Homeschooling: A Prayerful Journey – Part II
- Monday, January 24, 2005
Editor's Note: You can view part 1 of this series here.
John 10:27 "My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me."
As homeschoolers, we are obviously raising our children academically. But, are we training them in eternal things - the things that will prevail when knowledge fails? Let's take a moment and discuss some ways you can bring your children up in prayer. It starts when your children are young.
I remember when I was about 12 years old, agonizing over the fact that I was praying but not 'hearing' God. Did He even know I was there? I wanted God to speak to me audibly. I wanted to hear his voice. I wanted to know that He knew me. As my heart was crying out to God about this, I opened my Bible. What I opened up to was the verse above in John, which directly answered my question of, "Can I hear His voice, and does He know me?" To my young heart, this verse sounded forth loud and clear: "My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me." He actually spoke right to that 12-year-old girl and told her what her heart was longing to know. He heard my prayer, and answered me specifically. From then on, I have found the Word of God to be the voice of God in my life. What I desire for my children is that they learn not only to speak to God, but that they learn to hear Him speak to them as well.
As a young girl, what was it that prompted me to turn to prayer in the first place? I have no doubt that it was my mother's example of continual prayer. She did not sit down one day and "teach" me to pray. She just prayed … all the time! She was seen praying while walking around the house cooking and cleaning, while sitting with her Bible, while lying down in bed, or on her face on the floor. She prayed on the phone, or in person with whomever she met. She embarrassed us kids by praying in the stores or on the streets with complete strangers. She prayed when she was happy or sad or when we were. She prayed over sick children, broken cars and empty wallets. It was an all day, whole life, relationship with her God into which she brought others along with her, namely, her children. So, how can I begin my children in this school of prayer? By being the example.
Bringing children with you in prayer from the time they are young shows them your relationship with God. And as we pray with them in all circumstances, they will see the many aspects of God. They will see that He is the One we turn to with our petitions, the One to whom we give thanks, the One we worship, the One we turn to for healing, for comfort, and for the very words of life. As one of the disciples said to Jesus, we would also desire our children to repeat, "Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life."
I encourage you to speak those "words of eternal life" in prayer with your children (this is an easy way to hide it in their hearts without any effort on their part.) For example, if you pray this verse often, "Father, You have made the heavens and the earth by Your great power: nothing is too difficult for You," then your children will know this verse by heart quickly and easily.
Do you need some more ideas on how to pray with and for your children? Besides the "all day at all times" way of life in my mother's example, here are a few more thoughts about praying for, praying over, and praying with your children.
Praying For Our Children
Pray for their spiritual senses to be awakened. Pray that they would See: Jesus said we have eyes, but see not. We should pray that God would open our children's eyes to see Who He is. Jesus said, "I only do what I see my Father doing." Pray that our children will also see what their Father is doing and follow Him. Hear: We have ears, but hear not. Pray that God would open our children's ears to hear His still small voice, and to really hear Him speak through His Word. Smell: Pray that your child would become the fragrance of Christ to those around him. Taste: O, taste and see that the Lord is good. His commandments are more to be desired than gold, and sweeter than honey. Pray that your children will develop not only a taste, but also a hunger for God's Word. Touch: Pray that your children will touch Him on a daily basis so that they in turn may touch their world with His love.
Pray that your child's whole body, soul and spirit will be His. That they would have the mind of Christ, letting His thoughts be theirs; having the arms of Christ that reach where His reach, having the hands of Christ that touch whom He touches, having a heart that sorrows and rejoices as He does, and feet that would walk in His path.
Praying Over Our Children
I have prayed over each of my children a specific and unique prayer from the time they were in my womb. For example, over my first-born son, I have prayed daily that God would make him "strong in the Lord and in the power of His might." When he was young, he would tell me the next morning of the battles that He won in the Name of Jesus while he was dreaming at night because I would send him to sleep with that prayer. And, the very one I have prayed would "be filled with obedience and joy" is the very one that desperately needs those things. And on it goes for each child. And as the years go by, each one has either desperately needed the particular character quality I have prayed over them, or are displaying the tendency toward that quality. If you don't already do this, ask God specifically what He would have you pray over each one, and begin tonight as you tuck them in bed. This not only speaks into their life about what God is working out in them, but they will remember you praying over them when they are a
dults and raising their own children up in prayer.
Another way of praying over your children that will produce eternal fruit is to pray scripture over them as mentioned earlier. For example, "Father, you have said in your Word …." (pray whatever verse fits the situation.) This conveys that the Word of God is the voice of God in our life. The first benefit is that when they go to read their Bible, they will begin to read it as God speaking to them personally as opposed to Him speaking to an abstract audience or not speaking at all. And they will need not struggle long with the question of whether God actually speaks to His people or if they can hear God personally, for they will already be hearing Him through His written Word. The second benefit is that they will know exactly where to turn for answers to all of life's problems and questions. And all of this can begin by you just praying over them consistently.
Praying With Our Children
Too often we only talk to our children when they come to us. Instead of just talking to them, bring God into the conversation by talking to God with them. Begin to pray with them whenever they come to you, whether it be with a problem or when they are happy or sad about something; when they need discipline or when they have been offended; when they come with a continual academic problem; when they write letters to people or when they are afraid; when they wake up and when they go to bed; at all times, in all places, with all earnestness!! Prayer shows them our own relationship with our Father, and praying with our children brings them into that relationship until such a time as they will of their own accord turn to Him in prayer. Make prayer a lifetime habit not only for you, but bring up your children in prayer – they will thank you for it in eternity.
Deborah Wuehler is the Devotional and E-Newsletter editor for The Old Schoolhouse Magazine. She lives in Roseville, CA with her husband Richard and their six gifts from heaven. E-mail Deborah at firstname.lastname@example.org
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