Category Archives: Prayer
I saw that my blog address was posted in the Lincoln Christian School Newsletter and realized that I have not posted anything in months. I guess I better get back in my saddle and hopefully encourage parents and students who take the time to check out what God puts on my heart. I will plan on a least one posting per week and comments are always welcome. Here is a great article by Pastor Erik Raymond of Emmaus Bible Church in Omaha which I believe every parent can identify with. Hope it encourages you. He writes:
My kids are growing up. This is filled with all sorts of emotions. Life presents new challenges and circumstances. This is true for any parent. But things are a little different for Christian parents. We actually believe that our kids are not Christians just because we are. Heaven is not an unalienable right like voting at 18. Our children have to actually come to terms with the God of the gospel themselves.
This presents an interesting set of circumstances for parents. We have a responsibility, a mandate even, to raise our kids in the ‘discipline and instruction of the Lord.’ (Eph. 6.4) We understand that in this same book the same Apostle says that prior to conversion we all are dead in sin, and apart from a supernatural work of God’s grace and mercy we would not follow Christ (Eph. 2.1-8).
So what do you do?
The Dangerous Trap
I think there is potentially a trap to step into here if we are not careful and thinking. If you believe that your children cannot be converted apart from God’s sovereign work of grace in their lives, youmay become complacent in praying for them and actively ‘gospelizing’ them. We may begin to think that since they are unbelievers then what you do with the Scriptures and what you do on your knees is not helpful. This type of thinking is as dangerous as it is unbiblical.
The command to train your children is not contingent upon their receptivity. Parents (specifically Dads) do not have to ask to be the leader, they already are. And so therefore they are accountable.
“But wait…,” some might say, “how is God going to hold me accountable for something that I have no ability to accomplish myself?”
This is important to think through.
The Motivating Truth
You are right, you cannot save your children. But, God never called you to save them, he has called you to care for them. You are to shepherd their hearts with the word of God (Eph. 6.4; cf also Deut. 4.9;6.7; 11.19). And you are to carry your cares of their salvation to the throne of grace for mercy and help (Heb. 4.16; 1 Pet. 5.7). It is this that you will be accountable for.
Please think through the horrible logic of being lazy in light of your children being unconverted and disinterested in biblical things. Your excuse then is that you are lazy because God is sovereign and they are sinners? The first thing I would ask any of my Reformed leaning friends is, “What are you doing about it Dad?”
So what do you do about it?
I can sum it up in a sentence: Pray like you can’t save your children and parent like you can.
Be relentless on your knees for your children. Carry them to the throne of grace daily as you petition the sovereign and good God of the gospel for mercy. And also, be faithful to bring the Scriptures to bear in regular study, instruction and application in their lives. Have regular times of family devotions. But also, be sure to integrate the glory of God in all manner of life and thinking. Bring the matchless beauty of Christ to bear on everything that you can.
This is hard work. It is however, the work of faith, the work of dependence and the work of love. It is gospel work. It is Christian parenting. You are believing that God is merciful, that his word is powerful, and that he is infinitely valuable. We cannot afford to cling to lame and ill-conceived excuses when we are talking about such weighty things as the glory of God, our accountability before him, and the souls of our children.
So get to work, in the prayer closet and at the kitchen table; plead Christ to them and them to Christ!
The pathway God choose for me to see my need of a Savior was not the one I wanted for my children. There was rebellion, darkness, pain, and plain folly that dominated my life. Yet it was the path that God saw fit for me to come to the end of myself and to experience the truth of 2 Corinthians 4:6, “For God, who said, ‘Let light shine out of darkness,’ has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.” You may have gone down a similar path but can you pray that if it takes that or even a rougher road for your child to awaken to the treasures of the gospel, would you do it? Christina Fox’s essay that follows gives us that challenge….George
The most frightening prayer I could pray for my children is the one they need the most.
