Prayer For All Seasons of Life

Throughout Scripture, we are challenged to pray so let’s look at a few wonderful passages on prayer.

Be reminded of Nehemiah’s dependence on prayer. He turned to God—for strength, for guidance, for protection, and for power. Ask God to make you a Nehemiah!

  • Nehemiah 1:6—Let your ear be attentive and your eyes open to hear the prayer your servant is praying before You day and night for your servants, the people of Israel.
  • Nehemiah 1:11—Lord, let your ear be attentive to the prayer of this your servant and to the prayer of your servants who delight in revering your name. Give your servant success today by granting him favor in the presence of this man.” I was cupbearer to the king.
  • Nehemiah 2:4—The king said to me, “What is it you want?” Then I prayed to the God of heaven,
  • Nehemiah 4:9—But we prayed to our God and posted a guard day and night to meet this threat.
  • Nehemiah 6:9—They were all trying to frighten us, thinking, “Their hands will get too weak for the work, and it will not be completed.” But I prayed, “Now strengthen my hands.”Be encouraged, convicted, and motivated by these Scriptures:
  • Deuteronomy 4:7—What other nation is so great as to have their gods near them the way the Lord our God is near us whenever we pray to him?
  • 1 Samuel 1:10—In her deep anguish Hannah prayed to the Lord, weeping bitterly.
  • 1 Samuel 12:23—As for me, far be it from me that I should sin against the Lord by failing to pray for you. And I will teach you the way that is good and right.
  • 1 Kings 8:28—Yet give attention to Your servant’s prayer and his plea for mercy, Lord my God. Hear the cry and the prayer that Your servant is praying in Your presence this day.
  • 2 Chronicles 7:14—If My people, who are called by My name, will humble themselves and pray and seek My face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land.
  • Proverbs 18:10—The name of the Lord is a strong tower; the righteous man runs into it and is safe.
  • Matthew 6:6—But when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.
  • Matthew 26:41—Watch and pray so that you will not fall into temptation. The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak.
  • Mark 11:25—And when you stand praying, if you hold anything against anyone, forgive them, so that your Father in heaven may forgive you your sins.
  • Luke 5:1—But Jesus often withdrew to lonely places and prayed.
  • Romans 12:12—Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer.
  • Ephesians 1:18—I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which He has called you, the riches of His glorious inheritance in His holy people,

Philippians 4:6—Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.

Many hymns speak of our prayer privilege as children of God: Sweet Hour of Prayer; Pass Me Not, O Gentle Savior; Blessed Assurance; Tell It to Jesus, and so many more. I was drawn to these words from In the Garden as I thought about the privilege we have to pray in holy communion with our loving God:I come to the garden alone,While the dew is still on the roses,And the voice I hear falling on my earThe Son of God discloses.He speaks, and the sound of His voiceIs so sweet the birds hush their singing,And the melody that He gave to meWithin my heart is ringing.

Talk with God and process what He is doing for you, in you and through you. Thank Him and say “yes” to where He wants to take you.

  • And He walks with me, and He talks with me,And He tells me I am His own;And the joy we share as we tarry there,None other has ever known.

Brenda Harris is a student of God’s Word…and a wife, mother, and grandmother! She loves uncovering truths and promises in Scripture. Brenda serves as prayer coordinator for Kendrick Brothers Productions.

 

A Prayer for Father’s Day

Father,

We come before You today humbled and in awe of Your grace and mercy. Lord we thank You for the way You have designed what a family is supposed to look like and the specific roles You have ordained to a mother and a father on how to lead their children. Yet Lord, through our sinful ways we have taken what You have made holy and created our own version of today’s families. Because of this our children are suffering. It is for the fathers, families, and children of our nation that we do pray today.

Lord, we pray specifically for fathers and fatherhood across our land. Your Word clearly instructs fathers to bring up their children in the discipline and instruction of the Lord. God, we thank You for the men who are leading according to Your statutes and the ones that are laying their lives down for Your purposes. We pray that You will continue to use these men to lead their families and others. We pray You will strengthen the fathers of our nation and that You will continue to empower churches, organizations, and individuals to invest in men and fatherhood across our land.   

