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Praying Scripture Over Your Child's Life (Part 2 of 2)

Focus on the Family / Jim Daly
The Truth Network Radio
April 15, 2021 6:00 am

Praying Scripture Over Your Child's Life (Part 2 of 2)

Focus on the Family / Jim Daly

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April 15, 2021 6:00 am

Jodie Berndt, best-selling author of the "Praying the Scriptures" book series, offers parents guidance for how they can more frequently and effectively pray for their children's faith, wisdom, self-discipline, character, life purpose, and more. (Part 2 of 2)

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Allie's husband was an alcoholic and verbally abusive. She wanted to leave him, but a Focus on the Family broadcast convinced her to stay. Jesus was right there with me. I prayed every day, probably most of the days, and just thinking, I just can't make it one more day.

I'm Jim Daly. Today, Allie's marriage is thriving. Working together, we can provide hope to more marriages like hers.

Please give generously at slash real families. And I would say to that parent, first of all, you're not alone. God knows exactly how you feel. He's watched us make the dumbest decisions, walk the wildest paths, and he loves your child more than you do. Well that's Jodi Berndt, and she's a mom who loves praying for her four children and loves connecting those prayers with the Word of God. And as she joins us for a second day, she has more inspiring thoughts to help you and me make prayer for our kids a natural, everyday thing. And I do hope you'll stay tuned to find out more for today's episode of Focus on the Family.

Your host is Focus President and author Jim Daly, and I'm John Fuller. For a lot of moms and dads, prayer might feel awkward or unfamiliar to them. Maybe some didn't grow up in homes where they prayed much or at all. But whatever is your situation, we want prayer to be part of your family life. That's one of the goals here at Focus, because we believe in prayer and the power of prayer. And Jodi Berndt will offer some great encouragement like she did last time.

And if you didn't hear that broadcast, get the download, get the app on your smartphone, whatever we can do to get that into your hands is our goal. She has four adult children, as John mentioned. She's had a lot of practice praying for them. I felt her vulnerability last time was so inspiring.

You know, we always project perfection. But she talked about some of the struggles her kids had and how she prayed through those things. She first wrote about praying for children about 20 years ago, and now she's updated this great resource, Praying the Scriptures for Your Children. And John will give more details how to get that. Yeah, give us a call. The number is 800-AFAMILY, 800-232-6459.

Or the link is in the episode notes. Jodi, welcome back to Focus on the Family. Thank you so much. So fun to keep talking.

So good to see you. When we think about praying for our children, one of the big concerns for parents, and I've experienced this, is kind of the explosion of technology. One, it keeps us so busy and distracted. And then of course, it's simply the influence of all of it. Your children, they're grown now, but how much did tech affect your parenting?

And how did you pray for your kids to either manage it well, or what did you do? Yeah, well, you've just hit on one of the reasons we wanted to update this book. Because when I wrote the book 20 years ago, kids in technology basically came down to something that was new called Myspace. You know, there was no Facebook, no Instagram, no texting, no Snapchats, none of all these things. It's amazing to think there once was a time.

There once upon a time, I know. But you know, Andy Crouch wrote that great book, The Tech Wise Family. And in it, he says that technology is the number one reason why parents think that raising kids today is more complicated than it was.

And I think it is true. Partly for what you said, all the distractions, you know, the easy everywhere access of anything. Of course, the fear we have of our kids being exposed to unwanted content, whether it's pornography or anything else, bullying, there's a lot of fear that comes with technology. And yet, it's there, it's going to be part of our family's life, it's going to be part of our kids' lives. So I think we need to know how to manage it and how we need to pray about it. And so yeah, that was one of the reasons when I was looking back over the 20 year old book, and I thought, huh, Myspace, we need to update that. Well, as you're talking with parents and the counseling and consulting that you do, I mean, what are you hearing?