Now, I always pray about their behavior, their health, their progress in school, and their friendships. I also pray about their future and their jobs. I pray that my boys would marry “nice Christian girls.” But to be honest, when I pray for my children, it is easiest to ask that their lives be smooth and stress-free. It is easy to pray for their comfort and ease, for their lives to be absent of pain and grief.
When It Gets Uncomfortable
Yet when I reflect on my own life and look back on my faith journey, I see all the challenges and trials I have faced along the way, and the good God accomplished through them. I see the heartaches I’ve endured and the suffering that brought me to my knees. I also see the sins I’ve struggled with and the idols God graciously stripped from my hands. I see how God used all those valleys and painful circumstances to draw me closer to himself, to refine me, and to teach me to rely on him.
They have been the most important events in my life, but it’s not easy to ask this sort of thing for my children. It is hard to ask that God reveal their sin to them, that they see their need for a Savior, that they would be broken over their corruption and truly learn to cling to the gospel.
That kind of prayer is uncomfortable.
The Path to More of Him
It means that they will have to dig through rocky terrain like I’ve experienced before. They will have to walk through their own story of sin and repentance — of learning what it means to have empty hands. What’s frightening for me as a mom is to realize that their lives will not be smooth, comfortable, or safe — not if they will learn most deeply what it means to rely on God. In fact, my children may yet have to endure great trials, walk through dark valleys, and experience great sorrow. That could be God’s pathway to giving them more of himself.
I don’t want my children to treat God like a vending machine or like a fire insurance policy. I want them to have a passionate love for him that is alive and outgoing, bowing to his supremacy and anchored gladly in his gospel. I want them to love God’s word and hold to it firmly in times of uncertainty. I want them to show Jesus to the world. This is what I want.
Nothing More Important
And it will mean that my children have to see that they have sinned against a holy God and that it is only through the grace and sacrifice of his Son that they can be forgiven. Jesus said that those who have been forgiven little will love little (Luke 7:47). My children need to know what that means. They have to see the utter depths of their sinfulness and that without Jesus, they are without hope. And they have to trust in Jesus as their only source of hope and righteousness. Only as they acknowledge their need for him and his forgiveness will they grow to love God in the way I most want for them.
The path could be hard, and praying for this can be frightening, but there really is nothing more important. . . . Father, give my children more of you.
Several years ago I read Professor Jones’ book The Family Ministry Guide and this was one of those times you go “aha!, I never thought of that before.” If this article strikes you the same way, prepare to say the same. .. George
by Timothy Paul Jones, Professor of leadership and associate vice president for online learning at The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary.
To embrace God’s redemption is to be adopted as God’s heir, gaining a new identity that transcends every earthly status (Rom. 8:15-17; Gal. 3:28-29; 4:3-7; Eph. 1:5; 2:13-22). What this means for followers of Jesus is that our children are far more than our children; they are also potential or actual brothers and sisters in Christ.
Husbands and wives, parents and children, men and women, orphans and widows, the plumber’s apprentice and the president of the multinational corporation, the addict struggling in recovery and the teetotalling grandmother—all of us who are in Christ are brothers and sisters, “heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ” (Rom. 8:17; see also Gal. 4:7; Heb. 2:11; James 2:5; 1 Pet. 3:7).
Seen from this perspective, my relationship with my children takes on a very different meaning. These daughters whom I adore will remain my children for this life only. I am the father of Hannah and Skylar until death, but—inasmuch as they embrace the Gospel—I will remain their brother for all eternity. Put another way, if your children stand beside you in the glories of heaven, they will not stand beside you as your children (Luke 20:34-48) but as your blood-redeemed brothers and sisters, fellow heirs of God’s kingdom. Remember the words of Jesus? “Whoever does the will of my Father in heaven is my brother and sister and mother” (Matt. 12:50). Paul echoed this perspective when he directed Timothy to encourage “younger men as brothers” and “younger women as sisters, in all purity” (1 Tim. 5:1-2).
