CHILDREN
Train Up a Child ~ Strategy

 
“The life of mortals is like grass,
they flourish like a flower of the field;
the wind blows over it and it is gone,
and its place remembers it no more.
But from everlasting to everlasting
the LORD’S love is with those who fear him,
and his righteousness with their children’s children –
with those who keep his covenant
and remember to obey his precepts.”
Psalm 103:15-18 NIV
 
 
   
Train up a child in the way he should go:
and when he is old, he will not depart from it.
Proverbs 22:6 KJV
 
 
CELLPHONES
No cellphones should ever be used during meals or family conversations. No texting during church worship or sermons, or while at an event where someone is speaking to a group, unless it’s an emergency.
Father,
may they recognize Your Voice every time
You call their name.
Father, may they give You the same urgent, focused attention
that they give to others.
 
DISCIPLINE
God judged Eli’s house forever because Eli’s grown sons behaved wickedly and he did not restrain them (1 Sam 3:13). We cannot control our grown children, but we are called to warn them and others (Ez. 33; Heb. 3:13).
Father,
please grant me wisdom before disciplining the children
You have given me.
Please expose their temptations –
 the efforts of the enemy against them.
May my words be seasoned with grace and instruction.
Help me to train these precious ones to be responsible,
 diligent, and faithful servants of the Living God.
Give me a heart that discerns Your Will
 and seeks to do what is right for their earthly and eternal good.
May my chastening of these precious lives
not require Your chastening of me.
~~~
“Discipline your children while you still have the chance;
indulging them destroys them.” Proverbs 19:18 MSG    
 
ENCOURAGEMENT
It was during our dark season with Melissa Ann when I prayed a desperate prayer for encouragement. About eight years old, she had been unusually cooperative one morning as we prepared to attend the Children’s Theater. There had been times that we stayed home because of her behavior. But today was different. On our drive to Birmingham, she read the Bible and then picked up a prayer book I frequently carried with me. It had photographs, lists, and laminated maps of the United States and world. Placing her hand upon a map, she lifted the other into the air and began praying as Abraham before God took action against Sodom:
Father, if you find fifty righteous people there, please spare it!
She followed Abraham’s sequence with forty-five, forty, thirty, twenty, ten! This is one of those occasions that, like Mary, I continue to ponder in my heart, so that when the enemy seeks occasion – here is one of the many epic moments that have occurred to which I say, “REMEMBER!” he has no authority over our families unless we yield it to him! So stand firm! 

 
 
“Arise, cry out in the night, as
the watches of the night begin;
pour out your heart like water
in the presence of the Lord.
Lift up your hands to him
for the lives of your children...
Lamentations 2:19
 

Dangerous Prayer Partners
FORBID THEM NOT
When several ladies failed to show up for work one Wednesday, I had to join one of my cleaning crews and hit five houses, finishing late – exhausted, drenched in sweat, no makeup, smelly, with about three hours work to do to prepare for the following day. Kristina, about eight-years-old, was dressed for church when I arrived home. When I told her I didn’t know how we could possibly go, she didn’t hide her disappointment. God whispered firmly,
“Suffer little children to come unto me,
and forbid them not: for of such is the kingdom of God.”
Luke 18:16 KJV
We were running late, I had no time for a shower or to change clothes. Fortunately the church motto was, “Come as you are, you’ll be loved.” We climbed straight into the car... I’ll never forget that night – during worship I had my hands lifted singing, “For You, O LORD, art high above all the earth… I exalt You, I’m exhausted, I’m exhausted, O LORD”… I returned home with so much energy it was difficult to sleep. But one of God’s faithful promises is that those who wait upon the LORD always renew their strength. It’s like we mount up on wings like eagles, we run and don’t grow weary, we walk, and we do not faint (Is. 40:31). Our children love God, love their church family, love serving their church and community, and have not made the mistakes with their lives that I made. For this, I am profoundly thankful.
GATES
Children help make our homes and lives secure.
“Unless the LORD builds the house,
they labor in vain who build it;
unless the LORD guards the city,
