Message Title: ‘Praying for our children’
Texts: Job 1:1, 4-5; Deuteronomy 6:4-9
Introduction: Susanna Wesley had 19children. Susanna prayed for all of her children 1 hr. a day.
- How do you even find an hour a day with 19 children?
Then every week she set up an appointment with each one of her children to ask about their spiritual well-being. She did this consistently until she died.
Two of her children impacted the world. Their names were John and Charles Wesley.
- Together in the 1700’s they spawned a spiritual movement in Great Britain that’s said to have saved English people from moral and social decay.
- John and Charles pay great tribute to their praying Mom.
- Susanna’s prayers influenced a whole generation, a whole church denomination, a world…for God. (adapted from Bob Hunter)
Friends, if there was ever a time to pray for our children, it’s now.
Their generation will face challenges the world has never known. And, as Christians parents, we need to prepare them for it.
- One of the most effective ways to do that is by praying for them…
- practically and persistently.
Background: We’re in a daily battle with a culture that’s actively opposed to the God we serve, and by extension actively opposed to Christians. And it’s having a dramatic impact on our children: According to the Barna research,
- 3 of 5 teens said they believe the Bible is totally accurate in all that it teachers.
But they have a very distorted view of what the Bible teaches. For example,
- 2/3 of teens believe that Satan is not a living and active being, but merely a symbol of evil.
- 6/10 of teens argued that a good person can earn eternal salvation on the basis of good deeds.
- And a majority of them, 53%, said that Jesus Christ, when He walked here on earth, committed sins. That’s scary!
- While 3/5 respect the Bible as a document, at the same time they hold beliefs that are dramatically inconsistent with it. The regard for its actual content is eroding.
- 85% of teens believe that moral truth depends on an individual and their circumstances. In other words, truth is relative, not absolute. Even Biblical truth. That it’s all dependent upon the situation you’re in now and how you feel about right and wrong. (adapted from Bob Hunter)
Christian be aware, there is a battle for the minds, hearts, and souls, of our children. And practical, persistent, prayer for our children, is one effective way to prepare them.
Now, I know this sermon series has been on Prayers in the Bible and how to use them to develop and nurture our prayer life. But.. since we’re honoring our graduates this morning, I wanted to focus this message on praying for them and all our children.
Transition: So, open your Bibles to Job 1:1
1. Job 1:1, 4-5
1 There was a man in the land of Uz whose name was Job, and that man was blameless and upright, one who feared God and turned away from evil. 4 His sons used to go and hold a feast in the house of each one on his day, and they would send and invite their three sisters to eat and drink with them.
5 And when the days of the feast had run their course, Job would send and consecrate them, and he would rise early in the morning and offer burnt offerings according to the number of them all. For Job said, “It may be that my children have sinned, and cursed God in their hearts.” Thus Job did continually.
Friends, there’s someone who to hurt, to destroy our children. And his name is Satan. He wants to destroy our marriages, our families and our children. Don’t believe me? Listen to what God’s Word says:
- Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour.
- The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy…
Job knew that. The text tells us Job was blameless and upright, one who feared God and turned away from evil. In today’s terms he would have been called a Christian.
What I want you to notice is that Job was a good example to his children. He was blameless and upright, one who feared God and turned away from evil.
Look, I don’t know how you’re living in front of your children. But, if you’re a Christian and you’re not living your life centered on God, or following Jesus, then that is the first place to start praying.
The first prayer, our first prayer as parents, as grandparents, is that God would so move in our lives, that we would be a positive example of Jesus to our children and grandchildren.
In verses 4-5 we find that Job’s children had a party at each of Job’s sons homes. The sons would invite their sisters and brothers, but it seems they didn’t invite mom and dad.
So, we’re told they all ate and drank and partied till the feast was over… probably a week or so.
But that’s how it was in those days.
Job and his wife weren’t invited, so what could Job do to make sure there wasn’t any trouble? Nothing.. at least at the time of the feast. But when it was over, he did a very powerful thing: Job prayed for them.
5 And when the days of the feast had run their course, Job would send and consecrate them, and he would rise early in the morning and offer burnt offerings according to the number of them all. For Job said, “It may be that my children have sinned, and cursed God in their hearts.”
Job was acting as the priest for the family, remember this took place before there was a priesthood in Israel.
Why? He wasn’t at the party. Job tells us: It may be that my children have sinned, and cursed God in their hearts. Now that’s a practical prayer. Because chances are better than good, that sin was somehow involved.
Job prayed for them because he desired that each of his children would have a healthy, growing relationship with God.
Parents, grandparents, we can’t always be with our children, our grandchildren. We won’t always know what’s going on when they aren’t home.
BUT, we can always pray for them,
And, that God might extend His mercy and grace, His forgiveness to your children and grandchildren.
Finally, take note to the very end of verse 5. Thus Job did continually. Did what continually? He prayed for his children… continually, persistently and practically.
And what was the result of Job’s practical and persistent prayers for his children? In verse 10 Satan tells God this about Job: Have you not put a hedge around him and his house and all that he has, on every side?
God answered Job’s prayers and protected his children.
Christian, when we pray for our children and grandchildren’s lives, they’re never left to chance.
