayers!



We Must Pray for Their Personal Life:




What is conscience and how can we pray for our children’s conscience? This week two [planes collided in mid air over Germany. The investigation found that the sensor that warns of a collision was switched off. That system is very similar to what God has designed as our conscience. It is an automatic warning system that tells us, “Pull up! Pull up!” before we crash and burn.


Our conscience is a part of our personhood as being made in God’s image, and is an innate ability to sense right and wrong. Everyone, even the most uncivilized heathen, has a conscience (Rom. 2:14–15). Our conscience begs us to do what we believe is right and hinders us from doing what we believe is wrong. If we violate our conscience, it condemns us, triggering feelings of disgrace, torment, penitence, dismay, apprehension, dishonor, and even fear. When we follow our conscience, it praises us, bringing joy, tranquility, self-confidence, security, and cheerfulness.

·        So in God's Word a tender heart (Josiah in 2 Chr. 34:27), refers to a responsive conscience.

·        The “upright in heart” (Ps. 7:10) are those with pure consciences.

·        And when David prayed, “Create in me a clean heart, O God” (Ps. 51:10), he was seeking to have his life and his conscience cleansed.

·        A troubled conscience should spur us to seek the spiritual growth that would bring our conscience more in harmony with God’s Word. Psalm 139:23-24

·        Our goal should be to “master biblical truth so that our conscience is completely informed and judges right because it is responding to God’s Word. A regular diet of Scripture will strengthen a weak conscience or restrain an overactive one.


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