John Barnett Discover the Book Daily Devotional
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Discover the Book - Sept. 18, 2007

  • 2007 Sep 18

Have the Greatest Power By Word-filled Prayer

Part 2 Continued from September 17th






What are The Benefits of Meaningful Touch[3]


Hold your wife’s hand and look into her eyes smiling. Put your arm around your husband, run your hand through his hair (whatever he has any left) and stand close to him for a bit. Tousle your son’s hair or wrestle playfully with him. Pat your daughter on the back. Give everyone in your family (even the reluctant 7th-grader) a quick hug when you come home. Such meaningful touch, given appropriately, makes people feel loved and appreciated. Touch offers:


Symbolic meaning. It sends a message both to the person touched and to anyone who witnesses it.


A father rests his hand on his son’s shoulders and draws him close under the umbrella while they wait for the school bus in the rain.


Physical health. Many studies have shown that touch provides a significant physiological benefit.


Premature infants who are massaged gain weight faster.

Elderly people in nursing homes who are given a pet to touch live longer.

Blood pressure decreases among people who get appropriate touch.

Emotional comfort. Touch is the easiest way to communicate love and acceptance.


What about when a doctor touches your shoulder as he explains his diagnosis?

What difference does it make when a friend offers a handshake?


Protection. When children get loving touches from their parents, they are less likely to seek touch from harmful sources later in life.


Women with repeated unwanted pregnancies have told researchers that they just wanted to be cuddled and held.


The Bible affirms this concept too. It relates this incident about Jesus:


People were bringing little children to Jesus to have him touch them, but the disciples rebuked them. When Jesus saw this, he was indignant. He said to them, "Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these. I tell you the truth, anyone who will not receive the kingdom of God like a little child will never enter it." And he took the children in his arms, put his hands on them and blessed them. (Mark 10:13-16)


One study has shown that it takes eight to ten meaningful touches each day to maintain emotional and physical health. If you can find ways to do that, your wife, husband, and children will be blessed.


Picturing a Bright Future[4]


Communicating a special future to a child is such an important part of giving a blessing. When a person feels in his or her heart that the future is hopeful and something to look forward to, it can greatly affect his or her attitude on life.


In this way we are providing our children a clear light for their path in life. Instead of leaving a child to head into a dark unknown, words that picture a special future can illumine a pathway lined with hope and purpose.


Children begin to take steps down the positive pathway pictured for them when they hear words like these:


“God has given you such a sensitive heart. I wouldn’t be surprised if you end up helping a great many people when you grow older.” or


“You are such a good helper. When you grow up and marry someday, you’re going to be such a help to your wife (or husband) and family.”


On the other hand, if children hear only words that predict relationship problems or personal inadequacies, they may travel down a hurtful path that has been pictured for them. This can happen if they hear statements like:


“You’d better hope you can find someone who can take care of you when you’re older. You’re so irresponsible, you’ll never be able to do anything for yourself.”


During the years we have children in our home, the words we speak to them can wrap around them like a cocoon. What we say shapes and develops their thoughts and thinking patterns, making it possible someday for them to emerge as beautiful butterflies.


Two practical pointers, though, are in order.


First, we must look at our past words and behavior to see if we are honoring the various commitment we made to our kids. Only with such a track record will words of a special future find their mark and extend a blessing.


Second, we must honor our commitments to our children in the present. One of the most important ways to do that is to keep your commitment to your spouse strong and intact. It is so much harder (though not impossible) for a child to feel blessed when he has lost a parent due to divorce.


Make an Active Commitment to Invest in their Life[5]


Words of blessing for our children are not enough. They need to be backed by the commitment of parents who work to see the blessing come to pass. Here are some steps:


Commit your loved one to God, and let them know you’ve done so. Start a life-long prayer list with specific areas that you have learned from them need prayer, and then PRAY. Ask for updates. Celebrate answers. Pray together. We need all the help we can get, and much of what happens to us or to our children in this life is beyond our control.


Next, commit your life to investing yourself in your loved one’s best interest. This means time, energy and resources. As you do this:


Realize that each of us has our own unique set of needs. It’s possible to live under the same roof and still not know someone. Do you really understand each of your children’s own thoughts, dreams and desires?


Be willing to do what is best for your loved one. With your husband or wife that may mean sharing when you think they are overloaded or impatient—but in such a loving way that you share in their struggle. With children that may include appropriate discipline, which can seem painful for everyone. Dare to love your children enough to train and correct them rather than leave them at the mercy of their own willfulness.


Become a student of the one you wish to bless. Watch them, share their ups and downs; know where they are in their spiritual life, their school life, work life, home life. Find out who they are close to and who they are not close to—and why.


Take an interest in whatever seems to interest them. Get into his or her world.