Counseling and consulting, you made me sound really good. Yeah, no, it's true. But you know, when you're talking with them about where they're at, those that do have teenagers today, you know, my kids are, they're right at the tail end, a 20 and 18 year old. And, you know, it is something you have to think about. Probably in times past, you didn't have to pay attention to that. But it puts pressure on us as parents now to be praying for our kids to manage these things wisely. And we got to teach them how to do that.

Absolutely. And of course, you know, there are the smart things you do, putting filters on your home computers and managing screen time and all that. But I think parents can fall into a couple different camps. Sometimes we can be so frightened of it that, you know, we kind of hit lockdown mode and a little bit like, keep your helmet on and hope your kids get through without permanent damage. Or we can say, you know, it's just out there and our kids are going to be exposed.

So it is what it is. I think the best parents recognize that that the technology is out there, it's part of our kids world. So let's manage it wisely. And let's pray about it wisely. And one of my favorite prayers, I have a couple of them actually, Job 110, Satan and God are talking and they talk about a hedge of protection around Job. And I pray a hedge of protection around my kids that God would just put that there so that some of the evils of technology don't penetrate. So that's sort of the defensive prayer that Job 110. But then I also really think it's important for parents to pray offensively.

And I love Philippians 4-8, which says, and I'm not going to quote it correctly, but it talks about what we need to think about, think about whatever is noble, whatever is pure, whatever is excellent, whatever is praiseworthy. I pray that my kids would be drawn to that stuff. Now, when I was young growing up, my dad had a little, it's from the Psalms, it said, I will set before my eyes no vile thing. And he had taped that on top of the television set. And that was, you know, in my growing up days, that was technology, what you're watching on TV. And I would pray that same thing, you know, Lord, don't let them look at anything vile.

Some translations say worthless. Don't put it before their eyes. Yeah, I like that offensive posture. How important is it for your kids to realize that they are going to have choices out there? Yeah, yeah. And that goes back to the wisdom conversation we had on the earlier show, just that we want our kids to have that discernment and that wisdom because it is going to be out there. And we're not always going to be with them to say, hey, don't look at that, don't do that.

And even if we have filters on our home devices, they're going to go to a friend's house where things are accessible. If our kids have phones, you know, I have one friend whose son, and this is just precious, that they, this was a teenage boy, and the parents were very concerned about what he was going to be exposed to and how much limits, you know, they should place and that kind of thing. And he asked them to take a search engine off of his phone after a little while.

He realized that it was not leading him anywhere good. And so he said to his parents, you know, let's get rid of that app. And to these parents who'd been, as we all can be kind of in the pit of fear of what if, and it's out there, to have a child make that wise choice was just so much bigger than the technology issue because it spoke to the wisdom issue. And I think we want to, to your point, pray for our kids to have that wisdom. Jody, you cover in the book praying for your child's future marriage. Now, of course, some people say, ah, with focus, it's always about marriage. Well, we are a marriage and parenting ministry and we realize not everyone will get married. And that's good. And Paul talks about that.

Yeah. And I think we also can pray for our kids to thrive in a single situation. You know, we want them to be where wherever God has them to be not defined by, am I married? Am I not married? Am I dating? Not dating? Right.

Trying to make an idol out of it is the point. But for most people, they will get married. And it's kind of interesting because Jean and I have been doing this, you know, for years praying for the boys. But even thinking about, in our case, those two women that are out there, two girls that have been growing up, where are they? Are they in Colorado?

Are they somewhere else in the world? I mean, it really is a mind boggler when you start praying for your kids' future spouses. And you know, you're going, wow, okay, who is she?

What is she doing? And then I will tell you, when they come along, there is no greater joy than to be able to say, it's you. Well, talk about that. A, talk about your prayer, and your prayer was Robbie, how that impacted your marriage, and then how the Lord answered your prayers for your kids. When Robbie and I got married? Well, Robbie and I, we met in college, and I thought he was super cute, but I didn't think that he was my type.

I was kind of grungy, flash dance. I'd grown up at the beach, and he was preppy and squared away and real put together. And I also had grown up really in the Jesus movement.