the watchman stays awake in vain.
It is vain for you to rise up early, to sit up late,
to eat the bread of sorrows;
for so He gives His beloved sleep.
Behold, children are a heritage from the LORD,
the fruit of the womb is a reward.
Like arrows in the hand of a warrior,
so are the children of one’s youth.
Happy is the man who has his quiver full of them;
they shall not be ashamed,
but shall speak with their enemies in the gate.”
Psalm 127 NKJV  
GENEROSITY
When we teach our children to be generous – to recognize and respond to the needs of others, or inspire them with a desire to bless those who are a part of their lives, it helps keep them from becoming selfish. It also opens the doors and windows of heaven that permit God’s resources to flow through them. And since the love of money is the root of every form of evil, it keeps them out of a lot of trouble. Ministry projects or mission trips are helpful.
“The wicked borrow and never repay,
but the godly are generous givers.
Once I was young, and now I am old.
Yet I have never seen the godly abandoned
or their children begging for bread.
The godly always give generous loans to others,
and their children are a blessing.”
Psalm 37:21, 25, 25 NLT
INSPIRATIONS FOR PRAYER
I took this photo while driving near the Jefferson Memorial in Washington DC. So why did it make it into my collection with the Washington Monument, White House, and Lincoln Memorial? Because at that time my grandsons were fascinated by such equipment – and they’re more important to me than any monument. The machines I saw moved me to pray that my treasures be strong and immovable, always working enthusiastically for the Lord, knowing that their labors for Him are never in vain (1 Corinthians 15:58).
They also love snakes.
May they exercise their spiritual authority,
crushing snakes and scorpions (the spiritual enemy) under their feet.
 (Inspired by Luke 10:19)
~~~
May their prayers and faith-filled activities
effect change throughout the earth…
What are your children or grandchildren’s favorite things? How can you use them to inspire your prayers for them? 
MANNERS
We were at a legislative hearing when an elderly friend entered the room leaning on his cane. No one rose to yield his or her seat except my princess. I was so delighted I could hardly wait to bless her in some special way. Her older sister has always been an excellent mentor, and I can’t count the times God has rewarded them because of their humble hearts. Behavior marked by sincerity attracts or repels the favor of God and people.
May they exhibit the attractive attributes of a prince or princess,
children of a Great King, manifesting the fruit of the Spirit
(love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control - Gal. 5),
protecting all others, demonstrating respect for the elderly,
controlling their tongues, not yielding to the patterns of the culture –
setting their standards high while challenging others to follow their example…
MENTORS
Help me to bring Your children up
in the way they should live,
training boys to be men
and girls to be ladies of excellent character.
Fill our lives with God-honoring individuals
and influencers
to mold their minds and hearts. 
MUSIC
Pam Tebow taught her children the scriptures by putting them to music, simply singing them to hide God’s Word in her children’s hearts. It was highly effective. When mine were little, I purchased Christian children’s songs that were not available on the radio. When Kristina was a teen, we didn’t have access to Christian radio. Money was tight, but I bought as many Christian CDs as we could afford. It was one of the best investments we’ve ever made. When they’re older, we can’t force our preferred styles. While I favor Hillsong-type worship, I’ve been known to ride through the streets of Montgomery with the widows down and music blaring one of the latest Christian rap songs. Melissa Ann thinks I’m cool. When I go to my knees, she follows.
NAMES
Assign Scripture over each child's life so that as you speak their names, you're declaring God's faithful promises and destiny over their lives - especially when times are difficult.  
PHOTOGRAPHS
Place your child’s photo into a frame with scripture reflecting God-honoring characteristics you want them to manifest. Prayer defines destinies. Pray fervently, even fiercely – especially when one is going through a season of rebellion. If they’re held captive by the enemy, they need you – and it is your duty - to fight for them until they’re free. DO NOT EVER GIVE UP. The battle is never against flesh and blood, but against powers and principalities (Eph. 6).
