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.

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

Email Us:    info@FamilyDynamics.net

Websites:     www.FamilyDynamics.net

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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.

 

A Letter to the Dad Who Needs to Step Up

Hey Brother,

I know we don’t know each other, but I feel this had to be written. I also don’t know how you have come to read this—perhaps it was forwarded on to you or you stumbled upon it by accident. Either way, I think you should first know a few things about me:

I grew up in a single parent home and was not raised with a strong father figure, our relationship never went much past surface level and he was more of a playmate than a father.

I was a single father for over 9 years. I share custody of my daughter with her mother, to whom I was never married.

By the time my daughter was born, I had done about everything I could to screw up my life. I suffered for over ten years from drug and alcohol addiction—I wasn’t cut out to be a dad, not in the least.

I am a Christian. Before I lose you—read on! Once my daughter was born I knew something had to change. I wanted to be a great dad, better than what I had been raised with. I also knew that was not possible if I continued down the path I was on. I had been going to church on and off for about 6 years by this point; and when my daughter was about 8 months old, I surrendered my life to Jesus.

So why am I writing this to you? I now run a ministry for single fathers and I work with some amazing dads, many of whom are being shut out of their children’s lives or struggle to make ends meet. On the flip side, I talk with countless single moms who only wish their children’s dad would be a part of the kid’s lives—men who show no intention of doing so. And for that my heart breaks. I have been given a love for my daughter that I never knew existed before she was born. Almost twelve years later, her birth continues to be one of the most significant moments in my life and I cannot imagine my life without her. I simply cannot understand why any father would deny the same in his own life.

Dad, I realize I don’t know your situation, but I will tell you that if you are not stepping up to the plate (physically, financially, emotionally) as a father, you are missing out on more than you can ever know. The Bible tells us that children are a gift from the Lord. Maybe you didn’t have the best representation of a father in your life either, I get it. But that’s no reason to back down now! Yes, it may be painful along the way, but I will assure you the pros overwhelmingly outweigh the cons. All it takes is a simple love note from your little girl or a hug and a loving word from your son to melt even the most hardened of us men. If this is reaching you, even in the least, please allow me to share a few quick tips to help you along the way:

 

  1. Come clean

You may not be a Christian, and perhaps you aren’t sold on this whole religion thing, but I will assure you there is nothing in this world that can ever compare to God’s love and mercy. If he can do a 180 with someone like me, he can with anyone! First, we need to recognize that we are sinful individuals, ask for his forgiveness, and ask Jesus to be the Lord of our lives (see John 3:16 and Romans 10:9-10).

Next, we need to ask for forgiveness to those we have hurt, specifically our children’s mother and our kids themselves. This will probably be one of the biggest ego checks you will ever face, and may not be received well, but it needs to be done nonetheless. We simply cannot move forward until we wipe the slate clean.

 

  1. Lose the friends that are bringing you down

I know all the slang: “Bros before ****”, “I got 99 problems…”, “Homeys for life”, etc… And I completely understand the weight many of these friends carry in our lives. However, once we became a father, our children superseded all other friendships. When I began to walk away from the drug scene one of my good friends at the time said, “So what? We’re not friends anymore?” My response was, “You’ll always be my boy, but if you’re going to continue doing what you’re doing, I can’t be a part of it.” The first six months of my daughter’s life I slashed over 90% of my social circle. Yes, it was extremely difficult, but these were individuals who were dragging me down. In replacement, I sought out men who would build me up. Today, I am so blessed to have mentors, a best friend, and other people who challenge me to be the man I was created to be. Good or bad, as fathers we set the tone for our kids. What can you do today to be the leader they so desperately need?

 

  1. Just Do It

The longer we wait to do something the less likely we are to do it. I challenge you to begin to make the necessary moves to begin the healing process in you and your children’s relationship. Surround yourself with a strong and healthy support system—such as a church community and a mentor. Every moment you hesitate you lose irreplaceable and invaluable moments with your son or daughter—every day you invest in them you experience the unbelievable gift we have been so graciously blessed with: Fatherhood.

 

I’m pulling for you, Dad!

In Christ,

Matt

 

Matt Haviland is the founder and director of A Father’s Walk single dad ministry. He is an ordinary guy who chases an extraordinary God. For more information, please visit www.afatherswalk.org.