I was what he would have probably called the Jesus freak almost, you know, Jesus hippie, I was I was and and he had been in an Episcopalian church and was very buttoned down in his appearance and in his faith. And so I just set him up with my sorority sister because I thought they would be perfect. And that match didn't really take he and I, he and I got to be better and better friends and then fell in love. And he asked me to marry him. And we'd never really talked about getting married. It was right after graduation.

And he he had asked my parents gotten my dad's consent. But it came as a bit of a surprise to me. But I said yes, you know, and it seemed like a good idea. And it turned out to be a great idea. You know, never a second thought is asking myself where as soon as the yes was out of my mouth.

I was like, this is a writing good thing. But then later, somebody asked me, they said, How did you know Robbie was the one for you? And I thought, Well, I don't know how I knew. So I asked my parents. I was like, that's an interesting question, isn't it?

How? And they said, Well, I'll tell you how you knew it's because you're dead. This is my mom. She said, Your dad and I always prayed that job 110 prayer again, that God would put a hedge of protection around you that, you know, anyone who wasn't his choosing wouldn't be able to get through. And also Colossians 315, that the peace of Christ would rule in your heart. And so those two prayers that they prayed over my growing up years, when I said yes, and had that peace and rule that that ruled in my heart, I knew it was the right yes. And that was an answer to their prayer. So yeah, we started praying for our kids eventual mates, really, from the time, you know, our children were conceived, we knew they'd be growing up and one day, falling in love with somebody and doing the whole even cleave thing. And it has been such a delight.

We have two married children and two who are now engaged with weddings coming up soon. And when each of those people hit our radars, and we knew they were the one boy, what a treat it was to be able to look at them and say, it's you. You're the one I have poured these prayers into over these years. And that's the right outcome.

That's what you want. Now, I've got to ask the opposite question. Maybe those parents that have been praying or haven't been praying for years about their future child's spouse, and then now they're in conflict because they don't really think that person is the right person for my baby. Yeah, boy. And that's more common than you think. Yeah, even within the Christian community, you know, and even when your child's chosen mate is a believer, it might not be the one that you think is the best man. That is tough.

It's very tough. But I'll tell you what day one, when when that union happens, you are on that team and you're supporting that team. I mean, all the studies show them when parents support the marriages thrive when the parents don't support, it's a lot harder. So I think if you've got a child that is married to somebody that you weren't sure was the right choice, you just say, God, they're married.

And how do I get on board with this? Because we know, right, God's the Redeemer. He's the restorer. And I love what Tim Keller says, in the meaning of marriage. He says, we all think we're looking for a soulmate, the exact right person and that right. He said, you always marry the wrong person. Because even if you marry the right person, the minute you get married, that person changes. And I look at that like, like college Jody that Robbie fell in love with, love with was way more fun than like, new wife and mom Jody, right.

You know, and, and I just think each college Jody was different than newlywed Jody was different than mom Jody, which is different than empty nest Jody. And each time, I think I change and it's so great of God, that he allows us to grow and change together and learn new things about putting one another first. Well, and what I'm hearing you say, if you as a parent are in that spot, keep praying, maybe double up those prayers. Double up those.

I would say two things. If you're praying and your child's not married yet, and you're disappointed, and you're wondering when is that person going to come along because my child's 25, 35, 40, you know, whatever. Two things I would say, keep praying, but also speak life into the things that you see God doing in your child, so that their identity doesn't become tied up in with, oh, I'm married, or I'm single. Because we know Scripture is full of married people and single people that are honoring God and being trophy cases for his glory. You know, I love that Isaiah.

I think it might be Isaiah 61, where we're going to be a planting of the Lord, a display of his splendor. Our lives can be that. That's the whole point of our lives, right, to bring glory to him.

Single or married, we can do that. So I would say for that parent, go ahead and pray for your child's spouse. But don't bring it up to them.

Affirm in them what you see God's doing in their lives. God's made you so compassionate. God's made you so smart.

God's made you so funny. Well, and I'd say, you know, maintain that relationship. That's key. Don't push them away because of your over-the-top control issue. Absolutely. Maintain that relationship.

