Tag Archives: prayer

The Children in Our Home

Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.            Matthew 19:14

The simple fact is that there likely will be more people in heaven who never reached maturity than those who did grow up.  We usually have the notion that heaven will be primarily a place for adults, with former children there by way of exception or accommodation.  To the contrary; we who grow to maturity on earth will not be more important in heaven.  Jesus meant very literally what he said about children, “Of such is the kingdom of heaven!”

It has been truthfully said that this is an adult world, and children are tolerated in it.  Nearly all its equipment, customs, and activity are built around adults, and children spend an important part of their life in unfair competition, at a hopeless disadvantage.

There isn’t a more important age of life than childhood.  There isn’t a more important thing in the home than its children.  Even our all-important daily work is done largely for the sake of the children; and yet they are often neglected for the job.  Such irony!

Are our children getting anything out of the daily Bible reading and prayer?  What habits in this regard are they developing for their own future homes?  What attitudes are they developing toward church-going?  Are our divine services on such an adult level that children do not enjoy going to church?

Childhood is for the child itself one of the most difficult times of life.  When we think of it as just one long lark we are looking at it through adult eyes.  Some of the most painful experiences of life are suffered in those years.  Let us never minimize our children’s problems; they are big ones, and not just to them.  Let us not minimize their achievements, or fail to understand their problems.

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The Daily Devotions of Our Home

When he was at the table with them, he took bread, gave thanks, broke it and began to give it to them.       Luke 24:30

There is nothing in the Bible that says we should pray and read at the table.  But there is no better time to do it.  It makes for regularity, for we are all sure to get our meals each day.  It is the one time in the day, if at all, when the members of a family are together.  And there is no better time to thank God for His blessings and ask for continued favors than when we are enjoying the very things that keep our bodies alive.

Family prayers are an important part of Christian growth.  It is a long time between Sundays, and homes without regular religious exercise are spiritually starving.  Neglecting them is comparable to stuffing one’s self once a week and fasting the other six days.

Our family prayers ought to be personal.  Let us pray for our children’s teacher, for the principal, for a friend who may be ill.  Family prayers ought to be specific.  “In everything let your requests be made known unto God.”  When calamities are reported in the paper, these come to our attention to “try us,” to see whether we shall make intercession about them as Abraham did for Sodom and Gomorrah.

It is well that each member of the family lead occasionally in prayer.  What finer way for us to express our innermost feelings than leading our loved ones to the Throne of Grace? Saying our prayers aloud makes for deeper searching of the soul, increases our love and admiration for God.  “Let the redeemed of the Lord say so.”…”Come all you that fear the Lord, and hear what God has done for my soul.”

The Happy Home

Editor’s Note:  Taking a break from the daily posts (after posting daily for 3 months).  Will try to post a couple of other times this month and then be back once again on a daily basis for the month of May.

Everybody want a happy home.   No matter how successful or rich a man  may be, if his home is not happy, “he is of all men most miserable.”

And yet very few homes are truly happy.  One fourth of all families are broken by divorce.  A sociologist has said that half of the others are like an armed camp in a state of cold war.

The thing that makes it so ironic is that there is so little excuse for it.  Our homes “have never had it so good.”  Our houses have beautiful family rooms, play rooms, television, books, and every convenience.  But  many people are home enough to do little more than eat and sleep.

This is serious business, for home is the basis of both society and the church.  No nation is stronger than its individual homes.  And God builds His church along family lines.  Heaven is called our “home”, God calls Himself our Father, and we are His children.  Home is not just a hotel or a restaurant, but a place where character is devleoped.

That is why Satan tries so hard to destroy it.  The home is the devil’s bull’s-eye, the very center of his attack.  Communism has been successful in suppressing religion in Russia by first destroying the home.

Here where we profess to love our homes but do little to preserve them, Satan is more sly.  He tries to persuade mothers that there are more important and interesting things to do than raising babies.  He keeps parents busy night and day in social affairs, business, and other activities.

The result is that many people have just enough children to satisfy their ego — “A girl for you, and a boy for me”, as one popular song said it — and reduce the business of parenthood to a minimum, turning over their youngsters to sitters, teachers, and clubs as soon as and as much as they can.

What can you and I do to frustrate the devil and make our homes happy?  First of all, we ought to stay home more than we do .  How can God bless our home — as the motto on the wall wishes — if there is nobody home for Him to bless?  An empty house is not a home.

We must appreciate our home, and regard it as more important than even our outside work and social life.  It is a pity that God has to permit wars periodically to make absent sons appreciate their distant homes, and parents appreciate their absent sons.

Our homes must have regular and worthwhile devotional exercise.  Bible reading and prayer at table are excellent if they are not hurried through as a dull duty to get done.  But why can’t we have, in addition, a little quiet time as a family, at bedtime or in the evening, when we sing together and take turns in praying with one another, and for each other, by name and need.  Try it, and see what a wonderful change comes into your home and your heart.  This kind of  home is a foretaste of Heaven itself, “the house with many mansions”.