In Job 1:1-5 we found that Job’s prayer for his children was both practical and persistent.
Transition: Next, in Deuteronomy 6:4-9, we’ll find how to pray practically and persistently through Moses command to the Israelites concerning their children.
2. Deuteronomy 6:4-9
4 Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. 5 You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might. 6 And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart. 7 You shall teach them diligently 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. 8 You shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes. 9 You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates.
Let me set the scene:
In Deuteronomy 6:4-9 we get a very clear picture of what God wants for His people. And from what I can tell, it’s the role parents play in helping cultivate faith in and obedience to God in their children.
One last point of context.
What does God want them to teach their children?
I liken that to our High School and College graduates, leaving home & entering an unbelieving, intentionally antagonistic culture, that no longer is Christian friendly.
What does God want us to teach our children? How can we pray for our children so that they won’t stray from the truth?
Let’s take a look.
4 Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one.
Parents and grandparents, idols, false gods are everywhere around us; and they are vying for your child’s mind, heart and soul. Some of these idols include:
They all want to have the highest priority in your child’s life. They all want to be… their god:
And it can cause your child to start believing that God is not all that important in their lives.
Parents, grandparents, pray that your child, grandchild might hold fast to the knowledge that
Pray, parents, grandparents, that your children, your grandchildren will believe and trust that God does exist and that He is the Lord described in the Bible.
5 You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might. 6 And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart.
Research shows that Christians are theologically losing the next generation.
Parents, grandparents if we’re not praying that our children and grandchildren would love God with all of their heart and with all their soul and with all their might, Then…
- love for the world, love for sin, love for other idols, love for disobedience, love for self…
- will fill the void in their heart and soul.
You see, love for God is fleshed out, is made real, in our relationship with Him.
- A.W. Tozer once said we’re called to “an everlasting preoccupation with God.”
- In his book called, Raising Kids to Love Jesus, Gary Oliver says “Our primary call isn’t to be good parents. Our primary call is to model a vibrant and vital love relationship with the living God.” (Brian Bill)
Show your children that you love God, above all else. Pray for your child’s relationship with God, that it would be authentic, passionate, wholehearted, and active.
7 You shall teach them diligently 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.
Let God’s Word, let God Himself, be a natural and everyday part of your life, your whole life.. inside and outside the home.
It’s all about relationship in this verse.
It’s intentional acts, and ongoing efforts to teach your children about God; His character, His will, His Word, His presence, His power.
8 You shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes. 9 You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates.
These are practical ways, physical ways, observable ways we teach our children about God; His character, His will, His Word, His presence, His power.
Look, your children are experts at watching you. They look at YOUR morals, YOUR words, YOUR actions, YOUR choices, what you DO and DON’T do. They can spot a hypocrite a mile away.
Again, I said it before and it’s important enough to repeat:
Conclusion: Practical, Persistent, Prayers
Parents, grandparents, we have a very short window of opportunity to make an impression on our children and grandchildren, to be faithful followers of Christ.
- The older they get, the more of the world gets in them, and the smaller that window becomes.
To help make it practical and so that you can pray persistently, I’ve attached a prayer calendar to the WRI email you received on Saturday.
- If you are here in person, they are on the table on my right, please take one.
- If you know someone who could use it, take another own.
Use it as an aid to pray for your children and grandchildren.
Let me close with a few quick bullet Scriptures and prayers you can pray over your children. I found and adapted these from a sermon by Terry Laughlin
Philippians 4:6 Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.
- Father God, my child is graduating and going away to college. I won’t see him for long periods of time. Protect him, give him a sense of Your purpose for him and allow him to experience Your joy to sustain him.
Ephesians 3:16-19 That according to the riches of His glory He may grant you to be strengthened with power through His Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith—that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may have strength to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.
- God send Your Holy Spirit into the heart of my child, to reveal Christ to them. That they might be born again and live in the fullness and the abundant life promised in Christ.
Philippians 2:12-13 Therefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, so now, not only as in my presence but much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who works in you,
both to will and to work for His good pleasure.
- Lord God, I ask that my children will have hearts to obey You and be involved in what You have planned for them, even when they are not in my presence.
- That they would walk in a true fear of the Lord and that they will have a heart that will ask the Lord to do His work in their lives.
Psalm 97:10 Let those who love the LORD hate evil, for He guards the lives of His faithful ones and delivers them from the hand of the wicked.
- Lord, I ask that my child will not find delight in any kind of evil. That she will have the heart of the Psalmist who wrote, “Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.”
- God, I ask that they would see Your Word as a mirror and the key source to determine what You calls sin.
Matthew 5:15-16 Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven.
- God, grant that we would live in such a way that causes our children and grand-children to praise You for the work You have done in our lives.
- And that our example of faith might lead them to live for Christ in such a way that others notice and are drawn to Him
Ecclesiastes 4:10 If one falls down, his friend can help him up. But pity the man who falls and has no one to help him up!
- Dear Father, raise up solid Christian friends that will build and challenge our children and grand-children in the Lord Jesus Christ
- and that they will mature in the Lord so they can be true Godly friend to others.
Parents, grandparents will you join me in committing to pray practically and persistently for your children, and grandchildren?