How to Have a Half Day of Prayer by Chris Russell

Moms and caretakers have busy schedules and it is important to include daily prayer as part of your daily activities, but once in a while, we need more time with God. This article explains how to maximize your time with Our Father.

http://wp.me/p98Coa-5u  From BibleStudyTools.com

Now in the morning, having risen a long while before daylight, He went out and departed to a solitary place; and there He prayed. Mark 1:25

Many years ago I learned about a spiritual discipline that literally changed my life: a half day of prayer. I learned about this concept through leadership training with The Navigators, and it has stuck with me ever since. One of the most dynamic experiences I have come to enjoy in life is to take a half day to get away to a place of solitude and just … pray! I highly recommend it to any who are reading this post.

But as you ponder this concept, you are likely asking yourself something like, “What in the world would I do for 4–5 hours of prayer? What would I say to God? What would I do with that much time?” Great questions! Let me give you some suggestions!

First of all, I would suggest that you break the time up into two key divisions: speaking to God and listening to God.

Speaking to God

For the first division of your time, you can take time to pray according to the acronym ACTS. Each of those letters stand for a specific theme of your prayers to God: Adoration, Confession, Thanksgiving, Supplication.

Adoration
A great way to begin your half day of prayer is to spend some personal time in worship with the Lord. Sing. Listen to worship music. Contemplate everything you can think of that makes God so great. Write down everything you can think of that demonstrates the awesome majesty of God. And then ponder the things you have written. Contemplate the greatness of God while you are there before Him.

Confession
After your time of adoration, then take time to confess to God any sin you can think of in your life. David said, “Search me, O God, and know my heart. Ask God to show you any sin that you have in your life that is interfering with your journey with Him. Ask for God’s forgiveness, and then ask Him to help you to turn from those sins.

Thanksgiving
Now spend some time thanking God for every blessing you have in your life. I have found it helpful to write these items down as they come to my mind. Make a list, and make it as exhaustive as you can. Don’t leave anything out. Thank God for every single way He has blessed you and those around you.

Supplication
For the supplication portion of your prayer, invest time into praying for every single person who is close to you in your life. Remember every family member, every co-worker, every friend, every neighbor, every church member you can think of, etc. Again, write down the names of the people as you pray for them. This will help you to think of others who should be on that list.

Listening to God

The next section of your half day of prayer will be the “Listening to God” section. This is likely to become the most important, life-changing experience of your half day with God!

Years ago I read a great book by Bill Hybels called, Too Busy Not to Pray. One of the eye-opening suggestions for me in that book was the idea that we should actually take time to stop and listen to God. I realized after reading that book that, in my own prayer life, I had always been the one who did all the talking! I never stopped long enough to actually listen to God. Most relationships that operate like that end up failing, so we should assume that our relationship with God will struggle as well if we are the only ones doing the talking.

So, then, how do we go about “listening” to God? Bill Hybels gave some recommendations for that, and I have expanded on those a bit in my own practice of listening.

Continue reading “How to Have a Half Day of Prayer by Chris Russell”

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Prayer for Peace

Lord, make me an instrument of Thy peace;
where there is hatred, let me sow love;
where there is injury, pardon;
where there is doubt, faith;
where there is despair, hope;
where there is darkness, light;
and where there is sadness, joy.
O Divine Master,
grant that I may not so much seek to be consoled as to console;
to be understood, as to understand;
to be loved, as to love;
for it is in giving that we receive,
it is in pardoning that we are pardoned,
and it is in dying that we are born to eternal life.
Amen.

St. Francis Assisi

Our children look to us for guidance and direction. We are their template for adulthood. We should all try to become a template for peace. When times are difficult, they should see the resilience of God present in all that we do and say.

The previous posts provide lessons to help our children become Young Christian Warriors. This post serves to strengthen us as God’s children. We live in a chaotic time. Our nation is going through a traumatic period, and the outcome will define who we are as a Nation. This poem speaks to the virtues we need to embrace to overcome. We are God’s people and should not be swayed by the violent rhetoric that decimates our ears. St. Francis of Assisi lived in the fifteen century. The words he penned are as valid today as five centuries ago.

This lesson is as much for us as it is for our children. We are their template.

 

 

Introducing Your Children to the Peace of God

If our children are at peace, our world will be at peace.

As parents, it is our responsibility to teach our children how to live the kingdom life, and how to create harmony in their relationship with Christ leading to a victorious life. Give them the Peace of God in their lives.

