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.

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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

Personalize God’s Word, Psalm 91

In Bible Study, we are taught to pray back God’s Word to Him. He wants us to personalize His Word. He wants us to own His promises.Personalize God's Word

As parents, we are the head of our family and we have the authority to pray for our children for protection under the feathers of God’s wings. (See 2 Samuel 12:16)

When we pray, it is important to personalize God’s Word. Our Father appreciates us praying back His promises to Him. Personalizing prayer means we have faith in what He has promised. We own what He is telling us, there is no doubt in what He is saying. It is unequivocal.

Personalize God's Word

When you pray Psalm 91, personalize God’s Word. This prayer is known as the prayer of PROTECTION: THE SAFETY OF ABIDING IN THE PRESENCE OF GOD.

As you pray this prayer, know that God is your family’s protector, and you can feel confident that your family is covered throughout their day wherever they go.

Psalm 91

1 Whoever dwells in the shelter of the Most High
will rest in the shadow of the Almighty.

2 I will say of the Lord, “He is OUR refuge and OUR fortress,
OUR God, in whom WE trust.”

3 Surely you will save US
from the fowler’s snare
and from the deadly pestilence.

4 You will cover US with your feathers,
and under your wings WE will find refuge;
your faithfulness will be OUR shield and rampart.

5 WE will not fear the terror of night,
nor the arrow that flies by day,

6 nor the pestilence that stalks in the darkness,
nor the plague that destroys at midday.

7 A thousand may fall at OUR side,
ten thousand at OUR right hand,
but it will not come near US.

8 WE will only observe with OUR eyes
and see the punishment of the wicked.
9 I say, “The Lord is OUR refuge,”
and WE  make the Most High OUR dwelling,

10 no harm will overtake US,
no disaster will come near OUR tent.

11 For you will command your angels concerning US
to guard US in all OUR ways;

12 they (ANGELS) will lift US up in their hands,
so that WE will not strike OUR foot against a stone.

13 WE will tread on the lion and the cobra;
WE will trample the great lion and the serpent.

14 “Because he loves me,” says the Lord, “I will rescue THEM;
I will protect THEM, for he (the parent) acknowledges my name.

15 He (the parent) will call on me, and I will answer him;
I will be with THEM in trouble,
I will deliver THEM and honor THEM.

16 With long life, I will satisfy THEM
and show THEM my salvation.”

Psalm 91:1-19, NIV, Biblegateway.com. This prayer has been personalized.

Children Model After Christ

Jesus and a childChildren that model their lives after Christ, their Father in Heaven, are strong warriors. Do you recall being able to single out a few students that you respected at school, or in your neighborhood? These students championed their God-given purpose, though they may not have understood it at that time. They fixed their thoughts on truth, honesty, respect, love for others, and moral excellence. The children you respected as a child, stood out as if they were a beacon. Many were the class leaders, and others were the quiet, respectful children sitting in the middle of the room almost invisible, but both types possessed something others recognized in them but did not know how to acquire themselves, it was elusive.

Our purpose as parents is to nourish our children’s desire to become Young Christian Warriors. Christ provides a clear way to meet this goal. The world also offers a way, though the moral compass may not always point north, and is not ‘the way’. Teaching our children is the core of what Christian parents should do to help their children become Young Christian Warriors, and receive the respect they deserve. Our children must spend time daily learning the Word and practicing the characteristics and virtues identified in the Bible.Girls Helping

This study focuses on two scriptures that our children should learn to become the leaders God has defined them to become. These two scriptures also explain why adults should treat children with the respect God expects them to receive.  Teaching our children Christ-like behavior will build them up to become respectful leaders.

Philippians 4:8 (NIV) says, Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.

God stores treasures in us before we are born. Some are able to use them with little instruction or effort, others need guidance; all children deserve to be respected for who they are in Christ, regardless of age, we are all under construction and strive to do better, none is perfect, except Christ.

Paul wrote:

Don’t let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example for the believers in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith, and in purity. 1 Timothy 4:12 (NIV)

My granddaughter often queries why adults do not listen to children as if they are non-persons until they reach adulthood. She believes that God speaks to children just like he speaks to adults and, children can discern just like adults. I believe there is truth to her thought. I have held conversations with children the caused me to query, who is inside this child. Children are thinkers, and children that are believers think like God. They demonstrate Philippians 4:8 and 1 Timothy 4:12 through their walk and interactions with others. Some, like my granddaughter, refuse to cut corners to complete an assignment, they will not skim the story when the instructions clearly stated to read the entire story before answering the questions, they stand by the child that is feeling sad or hurt, hold the door for adults, turn in items found on the playground, watch how they communicate with others, act in faith, and love their neighbor.Three boys

Are my granddaughter and other children perfect? No. They are children and will mature as they travel the developmental stages of childhood. The difference is their moral compass points to the north, so while they may veer from the path of righteousness, they know the difference between right and wrong. When they join friends (see September 25th Post, Ask Your Children, Who is a Friend?) or try things that are questionable, they will feel the tugging and hear the quiet voice that says STOP, this is not the path I have chosen for you.

