“Now I Lay Me ….


down to sleep” ; “God is great, God is good….”; “Our Father, who art in Heaven, hallowed be thy Name…”

      HOW DO YOU PRAY?

"Where two are more are gathered..."

I have noticed through the years that people pray as they have ‘heard others pray’.  We all grow up hearing the children’s prayers.  Some faiths have recited prayers.   Many pray only when in need or after they have tried everything else.

Children are sponges.  They soak up all around them as they grow. both the good habits and the bad.   So many times we inadvertently teach them to PRAY only as a last resort because all the other ‘praying’ is in recitation, not real prayer.   There is the ‘blessing prayers’ … “God is Good, God is Great.  let us thank Him for our food.”   One of my cousins when asked to pray would get to the point with, “Dear God, bless this bunch as we munch our lunch.”   There is the bedtime prayer, “Now I lay me down to sleep … bless mommy, daddy, the cat … the goldfish …. oh and dear old Aunt ______ (P.S. please stop her from pinching my cheeks.)    As they get older we teach our children The Disciple’s Prayer:

Matthew 6:9-13, ” 9“Pray, then, in this way:  ‘Our Father who is in heaven, Hallowed be Your name. 10‘Your kingdom come. Your will be done, On earth as it is in heaven. 11 ‘Give us this day our daily bread. 12 ‘And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors. 13 ‘And do not lead us into temptation, but deliver us from evil. For Yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Amen.’(NASB)   This prayer was intended to teach us HOW to pray and while it is OK to pray it, it was never intended for us to ‘use it’ as a substitution for PRAYING.    Many people call that portion of scripture  The Lord’s Prayer but, it was the Disciple’s Prayer.  A prayer Jesus used to teach them HOW to pray.   (The Lord’s Prayer is John 17:1-5)

So how do you pray and how do you teach your children to pray?  You use the ‘model’ He gave us in Matthew 6 to teach them to TALK with God in Prayer.  It’s a conversation not a recitation.  Acknowledge WHO He is, praise Him, ask forgiveness, pray for others and THEN ask for your needs.  That is a ‘season’ of prayer. 

There are faiths that pray three times a day.  But, we as Christians are to pray unceasingly.  And we can.  What does that mean?  Well, even though in your morning devotions or night-time devotions you pray as the Lord taught His disciples, throughout the day you pray unceasingly.  You see a wonderful sight in creation and you pray, “thank you Lord … that’s beautiful”.  You see a homeless person on the corner and pray, “Lord be with them, meet their needs.”  A friend calls or is brought to mind, “Lord you know their need right now, meet them.”  You wake in the middle of the night and someone comes to mind, “Lord, I do not know what is going on right now, but I lift them in prayer asking you to guard and protect them, meet them where they are.”  You pray, unceasingly … when the Holy Spirit brings Him to mind or others to mind … you lift up a prayer.   This is intercessory prayer, interceding on the behalf of others as the Holy Spirit brings them to mind.  The Lord uses this way to teach you faith and draws you closer to Him through the Holy Spirit.  You learn to listen to Him. 

Sometimes you can close your eyes, other times you silently lift up the prayer.  The Word instructs us to have a daily time of prayer:  “Matthew 6:6  But you, when you pray, go into your inner room, close your door and pray to your Father who is in secret, and your Father who sees what is done in secret will reward you.”  But you can pray at anytime and should.  It gives you peace to be in constant communication with our Heavenly Father.

Many times people live their lives (and this is the only part their children see) sending up ‘quickie prayers’.  Make sure you have a daily time of prayer.  If you only go to Him when you are in trouble, your children will only go to Him when they are in trouble.   People would call my Mom for prayer  because she had “camel knees”.  Everyone knew my Mom spent time in prayer on her knees …they said she had a ‘hot line’ to Heaven.  We all can have that ‘hot line’.  Unfortunately, many of us only use the line in time of need and is it any wonder we feel we are getting a busy number?

 

In-Action = Action


Have you ever thought about your actions?  Sure you do.  You tell your children, employees … discuss it in Sunday School – “Your actions speak louder than your words”.

What about your “IN”actions? When you do nothing … nothing at all.  Life is inaction or action.  You arrive with a blank slate … lights, camera, action.  When you are sitting there doing nothing … the ‘camera’ (life) is still rolling.

