The Power of Thanksgiving and Prayer

The last post focused on Prayer, Praise, and Worship. We learned that giving thanks is part of prayer. This Post is an elaboration on the Power of Prayer and Thanksgiving.

Paul wrote Philippians 4:6 to let us know that our requests are made known to God. “do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.”

Paul also shared

If praying was easy, everyone would be doing it. It is important to understand that the war between God and the evil one often takes place in our minds. When I was younger, I thought the battle was in the physical realm, and often it is, but the center of anything that happens in this world originates in the mind of world leaders, governmental officials, family members, friends, associates, bosses, villains, and you. We find ourselves at war in our minds. As believer’s we initially stand fast in pray, unwavering in the Word when our lives are going well, and at odds with ourselves when the prayer is not answered as quickly as we wanted. We begin to question God, we entered the war where the voice of doubt speaks out. This doubt, this darkness, is the stronghold of the evil one. His weapons are the attitudes of wrong thinking, of pride, and carnal thinking in general. They are designed to strip us of our blessings and throw us into sin.

So, what does this have to do with Thanksgiving? Everything! When we pray in faith, we stay in faith. God sends down blessings when we pray. If we pray and doubt, they cancel each other out.  Have you ever prayed and believed, and saw your blessing only to see it deferred? Think back, when did you begin doubting that God has control and started questioning yourself saying (self-talk) maybe God is not going to answer, maybe He did not give me direction, maybe it was just me. It was not you, it was the evil one that is speaking doubt to rob you of your blessings. The key is distinguishing between the Lord’s voice and that of the evil one. One of my favorite scriptures reads –

My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me. John 10:27. We must learn His voice, and His voice is the Word which is the sword of the Spirit and part of the Armor of God to protect us against the evil one.

Yesterday we learned that praising the Lord as a way of thanking Him for all He has and will do for us. It is how we petition in praise and acknowledge that He is our Father and will answer us. Giving praise or thanks is how we express acknowledgment and appreciation of Him, His grace, blessings and sovereign work in our lives, and the world. But it is not easy, in fact, it is a battle. 

Most of us have experienced difficulty when praying and giving thanks, especially in times of anxiety. But, as we pray through, we become less anxious because we are letting our requests be made known to God so that He is glorified when answering them.  After our blessing, we should give Him more praise and thanksgiving for answering our prayer.

Now back to our children. We often read Bible Stories with young children and share the Word with older ones, but how often do we dissect the scripture to explain how to apply it in their lives? Young people are smart. If we explain to our youth that praise and thanksgiving are a way to acknowledge our Lord, and through praise and thanksgiving a relationship and bond is established between the Lord and them, most would become avid practitioners of praise and thanksgiving. They would begin to understand the formula we have been given to pray and receive God’s blessings. 

In general, people do not understand their relationship with God in real-time. They feel that the Bible was about people during its time of writing and does not pertain to us today. How wrong can we be? Our children deserve training to become Young Christian Warriors. His Words are our sword, part of the Armor of God.  Praying back His Word to Him and thanking Him for all He has done provides a sense of calm, diminishes anxiety, and protects from the world.

_______________________

I just listened to John Hagee, Scriptures on Healing at https://youtu.be/9qxfyyYDF58.

Take a listen, he is one of the worlds most dynamic healers. John is the founder and Senior Pastor of Cornerstone Church, San Antonio, Texas. Website – www.jhm.org

2018, Don’t Resolve, Do!

Today is the 5th day of the (2018) New Year. Some have made annual resolutions, most quickly fade away. They are promises we make to ourselves that we generally compromise because they take work and commitment.

Our children and youth cannot afford our lack of consistency. This year, let’s vow to build up our children’s lives by teaching them to understand the Word of God and apply the Word in their daily activities. Our motto this year, ‘Don’t Resolve, Do.’

I look forward to hearing from you this year. Share my posts with your friends, let’s buildup God’s army, after all – they are Young Christian Warriors.

He loves you and blesses you and the fruit of  your womb. Deuteronomy 7:13

Learn To Thank God As Part Of Prayer


ClipArt of Children Praying

Thanking God for everything every night and morning is the most important thing children can do. Daily recognition fortifies their relationship with Him. It is our divine obligation to teach our children to surrender their lives to God and recognize his grace in our lives. This practice not only fortifies our relationship but reminds us that our entire life rests on Gods grace and goodness. It is difficult to end the day or begin the day on a sour note when we have given praise to the Lord before we go to sleep and when we awake. Girl Praying at her bed

Lord, teach me to offer you a heart of thanksgiving and praise in all my daily experiences of life. Teach me to be joyful always, to pray continually and to give thanks in all my circumstances. I accept them as Your will for my life. (1 Thessalonians 5:18-19, (Thanksgiving Prayer – 7, Crosswalk.com)

Giving thanks also requires that we begin to see our normal daily activities through a different lens. It is important that we teach our children to see God’s glorious work in everything. This is also a reminder that we have to do the same. Often as adults, we lose the ability to see through the lens of God. It seems that the world gets in our way and we focus on the demands of the day instead of seeing God’s grace in our lives.girl praying by bed2

Every morning I ask my granddaughter what she is it going to thank God for this morning. At first, it was difficult for her, it is difficult for me as well. Early on, we were redundant in our thanks, always reflecting on the same things, but when we decided that we had to look outside of our normal world view, it gave us the opportunity to objectivity view the world differently. We began seeking new discoveries that all tied back to the wonderful life God has provided if we would just look with a new perspective.