That's number one. And there's an element here, too, where prayer is both an expression of the heart and permission to God to work on my heart, right? I mean, it's something you mentioned yesterday.

It's not a magic formula. So there's a whole scope of things you're talking about where God isn't obligated to answer your specific prayer. He might have something bigger, right? He does have something bigger. Has God ever stopped at our little prayers? I think he's always. What does Ephesians say? It's always immeasurably more than we could ask or imagine.

His ways are always bigger. Jody, over the years, you've identified three prayer truths about praying for your kids. What are they? Quickly, tell me.

What are they? I'm sure there are 18 prayer truths. But as a parent, I meet parents of young kids all the time and they just think, oh, boy, when I get to the empty nest, yours must be great. And I think, oh, really? We're all smiling.

Yeah. It doesn't end there, folks. It doesn't end. So truth number one is you never stop being a parent, right? You never stop praying. You never stop wanting God's best for your kids.

And whatever season they're in, you might think, this is it. This is the biggie. But it might not be.

There might be another biggie right around the corner. And another truth, I think, is that prayer is work. It's a delight and it is a relationship. But as you said earlier, it is also a discipline. And we want to make time for that.

We want to make it be part of our everyday experience. But you said something in the intro, too, about maybe not having time, right? Yeah.

And I think a lot of times young parents especially can beat themselves up because you think, oh, unless I have my coffee and my prayer journal and my Bible like I see on Instagram, it's not going to count. But my kid's got an ear infection and the dog just threw up and I don't have time. And I was there.

I was there. I thought, okay, it doesn't count unless I really carve out this time. And yet I would say to those parents, just do it. Do it when you're in the carpool line. Do it when you're walking behind the stroller. Do it when you're folding laundry. There are so many prayers in scripture about how we are clothed. Clothe me with compassion and kindness. Okay, I'm folding these umpteenth pair of socks. Clothe Hillary with compassion and kindness. Clothe Robbie with wisdom and self-control. We have those prayer prompts all the time. You're cutting up fruit for their snacks.

Fill my kids with the fruit of the Spirit with that Galatians 5 22 with love, joy, peace, patience, kindness. Those are everywhere if we just kind of be alert. That's really good. But it is just a great discipline of praying. And you don't, right, you don't have to have this necessarily, this area you sit at with your, you know, the Word of God. That's good if you've got that kind of time. It absolutely is. And I would never want a listener to hear me say don't spend concentrated time with him. I mean, we were talking at the break and your wife's going off to do that with some friends this weekend.

I think we do want to carve out these times. But one time I was speaking in Connecticut and my daughter, Virginia, who's an adult now lives in New York City, happened to be with me. And this has never happened before. But someone in the audience said, you know, I got a question for your daughter during the Q&A time. I know. And they said, how did you feel growing up, you know, with a praying mom?

What what was it like? And so she grabs the microphone and she says, you know, I didn't like it very much. And I thought, oh, well, you know, where's this going? And she said, for one thing, she was always praying that if we were doing anything wrong, we get caught. You know, pray for sin to be exposed, right?

Numbers talks about that. Be sure your sin will find you out. Good for you, mom. Well, I think every mom probably, although I do have one friend who said, why do you pray that? Why don't you just pray that they won't ever do anything wrong?

And I laughed. I said, I don't have the faith to pray that. I know, you know, they're wired just like I am.

They're going to do wrong. So let's pray that their sin would be exposed. But then my daughter said, and she also just prayed about kind of everything. Like we'd go to the mall and we'd know we need a new pair of jeans and mom would pray before we went in.

And it's, I don't like shopping. So of course I was praying for God to get us in and out quick. But, but what my daughter said to that audience that day, she said, it felt like a lot when I was growing up, but seeing it be part and parcel of our everyday lives. She said for me and for my siblings, it really took sort of the mystery out of praying. It made us see it as doable as something you could talk to God at any moment of your day. And she said, so even though I didn't love it growing up, I will say looking back now, I'm really grateful to have seen that modeled just sort of whatever your needs are, tell God your needs. Yeah.