God, we pray for single fathers, whether they are raising their children alone or in a co-parenting situation. We pray for strength, protection, wisdom, and discernment to help them through whatever trials they may be facing. Thank You Lord for these men and please guard their hearts and minds in Christ Jesus, help meet all their needs, that they may experience Your peace that surpasses all comprehension.

Jesus, we pray for the dads out there who are being alienated from their children right now. We pray O Lord, that You would shield and shelter them from the pain and anger that may be rising in them; for You to strike down the barriers that are hindering these dads from seeing their children. God do not let this destroy them as men, fathers, or in their relationship with You. They need You in a mighty way and we pray You would show Yourself strong on their behalf and that You would reunite these families together.

Lord, we lift up the men right now that are not stepping up to the plate as fathers. We pray for these men to come to their knees and repent, turn from their wicked ways, seek You, and come to the saving knowledge of Jesus Christ. Father, we pray for their children and the moms who are parenting alone because of these men’s decisions. We pray You would step in as a father to the fatherless and a defender of widows in these situations, that their story would be another testimony that nothing is too hard for You.

Finally, Father we lift up the men and women that are on the front lines in the battle for fatherhood and the war against fatherlessness. God, You clearly put leaders in all positions of influence. We pray for everything from the right funding for the programs to continue to godly throughout. We pray for a revival of manhood and for fathers to lead their families by beginning each day on their knees. That You will turn the hearts of the fathers to their children and the hearts of the children to their fathers. As our Creator, Savior, and heavenly Father, we believe that this will bear eternal fruit—that generational curses will become generational blessings, restoring our families back to the way that You intended.

We come into agreement as we read and speak this prayer out loud that our world is desperate for earthly fathers to rise up to the challenge, that they need to follow You as their ultimate guide and example.

It is in the wonderful, precious, and matchless name of Jesus Christ that we pray, Amen. 

Faithful Fathering: Honor Your Father

The command is to: Honor your father and your mother, so that you may live long in the land the Lord your God is giving you. – Exodus 20:12.

This is the commandment with a promise. It bridges the first commandments to the last; it bridges the spiritual relationship with God to the physical relationships with others; and it bridges faith from one generation to the next.

I encourage you to accept a 3-point challenge to Honor Your Father:

  • First, make time to meet with your dad. Do something he enjoys but make sure the time incorporates discussion around what life experiences shaped him as a father and the challenges he faced “being Dad” when you were a kid. (If your dad has passed or is not accessible, meet with another man in the church close to the age of your father or a younger dad that could be a son and have the same generational discussion.)

 

  • Secondly, write a letter of thanks to your dad citing a specific experience or two growing up. It can be as simple as a “Thanks for bringing me into this world” or as comprehensive as a tribute to your dad that acknowledges time committed through your childhood years and the support provided. If you are convicted of taking him for granted or of passing judgment on him due to perceived shortfalls acknowledge that, confess and ask for forgiveness. Keep the focus on honoring your father with full respect for the life journey that shaped his perspective on fathering. Present the letter to your dad and read it to him. (If your dad has passed or is not accessible, read the letter to your kids and include a story about your dad.)

 

  • Finally, commit to grow as a father – Seek out resources and training opportunities that will encourage & equip you as a father. One easy and accessible option is the Dads Becoming Heroes study that can be completed on your own or in a small group. This study can be downloaded as a .pdf file from http://www.faithfulfathering.org/educate.

 

Accept the challenge to Honor Your Father today and commit to becoming the father God calls you to be, the father the next generation needs.

A faithful father honors his father and his mother.

 

BHG, Rick Wertz

281.491.DADS(3237)

faithfulfathering.org

Prioritize physical presence

   Be engaged emotionally, and

      Lead spiritually by example.

