Have the Greatest Power By Word-filled Prayer
Conclusion Part 4 continued from September 19th
What Can Prayers Accomplish?
An amazing testimony to the power of prayer may be seen in the life of a quiet man from
Through extensive diaries that he kept during his remarkable life of 93 years, a picture of powerful praying can be pieced together. In summary, by prayer alone, this man raised 7.2 million nineteenth-century dollars, or $111.6 million dollars in today’s currency—all without mass mailings, television ads, internet blitzes, or a huge financial machine behind him.
Without ever asking a soul for even one penny, Mueller’s prayers touched the finances of countless individuals who were led by God to give him staggering sums of money freely. For over 60 years, day after day, the exact amount of money to supply thousands of orphans a home, food, clothing, and an education flowed into George Mueller’s office. He diligently studied God’s Word and then prayed, telling only the Lord his requests. As a result of his simple faith, people all over the world were drawn to send or bring him gifts at an incredible, miraculous rate.
Mueller’s testimony bears repeating because it so clearly reveals the secret of his success:
To one who asked him the secret of his service, Mr. George Mueller replied: “There was a day when I died, utterly died to George Mueller … to his opinions, preferences, tastes, and will; died to the world, its approval or censure; died to the approval or blame of even my brethren and friends. Since then I have studied to show myself approved only unto God.” a
Mueller’s fruitful life is living proof of the truth of John 15:7-8: “But if you make yourselves at home with me and my words are at home in you, you can be sure that whatever you ask will be listened to and acted upon. This is how my Father shows who he is—when you produce grapes, when you mature as my disciples” (The Message, Emphasis added).
The key to unleashing prayers that God always answers is to have them flowing from a Word-filled life! Jesus spoke His Word so that it would stay with us, live with us, walk with us, talk to us, meet with us, travel with us. He intends His Word to fill our hearts, fill our minds, fill our days, and all our ways. Prayers that flow from a Word-filled life are simple, direct, and biblical. If we seek to pray simply, directly, and biblically, it will harmonize our prayers to the Lord, His will, His Spirit, and we will experience the power of a Word-filled life.
A p p e n d i x C :
How Should a Believing Parent Respond to a Wayward Child?
One of the greatest challenges in life is raising children. After years of combing through every verse of the Bible dozens of times, I still haven’t found the perfect family—a family with a godly dad, a godly mom, and children who are submissive their entire time at home, and grow up to move on into godly marriages and homes. This just isn’t recorded in the Bible.
What we do find in God’s Word are some godly parents who have both godly and ungodly children; we also find some ungodly parents who have all ungodly children, while other ungodly parents end up with some godly children. There just doesn’t seem to be a parenting pattern that always works.
So what is the answer for us as we parent? When God blesses us with children, He asks us to give them back to Him in dedication. That is what Christ’s parents did way back in Luke 2:22. That is also what godly parents have done through the centuries.
But what happens when we dedicate them and they don’t turn out as we had hoped and planned? To answer that very relevant question, look with me again at the entire process of child rearing: Christian parenting and our stewardship of the precious lives of our children.
When we as parents present our children in dedication back to the Lord, we are declaring: “These children belong to You, Lord.” Dedication is our public acknowledgement of God’s ownership of them (Psalm 127:3). We can then rest in the joyful reality of being stewards of the promises of God’s Word. The Bible repeatedly records godly men and women with less than godly children. That is because godliness is a choice; it is an obedient response to the Lord. Godly children can not be made; nor can godliness be forced upon them. They grow that way, by God’s grace, with—or sometimes even without—godly parenting.
The bottom line of Scripture is that God never holds us responsible for how our children turn out—only for how we raised them.
So let me remind you again of the truths parents affirm when they hold up their precious children to the Lord in dedication of themselves to godly parenting as stewards of their children for the Lord: I will raise the children God gives me for His glory; I will surrender them back to Him; I will have His peace when it is hard, and when they are making their own choices that will shape their future lives; I will always pray for them, always love them, and no matter what happens—I will have God’s peace because I gave them to Him—and raised them for Him as best as I knew how and could do.
Whatever place you are in your parenting— anticipating children, in the midst of raising children, sorrowing over a wayward child, or looking back over wonderful (or not so wonderful) years of parenting—why not go over these dedication truths in your own hearts as parents? If you have surrendered your children to the Lord already, then reaffirm in your heart these five simple truths:
· I raised the children You gave me as my very own;
· I surrendered them back to You;
· I will have Your peace when it is hard, and when they are making their own choices that will shape their future lives;
· I will always pray for them, always love them, never give up on them or You; and no matter what happens—
· I will have Your peace because I gave them to You, and raised them for You as best as I knew how and could do. If you are a believing parent, and your child has gone astray from the Lord, how should you respond to a wayward child? What comfort is there for parents when this happens? What hope can we have after all the years we loved them, earnestly prayed for them, read God’s Word to them, nurtured them in the ways of the Lord, and sought to guide them as best we could? Here are some truths that comfort our hearts—and the hearts of the many parents we have encouraged over the years:
A Wayward Child . . .
1. A wayward child is no surprise to God. Every day of our life (Psalm 139) was written in His book—even the darkest of days!
2. A wayward child is an opportunity for God to see our response. Our response is what matters to God most. He is watching and waiting for what we will do, to whom we will turn—and when we turn to Him, our Lord is glorified.
3. A wayward child drives us to pray for what we may think is impossible—their return to the Lord and us.
4. A wayward child opens to us a situation where only God can encourage us in times like this (I Samuel 30:6b)!
5. A wayward child fills us with hope as we remember that God isn’t ever through with us as long as we live—and neither is He ever through with our wayward child.
6. A wayward child reminds us we have a perfect heavenly Father as we see our own imperfections reflected by our children.
7. A wayward child humbles us as we remember how often we also have failed our children (Psalm 130:3), and failed to respond correctly to our perfect Father.
8. A wayward child rebukes us because we expected so much obedience from our imperfect parenting, yet we ourselves gave our heavenly Father such imperfect obedience—even though His parenting was perfect!
9. A wayward child makes us believe more and more each day that God is able to do that which we could never do: touch their hearts, soften their hearts, and turn their hearts back to Him (Ezekiel 36:26-27)—and to us.
10. A wayward child shows us God’s never ending grace as each wave of fear and sorrow rolls over us, but we find our feet firmly planted on the Solid Rock (Psalm 40:1-2)!
11. A wayward child challenges us to never give up on him or her. In one of the darkest hours in my job as a dad, I sat with one of my children watching a movie. One line, which was clearly stated twice by Alfred the butler to Master Bruce, will always stay etched in my mind: “So you haven’t given up on me yet?” To which the butler answered resoundingly, “NEVER!” I challenge you to say the same in your own heart, to your partner, and by your actions toward a wayward child all your life—Never will I give up on you, for God will never give up on me!
I hope that these truths will give you strength when the parenting path gets rough—whether for a moment, or a few weeks or months, or even for the rest of your life. Beloved, God is faithful, so never stop trusting Him—and never cease waiting upon Him! Remember: Faithful prayer, in step with God’s plan in His Word, is God’s most powerful key to unlock children’s hearts as we disciple them for Christ. The battle for our children’s souls is won “one prayer at a time”—“Is anything too hard for the Lord? . . . ” (Genesis 18:14a)!
For more from Discover the Book Ministries, please visit discoverthebook.org.