Prayer, Plain and Simple

Prayer, Plain and Simple

A Prayer for the Fires Raging in Southern California

posted by Mark Herringshaw

A prayer for the victims of and those threatened by the wild fires raging now across Southern California:

God, have mercy on those living through this terrible threat of fire in Southern California. Protect the lives of the brave men and women fighting the flames. Give courage to all those who have lost their homes. Give wisdom to those who must make important decisions about their property and the property of others Lord, you are Lord of the weather. We ask you now to calm the winds, increase the humidity and slow the advance of these blazes. Guard those for whom the smoke is a health threat. You can extinguish these fires. We ask boldly that you would. We pray this in Jesus’ name.    

S. California fire.jpg

Jesus Blessed Children

posted by Mark Herringshaw

And what does Jesus think of children?

 

“One day some parents brought their children to Jesus so he could touch and bless them. But the disciples scolded the parents for bothering him. When Jesus saw what was happening, he was angry with his disciples. He said to them, ‘Let the children come to me. Don’t stop them! For the Kingdom of God belongs to those who are like these children. I tell you the truth, anyone who doesn’t receive the Kingdom of God like a child will never enter it.’ Then he took the children in his arms and placed his hands on their heads and blessed them” (Mark 10:13-16 NLB).

 

We can do the same. Today, take the children in your life in your arms and place your hands on their heads and bless them! Bestowing blessings in this way is an ancient and powerful act of faith. Something truly amazing happens when we do this.

Here’s the blessing I gave my son:

 

“Michael, I bless you in the name of Jesus with everything that God intends for you today. I bless your mind with alertness and focus. May you think God’s thoughts and not your own. I bless your hands with efficiency. May the work you do today in school bring God honor. I bless your feet – may you walk the path God has for you today. I bless your heart with passion for truth and for a relationship with your God.”

A Prayer for School

posted by Mark Herringshaw

A couple years ago I worked with Jennifer Schuchmann – my co-author in Six Prayers God Always Answers, and Nine Ways God Always Speaks - on a project to help parents pray for their children in school. One of our outcomes was 30 simple prayers – one for each day of September – targeting a different specific need.  

 

Each day this month I’ll post one of these prayers and I invite you to take up the challenge to pray these short requests on behalf of your children, grandchildren, relatives and friends who are heading off to school. Think of the power we can muster together if we join together asking God and believing in faith that he will act on their behalf!

 

For September 1

“God, you are good and you are strong, so we ask that you protect our school and make it a great learning environment for all who come through the doors.”

Praying Back to School

posted by Mark Herringshaw

My 12 year old son Michael began middle school today. It was a big day for him, and for Jill and me, his parents. By all accounts Michael had an awesome and carefree summer: little league baseball with his friends, sleeping until 9:00 AM, catching northern pike to his heart’s content. It was the vacation of dreams. But alas, school begins… And for Michael that now means entering the puberty infested world of junior-high-dom.  

 

We’ve been through it all before with our three older children, but the strange reluctance I feel every “first day of school” still haunts me. As he strapped on his backpack this morning, took a deep breath, hopped out of the car and headed toward his new classroom I was struck by the limited power I have over his life. I really control so little!

 

Sure, he goes to a fine school, and his teacher is good, and most the kids in his class are respectable. But the fact is, school is out of my grasp. I’ve delegated influence, and I can’t control his experience there. When he’s home Jill and I can monitor his choices, to some extent. But “out there” in the “real world” of middle school Michael is much more on his own.

 

We know full well the dangers they face: bullying, ideas that run against our family values, the undeniable fact that schools can be Petri-dishes for strange viruses (H1N1), and acts of violence. And most of it no one can stop.  

 

My first reaction today was to let fear chill my blood. Then I caught myself. A quiet Voice whispered a simple charge: “Pray! Pray for him.” I took it to be God’s prompting. “You can’t control his life, and you shouldn’t try. But I can. Pray, and I’ll give Michael my very best.”

 

I did. It wasn’t anything long or profound or grand or sacred. I simply spoke my insecurities and asked God for favor,

 

“God, protect and bless Michael today in his new school.

Give him all he needs. Be with him.”

 

Jill and I bought him new shoes, pants and a shirt. He has a new insulated lunch box, and a fresh haircut. But none of that is really enough for his first day. What he really needs is God, and God’s favor. For that, the very best we can do is pray.

 

Here’s a challenge: for the month of September I’ll be writing about prayers for our children. As they begin school, it’s a fitting topic I think. So if you have children, grandchildren, godchildren, nieces and nephews or young friends, dive into this discussion. Let’s pool our wisdom and experience and pray together for the children in our lives and let’s talk about what happens as a result.

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