And that's so good. Jody, I want to zero in on some practical help for parents right at the next half of the program here. You've provided four really practical tools. One, give your children the why. Two, build a prayer bank. Three, introduce your children to real life Bible people. And four, make prayer fun. You're kind of touching on that with that last comment, but speak to those four truths about teaching your kids how to embrace prayer.

Yeah. And that's some of the new material in the book. And that addressed the question of when parents were saying, how do I teach my kids?

How do I take as we were saying that mystery out of it? And I think we touched a little bit on the fun part in the other episode as we talked about like the happy hope game around the dinner table, we would also do things like before the first day of school, we'd have a back to school ice cream Sunday party and just invite other parents and kids from the neighborhood and say, we're going to pray for the school year. And we'd say, okay, you know, the Smiths, you're going to pray for the school bus safety. You know, the Joneses, you're going to pray for athletics. You know, the Robertsons, you pray for kids' relationships with their teachers, whatever it is. And then the families would come together. And I mean, the prayer time didn't take more than 10 minutes, you know, as each person prayed for their assigned little topic.

The ice cream Sunday time took the bulk of it. But it was great because it made it fun for the kids because kids will do what other kids are doing. You know, if you say to your own kids, we're going to pray about the school year, you might get a good answer, you might not.

But if you say, hey, guess what? The Caplins are coming over and we're all going to make Sundays and pray, that makes it a lot more doable. So make it fun.

Introduce your kids to Bible people. That's another one that, like I remember Hillary, and I tell the story in the book, her 10th birthday, she, it was her first slumber party and she had all these girls sleeping over and I, you know, we'd run out of things we were doing and I thought what should be next? And I thought, okay, let's tell a story. And the biblical story of Esther popped in my mind. And I thought for a bunch of preteen girls, Esther being, you know, plucked out of obscurity, and having all the makeup treatments she had, the ointments and the lotions, you know, and archaeologists have actually found these old makeup tubs. So we know it's not just a Bible fairy tale. It really happened.

Okay, maybe it's a little container. But Esther didn't need much of it, I'm sure. But, um, but so I told them the story of it and it was clear as I was telling it that a lot of these young girls didn't know. They didn't know about the plot thickens and Haman and Mordecai and Esther being an orphan and they didn't know about the Jews getting ready to be annihilated and then how at the very end it changes. And they were captivated. And when it got to the end, I thought, the power in this story for them is not just God's faithfulness, but it's also knowing that Esther is this young girl, not a lot older than they are. And God used her to save his people. And so I think the more we can introduce our kids to real life biblical people, you know, David, who's a shepherd, right, and a nobody, he becomes king, Moses, and if you read it in the Exodus stories, and Moses is like, I can't do it.

You know, I have faltering lips. I don't know how to speak. And God's like, but you're going to go to Pharaoh. So hey, you have a child who feels like they can't be a public speaker.

You're like, look what God did to Moses. All these people are just such regular ordinary folks. And I love the idea that we can give them our kids that that legacy and that vision. And let's see, you mentioned to her bank. Okay, well, you know, I used to, I started out writing financial planning books for a guy named Ron blue. It's a good thing you move to this.

Robbie would agree. I know. So, um, but you know, one of the things I learned from from Ron blue and that we did with our own kids was teach them the value of saving and spending. We had these little jars where it was save, spend, give. And I thought, you know, prayer is the same way. And as we learn scripture, that's saving it.

We're putting that in our memory bank. And I would actually encourage parents to, to get little prayer banks, whether it's a little treasure chest, you decorate. If you're crafty, maybe you learn a Bible verse and you write it in there. Or maybe it's just a Mason jar where you slip the verse in that we talked about the other one, Hebrews three 13, encourage one another daily, easy to learn. You learn that one, stick it in there and you look for a time to encourage. And once we've built that capital in that memory bank and that prayer bank, we have it to spend. So just like a financial need that comes up, we've got an emotional or a physical or a mental need some friendship need a relationship need. We can pray, Lord, help me encourage that person daily because we've got that verse tucked in there.