Does this mean that, once a child becomes a brother or sister in Christ, the relationship of parents to children somehow passes away? Of course not! The Gospel doesn’t cancel roles that are rooted in God’s creation. Jesus and Paul freely appealed to the order of God’s creation as a guide for Christian community (Matt. 19:4-6; Mark 10:5-9; Acts 17:24-26; 1 Cor. 11:8-9; 1 Tim. 2:13-15). Paul called children in the redeemed community to respect their parents (Eph. 6:1; Col. 3:20; 1 Tim. 5:4). Meaningful labor was present before the fall and persisted in God’s plan even after the fall (Gen. 2:1-15; 2 Thess. 3:6-12). Far from negating the order of God’s creation, the Gospel adds a deeper and richer dimension to the patterns in the first act of God’s story.
Glimpsing a dimension deeper than creation and fall
What does this truth mean for the day-to-day lives of parents? As a parent, I am responsible to provide for daughters and to prepare them for life; as an elder brother, I am called to lay down my life for them (1 John 3:16). As a parent, I help Hannah and Skylar to see their own sin; as their brother, I am willing to confess my sin (James 5:16). As a parent, I speak truth into their lives; as a brother, I speak the truth patiently, ever seeking the peace of Christ (James 4:11; 5:7-9; Matt. 5:22-25; 1 Cor. 1:10). As a parent, I discipline my daughters to consider the consequences of poor choices; as a brother, I disciple them, instruct them, and encourage them to pursue what is pure and good (Rom. 15:14; 1 Tim. 5:1-2). As a parent, I help these two girls to recognize the right path; as a brother, I pray for them and seek to restore them when they veer onto the wrong path (Matt. 18:21-22; Gal. 6:1; James 5:19-20; 1 John 5:16).
Because I fully expected that Hannah would one day embrace the Gospel, I began developing the habits of a brother long before our first conversation about what it means to follow Jesus. Because I anticipate that Skylar is moving toward becoming a follower of Jesus, I do the same with her here and now. I did all of this imperfectly; I still do. I fall far short of living as a parent, spouse, and fellow heir within my family—and so will you. The central point is not that you or the members of your church will perform these deeds perfectly. It is, instead, that family members embrace the Gospel more fully and begin to view one another in a renewed way, as brothers and sisters participating together in the “grace of life” (1 Pet. 3:7).
Children are wonderful gifts from God—but they are far more than that. Viewed from an eternal perspective, every child in a household is also a potential or actual brother or sister in Christ. Until parents perceive their children in this way, they fail to see who their children really are.
An often neglected part of personal and corporate prayer is “frontline” praying. Do you include this in your communion with God? The prayers of the Psalms are covered with this type of praying, yet we often neglect it.
“Maintenance prayer meetings are short, mechanical and totally focused on physical needs inside the church or on personal needs of the people present. But frontline prayer has three basic traits: a) a request for grace to confess sins and humble ourselves, b) a compassion and zeal for the flourishing of the church, and c) a yearning to know God, to see his face, to see his glory.”
Tim Keller, “Kingdom-centered Prayer,”
I post this article as an encouragement for my wife and daughter and think there might be a few others out there who need these gospel truths to be reminded of. I watch the two closest women in my life manage a lot of things and then at times fall into the “overwhelmed” mode. My wife keeping up with our farmstead and the demands and requests of others on her. My daughter keeping up with 6 boys who are either highly energetic or when tired tend to create as much or even more chaos. Trust this will help them and a few of you take a deep breath of truth.
For men reading this; it can serve as a source of washing your wife with the water of the Word of God.
This article is by Jen Thorn at http://jenthorn.com/blog
I had a pretty good weekend. We finally took the kids apple picking, had some good family time, baked an apple crips and a bunch of zucchini and banana bread, taught the older kids how to play the game of Life and enjoyed a wonderful time of worship and fellowship at church.
All that fun was forgotten as soon as I looked at my to-do list for the coming week and bad things started to happen. The fact that I haven’t slept well these last few days plus the fact that my list is longer than Rapunzel’s hair made me feel super overwhelmed, which in turn made me snap at my kids, and brought on the dreaded feelings of weepiness. How in the world am I going to keep up with deadlines, clean up a home that has TOTALLY exploded over the weekend, homeschool and deal with all the other little things that will fill my day?