Wash Their Feet

 

…He poured water into a basin and began to wash the disciple’s feet… -John 13:5 (NKJV)

You’ve probably heard the statistic at some point that an alarmingly high number (80-90%) of children raised in a Christian home will leave the faith after graduation. Though there is a long and quite in-depth list of the many reasons why, the two that have always stuck out to me the most are: 1.) Children are never taught to own their faith; and 2.) they don’t see their parents living it out.

Men, this should be a huge concern to us! Without taking away from a mother’s irreplaceable role in a child’s upbringing, multiple studies have shown that a father is one of the primary influencers in his children’s faith. Going back to the two points listed above begs the question: Men, are you teaching your children to own their own faith—and are they seeing you genuinely living yours out?

 

And supper being ended…Jesus, knowing that the Father had given all things into His hands…rose from supper, and laid aside His garments, took a towel, and girded Himself. -John 13:2-4

 

When we look at the full story of Jesus washing the disciple’s feet, what do you see and feel? Is this a favorite Bible story of yours, perhaps you have been the recipient of someone washing your feet at some time (or vice versa)? Or, do you see the agape love Christ is expressing to His friends, the fact He is giving us a new commandment (v 34), and setting an example for the way we should love others? Can you feel the love, intimacy, and devotion He is displaying? Perhaps not, even Peter didn’t pick up on it at the time either. Still, pursuing a relationship like this with Jesus should be a continual effort of ours.

 

Passing on the Heritage

I don’t read or watch the news any more, seriously. All I must do is flip on the TV or open my phone and even the highest of spirits can be dampened in an instant. Politics. Scandals. Murder. This doesn’t mean I am completely oblivious to the world, quite the opposite; but if the Church is going to stand as the primary response to the world’s chaos, we need to be equipped with solid and loving information. That is where our own personal quiet time, Bible study, and extra study on various topics comes in. Are you prepared to give your children a convincing answer on how science actually favors God’s existence rather than denies it? What about standing firm on the big issues such as abortion, marriage, and gun control? More so, how do you respond to teaching your children about other faiths and religions?

I’m not throwing all of this at you to convict you—but to alert you that these are some of the questions and reasons our sons and daughters are walking away from the faith. We need to be prepared to help them understand and answer what God has to say on these matters. Yes, we are all seemingly beyond busy, but this has to take precedence. And for the record, I am still a student in training here too. Carve time out to learn more and respond in love—but not at the expense of your precious time with your children. Beware of falling into legalism too.

 

Get on Your Knees

Literally and figuratively. Pray every day with and for your children. Pray for their mom, stepdad, teachers, and everyone else that has influence in their lives. Let your heart be shaped and molded by Christ’s love for you.

 

Jesus answered and said to him, “What I am doing you do not understand now, but you will know after this.” …So when He had washed their feet, taken His garments, and sat down again, He said to them, “Do you know what I have done to you? You call Me Teacher and Lord, and you say well, for so I am. If I then, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another’s feet. For I have given you an example, that you should do as I have done to you.” -John 13:7, 12-15

 

This week I had the amazing privilege of washing my wife’s and daughter’s feet after dinner. It was Maundy Thursday, and this is the passage I chose for our post-dinner reading. I have been made clean by the blood of Christ and this was my commitment to let these women whom I love with my whole heart know that I will continually be there to love, serve, and lay my life down for them. So dads, wash your children’s feet. In an age-appropriate way, explain to them the significance of Christ’s sacrifice for us. Pray for them as you wash their feet, let them feel your hands and hear your words. And, do all you can to continually live in this feet washing mode. Set the bar for them on what a follower of Christ looks like—give them that example they can follow for the rest of their lives.

 

Matt Haviland is the founder and director of A Father’s Walk single dad ministry. For more information, please visit www.afatherswalk.org.

 

Messages on Mirrors: Fathers to Daughters

I forget what age I was when I heard my first nursery rhyme, but there is one in particular that is burrowed deep into my memory bank like a steel nail into softened wood: “Mirror, mirror, on the wall, who’s the fairest of them all?”