So it's just it works like a money bank. I like that. Jody, we're right at the end here.

I guess I'm going to ask for Jean and myself. You're slightly ahead of us. You have two married and two yet to be married, but engaged, I think all in their 20s. I've got I think one or two that are 30 or 31 now.

But you're just ahead of us in the curve. And I think the question is this, as our children mature, and they move into that next phase, they're out of the house, hopefully. And they're, you know, moving into a relationship with the spouse, etc. How do we let go of them and shift that parenting dynamic to, you know, kind of top down, if I could say it that way to peer to peer?

I think that's hard. Because we we love control, don't we? I mean, I used to want to pick my kids play dates, let alone their spouse or whatever. And yet, yeah, we do need to kind of step back, our prayers change instead of praying just for our daughter, Sally, suddenly Sally's married to Jimmy, and you're praying for both of them. It's part of the the leaving and cleaving, and just blessing them. I really feel like there's a lot of power and blessing and in speaking words of life over your kids, you don't have to agree with every choice your adult child is making to speak God's favor over their lives and to bless them. And I think I'd meet so many parents of adult kids who see way that where they think their kid is walking wrong, whether it's just a matter of taste, or whether it's a moral, you know, sin decision. And they think, well, how can I bless them?

How can I love them? Don't they know they're wrong? I need to pray the Holy Spirit will convict them. I need to make sure they know that what they're doing is wrong.

And you think they know what you think you've right they know that you think that's wrong. Your job now that they're grown up is to love them, to pray for them to speak God's favor over their lives and allow the Lord to do what we talked about earlier to work in them to will and to act according to his good purpose. When I love your expression there of modeling the way you walk with the Lord and your adult children seeing that see it but they see the fits and starts they see me fall they see me ask for forgiveness they see me that's all good though yeah it's all good for them to see it but sometimes it's hard because as parents we don't want our kids to see the holes in our armor but I think it's good to show them that I think it's really good because then they know that they're not perfect either and they need grace from God yeah I have one friend my friend Lisa Robertson says you know if I were perfect my children would be tempted to worship me so it's a good thing I'm not I like that and then let's have some chocolate yeah this has been so good thank you for the effort I mean a lot of people you know we we will as authors we write a book but thank you for the revision thank you for coming back to this great resource praying the scriptures for your children sometimes the consumers of that content don't realize how much you pour into it to actually make it happen so thank you for that and I just want to turn to the listener there's so many things here if you need help that's the bottom line question call us we have Caring Christian Counselors who can help you pray with you give you additional resources to help you on your parenting journey and give you some insights on what to do I want you to know that we're here for you in that way so don't hold back after 40 years of ministry at focus you're not going to surprise us trust me and if you do we'll learn from it and it's all good also for a gift of any amount I'll send you a copy of Jody's book praying the scriptures for your children as our way of saying thank you for participating in this ministry and I would love for you to think of it this way you are doing ministry through focus when you give to the ministry that's how God sees it in my opinion I think that's right biblically so be a part of the ministry join us and we'll send you Jody's book as our way of saying thank you donate as you can and get this great book which has prayers for different situations it's got scriptures that you can pray it's a wonderful book to have handy throughout your day our number is 800-AFAMILY 800-232-6459 or stop by the episode notes we've got the link right there for you on behalf of Jim Daley and the entire team thanks for joining us today for Focus on the Family I'm John Fuller inviting you back as we once more help you and your family thrive in Christ. Build your child's faith with Clubhouse Jr. and Clubhouse Magazines from Focus on the Family boys and girls ages 3 to 12 will enjoy all the faith building activities from fun crafts and puzzles to character building fiction and powerful Bible stories invest in your child's faith all year long subscribe today at slash kids mags Clubhouse and Clubhouse Jr. award-winning magazines full of games stories and God find them at slash kids mags.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-12-01 19:14:39 / 2023-12-01 19:27:41 / 13

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