So here are a few things I am meditating on to help me get a right perspective and not only get my work done by have a joy filled week.
1. God has my day planned
God’s plan for my day may look so very different from what I think my day should look like. He may throw in some unexpected phones calls or visitors. There may be some extra messes. Instead of having a spiritual little temper tantrum, I need to remember that, come what may, it is the day The Lord has made. He is all wise and perfectly good and so everything he puts in my day is wise and perfectly good!
2. God doesn’t care what my kitchen looks like
My real problem here is pride. I would be mortified if someone came over when my home looks like clothes, toys, school materials, ect have been thrown around like confetti. What would they think? Would they judge me? Would they assume the best, that I have been busy raising children, and doing what I can, or would they assume the worst–that I am lazy, undisciplined, and care little for the responsibilities God has given me?
But, you know what, I answer to God, not man. I need to say this over and over again because I forget! God is more interested in my heart than in my dishes, floors, or closets. I can’t blow off my responsibilities, but my God does not love me less, and sigh in disgust when my sink is disgusting.
3. God can be found in the chaos
God is found everywhere. I can pray and reflect on him and his word as I am going about my busy day. Even if my scheduled times of quiet meditation and Bible reading are taken from me, I can hide his word in my heart, and walk with him while reminding the young ones that the bathroom sink is not a garbage can, or while starting laundry load #132.
4. God will give me strength to finish well
I like to think of myself as a strong woman, but I am keenly aware of the weight of what God has called me to do and I often, rightly, see just how weak I really am. But God has not left me alone. He is with me, to strengthen me to do the very work he has prepared before hand that I should walk in them. As I do my work in faith I will find strength.
5. Christ is what I need to set my eyes on
“When my heart is overwhelmed—lead me to the Rock that is higher than I!” Psalm 61:2
Christ is the only solid thing in my life. He is my rock that never moves. Everything else is like sand, giving way at a moments notice, but not Jesus. He is steadfast and completely trustworthy. When my days are wild, when my brain feels like it is going to explode from all the things I need to remember, I need to think on this:
“Yet I am poor and needy; may the Lord think of me.” Psalm 40:17
What a beautiful and calming thought. Jesus thinks about me! If he cares for the flowers and the sparrows than he certainly cares about my crazy days and my overwhelmed heart.
This week will be busy. Crazy. But it is God’s week, and I am thankful he has planned it and is with me throughout it. I just need to remember this.
A home may be of Christian parents, but it does not mean it is a gospel-centered home. When we are governing our homes by parenting with behavior modification techniques and throwing in Scripture, we can produce “perfect” children who may end up breaking our hearts. Consider the rich young ruler of Matthew 19: 16-20. And behold, a man came up to him, saying, “Teacher, what good deed must I do to have eternal life?” And he said to him, “Why do you ask me about what is good? There is only one who is good. If you would enter life, keep the commandments.” He said to him, “Which ones?” And Jesus said, “You shall not murder, You shall not commit adultery, You shall not steal, You shall not bear false witness, Honor your father and mother, and, You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” The young man said to him, “All these I have kept. What do I still lack?” Wow! Who would not want that resume’ for their teenager? He even asked a very spiritual question! However, the narrative does not end there. In verses 21 and 22 we read, Jesus said to him, “If you would be perfect, go, sell what you possess and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow me.” When the young man heard this he went away sorrowful, for he had great possessions. The perfect teen breaks your heart. A young man so close, yet so far away!
John Angell James, a British Pastor in the early 1800s wrote in his book, The Christian Father’s Present to His Children, “But how it would embitter our last moments, and plant our dying pillow with thorns, to leave you on earth in an unconverted state; following us to the grave, but not to heaven. Or should you be called to die before us, how could we sustain the dreadful thought…that the very next moment after you had passed beyond our kind attentions, you would be received to the torments which know neither end nor mitigation? And when you had departed under such circumstances, what could heal our wounds or dry our tears…O! no: they may qualify for earth but not qualify for heaven.”