This quote, as you probably remember, comes from the fairy tale Snow White. Every day Snow White’s stepmother would ask the mirror this infamous question. And though at first glance it might seem like a benign inquiry, I believe it powerfully illustrates the way a woman often determines whether or not she feels beautiful or adequate. She tends toward asking this power-packed question of inanimate objects, as if they were the judge and jury, be it a mirror on the wall or the number on a scale or the size marked on the back of her jeans. No human interaction necessary.

Even more concerning is the way this story demonstrates how easily an influential woman (the queen) gives away her own opinion and succumbs to feedback from a mirror over that of herself or another human being with whom she has a positive connection. In modern terminology, this translates to a woman “listening” to the definitive messages from magazines, television, and movies (a.k.a. mainstream culture) as the ultimate determiner of beauty. Inanimate objects are at the helm once again, not so different from the fairy tale your daughter may have once heard as a little girl.

The truth is your daughter is asking the same question every single day of her life: Am I beautiful? She longs to be told she is beautiful, and she will keep asking and looking until someone tells her that she is.

She needs you, dad, to answer her question. If she doesn’t hear it from you, she will find another “mirror” on another wall who will tell her that she is beautiful. Sadly, some of those mirrors have a hidden agenda, and will express what she wants to hear in order to get or take something from her.

Include your observations about her outer and her inner beauty. Think of them as two sides of the same coin, adding value while serving as complimentary counterparts. She needs to hear you address the entirety of how you see her.

What about her eyes are breathtaking? What about the way she did her make-up today is pretty? What about the color she is wearing looks stunning on her? What about her personality is creatively being expressed in her outfit or activities today? What about her character was reflected by her positive response to meeting someone’s need?

 

Here’s your practical battle plan:

Write messages with erasable marker directly onto her mirrors (in her bathroom or bedroom, or on the rearview or overhead mirror in her car), or on sticky notes that you attach to any or all of her mirrors, with truth about her from your point of view.

And if using the word “beautiful” is new or uncomfortable for you, try writing it to her first until it becomes a part of your vocabulary.

Dad, stand up as a warrior and fight for your daughter. It’s brutal out there and she needs you to do battle for her so she can see and believe the positive truth about herself.

(You can watch a video of a couple dads who used Michelle’s wisdom and the effect it had on their children here.)

 

Dr. Michelle Watson has a clinical counseling practice in Portland, Oregon and has served in that role for the past 18 years. She is founder of The Abba Project, a 9-month group forum that is designed to equip dads with daughters ages 13 to 30 to dial in with more intention and consistency, and has recently released her first book entitled, Dad, Here’s What I Really Need from You: A Guide for Connecting with Your Daughter’s Heart. She invites you to visit www.drmichellewatson.com for more information and to sign up for her weekly Dad-Daughter Friday blogs where she provides practical tools so that every dad in America can become the action hero they want to be and their daughters need them to be. You can also follow or send feedback on Facebook at www.facebook.com/drmichellewatson and Twitter @mwatsonphd.

Keeping Up With The ________

Keeping up with the Jones’ – that common saying that basically means, comparing ourselves to some other family, group, person and trying to live up to what we believe they are, or have, that we do not…but wish we did.

There was a time when this would occur within the confines of our neighborhoods where the casual peek over the fence, or happenstance glance at the new car driving up the road. We’d see it or experience it on a small scale, perhaps with just a few people who were near to us.

Now, in this time, the Jones’ and the rest of the world are at our fingertips, sharing their lives, their high points, on every screen in front of us through social media.   And if we aren’t careful we can find ourselves perpetually wishing we have or are what someone else is sharing.

Let me be clear: I am not anti-social media, nor do I think that Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc. are necessarily bad things. They are and can be amazing tools and resources that connect all of us in a better way reaching across, in a limitless way, the globe. Just like any good tool, it can also be used in the wrong way and cause damage.

The power and strength of connection and re-connection that these mediums provide is amazing and at times overwhelming. And we must remember that most people, most of the time, aren’t posting their worst moments …but usually only their best.