Paul told the Philippians to keep putting into practice all you learned and received from me-everything you hard from me and saw me doing. Then the God of peace will be with you. Philippians 4::9 NLT

Most of us have not felt the true peace God offers until we are much older, some never feel the peace. I was in my early 60’s the first time I felt the calmness, serenity, and peace. It was a moment when words cannot accurately define the experience. I was halfway through my life which caused me to think, if I experienced this ‘peace’ when I learned this scripture when I attended Sunday School, Vacation Bible School, or as a young adult in Bible Study, and it was explained as a reality, a state experienced in prayer, what direction would my life have taken? Granted I know there is a time and season for everything, but imagine – the experience of true peace as a youngster. Empowered with the armor and peace would end youthful fears. And, if I had experienced true peace, would my path had differed about how I maneuvered through my career because I was not rattled by the norms of daily events and decision-making? Would I have been a different wife and a different type of leader?

That was

Christians do not have to wait to become adults to feel the peace that transcends all understanding (Philippians 4:7). As parents, we can teach our children how to deliberately live their lives as Christians put on the Armor of God, become Christian Warriors, rest in the Word, and experience the peace that is greater than our understanding (Philippians 4:7).

Let’s teach our children what Philippians 4:7 means to them. We can give them the greatest gift ever in life, a life of greater understanding of the Word and how to apply it in their daily lives.

The previous lessons thought our children that their behavior and character should imitate Christ. They learned that the Armor of God is something they wear to protect themselves. They are beginning to understand what defines a true friend. Now we want to empower them to focus on their relationship with Christ and live a harmonious, peaceful life.

Attaining peace will be accomplished through knowing God’s purpose in their life. They will understand why they should not accept lifeless rituals and instead establish their relationship with God by hosting the Holy Spirit in their being.

We must teach our children to think about what brings peace and contentment into their lives. If they accept the character of Christ as their own character, they are well on their way to experiencing peace. The characteristics in effect serve as tools to keep them from becoming ‘followers.’ They will be less likely to succumb to bullying and question the difference between right and wrong when their friends want them to join in doing something that creates an uneasy, queasy feeling in them. Being grounded in the Word offers them peace. They will not worry or fret about what other people think. They will not be intimidated by peers. As children, they may feel some uncertainty, but they will know their moral compass always points north.

Training of this type is paramount in our children’s lives. It is easy to learn a scripture, but difficult to know how to apply the scripture as part of the daily practice of life, this requires regimen.

The way to train your children is the same method shared throughout my posts,

  1. read the scripture to them
  2. have them read or recite the scripture with you
  3. explain the scripture to them
  4. read the scripture at bedtime and share its meaning one more time
  5. the next morning ask them about the scripture and to apply the scripture at school
  6. when they come home from school discuss it with them and ask if they applied it during the day, how and what was the outcome
  7. pray that they receive the word and embrace it as a life practice

Over time it will take root in their daily activities.

Continue to discuss other Bible scriptures pointing out how people were or were not living their lives like Christ, highlighting the instances where people did behave like Christ.

The peace of God is an expected result when you imitate the characteristics of Christ. The peace is the calm you feel when you surrender to God. Surrendering to God is learning to live as the Bible commands and living a life of faith.

Adults generally subjugate children to storytelling and not bible study. They do not feel children can understand the Bible. I think that children begin school at age five. They are developmentally able to discern and learn. If children can learn subjects in school, can learn how to conduct themselves in a social setting, then they can learn what the stories in the Bible mean in their daily lives. They are smart. Do not think that they are too young to understand the Word. The most important time in their lives are the early years when they begin to define their character traits and become a person. It is important that this developmental stage of social development is concurrent with their scriptural development.

How to Train Your Children to Embrace the Word of God

Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.           Romans 12:2

family praying

Steps that empower our children to live a Christ-like life:

1. read the scripture to them
2. have them read or recite the scripture with you
3. explain the scripture to them
4. read the scripture at bedtime and share its meaning one more time
5. the next morning ask them about the scripture and to apply the scripture at school
6. when they come home from school discuss it with them and ask if they applied it during       the day, how and what was the outcome
7. pray that they receive the word and embrace it as a life practice

Over time the scripture will take root in their daily activities and they will become Young Christian Warriors.

Key – Never stop praying, 1 Thessalonians 5:17 NLT. Never stop teaching the scriptures to your children. Never stop questioning if they are applying the Word of God in their daily lives. Always ask them to share how they applied the word in a real-life situation.