Charles Spurgeon once wrote this about his mother:
“I cannot tell how much I owe to the solemn words of my good mother. It was the custom on Sunday evenings, while we were yet little children, for her to stay home with us, and then we sat round the table, and read verse by verse, and she explained the Scriptures for us. After that was done, then came the time of pleading: there was a little piece of Alleine’s Alarm or of Baxter’s Call to the Unconverted, and this was read with pointed observations made to each of us as we sat around the table; and the question was asked, how long it would be before we would think about our state, how long before we would seek the Lord.”
“Then came a mother’s prayer, and some of the words of that prayer we shall never forget, even when our hair is gray. I remember on one occasion, her praying thus, “Now Lord, if my children go on in their sins, it will not be from ignorance that they perish, and my soul must bear swift witness against them at the day of judgment if they lay not hold of Christ.” That thought of a mother’s bearing swift witness against me, pierced my conscience, and stirred my heart.”
…..Spurgeon, Autobiography, The Early Years, Banner of Truth Trust
“My mother said to me once, after she had long prayed for me and had come to the conviction that I was hopeless. “Ah” said she, “My son, if at the last great day you are condemned, remember your mother will say ‘Amen’ to your condemnation.” That stung me to the quick. Must the mother that brought me forth and that loved me say ‘Amen’ to my being condemned at last?’ …….. Spurgeon, “The Chaff Driven Away.” Sermon October 23, 1859
Is the gospel being proclaimed in your home or are you leaving that up to others?
Grandson number 3, Nathanael, turned 13 years old yesterday and we continued our family tradition taken from the biblical tradition of a boy or girl being considered a young adult at that age. The Jewish people celebrate it with a Bar-Mitzvah.
We just have a birthday party but take a period of time to speak of now some new expectations and the way he will be treated. In a culture right now that men in their late 20’s and even 30’s are acting like adolescents, the biblical mandate for men and women is to act like one. The Scriptures have no designation for teenager or adolescent but goes from child to young men or women to men and women then to older men and women. There are expectations at all phases and none look like what we have embraced in our culture.
What we did with my grandson Nathanael yesterday was this: His grandma and I gave him a journal so he can begin or continue the discipline of journaling his spiritual walk. In the front of the journal I wrote the following from Howard Guinness called “Sacrifice.”
“Where are all the young men … who will hold their lives cheap and be fruitful unto death? Where are those who will lose their lives for Christ’s sake – flinging them away for love of him? Where are those who will live dangerously and be reckless in his service? Where are his lovers – those who love him and the souls of men more than their own reputations or comfort or very life? Where are the men who will say ‘no’ to self, who take up Christ’s cross to bear it after him … willing, if need be, to bleed, to suffer and to die on it? … Where are the adventurers, the explorers, the buccaneers for God who count one human soul of far greater value than the rise or fall of an empire? … Where are God’s men in this day of God’s power?”
After a short exhortation by his dad and grandfather, I close the time with a prayer of blessing taken from Psalm 112 exhorting him to look to be this kind of man:
Praise the Lord!
Blessed is the man who fears the Lord,
who greatly delights in his commandments!
His offspring will be mighty in the land;
the generation of the upright will be blessed.
Wealth and riches are in his house,
and his righteousness endures forever.
Light dawns in the darkness for the upright;
he is gracious, merciful, and righteous.
It is well with the man who deals generously and lends;
who conducts his affairs with justice.
For the righteous will never be moved;
he will be remembered forever.
He is not afraid of bad news;
his heart is firm, trusting in the Lord.
His heart is steady; he will not be afraid,
until he looks in triumph on his adversaries.
He has distributed freely; he has given to the poor;
his righteousness endures forever;
his horn is exalted in honor. (Psalm 112:1-9, ESV)
Are you inhibiting your teen from a biblical view of manhood or womanhood? Nathanael will continue to step into a world where this is not the norm but will understand when his parents address things with him and talk about manhood, he knows that expectations have changed starting yesterday.