I often wonder when watching people view their social media pages on their phones what is going through their minds.  Is it simply the enjoyment of sharing moments with their friends and loved ones that they otherwise may not have been aware of? Or, are they experiencing feelings of jealousy and self-doubt that can come with comparing their circumstances with those they are viewing?

We all compare ourselves at some point or another to someone and gauge How am I doing? in comparison to someone or some standard we have set for ourselves.  This can be a healthy approach to keep up with how you may be progressing in a certain area of your life that you have chosen to work on improving.  However, the pitfall exists where you shift from providing yourself with a healthy mile stone or measuring stick to wishing your situation was like someone else’s.

When viewing social media, if you find yourself feeling jealous, envious, or even just wishing that was yours…stop, put it away, and take in what you do have and what you are blessed with.

Enjoy and celebrate with what others share—but don’t feel the need to keep up with the whoever’s or whatever’s.

Just keep up with yourself and the blessings you have.

 

–Wade Jackson

Family Dynamics Institute collaborates with Churches, Companies, and Community Organizations to help them provide a Comprehensive Marriage Ministry to help married and engaged couples grow stronger at all ages and stages of marriage.

To Learn More

Contact Us At:       800-650-9995

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Read and Lead

A Reminder from Joshua 1

Sometimes God must tell me something more than once. Does that ever happen to you? Sometimes it seems that ever devotion I read, every sermon I hear, and every Bible study I attend has the same words, telling me the same truth over and over, driving the message into my thick skull. God knows I learn through repetition, I guess!

Joshua must have been a bit hard-headed too. The Lord told him the same thing three times in nine verses! “Be strong and courageous” (vv. 6,9). “Be strong and very courageous” (v. 7). Joshua was about to assume the role as leader of the Israelites, a daunting task for sure. God assured Joshua of His presence, His power, and His protection. “I will never leave you,” He said in verse 5. And because of that promise, Joshua could go in confidence and boldness, because “the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go” (v. 9).

In what areas of life do you need courage? What is God calling you to do in His name? Be bold. Be tenacious. Be resolute. God is with you.

 

Brenda Harris is the prayer coordinator for Kendrick Brothers Productions.

 

Christmas, Single Parents, and Immanuel

Christmas. Many of us think of it as a time of celebration of our Lord’s birth; a time of joy, creating and reliving childhood memories; music, family, food, and holiday cheer. This is the one season that seems almost magical- the most wonderful time of the year. For a single parent, however, this can also be one of the most difficult times to endure.

While everyone else is posting pictures on social media and sharing tales of their family gatherings, celebrating all their children’s funny antics and what their spouse did to surprise them with the perfect gift, single parents often must rejoice with those who rejoice, all while covering up the pain of loss and loneliness in their own lives. They can feel forgotten or disregarded. I’ve been there, and in many ways, I still hurt during the holidays too. But rather than taking on a spirit of defeat, let’s choose this year to celebrate Immanuel, God with us.

 

We can know Jesus is with us…

  • When there is an empty chair at the table because this is your first year as a single parent, He is God with us.
  • When we don’t have our children on Christmas Day because they are at the other parent’s house, He is God with us.
  • When everything seems to be caving in financially, and you can barely afford presents for your children, let alone anyone else, He is God with us.
  • When we are choking back the tears because the pain and shame seems too much to bear, He is God with us.
  • When we feel like everything around us is crumbling, including our faith, and no one even seems to notice, He is God with us.

 

The greatest gift of all…

Even if we relate to any of the examples above, we still have a GREATER reason to celebrate because of Jesus this year: He IS God with us! He is the perfect gift, buying us back into relationship with our heavenly Father. He fills the void no one else can, reminds us that we are on a continual journey with Him, and never leaves us, even when we wander. He fills in all our tangible needs, calms our hurts, and fills us with a peace this world will never provide. The reason Jesus is Immanuel, God with us, is because He created us, has been where we are, and has cleared the path for us to be assured that He is with us—always.

