A Prayer for Pre-Teen Parents
By Meg Bucher
I fumed about my older daughter’s lack of timeliness, as I thrust the car door open and lunged in. Her little sister sat alone in the backseat, and worried tears streamed down her face. Stunned from watching her best friend run out of her sight, her seven year old voice was as panicked as her eyes were.
“I don’t know where she went!”
The engine hummed and the door hung wide open, as I tore around the yard. We called out her name and searched the hiding places. Flashes of missing kids paraded through my mind as I ran along the edge of our property. Stopped cold, I reached into my pocket to execute every parent’s worst nightmare.
“My daughter is …missing,” I managed to verbalize, as I ached in prayer for God to protect her.
How had we gotten here?
That morning, I allowed the one thing that my daughter struggled with to snap my patience and leverage a war on her pre-teen emotional state. As she explained herself to the three police men parked at the end of our driveway that day, a guilt that I had failed her washed over me.
“Fathers, don’t exasperate your children by coming down hard on them. Take them by the hand and lead them in the way of the Master.” Ephesians 6:4 (The Message)
The original Greek word, parorgizo, means “to rouse to wrath, to provoke, exasperate, anger.” (Strongs 3949) Exasperate means “to excite the anger of.” (Merriam Webster). The only other time “parorgizo” is used in the Bible is in Romans 10:19, “With a senseless people I will anger you,” in which Paul dug up question Deuteronomy 32:21 posed concerning the Jews missing the truth right before their eyes.
Blocking our past experiences causes us to lack empathy for what our children are going through. In our human impatience, we become behavioral-focused. It’s easy to get caught up in how our children should be acting, but more important to pray into God’s purpose for who they are.
My daughter ran back up the street that day, but she had run a half-mile to a wooded trail before she turned around.
“I just needed somewhere quiet to think.”
“Take them by hand and lead them…” Instead of sparking their anger, pre-teens need us to teach them how to run to Christ in overwhelming moments.
Praise You for pre-teens, and all that they have to teach us about ourselves and Your love for us. Thank You for returning prodigals and run-aways home safely, and bless those that never had the opportunity to turn around and run home to safety before lesser intentions befell them.
Father, we ask your forgiveness today for lacking the patience and compassion that our children deserve. Help us to operate in the power of the Holy Spirit, especially in those heated moments when we are at the end of ourselves. Lead the next generation to compassionate prayer in moments of heartbreak . Teach them run to You, our Healer and our Comforter.
Jesus, run hard after our children’s hearts, and those that we lead to Your feet. Embrace them with encouragement through our lives.
In Jesus’ Name,
Meg writes about everyday life within the love of Christ on her blog, is the most important calling on her life, next to encouraging others to seek Him first … authentically. A writer, dance mom, substitute teacher, youth worship leader/teacher and Bible Study leader, she can often be found having some kind of an adventure in the small little lake town where she resides with her husband of ten years, two daughters, and their Golden-doodle.
A Prayer for Loving Difficult People
By Mary Southerland
“By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” John 13:35
True love is God’s love. It looks beyond abrasive behavior to see and meet the real needs hidden there.
Meeting a need in the life of a sandpaper person can be messy and usually demands a sacrifice of some kind on our part. It is easier to simply placate or avoid difficult people than it is to love them the way they need to be loved – not in a way that makes our life easier. For example, when we see that sandpaper person coming, we turn around and head in the opposite direction. When the caller ID shows the name of a sandpaper person in our life, we do not answer. Hurried conversations replace a listening heart. We offer tolerance instead of acceptance.
And God is not pleased. He is committed to our character – not our comfort.
God wants us to love each other in the same way that He loves – unconditionally. In fact, God wants us to love in such a way that the people around us will know we are fully devoted followers of Christ. I wonder what our relationships would look like if we did love the way Jesus loves us.
Nowhere in the Bible will you find the words, “When you feel like it, love others.” Nope! It is not in there.
The Bible tells us to practice love. Love is an ongoing and very deliberate choice – not an emotion or a feeling. I challenge you to step out in faith today and choose to love that difficult person in your life the way Jesus loves you.
Father, I have to thank You for looking beyond my faults and for loving me unconditionally. Forgive me when I fail to love others in the same way. Give me eyes to see the needs of the difficult people in my life, and show me how to meet those needs in a way that pleases You.
In Jesus’ Name,
Editor’s Note: Content taken from the Girlfriends in God devotional, Oh, How He Loves, written by Mary Southerland. You can read that piece in full here. All rights reserved.
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Daily Devotion for May 30, 2019Ascension Day
The by Giotto, ca. 1305. Giotto di Bondone, although most people recognize the name, is rarely recognized for his overwhelming genius outside art history circles. He was the revolutionary artist, living in a surprisingly primitive society (over 200 years before Michelangelo), who broke with Byzantine formalism and invented Renaissance art. Although artists improved on his techniques in later centuries, this depiction of the Ascension is sublime.
Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come; Thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread, and forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.
For Thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, forever and ever.
Prayer to Conform to God’s Will
O Lord God, I am so lukewarm towards you so much of the time, in so much of my life. I try not to admit it to myself, but I read your Word and I can see the gap between what you want for me and what I do. I make excuses. You tell us to pick up our cross and follow Jesus, imitating Him in all we do, but the lure of property, politics, entertainment — all of the matters of this world — is powerful. I concern myself with them constantly, ignoring the plain and simple message of the Bible. I live too much in the secular world, anxious for status and concerned about my future.
Have patience with me, mighty God, and forgive me. Do not spew me out, as you have warned you might do with the lukewarm. Fill my soul with the fire of your Word and help me grow, to put more and more confidence in you and less and less in the world before me; forgive me my sins and help me to live in them less and less today, and every day, that I might more perfectly follow your commandments. In Christ’s name I pray,
Prayer in Times of Low Spirits (from Psalm 42)
Like a deer thirsts for the water of a clear cool stream, my soul thirsts for you, my God. I await with longing the day when I may finally appear before you. I sometimes become unhappy; my spirit becomes downcast, as my enemies deny you and mock me; and yet, always, I discover the joy of your Spirit and turn my face to you, and you heal me.
By day you command my steadfast love, and by night your song comes to me. The wickedness of the world taunts me and evil people put a bullet in my back, saying “Where is your God”? But why are you in turmoil, oh my soul? My hope is in God. I will turn again to you, my Lord, and praise you, my salvation and my God.
Now unto the King eternal, immortal, invisible, the only wise God, be honor and glory for ever and ever.
Think of the day ahead in terms of God with you, and visualize health, strength, guidance, purity, calm confidence, and victory as the gifts of His presence.
Acts 1:6-11 (NLT)
So when the apostles were with Jesus, they kept asking him, “Lord, has the time come for you to free Israel and restore our kingdom?”
He replied, “The Father alone has the authority to set those dates and times, and they are not for you to know. But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes upon you. And you will be my witnesses, telling people about me everywhere—in Jerusalem, throughout Judea, in Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.”
After saying this, he was taken up into a cloud while they were watching, and they could no longer see him. As they strained to see him rising into heaven, two white-robed men suddenly stood among them. “Men of Galilee,” they said, “why are you standing here staring into heaven? Jesus has been taken from you into heaven, but someday he will return from heaven in the same way you saw him go!”
Acts 17:29-34 (ESV)
Paul’s Second Journey
Paul Addresses the Areopagus
eing then God’s offspring, we ought not to think that the divine being is like gold or silver or stone, an image formed by the art and imagination of man. The times of ignorance God overlooked, but now he commands all people everywhere to repent, because he has fixed a day on which he will judge the world in righteousness by a man whom he has appointed; and of this he has given assurance to all by raising him from the dead.”
Now when they heard of the resurrection of the dead, some mocked. But others said, “We will hear you again about this.” So Paul went out from their midst. But some men joined him and believed, among whom also were Dionysius the Areopagite and a woman named Damaris and others with them.
Notes on the Scripture
If you have been following the past two days, you will know that this passage marks one of the great turning points in world history. Paul is standing in the dead center of Western civilization, the Areopagus in Athens, Greece. This is the place where the world’s greatest philosophers have, for hundreds of years, gathered to debate and teach.
In Acts 17:22-28, Paul stood up and began to address the assemblage to teach them that there is but one God, who created earth and humanity. Today, finally, he tells them things that nobody has told them before: their gods do not exist. They are just statues. They are “an image formed by the imagination . . . of man.” There is a true God, who has sent a man to save them from death, and as a sign has been raised up from the dead.
The concept is revolutionary. Several listeners are actually converted, and a number of others are interested in hearing more. Some openly laugh at him, and most probably don’t pay close attention and simply dismiss him. But the turning point has been reached. The Gospel has been revealed, openly and forcefully, to the mainstream citizenry of the Roman Empire.
Ascension of Christ, ancient icon.
Daily Inspiration “Influential”
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Just a quick post today –
I wanted to share the little daily prayer sheet that I created.
Our students have so much going on in their lives, and it’s so important to me to pray for our teens.
We get so busy, and this is an easy way to just remember a quick prayer each day before leaving school. I just have a repeating cycle Monday through Friday to pray for the kids.
Each day has a theme (growth, positivity, courage, self-worth, and character) and a short prayer that God will bless our students with the strength they need as teens in each of those areas.
Here’s how I taped mine up, but in schools where you are allowed to, stick one in the teacher room over the copy machine so everyone can spend that extra minute waiting for copies praying for our kids!!
Click the image to download.
Print it out and tape it to the bottom of your computer monitor. Each day before you shut down and head home, spend just a minute praying for your students.
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