I have had one of those weeks where prayer has been a particular comfort for me. As I think about parenting and families, sometimes turning to prayers gets to be the seemingly only comfort you find at the moment. Here is one that Pastor Scotty Smith wrote:
People were also bringing babies to Jesus to have him touch them. When the disciples saw this, they rebuked them. But Jesus called the children to him and said, “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these. I tell you the truth, anyone who will not receive the kingdom of God like a little child will never enter it.” Luke 18:15-17
Most welcoming Lord Jesus, there’s no more important or necessary gift we can give our children than to keep on bringing them to you. Whether they’re babies, teenagers or adults, themselves… it makes no difference. At every stage of life, our kids need you, Jesus.
For our children who’ve yet to find life in you… have mercy on them, and bring them to a saving knowledge of yourself, Jesus. They don’t just need to “grow up.” They don’t need religion. They don’t need moral reform. They need the gospel of your grace. Show them how much they need you, and show them how much you love them. Keep them restless until they rest in your complete forgiveness and perfect righteousness. More than we want Harvard for our children, we want heaven.
Jesus, some of us grieve the ways we’ve made the gospel less than beautiful and believable to our children. Forgive us, and show yourself to be the God who’s limited by nothing, including parental self-righteousness. Transcend the ways we’ve “blown it.” But also grant us humility and grace to repent… first before you and then to them. Free us to give our children the gift of our repentance…
For our children who know you, but currently seem to have waning or zero interest in you… or even ambivalence or antipathy towards you… here our cry. Restore to them the joy of your salvation. Our confidence is in the our Father’s promise to bring to completion the good work he’s begun in each of us, but Jesus, we cannot afford to be either presumptuous or passive. Work powerfully. Work presently. Work persistently, Jesus, we ask for your name’s sake. Give us patience with their doubts. Give us forbearance in their struggles. Give us grace to welcome prodigals home.
Lastly, Jesus, we ask you to restore us… restore me, to the childlikeness of our early days of knowing you. Free us from childishness, indeed, but renew our hearts in childlike joy, playfulness, gratefulness and simplicity. Our bodies and minds are getting older, but cause our hearts to dance again in the utter and matchless delights of being loved by you. So very Amen, I pray, in your glorious name.
The following article and prayer from Christina Fox, http://toshowthemjesus.com/ is hopefully a great encouragement to you moms. I watch my daughter with 6 boys ranging from 6 years old to 15 and feel like a fan at a football game who get exhausted watching a game while there are 22 players doing all the work. Hang in there moms and may God bless you with all the heavenly blessings in Jesus Christ.
Motherhood is both the best job and the also hardest job I’ve ever had. It has brought me great joy and revealed to me a level of love I hadn’t known before. It has also stretched me physically, mentally, and emotionally. I’ve lived on less sleep than should be humanly possible. I’ve even learned more than I care to about bugs, science, and how machines work (two boys will that do that to you). While the physical stretch marks may fade, the ones on my heart are there to stay.
Though the joys are many, there are days when motherhood wears me down to the core. Some days, I’m not even sure I’ll make it through to bedtime. When night time finally does come, my head hits the pillow hard, and I wonder what I accomplished all day. My heart sighs because I know that tomorrow will most likely be a repeat of the same. Because the job is never done, I’ll wake up the next morning to the house still in disarray and mountains of laundry to wash. And based on the sniffles I’ve heard lately, certain illness looms on the horizon.
Some seasons of motherhood feel more intense and exhausting than others. It’s easy to become discouraged by the endless cycle of cleaning up the messes—physical and emotional. Joy sometimes feels like a thing of the past and just out of reach. We can feel isolated and alone. We may question our qualifications to be a mother or think we’ve failed our children.
The truth is, motherhood is hard, and we can’t do it on our own. As John Piper wrote in A Godward Life “I need help. Always. In everything. I am simply kidding myself if I think I can move an inch without God’s help.” Just as we cannot live without water, we cannot do anything apart from Christ, including motherhood. “Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing (John 15:5).