As we become more familiar with His daily activity in their lives, we shifted our accepted point of view from a worldly one to a Godly one. This is part of the metamorphosis of becoming a Young Christian Warrior.

Examples

Yesterday my Granddaughter called me into the living room. She was showing me her shadow on the wall. The amazing part was that her shadow was upside down. It astounded us. Then we recognized that the sun was shining into the room, landed on a picture sitting on an end table and then projected across the room to the wall. The transference occurred when the sun rays came through the window, landed on a glass picture frame across the room,  and the light was then projected on to the wall. It was miraculous. It was a lesson of how awesome God is and a science lesson. She thanked God that evening before she went to bed.  Flipped reflect of a child in nature

 

Recently we were driving down the street, the sun and a few white clouds covered the sky. All of a sudden it began to rain. It was raining in the direction we were traveling, but not where we were coming from. This gave way to a discussion about Gods greatness. How He provides weather events to feed plant life, clean the air, and give new beginnings. The new beginnings gave way to a discussion about the rainbow that appeared shortly after the rain stopped. Rainbow after the rain

And God said, “This is the sign of the covenant I am making between me and you and every living creature with you, a covenant for all generations to come: 13 I have set my rainbow in the clouds, and it will be the sign of the covenant between me and the earth. 14 Whenever I bring clouds over the earth and the rainbow appears in the clouds, 15 I will remember my covenant between me and you and all living creatures of every kind. Never again will the waters become a flood to destroy all life. 16 Whenever the rainbow appears in the clouds, I will see it and remember the everlasting covenant between God and all living creatures of every kind on the earth.”  (Gen. 9: 12-16)

Miracles happen throughout the day, large and small, significant and seemingly insignificant, it all depends upon perspective. Young Christian Warriors view the world out of a different lens than their peers.

For parents: Thanking God keeps everything He has done for you in your working memory. It will help you keep focus on all He has done rather than the challenges you may encounter. If our children learn during their youth to identify what God has accomplished in their lives, it will be easier to live their lives stress free. Join me in reading, Remembering All God Has Done: http://bible.com/r/2c, it will help you teach your children to identify the many gifts we take for granted as well as the times He helped us in times of need.

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.

Activating the Fruit of the Spirit in Children

All saved Christians embody the Holy Spirit. He dwells in us. Our children need to understand that they are his host. Everything Jesus represents resides in our children and needs to be activated in their being. You can compare superheroes to Christ and the hero they morph into as the Holy Spirit. The hero that lives in Clark Kent is Superman, and the hero that resides in Wonder Woman is Diana Prince. Now, this is stretching it a bit, however, the Holy Spirit resides in us and we must activate by incorporating it with our personalities to manifest the character of Christ in our own lives.

22 But the Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, and self-control.

In the previous lesson, Armor First, I spoke briefly about the Fruit of the Spirit and named each, but did not define them. How many of us read this scripture to our children but did not teach them how to become more like Christ? The question is, how do we share the power of these words with our children? We teach through defining and applying the Fruit of the Spirit in how we should live, act and think.

But the Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, and self-control. 25 Since we are living by the Spirit, let us follow the Spirit’s leading in every part of our lives. 26 Let us not become conceited, or provoke one another, or be jealous of one another. – Galatians 5:22, 25, 26 NLT

When I was a Teen Bible Study teacher, I found that our kids were so vulnerable. The world so easily tries to gobble up our young people through social media, and TV exposure is pervasive. Today, peer pressure is heightened through smartphone access. The outreach and exposure through these avenues are pervasive. Our children’s friends, sometimes innocently entice our children and teens to join in ‘the fun’ which can be immoral and sinful. In a world of ‘fake truths’, it is difficult for them to know who they are and how to stand in the face of evil.

So back to Fruit of the Spirit. We need to teach our children that they belong to Jesus Christ, that they embody the Holy Spirit, and if they are going to emulate someone, it should be Christ, and not blindly following the crowd. They need to understand that if they practice love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control, they will succeed in life. The fruit will make them stronger in the Lord, and along with the Whole Armor of God, they will ward off the tricks and traps of the evil one.

What does this mean to you and your children? To begin, teaching your children the spiritual definition of the words increases their understanding of Jesus, his Disciples and men, and women in the Bible. It provides them with a framework of what it is to be a good person and become more Christ-like. They need to know that they are fearfully and wonderfully made (Psalm 139:14). They are the children of our Almighty God.