Tag: prayer

A Back to School Prayer

Today is the official first day of school for K-12th grade students in Clay County. It’s pretty remarkable how quickly a summer flies by us. Now, we trade in our beach chairs for school desks and our summer vacations for scheduled routines. As we head into the new school year, I want to offer this prayer on behalf of our children. This is the prayer from our Sunday, August 7th gathering and can serve as a prayer for you to pray over them as well.

 

Gracious Father,

With boldness we come before your throne as your children (Hebrews 4:16), welcomed into your presence by the righteousness of Jesus that has covered our sins. You Jesus, our king of kings, Emmanuel our God with us, are magnificently beautiful and you are the radiance of the Father’s glory (Hebrews 1:3). 

In you Jesus, we have redemption through your blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace, which you have lavished upon us, in all wisdom and insight making known to us the mystery of your will, according to your purpose, which you have set forth in Christ as a plan for the fullness of time, to unite all things in you, things in heaven and things on earth (Ephesians 1:7-10).

Your Word says in Proverbs 3:5-7, “Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths. Be not wise in your own eyes; fear the LORD, and turn away from evil”.

As we head into another year of school, another year of activities, another year of busyness, Father we lift our children up to you. You have blessed us with these little ones, some of which are not so little anymore, and you have entrusted their care to us. There are moments when we’re not sure how to parent them and even how to protect them, so Father help us to do so in the way that you have cared and protected us. 

We pray that as our children head back to school, that you will protect them from evil. Protect them from evil attacks and evil ideologies. Protect them from the schemes of the devil that seek to take them away from you. Care for them when they are out of our care.

Lord, we pray that our kids will trust in you with their whole heart. That the faith of their parents will become their faith. Stir within their hearts a need for salvation through the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. Convict them of their sin and regenerate their hearts. More than anything in this world, more than wealth, or comforts, or prosperity, we long to see our kids come to know you as their Savior. Help us Lord to point them to Jesus in all things. To disciple them along the way. To show them the incredible truths from your Word. Help their hearts to not be anxious, but to trust that you are with them every step of the way.

Lord, we pray that our kids will not lean on their own understanding, but in all their ways acknowledge you. The world believes the knowledge of Christianity is foolish and seeks to take a generation of kids with them. Help our kids to see the foolishness of sin in this world. Help them to lean into your understanding. Help them to live according to your good and beautiful design. We know your Word never returns void. We know your Word is true and right and sufficient. Holy Spirit, remind them of the Words of Scripture. Remind them that the Words of God are far better than the words of this world. We pray that our kids will acknowledge you in private and in public. That they will stand bold for the gospel as they face peer pressure. 

Lord, we ask that you go before our kids. Direct their paths. Only you can make them straight. The plans we have for them, the plans they have for themselves are nothing compared to your will in their life. We know your will for them is their sanctification and that they live their lives for your glory and your glory alone. We pray that no matter if they are eating or drinking, they will glorify your name. Help them not to be wise in their own eyes, but to fear you in all things, to see your greatness, to see the beauty of your eternal salvation.

Lord, we pray that you will help us as parents to carefully shepherd our children. Be with us as we send our kids to school, off to college, or keeping them at home to teach them. We ask that you give patience to every home school mom and dad, give them rest and wisdom, and the support they need. We ask that you be with every mom and dad fighting the anxiousness and worry of dropping off kids and helping them navigate new schools and new friendships. Help us as parents to trust in you as well. Help us to know you are directing our paths and making it straight.

Thank you Lord that we are your children and you care for us and love us far more than we will ever realize. Help us to seek you, knowing that you came to seek and to save us. Help us to live out your Word all the days of our lives. Thank you for your sovereign care over us all.

In your holy name we pray,

 

Amen

Redeeming the Sunday Morning Car Ride to Church

For close to seven years, my family drove in separate vehicles to our Sunday gatherings at Grace Life. I left early for setup and Julie came a little later with the kids. The roughly 20 minute drive was an opportunity for me to “preach” my sermon to the empty car and spend time in prayer. But that all changed when we moved into our new space. For the first time, my family rode together to church.