4 Ways to Make Your Next Camping Trip a Success

Camping is the best way to get back to nature, and it is one of the best ways for children to get a good grasp on how the environment affects us, and how we harm the environment. Although it would be nice to head off into the middle of the wilderness, it’s unfortunate that most kids don’t see it this way.

 

Campsite Choice

These come hand in hand and can make or break a family camping experience. The campsite that you choose has to be based on your abilities and also take into account the interests of your family. If you and your family are novices to the whole camping ideal, choosing a site that is in an established campground or a national park would be a good idea to start.

If you are a family who likes to explore the local towns or hike/cycle during the day, it is advisable to choose a site that is close to your activity destinations. As a final word, if your family is not too keen on roughing it 100%, select a site that has toilets and running water.

 

Which Tent?

As for your tent, it may be suitable to have one that fits two adults, yet when a family is concerned, you will need a little more space. Families are advised to choose one that can easily cater for double the size of your family. This gives your kids plenty of room to move around.

Child-friendly sleeping arrangements are a necessity. They will be the first ones who complain. If you have more than one child and you want to make them as comfortable as possible and save floor space. You can opt for a double camping cot which kids will enjoy.

One of the best and simplest camping hacks you can find is your pillows. Rather than lugging pillows around with you, just take pillow cases and stuff them with your jackets while sleeping.

 

Entertainment

Camping is getting away from it all, and leaving everything behind. Children will at some point want a little extra to play with, especially if the weather is not the best. You can take along some toys and entertainment for them that will either make them more involved with nature or keep them quiet if the weather takes a turn for the worst.

Here are a few camping toys that will keep your kids happy:

  • Balls – Most ball sports can be played while camping as can a frisbee.
  • Magnifying Glasses – these can keep younger children occupied for ages, as can a pair of binoculars. They will love exploring what’s far away or what is right under their feet.
  • Squirt Guns – what better way to keep kids occupied in warm weather and if you are close to a water supply.
  • If the weather does take a turn for the worst or you need something to keep your children occupied on an evening, there are also a few options that can improve family bonding rather than rely on electrical gadgets:
  • Coloring books – these can keep your children occupied for a couple of hours, and they don’t take up much space in your camping gear.
  • Playing cards – there is nothing better than a game of cards between the family. Just make sure the game is not too complicated for your children.

If your children need a little more space to play and do their own thing, you can take a smaller tent for this purpose. You will know where they are and you don’t have to worry about standing on any of the toys or games you have taken along.

 

Meal Times

Children can be the hungriest and fussiest eaters on the planet, so stocking up on what will keep them satisfied is essential. Snack times will be the hardest as they will want something to satisfy their sweet tooth.

Packing dried fruits can give your children an energy boost while meeting their sugary needs without filling them full of man-made ingredients. Trail mix and health bars that are made from all-natural ingredients can do much the same thing. All you have to be wary of is if any of your children or family members have a nut allergy.

Fresh fruits can also be good to keep on hand; they are not only healthy and nutritious, but they also come in their own packaging so there will be no wrappers flying around the campsite.

One thing you do have to take, and this will please your kids and give them the idea how much fun sitting around a campfire can be. Bring on the S’Mores! This will satisfy not just any kid, but also the big kid in all of us. What childhood would be complete without memories of S’Mores around a fire?

 

Chris Cole is the head writer at naturesportcentral.com. He is passionate about the great outdoors and writing.

Build Memories, Not Just Moments

I love taking my grandchildren to Disney, to the playground or to the beach. These activities are fun, but do they create memories that keep on keeping on even after this lifetime has passed.

 

A lifetime runs out,

but eternity is a very, very long time!

 

Build…

Buildings that have no foundation will never stand the winds of time. Wow, how profound. Life’s trials will come and go, but the foundations you help build in your grandchildren’s lives will last for a life time

The key words I think of when building anything is “structure” and “Intentional.” What kinds of structures are you intentionally building into your grandchildren’s lives that are done with a purpose and done on purpose?

 

Build with purpose.

Build on purpose.

 

It’s hard for your grandchildren to see God’s purpose working out in their lives just as it is for us. God does not do anything by accident. All we have gone through is all part of what God wants to build in us. Year by year, challenge by challenge, decision by decision, God uses them all to build his image in us.

Think about how you can intentionally build in each of your grandchildren. Here are some things I want to build in my grandchildren and in myself.

 

It is more caught than taught.