 

Do not be afraid; for behold, I bring you good news of great joy which will be for all the people; for today in the city of David there has been born for you a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. –Luke 2:10-11 (NASB)

 

Single parents, will you celebrate the holidays with joy this year, knowing that in all circumstances God is with us?

 

Written by Matt Haviland of A Father’s Walk single dad ministry. For more information, please visit www.afatherswalk.org.

Throw or Tell: A Fathering Lesson About Rocks

Most every man I’ve known has had fun with rocks in his childhood. I’m guessing you did too. Maybe it’s the whole made-from-the-dust-of-the ground thing that is inherent in the male population to draw them to the earth. Who knows?!

And even though you probably know more about rocks than I do and don’t need a geology lesson, I’ll continue by stating the obvious. Here are some things that can be done with rocks. You can:

  1. Throw them. (Of course, this is the number one answer I hear from men when I ask them this question.)
  2. Skip them (across water). 3. Construct something with them.

But the thing that usually isn’t mentioned is:

  1. Build something, namely a monument.

Lest you credit me with that last item, it actually comes from a story in the Bible from when God led His people (who are called Israelites) to cross the Jordan River as He held back the water until all of them passed through the riverbed. Let’s pick up the story with their leader Joshua giving instructions to the men:

“Each of you is to take up a stone on his shoulder, according to the number of the tribes of the Israelites, to serve as a sign among you. In the future, when your children ask you, ‘What do these stones mean?’ tell them that the flow of the Jordan was cut off before the ark of the covenant of the Lord. When it crossed the Jordan, the waters of the Jordan were cut off. These stones are to be a memorial to the people of Israel forever.” (Joshua 4:5-7)

One thing I love about this story is that the challenge from God to dads includes both building and telling.

First off, these dads are holding rocks on their shoulders and carrying them to the other side of the river in order to build something that will stand as a forever memorial. These fathers and their children had to have been side by side through the process. Seems like a great fathering model, don’t you think? Dads modeling responsive behavior—to God and their leader—in front of their children.

And secondly, these fathers were instructed to tell their kids the story of the miracle that happened for years to come. And because we all know that kids love to ask questions, there is no doubt that this story was told repeatedly…by dad.

As we can see, the rocks served as a reminder of the story that accompanied them. And this gave me an idea for a way to bring this idea into the twenty-first century.

Dad, what if you started a tradition where every time God did a big miracle in your family—like unexpectedly providing money to pay a huge bill or healing someone in a powerful way or answering a specific prayer or observing a milestone in your children’s lives—you took your kids to a quarry or a Home Improvement Store (like Home Depot or Lowe’s) and together you all picked out a sizable stone to commemorate the event?

Then, just like these dads did centuries ago, you can build and tell.

Think about what this would be like if each time something of significance happened in your family that a rock was added to an ever-growing monument that you build with your kids in your yard where future generations will hear the stories that each rock represents.

And through it all, Dad, you are the one leading the whole event, just like the Israelite men of the Old Testament.

Instead of just skipping and throwing rocks this year, why not let the rocks tell the story. And why not let it be YOU who builds with those rocks and tells your kids the story again and again.

 

(Excerpt adapted from my book, Dad, Here’s What I Really Need from You: A Guide for Connecting with Your Daughter’s Heart, chapter 43)

Dr. Michelle Watson has a clinical counseling practice in Portland, Oregon and has served in that role for the past 18 years. She is founder of The Abba Project, a 9-month group forum that is designed to equip dads with daughters ages 13 to 30 to dial in with more intention and consistency, and has recently released her first book entitled, Dad, Here’s What I Really Need from You: A Guide for Connecting with Your Daughter’s Heart. She invites you to visit www.drmichellewatson.com for more information and to sign up for her weekly Dad-Daughter Friday blogs where she provides practical tools so that every dad in America can become the action hero they want to be and their daughters need them to be. You can also follow or send feedback on Facebook at www.facebook.com/drmichellewatson and Twitter @mwatsonphd.