When you come to a scene change (a fork in the road if you will), you make choices.  As Christians we pray about our choices.  Sometimes we have many choices for one road … many doors.  We pray that God closes all but the right door. What if there are no doors, no forks in the road?  You’re standing still, waiting on Him and His timing to open a door …show you the forks in the road … (as opposed to throwing up your hands and saying ‘woe is me’).  When you’ve done all you can and are waiting on Him, this is not ‘inaction’ … this IS action.

Inaction is when you sit back and say, “God you’re going to have to do it all”, and you do nothing.  Action is when you acknowledge you are at a dead-end or in a room with no doors, so you pray, you read His word and you wait on Him.  This is ACTION at its most intense, its most suspenseful, …tension packed if you will.  Trusting in the unknown next step because you know the final chapter is already written and you’ve won because you are linked with Him that won 2,000+ years ago (which in eternity time zone is probably like 2 minutes).

Take your blank slate today and as life rolls make sure that any “IN”action is action.  Apathy towards life is ungodly.   There is no room for despair, discouragement and gloom.

1 Thessalonians 2:12

James 1:2

1 Peter 4:19

You a Talker or a Walker?


More and more I have people around me ‘talking’.

Talking or Walking?

Many are what I refer to as ‘surface thinkers’, looking for answers.  “Do you have a book on….?” Or, did such and such (their fav author) write on ….?”  Sometimes one person will start talking to another in the store about theology or a translation and others near by jump in …. everyone’s “talking” .  I wish they could stand back and see themselves as the world sees them and hear the comments I hear.

The young girl in her booty shorts, expensive designer top and purse … bare middle with ‘button ring’ dangling wants a book on finding a godly man.   The young mother asks for a parenting book for her younger sister who is expecting her first child,  while her own three children are running unattended in the store destroying merchandise.  The middle age guy who reeks of smoke, impatiently demands attention and wants help to select a Bible for his graduating high school son whom he fears is going down the wrong path … he utters an expletive over the price of a leather-bound.  One of my favorites was the grandmother who was in buying VBS materials because she was ‘in charge once again this year’.  She had two grandchildren with her she could not control and in a few weeks she would be in charge of 50?

God gave us His manual, His Word, the Holy Bible.   Everything that I write and all the books, Bible Studies and resources are tools He provides through His children to help.  Sometimes I just want to scream, “have you read the Manual first?”  Daily, if you read His word then your talk will become your walk.  If you are going to talk the talk, read the Manual first:

Isaiah 55:11(NASB)
“So will My word be which goes forth from My mouth;
It will not return to Me empty,
Without accomplishing what I desire,
And without succeeding in the matter for which I sent it.”
 

The world, your children, other Christians (weaker and stronger) see your walk which can negate your talk.  If you are not seeing the results you want in your job, your children, your friends … maybe your walk is not in alignment with your talk.  Go back to the Manual, searching out other tools is fine but, not if they replace the manual.  Take a serious look at yourself (maybe even in the mirror), what do others see … hear?   What is the reality of your talk?  If you dare, ask a close Christian friend, a spouse, a parent … does your walk match your talk?

Psalm 19:14(NASB)
“Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart Be acceptable in Your sight, O LORD, my rock and my Redeemer.”
 
Philippians 4:8(ESV)
“Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.”
 
Matthew 9:16(KJV)                                                                                                                                                                            “No man putteth a piece of new cloth unto an old garment, for that which is put in to fill it up taketh from the garment, and the rent is made worse.”
 
Ephesians 4:22-24(HCSB)
“you took off your former way of life, the old man that is corrupted by deceitful desires; 23 you are being renewed in the spirit of your minds; 24 you put on the new man, the one created according to God’s [likeness] in righteousness and purity of the truth.”

 

If your walk is not matching your talk, then you are holding   the ‘old man’.

Walker or Talker?

Doing what’s right. Right?


Parents try to raise their children to do the right thing.  They say things like, “because it’s the right thing to do”, or “we want to make it right” … “we want to do the right thing don’t we?”   And sometimes even, “two wrongs don’t make it right!”.

Right. Right?

The Bible says in Romans 3:10 (ESV) “as it is written: “None is righteous, no, not one;”

Doing the right thing will NOT necessarily make you or your child right in God’s eyes. 

Ephesians 2:8-9

8 For by grace are you saved through faith, and this is not from yourselves; it is God’s gift—

9 not from works, so that no one can boast

That does not mean that just because your child and you are saved that you stop doing the right thing.  Salvation is not a license to do as you please and your children need to hear you say that.  You never quit trying to do the right thing just because you’re ‘safe’.   Remind them that God’s word says:

James 2:17

Even so faith, if it hath not works, is dead, being alone.