I also take 4 X 6 photographs of each member of my family, print out scriptural prayers on pretty paper, attach the prayers to the back of the photograph and laminate. Storing them in a small purse, I take them almost everywhere with me ~ Prayer Strategy cards.
PRAYER
Whatever you learn about God and prayer, pass it on to your children so that they enjoy a relationship with their God (Deut. 6). The effective, fervent prayer of a righteous prince or princess availeth much – it moves mountains and changes the world. (James 5:16)
You have taught children and infants to tell of your strength,
silencing your enemies and all who oppose you.
Psalm 8:2 NLT
QUARRELS
Whether choosing which movie to watch or playing with toys, sometimes personalities get a little out of control. For settling lighter matters, write each family member’s name on a small stone and store them in an opaque container. If a minor argument breaks out, remove the stones of those engaged in conflict. Have another member of the family pull out a stone. The individual whose name is drawn will referee the conflict. If three year old Caleb’s name is drawn, there’s a good chance the argument will erupt into laughter during the resolution process.
Those quarreling always lose the blessing of getting to chose the movie, etc.
Of course, this won’t work when a serious matter arises or strong disciplinary action is required, but it might prevent what could become a major battle.
And use this with adult arguments – let the kids get involved. It demands that we deny our personal agendas to consider others, and will often expose the condition of the heart. The ultimate goal is that all consider the needs of others. When making a simple decision such as choosing a restaurant, take turns (age or alphabetical) letting someone make the selection. Anyone who attempts to argue over the decision loses their next turn.​
“The lot puts an end to quarrels
and decides between powerful contenders.”
Proverbs 18:18 ESV    
SELAH ~ Pause and Ponder
I remember Kristina sitting in my lap singing the “Eensy Weensy Spider’ song when she was three years old. I now love watching her smile, the gleam in her eyes, as her children sit in her lap or perform songs for her and Matthew. Slow down and celebrate. This, too, is prayer, a gift from God and to God. Tomorrow they’ll fly away to establish their own families and family traditions. You have only about 18 summers, each unique and brief. Invest the time wisely, making memories for a lifetime.
Order
your copy of 
Just 18 Summers,
the novel
TEACH THEM TO RECOGNIZE
One morning I read about John the Baptist, “’Now you, child, will be called a prophet of the Most High God. You will go before the LORD to prepare his way. You will make his people know they will be saved by having their sins forgiven. With the love and mercy of our God, a new DAY from heaven will dawn upon us. It will shine on those who live in darkness, in the shadow of death. It will guide us into the path of peace.’ And so the child grew up and became strong in spirit. John lived…” Luke 1:76-80 NCV
As I read the word “day”, I knew in my spirit that my Kristina, her married name is “Day”, was going to have another baby. I wrote, “A new DAY from Heaven will dawn upon us 3/27/08”. The following night when we met for dinner, while blessing the food, Matthew thanked God for the new Baby Day. I registered another note in my Bible about this special birth announcement – a Bible that I recently gave to John Daniel. Teach your children to recognize the Voice and involvement of God in the details of their lives. It’s the most significant thing you’ll ever communicate. God shares His secrets with those who fear Him (Ps. 25:14).
Church of the Highlands members will recognize Pastor Chris Hodges' Tabernacle Prayer charts
TIME STRATEGY
When Billy Graham was in Bible college, his parents went upstairs, knelt and prayed for him every morning at 10:00. How can we employ this strategy? The effective fervent prayer of a righteous parent availeth much (James 5:16).
TOUCH
As you touch your babies, children, and grandchildren, speak blessings over them. Love and encourage them always – calling out the best in them.
“O LORD our God, the majesty and glory of your name
fills all the earth and overflows the heavens. 
You have taught the little children to praise you perfectly.
May their example shame and silence your enemies!”
Psalm 8:1-2 TLB
 
I like this photo. The cowl neckline hides my age-sagging chin, and the light hides the bags under my eyes.
 
 
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