It took some time for everyone to get adjusted to our new routine. What I mean is, it took me a while to get adjusted to making sure the kids were ready to get out the door. It also changed the car rides for me. I was no longer a pastor headed to preach, I was now a dad taking his family to church. I had to repurpose our time in the car on Sunday mornings.

In Deuteronomy 6, the LORD tells his people the importance of keeping the truth of God’s words front and center and teaching them to your children.

“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. – Deuteronomy 6:4–9

There’s a line here that’s relevant to this conversation: “When you walk by the way”.

In the Old Testament, people mostly walked when they needed to go somewhere. Today, we go places in our cars. No one, no matter how much they want to, can escape the moving car. The doors are locked and seatbelts are in place. It’s the perfect time to spend time in prayer and help your children love and value the local church gathering. You have an opportunity to prepare their hearts for church. Here’s what this can look like, but first, a few encouraging notes on “Ride to Church Discipleship”.

Anyone can do it. No matter how far along you are in your Christian faith, no matter how old your children are, and no matter if it is just you or just you and your spouse, anyone can participate in “Ride to Church Discipleship”.

Get your children involved. It’s easy to take charge of reading or praying, but reading isn’t advised while you’re driving. Getting your kids involved is easy and safe!

You only need a few minutes. Is your ride to church five minutes? That’s fine! You can accomplish “Ride to Church Discipleship” in just a few moments. Is it 20 minutes? That’s okay too! Find a landmark and begin “Ride to Church Discipleship” when you pass the landmark each week. This will also help establish a routine for your kids.

Here is what “Ride to Church Discipleship” looks like:

Have someone read the Scripture for the sermon.

Every week, we’ll share the text of Scripture for the next sermon so you can read ahead. (This coming Sunday’s sermon text is from Hebrews 11:23-30.) As a church, we gather together to hear God’s Word preached so we can know Jesus more and the power of His resurrection in our lives. Reading the Sunday morning text helps prepare our hearts for the gathering.

If you have a child who can read, have them read the text. The Bible is written in such a way that even new readers (with a little bit of help) can read. If the driver is the only reader, you can use the Bible Audio from The Bible App, read the text in the driveway before you leave, or when you are stopped at a red light. Even if your child is preschool or younger, reading Scripture to them is a great practice and the routine will be normal when it comes time for them to read.

 

Ask, “What are you most excited about gathering with the church this morning”?

It’s very easy to speak negatively about the church. It’s a tool the enemy uses and what he’s doing is using negativity about the church to bring disinterest to children. Many kids grow up to be non church attending adults because parents either spoke negatively about church or they didn’t make church a priority. Don’t let this be the case for your family. 

Talk to them about singing and praying and preaching and friendship. Explain the importance of the church as the people of God. Jesus did not establish the church for people to check off and check out. No, he wanted people to grow together in friendship and in their faith. Going all in in the life and mission of your local church is essential to the discipleship of your children.

 

Pray Together

Once again, have one of the kids pray and then follow it with a prayer of your own. Of course, praying with your eyes open is certainly acceptable! Be sure to pray for the preacher. (This week, pray for Lawrence Wilson as he preaches). Pray for our band as they lead us to sing to Jesus. Pray for their KidLife teacher. Pray for Grace Life Church. Pray for the Elders. Pray for people who the Holy Spirit places on your heart. Pray for missionaries around the world. The prayer doesn’t have to be perfect, but as we go by the way, we are showing our kids the importance of talking to God.

The car ride to church can be spent listening to the radio, sitting in quiet, playing with toys, watching videos on a device, or we can redeem those few minutes by spending time in prayer or disciplining our kids to love the church, the people whom Christ died for.

By His Grace,

Pastor Matt

Making Jesus-Centered Disciples For God's Glory


Sunday 10am | 3180 County Rd 220 Suite 1 Middleburg, FL 32068

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