Rather than swim in guilt or wish life were different, we need to go to the Source of our strength, joy, and peace. We need to drink from the living water that only Christ provides. There we’ll find that the truths of the gospel are always within reach, always ready to refresh, remind, and restore.
Jesus died to free us from trying to do life on our own. He came to redeem us from slavery to sin and restore our relationship with the Father. He faced every temptation and sorrow that we face, yet lived a sinless life. The grave could not hold him, guaranteeing a future resurrection for all who trust in Christ. As these truths saturate our thirsty soul, we find the nourishment and strength we so desperately need.
And it’s because of Jesus that we can go before the throne of grace in confidence to find the help we need (Hebrews 4:16). If you are like me and feel tired and worn, this prayer is for you:
Dear Father in heaven,
I come before you weary and beat down by this long day. Being a mother can be so hard. I often feel helpless and inadequate. Part of me wants to complain, but then I remember the extent to which you were beat down, and I’m struck quiet. I remember that you are the Man of Sorrows and that you understand just how hard life can be. I also remember that you collect all my tears and care about my troubles, trials, and fears.
The Book of Hebrews tells me I can come to you in confidence and find the grace and mercy I need. And so I come to you now to lay all these burdens at your feet. I feel so overwhelmed by the details of life. It seems like I can never get ahead. Just when I clean up one mess, another one pops up somewhere else. Some days I wonder if I’m really cut out for motherhood.
I know I failed to glorify you today. I failed to love as you love me. I failed to extend the grace you’ve given me. Forgive me for striving in my own strength. Forgive me for not finding my complete satisfaction in you and seeking it elsewhere. Each of these failures reminds me of just how much I need a Savior. Today reminds me that I need Jesus more than I did yesterday and that tomorrow I will need him even more.
I’m so thankful that there is so much of you to give. You’re never tired or weary. Even while I sleep, you remain at work. Nothing happens outside your knowledge and will. You’re never stretched beyond what you can handle. And the well of your grace never runs dry.
Because of what Jesus did for me, I ask that you create in me a clean heart. Renew a refreshed spirit within me. Give me gospel strength to get through the day. Open my eyes so that I see your hand at work in the mess of my life. Be my constant in my fluctuating emotions. Keep the gospel ever before me and make it a reality in my daily life as a mother.
I pray that tomorrow you would be with me in all the muck and mire of motherhood. Help me to find my joy in you and not in my circumstances. May I remember that even when it feels otherwise, you are always with me, will never leave me, or forsake me. Tonight I’ll sleep in peace knowing that even when I lose my grip, you never let go of me. And I’ll open my eyes in the morning to find mercy, fresh and new, ready for the taking.
It’s because of Jesus and in Jesus’ name that I pray, amen.
What follows is a story from Charles Spurgeon’s autobiography that hopefully will encourage parents in the power of a gospel-centered home and a praying mom.
CHARLES SPURGEON’S TRIBUTE TO HIS MOTHER
I was privileged with godly parents, watched with jealous eyes, scarcely ever permitted to mingle with questionable associates, warned not to listen to anything profane or licentious, and taught the way of God from my youth up. There came a time when the solemnities of eternity pressed upon me for a decision, and when a mother’s tears and a father’s supplications were offered to Heaven on my behalf. At such a time, had I not been helped by the grace of God, but had I been left alone to do violence to conscience, and to struggle against conviction, I might perhaps have been at this moment dead, buried, and doomed, having through a course of vice brought myself to my grave, or I might have been as earnest a ringleader amongst the ungodly as I now desire to be an eager champion for Christ and His truth.