The world around us is in direct conflict with what we want to see in our grandchildren’s lives. The world creates expectations that may have nothing to do with God’s purposes. We must live and actively proclaim the truth over the lies. As a grandfather, I want to be one of the louder voices saying to our grandchildren that God loves them and has a wonderful plan for their lives. Words, thoughts and actions can build up or tear down, which do they hear and see from us?

 

What you want your grandchildren to remember

must be said and lived now.

 

Memories…

 

The best legacies you will ever leave

are the memories you create.

 

If I were to ask each of my grandchildren what was their most memorable moment I hope there are seven, one for each of my grandchildren. Why? Let me say it again, because they are all individuals. We must see them as individuals and seek to build memories that last for their life-times.

 

Memories are made over time.

 

I am sure all of my grandchildren will remember the great time we had at the lake, at an amusement park or on a Disney cruise. But what memories would each of my grandchildren recall as being special; working together on a project, a mission trip to the Navajo Nation, maybe playing Scrabble or Dominoes and beating Papa over and over again? Those memories have very specific meaning, because of the time and conversation we have while doing them.

 

I want to change history and memories on purpose.

Memories by accident can be scary.

 

Build, structure, and create the times you want to live and the memories you want to leave. Recently we spent a week in Breckenridge, Colorado, and the best things I did with our grandchildren was make snow angels. It did not cost us one dime. It was not the reason for the trip; it was simply spontaneous and great fun. We have the pictures!

 

Your grandchildren will not judge you by the car you drive,

the house you live in or by the stuff you own

but by the memories you live and leave.

 

For a Lifetime

 

Maybe you’re thinking, “Wow, for a lifetime!” “There is plenty of time for that.” Really? Only God knows for sure, and you ain’t God! So what are you waiting for?

 

How much lifetime do we really have left?

Oh, you don’t know!

You might want to get on with it now.

 

May I make a suggestion? Well, I’m going to do it anyway. Ask each of your grandchildren this simple but leading question, “If I could do anything for you or with you that I can afford, what would you like most?” What would they say? If you don’t know, at least ask. I promise I will, too!

 

Remember…

Money and stuff will be spent and rust away but memories last for a lifetime.

 

When you ask them what you could do for them remember they are different ages. You may need to ask the parents for some insights.

 

Reminder: YOUR greatest investments or achievements are not found

 in your “what’s” – possessions, power, privilege or prestige –

but in your “Who’s” – God, your wife, family and

the legacy you live and leave.

 

 

Written by our dear friend, the late Dr. Dan Erickson. May the memories we have of him live on as we create new memories with our loved ones.

O, Give Thanks to His Wonderful Works!

Whether your family is hosting the meal or traveling to grandmother’s house, there’s a lot to do in preparation for Thanksgiving. Slow down for a few moments before the cooking, chaos, chatter and clutter begins. Prepare your heart to focus on the Creator, the God of heaven and earth, the ultimate reason to give thanks.

Read Psalm 105:1-7 aloud from your favorite translation. Pause after each phrase and truly absorb what you’re reading. Center in on the prayer-directives the Psalmist gives and reflect on the abundance of blessings you enjoy (v. 1). Pray aloud for those who are serving “among the nations”, those who “tell of all His wonderful acts” (vv. 1-2). Seek His guidance and rest in His power (v. 4). Ponder His acts of mercy (v. 5). Rejoice that you are one of “His chosen ones” (v.6). Breathe in the mercies of God (v. 7).

My former pastor, Dr. Jay McCluskey, reminded us that “God’s faithfulness does not come with a limited warranty.” God is with us—in good, bad, sadness, sorrow, success, commonplace, and extraordinary.  Dr. McCluskey also proposed a novel idea: What if we cancelled Thanksgiving Day and designated one day a year for grumbling and complaining? Maybe we would get it out of our system and then have 364 days left for praising and rejoicing. Wouldn’t that be refreshing?

So, this week, don’t grumble! Reflect on the blessings of God, ask Him to heal our nation, to restore peace and harmony in families, communities, churches and countries around the world. Entreat Him to provide places of tranquility and healing for those who are abused and hurting, blessings on those who proclaim His name both here and abroad. Will you be a channel of blessing and thankfulness or a woe-is-me grumbler? Just look around you and then thank Him for the abundance He generously gives. Prepare your heart to step into a glorious life of thanksgiving.

 

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.