New Life for Others

Show hospitality to strangers, for thereby some have entertained angels unawares.   Hebrews 13:2

Spiritual children, says John, know that their sins are forgiven (I John 2:12).  Spiritual adolescents have victory over sin.  Spiritual adults know God and themselves so well that they reproduce; they “save” others as they live for Jesus, being hospitable, righteous, and considerate.

In prayer life, children pray, “Give me.”  Adolescents pray, “Make me.”  Adults pray, “Use me.”

In evangelism, children preach, “Christ died for you.”  Often this makes no impression on people because they are more concerned about their needs here and now than they are about the hereafter.

Spiritual adolescents often enjoy telling others, “Christ live in me.”  They bear fruit, but sometimes they talk about themselves too much.

Mature, grown-up believers, however, are so filled with the Spirit of Christ that they bear rich fruit.  The Lord enables them to say what must be said at just the right time, and He guides them to do what must be done when it is needed most.

During prayer, never ask for the Holy Spirit’s power for your own sake; that is the opposite of being Christlike.  Instead, ask God’s Spirit to help you walk in Jesus’ steps — not to be ministered unto, but to be able to minister to others.  Be a giver!

Cloud of Spectators

We are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses.      Hebrews 12:1

It is useless to speculate on whether or not saints in glory can actually seems.  Jesus once told us that there is an uncrossable chasm between this world and heaven (Luke 16:26).

Even so, the Bible allows us to catch a glimpse of the saints who are already gathered before the throne of God.  Also, the church in heaven and the church on earth have a lot in common.  When Christians say the Apostles’ Creed, for example, they declare that they believe a holy, catholic (universal) church.

Sometimes we even call the church on earth the militant, fighting church.  And, if prayer is a weapon, the saints in heaven are engaged in the struggle with us (Revelation 6:9, 10).

We know that Jesus Christ continually intercede for His people while He is in heaven (Hebrews 7:25), and we know that the prayers the saints offer to God are about events in this world that concern us.

We, on the other hand, should remember the saints in prayer, through we should not pray to them.  Thanksgiving is an important element of prayer, and we should thank God for the saints — in many cases, parents and teachers — whom He used to bring us into existence and to tell us the gospel so the we could be born again through Jesus’ Spirit.

The Beginning of Intercession

Then Abraham drew near, and said, “Wilt thou indeed destroy the righteous with the wicked?…….Shall not the Judge of all the earth do right?”         Genesis 18:23, 25

The most neglected Christian exercise is prayer.  The basic explanation for that neglect is that we do not realize the colossal importance of prayer.  We think that it is nice, but not really necessary.

But prayer on our part is absolutely essential.  When Jesus was about to leave this world He repeated  seven times the amazing fact that whatever we ask of God in Jesus’ name will be granted.  (John 14:13, 14; 15:7, 16; 16:23, 24, 26)  This implies, doesn’t it, that there is a connection between God’s action and our requests.  Otherwise Jesus’ reminder is meaningless.

In the last chapter of Job, God tells Job’s friends to ask the patriarch to pray to God on their behalf, which is a roundabout way of doing business if it were not for the fact that God works in response to the prayers of His people.  They run the world in His behalf.  In the last book of the Bible, Revelation, the eighth chapter describes a complete silence, the cessation of all activity in the halls of heaven until God has heard the desires of the saints as to what they want to have happen in history.  Only after the prayers of God’s people have floated upward like fragrant incense does God give permission for the angels with the severn terrible trumpets to blow their horrible horns.

God expresses this same sentiment in Genesis 18:17, when He ways that He will not destroy Sodom, even through it is necessary, without consulting Abraham, the friend with whom He has a solemn understanding.

The Beginning of Public Worship

At that time men began to call upon the name of the Lord.       Genesis 4:26

Sometimes silence says more than words which are actually spoken.  This is true also in the Bible.  Genesis records the names of five descendants of Cain and then it stops.  That is the last you hear of him or them.  It is just as though that family ceased to exist.

Meanwhile, the Almighty God who can raise the dead and create men from the ground, gave Eve a son to take Abel’s place.  She called him Seth, which means substitute.  From this point on, the only people the Bible ever mentions are the children of Seth.  It is just as though nobody else mattered.  This was God’s family.  This was the true human race.

Very little is told us about the members of this new family tree, but one thing that is said about them is highly important.  They “called upon the name of the Lord.”

Obviously this means that they said their prayers as individuals.  These people had personal devotions, even as you and I ought to.  Any one who is too busy to have a daily “quiet time” is indeed too busy.

But individual worship had been going on already for some time before this. The first children of Adam and Eve worshipped God by means of sacrifices.  (Genesis 4:3,4)  But in the days of Seth something new was introduced into the worship of God.  People began to join one another in united or public worship.

Benjamin Franklin said of political affairs that if people do not hang together they will certainly be hanged separately, and this is surely true of spiritual exercises.  Satan has an easy time picking off a “loner.”  The person who does not care for the assembly of God’s people here upon earth will not be part of it in heaven.