There are those that think if they ‘make it right’, either by man’s law or society’s rules, then they are making it right with God.  Make sure your children are taught by you what the Bible says about right and wrong, about making it right with God and others.  Broke a law?  Did the time, paid the fine?  You still have to go to God and make it right and maybe those that were harmed by your actions.  Do not fall into the world’s views and traps of “it’s OK, you tried to do the right thing.”  Doing the ‘right thing’ will not automatically make you right with God.  Paying man’s ‘dues’, fulfilling man’s laws, does not make you right with God.  That is why we read His word and learn what He has to say about every aspect of our lives: Mental, Emotional, Physical and Spiritual.  Do not take the ‘hearsay’ of the world on any issue.  Dig into His word and find out for yourself.

You want to be RIGHT with God, not ‘right’ in the eyes of the world.

G.R.I.T.S.


My sister-in-law from Chicago taught my niece and nephews to call me “Aunt Scarlett”.  Being raised in Atlanta, you were considered a Georgia Peach, a Southern Belle … and the fact my last name was “Belle Isle” added to the stereotype.  I enjoy being Southern … the gentile way of life, the courteous speech, the hospitality and the way the men treat the ladies.  It is a sign of respect to be called “ma’am” and “sir”, to open doors for ladies and the elderly, to remove your hat in a woman’s presence or stand when she enters the room.  I think in today’s hustle and bustle, we have lost so much and I believe the lack of respect for others stems from our lack of respect for ourselves, which is simply disrespect of God, the creator.  It is funny to me that the ‘spell check’ wants me to change my word ‘ladies’ to ‘women’.  Even the computer wants to do away with gentile-ness.

As Christian parents we need to raise our children in the gentleness of the Lord; teaching them respect for others and themselves.  We have to teach them to respect God first though.  To do this we need to understand all that He gives us.  We need to get down to the basics, the nitty-GRITS-y.  With that in mind I would like to submit for your consideration another meaning for the acronym G.R.I.T.S:

Grace – God’s grace is sufficient.  Teach a child that and they have security for a lifetime.

2 Corinthians 1:3-4
“Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves have received from God.”

Righteousness – God’s righteousness is infallible; you cannot hedge on righteousness.  Things are righteous, or they are not.  There is light or there is darkness.  There is right and there is wrong.   Teach a child that and they have integrity and wisdom to take them through their life.

Romans 3:9b-12
“There is no one righteous, not even one;  11 there is no one who understands; there is no one who seeks God. 12 All have turned away, they have together become worthless; there is no one who does good, not even one.”

Intercessor  = God gave us the Holy Spirit as a guide and Jesus as our High Priest.  You need nothing else.  Once you teach them this truth, they can face life’s circumstances in His Power, not their own.

Hebrews 4:14
“Seeing then that we have a great High Priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let hold fast our confession.”
1 Timothy 2:5
“For there is one God and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus…”

Talents – EVERYthing they have is from God.  Just as they are God’s gift to you, your children need to be taught they all their talents, spiritual gifts, material processions …. EVERY thing they have in this life, IS FROM GOD.  We are stewards, raise them to be stewards.  When they learn this truth they will allow GOD to be in control of their life with no strings attached.  Take care of what He gives you and give back your first fruits.

Psalm 24:1
“The earth is the Lord’s, and the fullness thereof; the world, and they that dwell therein.”
Deuteronomy 26:1-15
First Fruits; tithe.

Salvation – God sent His son … a gift of salvation given freely.  When you lead your children in the ways of the Lord and teach them about Jesus, you have not only given them a lifetime of truth and guidance, you have given them eternal life.

John 3:15-21
“15 that everyone who believes may have eternal life in him.” 16 For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. 17 For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. 18 Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because they have not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son. 19 This is the verdict: Light has come into the world, but people loved darkness instead of light because their deeds were evil. 20 Everyone who does evil hates the light, and will not come into the light for fear that their deeds will be exposed. 21 But whoever lives by the truth comes into the light, so that it may be seen plainly that what they have done has been done in the sight of God.”

I am a G.R.I.T.S. girl and proud of it and I pray that God uses me in my husband, children, grandchildren’s lives, as well as all those I come across, as an example of God’s G.R.I.T.S. of spiritual living.