Whether you turn to the right or to the left, your ears will hear a voice behind you, saying, “This is the way; walk in it.” Isaiah 30:21
        Two little boys doing school work         Clip Art fallen groceries     Young boy serving an elder
Steps
    1. Teach them the two scriptures, one at a time
    2. Discuss the scriptures throughout the week and how they relate to your child’s day-to-day activities
    3. Every day ask them how they applied these scriptures throughout the day and to give examples
    4. Celebrate that they are becoming Young Christian Warriors

“Sound doctrine is not only right believing, but is right behavior.” The Complete Companion for Spirit-Filled Bible Study by Jack Hayford, General Editor, 1995. Our youth should not be looked down upon because they are young, they deserve respect as children of God, growing in his likeness.

two girls      Father, Mother and Children         A boy on crutches       Children working together

God Urges the ‘Why’ in Children

It seems children continuously ask ‘why’ and are always questioning life. Asking questions like, why should I do it, why shouldn’t I do that, why is the earth round, why is this the only way to solve the problem and on and on and on. Have you ever asked why them they always ask, why? I believe children were not born believing that there are limitations to what they can do. God gives children the ‘why.’ Gods inspiration is designed to ask for the impossible. I recently saw a poster which read, God’s Power Takes Us BEYOND our impossibilities.Picture of girl holding a sign that says why?

Imagine, ‘beyond’ our impossibilities. Ephesian 3:20 (NET) translate the scripture as, “Now to him who by the power that is working within us is able to do far beyond all that we ask or think…” The NLT translation reads, Now all glory to God, who is able, through his mighty power at work within us, to accomplish infinitely more than we might ask or think.

Our children may not know the scripture, but they intrinsically are aware that we place limitations on our lives. They see the possibility, and we see the impossible. We limit their imagination by confining them to think within the realm of what we feel is reasonable.

This type of thinking worked in the world of 19th-century widgets, but in the 20th -century of virtual worlds, the ‘why’ has become all important. To usher in the brave new world educators have advanced a new national curriculum called the Common Core. The primary purpose of this strategy is to create an environment of questioning, postulating the ‘what if,’ and the ‘why’ of a thing. They want to capture the ‘why’ children pose every day and formulate learning around their adventurous minds.

God is the original adventurous thinker, he is the source; He created the world and introduced the ability to go beyond through the power and might of the Holy Spirit who dwells in us. He is the one who is at work in our lives, He is the one who plants ideas in our minds, and He is the one who has given us the ability to ask, ‘why.’ God works beyond what we might ‘ask’ or ‘think’ about new possibilities. It is God who has this ability, not us. He will do ‘above’ what we ask or think. The principle is that God can do more for us than we can conceive. He offers us the ‘power’ to live beyond what we can imagine or believe. Raising our children to become Young Christian Warriors allows the to imagine and expend the impossible.

Boy pondering 'why'He gives us the power to live beyond our perceived limitations. The fact is children do not sublimate the worldview adults adopted. As a principal, I was the head of a school where hundreds of young people spent much of their day learning. I found looking out of their eyes was refreshing and cast an HTML brilliance on the world. Positing ‘why’ is not a sarcastic response but a query. God has given them the gift of questioning, and God himself goes beyond their questioning to formulate an answer and result.

We should not discourage our children, but instead, teach them the scriptures and let them know that the Holy Spirit, who lives in each of us, is speaking and acting through us. He is operating beyond our capacity to question and understand. He is making the impossible available, and through our relationship with him, will speak through them and make them the ‘apple of his eye.’

(Scriptures from the Holy Bible app)

Children – New Mercies Everyday

Well, it’s a new day. I wake up every morning thanking God for new mercies. Children need to know that God is not revengeful, He gives them new mercies every day despite the activities and thoughts of the day earlier. God’s compassion does not fail.  Great is His faithfulness to us. It is un-called for mercy. Daily mercies is another way God shows us that he cares and loves us despite our mistakes.

Lamentations 3:22, New Day, New Start

Children often think that what they did or said alienated them from God. The power of this scripture is the basis for understanding that God loves them and is a father of second chances. During this lesson, you can also share the knowledge about repentance.

Children Navigate Difficult Times

Looking back on your childhood did you ever wish your parents shared how God’s word helps navigate through life’s difficulties as a child, a tween, a teen, a young adult and today?

Deuteronomy 6:7 ESV says, You shall teach them (commandments) to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise.

Did your parents share the commandments as practical steps to govern your life? The Bible is a overcomes guide. It teaches how to overcome difficulties, obstacles, hurt, bitterness and strife. We begin to encounter challenges during our childhood, and the way we respond to them begins to take form in our early years. If you teach your children the word, it will live in their heart.

Psalm 119:11 says – I have hidden your word in my heart.

Think, if Gods word is hidden in our hearts, how did it get there? We received them through study and application. When should we begin studying and applying the word as part of daily living? If we do not help our children hold the word in their hearts, when they are tested they will often find that they have no resources to navigate through the dangers of life. 

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