Prayer, Plain and Simple

Prayer, Plain and Simple

“Sabbath Prayer” From “Fiddler on the Roof”

posted by Mark Herringshaw

The song “Sabbath Prayer” in the Broadway musical, Fiddler on the Roof (book by Joseph Stein, music by Jerry Bock, lyrics by Sheldon Harnick, based on the stories of Sholom Aleichem) gives a wonderful model for blessing our daughters. Here are the lyrics for this song. Use them as a prayer of blessing in your own family…

 

“Sabbath Prayer”

 

[MOTHERS AND FATHERS]
May the Lord protect and defend you.
May He always shield you from shame.
May you come to be
In Israel a shining name.

May you be like Ruth and like Esther.
May you be deserving of praise.
Strengthen them, Oh Lord,
And keep them from the strangers’ ways.

May God bless you and grant you long lives.
(May the Lord fulfill our Sabbath prayer for you.)
May God make you good mothers and wives.
(May He send you husbands who will care for you.)

May the Lord protect and defend you.
May the Lord preserve you from pain.
Favor them, Oh Lord, with happiness and peace.
Oh, hear our Sabbath prayer. Amen.

 

“Sabbath Prayer”

Lyrics by Sheldon Harnick

From the musical Fiddler on the Roof

Peace for a Paranoid Parent

posted by Mark Herringshaw

I admit it, I am a paranoid parent, and a horror story like the kidnapping and 18 year imprisonment of Jaycee Lee Dugard only feeds those fears. By now we know the abominable details: a beautiful 11 year girl was abducted by a convicted sex offender and held in bondage for nearly two decades, forced to bear the man’s two children. Truth can far wickeder than fiction.

 

My natural reaction: panic. When it comes to my own kids, I’m haunted by fears for their safety, their health, their very lives!  And I’m not alone.  We’re a generation of suspicious, anxious mothers and fathers – “helicopter parents” they call us. We hover over our kids to protect them and guard them from this dastardly world. We have good reason for our fear.

 

My childhood was different. My parents loved me, but I grew up as a free-range kid.  My buddies and I roamed unleashed, exploring the woods and old deserted houses around our part of town. We playing ball with kids from other neighborhoods well beyond the boundaries of ours.  My mom would wave goodbye in the morning; she’d round me up for lunch; then she’d urn me loose again until dinner. Liberty bred a certain creative independence into me, and I think in many from my generation.   

 

Childhood is not so innocent today. We live near a beautiful forest, but do you think Jill and I will cut our kids loose to wander and explore?  Not a chance!  At our last block party there were fifty parents all watching their kids like hawks.  One of my neighbors and I waxed nostalgic about our childhoods, but we agreed: we’d never let our kids out of sight these days…  

 

We are afraid.  Can you blame us?  Our panic is understandable. But it is also unhealthy. These fears infect our children, rob them of freedom and joy, and build unnatural suspicion and caution. Worst of all, our fears kills their faith in God! 

 

We want to see our children grow to be strong and independent and committed to God, but we erode those very hopes by fostering fear in them by our own fears for them. What do we do? The first thing we must do to build faith in our children is to build it in ourselves. We can’t give what we don’t have. 

 

There is one answer. The formula for raising fear-resistant kids is to become fear resistant ourselves. And the formula for resisting fear is prayer. When we’re tempted to be afraid for our kids, we MUST respond with prayer!

 

The Bible puts it this way:

 

Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus (Philippians 4:6-7).

 

Do you feel crippled by fear for your children? Give those fears to God in prayer, and let his peace guard your heart. They are his children, not yours. He protects, guides, heals, and saves!

A Prayer for the Adults Who Influence our Children

posted by Mark Herringshaw

A couple years ago Jennifer Schuchmann and I – we co-author Six Prayers God Always Answers, and Nine Ways God Always Speaks - worked on a project to help parents pray for their schoolaged children. Here’s the second of 30 simple prayers we offered, each targeting a specific need. This one offers a blessing for the adults who influence our children’s lives while they are in school.

 

“Jesus, apart from you we can’t do anything well so we ask you to bless the efforts of parents, teachers, and administrators and to make this school year the best ever.”

A Hebrew Blessing for Children

posted by Mark Herringshaw

For thousands of years Jews have honored the command God gave them to set aside the Sabbath, the seventh day, as a time for rest, relationship, and worship. One of the most meaningful Sabbath traditions is the blessing over the children given on Friday night.

There are many variations on how these blessing are given. The most common custom is for the father to put his hands on the child’s head and recite the words of the scripture, either by having the child get up from the table after the meal and stand before him, or for him to walk around the table and stand over the child. Some families follow this blessing with a kiss. In other homes the parents give personal words of praise. In some families the mother shares giving the blessing with the father. Whatever procedure is used, the blessing serves as a sacred transfer of favor. Not only does it make the child feel loved, the Jews believe it is a means of releasing God’s grace into the child’s life.

 

Here’s the Hebrew transliteration and the English translation of the most common blessing taken from Aaron’s blessing in the Old Testament, Numbers 6:22-27:   

 

Ye’varech’echa Adonoy ve’yish’merecha.
Ya’ir Adonoy panav eilecha viy-chuneka.
Yisa Adonoy panav eilecha, ve’yasim lecha shalom.

 

May God bless you and watch over you.
May God shine His face toward you and show you favor.
May God look on your with favor and grant you shalom peace.

Offer this ancient blessing over your children today!

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