I do speak of myself with many deep regrets of heart. I hid as it were my face from Him, and I let the years run round,—not without twinges of conscience, not without rebukes, when I knew how much I needed a Saviour; not without the warnings which came from others whom I saw happy and rejoicing in Christ, while I had no share in His salvation. Still, I put it off, as others are doing, from day to day, and month to month, and thought that Christ might come in some odd hour, and when I had nothing else to do, I might think of Him whose blood could cleanse me. O my soul, I could fain smite thee now! Truly, I could lay this rod about my own heart to think that weeks and months should have rolled over my head, and I should have hid as it were my face from Christ in wilful neglect of my dear Lord whose heart had bled for me.
Children are often very reticent to their parents. Often and often have spoken I with young lads about their souls, and they have told me they could not talk to fathers upon such matters. I know it was so with me. When I was under concern of soul, the last persons I should have elected to speak to upon religion would been my parents,—not through want of love to them, nor absence of love on their part; but so it was. A strange feeling of diffidence pervades a seeking soul, and drives it from its friends. Yet I cannot tell how much I owe to the solemn words of my good mother. It was the custom, on Sunday evenings, while we were yet little children, for her to stay at home with us, and then we sat round the table, and read verse by verse, and she explained the Scripture to us. After that was done, then came the time of pleading; there was a little piece of Alleine’s Alarm, or of Baxter’s Call to the Unconverted, and this was read with pointed observations made to each of us as we sat round the table; and the question was asked, how long it would be before we would think about our state, how long before we would seek the Lord. Then came a mother’s prayer, and some of the words of that prayer we shall never forget, even when our hair is grey. I remember, on one occasion, her praying thus: “Now, Lord, if my children go on in their sins, it will not be from ignorance that they perish, and my soul must bear a swift witness against them at the day of judgment if they lay not hold of Christ.” That thought of a mother’s bearing swift witness against me, pierced my conscience, and stirred my heart. When I was a child, if I had done anything wrong, I did not need anybody to tell me of it; I told myself of it, and I have cried myself to sleep many a time with the consciousness that I had done wrong; and when I came to know the Lord, I felt very grateful to Him because He had given me a tender conscience.
Fathers and mothers are the most natural agents for God to use in the salvation of their children. I am sure that, in my early youth, no teaching ever made such an impression upon my mind as the instruction of my mother; neither can I conceive that, to any child, there can be one who will have such influence over the heart as the mother who has so tenderly cared for her offspring. A man with a soul so dead as not to be moved by the sacred name of “mother” is creation’s blot. Never could it be possible for any man to estimate what he owes to a godly mother. Certainly I have not the powers of speech with which to set forth my valuation of the choice blessing which the Lord bestowed on me in making me the son of one who prayed for me, and prayed with me. How can I ever forget her tearful eye when she warned me to escape from the wrath to come? I thought her lips right eloquent; others might not think so, but they certainly were eloquent to me. How can I ever forget when she bowed her knee, and with her arms about my neck, prayed, “Oh, that my son might live before Thee!” Nor can her frown be effaced from my memory,—that solemn, loving frown, when she rebuked my budding iniquities; and her smiles have never faded from my recollection,—the beaming of her countenance when she rejoiced to see some good thing in me towards the Lord God of Israel.
Well do I remember hearing my father speak of an incident that greatly impressed him. He used to be frequently away from home preaching, and at one time, as he was on his way to a service, he feared that he was neglecting his own family while caring for the souls of others. He therefore turned back, and went to his home. On arriving there, he was surprised to find no one in the lower rooms of the house; but, on ascending the stairs, he heard a sound as of someone engaged in prayer. On listening at the bedroom door, he discovered that it was my mother, pleading most earnestly for the salvation of all her children, and specially praying for Charles, her first-born and strong-willed son. My father felt that he might safely go about his Master’s business while his dear wife was caring so well for the spiritual interests of the boys and girls at home, so he did not disturb her, but proceeded at once to fulfill his preaching engagement.
My mother said to me, one day, “Ah, Charles! I often prayed the Lord to make you a Christian, but I never asked that you might become a Baptist.” I could not resist the temptation to reply, “Ah, mother! the Lord has answered your prayer with His usual bounty, and given you exceeding abundantly above what you asked or thought.”