Be lovingly persistent in communicating with him. That is, keep trying to set up times when meaningful communication can occur.

Share activities. Go to the grocery store, try a family time camping together, or even just ask them to do what you are doing with you (cooking, yard work, running errands). It is always loving to want them, include them, and ask for them to spend time with you.


Take the initiative in asking questions. Have an endless learning time asking about what they think, what they feel, what they like or don’t like—and why. Learn their favorite flavor, favorite food, favorite activity, dreamed of place to go, and so much more. Write it down afterward to see what you remembered, and ask again until you do remember. Then surprise them with something they like!


Listen with full attention. Let her see your eyes light up when they talk to you.

Ten Attitudes that Make You a Blessing your Children[6]


1. Love them anyway. Yes I know you love them. Most of us parents adore our children — most of the time. Yet, some parents have a way of regularly communicating to their children that they do not measure up. I’m thinking now about the young girl who grew up in a family where she was seen as the dunce. Now as a young woman, she continues to experience the same from her family. Children need parents who will believe in them and no matter what will love them anyway.


2. Prepare them for the battleground, not the playground. Some parents constantly buy their children toys, gadgets, candy, McDonalds, etc. The kids then get into their high school years and the pampering continues. Only now, the toys are much more expensive. What does that communicate to these children? Meanwhile, other parents prepare their children for life on the battleground where a spiritual battle is taking place. These parents realize that children need more than toys. They need to be equipped for life so that they will survive the difficulties and trials they will face.


3. Deal with your issues. There are no perfect human beings. Yet, if you don’t deal with your own issues (your sins, your insecurities, your feelings of inadequacy, etc.), these can impact your children. They may end up having to deal with some of the very issues you would never grapple with.


4. Take every opportunity to remind them of who they are in Christ. They will, most likely, receive many false messages about their identity. They will be told that their worth is based upon their academic record, their physical attractiveness, their charm, their ability to make money, etc. You bless your children when you help them grow up with a sense of their real identity.


5. Bless your children by giving them you. There is no substitute for your presence in their lives. Your regular, consistent, emotional and physical presence means so much. I have known a few parents who seem to see their child as one more activity on the list of things to be done for the day. Yet one senses there is no real connection between parent and child. Being attentive and giving one-on-one time are priceless gifts to children.


6. Say only what communicates value, respect, and love. Choose to never say or do anything that will humiliate. Sometimes, families will tell embarrassing, humiliating, stories about their children. The child is embarrassed at this but then the parent says, "I’m just kidding." (In other words, "Since I think this is funny, you shouldn’t let this bother you.") Listen, we all do things in our families that are silly, stupid, mindless, careless, etc. I have found that it is much better for me to tell about something silly or stupid that I did — not my children. Children need to know that homes are safe places where one’s mistakes are not announced to the world.


7. Be your child’s greatest encourager. Far too many parents are really not that encouraging. It’s not that they have a critical spirit. Rather, they just say nothing. Children are not mind readers. We can do better than just expecting them to know we are in their corner. They need to hear it! Make an effort to catch them doing something good, right, thoughtful, considerate, well done, etc. and point it out. Highlight it! "Hey, you really handled that situation very well."


8. Pray for your children. If you are not praying for them each day, who is? Regardless of the age, they need you to lift them up before the Lord in prayer each day. Think about their day. Think about their setting. Think about the people they will be with. Pray about these situations.


9. Give them what they need not what they want. Many of us are very busy people. We have a lot going on. So often, parents will feel guilty about how busy they are and so decide to give them a new "toy." Yet, we do our children no favors when we give them most everything they want. The point is this: Too many children grow up getting all the things they want while little attention is given to what they really need. Think about what your children really need if they are going to make it in this difficult world as obedient children of a loving God.


10. Give your children something to look forward to when they come home. Give them a beautiful home to look forward to. That’s home — not house. Anyone with enough money can build a beautiful house. Our children need beautiful homes. Homes that are filled with warmth, laughter, and love. Beautiful homes are places where children can catch a glimpse of the loving God in the love of their parents. These homes remind kids that no matter how bad the day is at school or with friends, they can always come home.


This sermon will continue tomorrow September 19th when we look at “Servants of God: Live for Spiritual Assets”.
























[3] These ideas are adapted from The Blessing (Thomas Nelson Publishers, 1986, Nashville) and The Blessing Workbook (Thomas Nelson Publishers, 1993, Nashville) by Gary Smalley and John Trent, Ph.D.




[5] These ideas are adapted from The Blessing (Thomas Nelson Publishers, 1986, Nashville) and The Blessing Workbook (Thomas Nelson Publishers, 1993, Nashville) by Gary Smalley and John Trent, Ph.D.


[6] Posted by Jim Martin at January 16th, 2007 online at



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