John Piper addressed the question, Does Proverbs Promise My Child Will Not Stray? in a recent episode of Ask Pastor John. As you might have guessed, the question was based on Proverbs 22:6: “Train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old he will not depart from it.”
Piper ended the episode by sharing these 9 truths for parents to remember and follow:
1) In general, bringing up children God’s way will lead them to eternal life. In general, that is true.
2) This reality would include putting our hope in God and praying earnestly for our wisdom and for their salvation all the way to the grave. Don’t just pray until they get converted at age 6. Pray all the way to the grave for your children’s conversions and for the perseverance of their apparent conversions.
3) Saturate them with the Word of God. Faith comes by hearing and hearing by the Word of God (Romans 10:17).
4) Be radically consistent and authentic in your own faith — not just in behavior, but in affections. Kids need to see how precious Jesus is to mom and dad, not just how he is obeyed or how they get to church or how they read devotions or how they do duty, duty, duty. They need to see the joy and the satisfaction in mom and dad’s heart that Jesus is the greatest friend in the world.
5) Model the preciousness of the gospel. As we parents confess our own sins and depend on grace, our kids will say, “Oh, you don’t have to be perfect. Mom and dad aren’t perfect. They love grace. They love the gospel because Jesus forgives their sins. And I will know then he can forgive my sins.”
6) Be part of a Bible-saturated, loving church. Kids need to be surrounded by other believers and not just mom and dad.
7) Require obedience. Do not be lazy. There are so many young parents today that appear so lazy. They are not willing to get up and do what needs to be done to bring this kid into line. So we should follow through on our punishments and follow through especially on all of our promises of good things that we say we are going to do for them.
8) God saves children out of failed and unbelieving parenting. God is sovereign. We aren’t the ones, finally, who save our kids. God saves kids and there would hardly be any Christians in the world if he didn’t save them out of failed families.
9) Rest in the sovereignty of God over your children. We cannot bear the weight of their eternity. That is God’s business and we must roll all of that onto him.
Find an audio here.
by the TGC
I remember hearing a story about an African church leader who was brought to America to tour churches. At the end he was asked his thoughts.
He replied, “I’m surprised by how little prayer I witnessed.”
The American church, at least in my experience, tends to be lackluster in prayer. This is especially evident in corporate worship services. It can be hard to find an evangelical church service that even contains one three-minute prayer. Yet Jesus said, “My house shall be called a house of prayer” (Matt. 21:13).
Maybe it’s our independent American spirit, or maybe it’s a lukewarm faith. Regardless, many churches need to repent of prayerlessness, especially in corporate worship.
Put Prayer Back In
There are two principal ways corporate prayer can be implemented and encouraged in a local church. First, worship services should be filled with prayer. It’s insufficient to sing a few songs, read a text of Scripture, sing another song, and close the service. Though songs can be understood as a form of prayer, they’re not enough. Without formal prayer throughout the service, we are robbed of opportunity to learn and participate in the prayers of God’s people.
I’ve had the privilege of speaking on family worship at churches and various conferences. I always encourage families to pray together—it’s one of the essential means of grace. Inevitably, one question is asked during a break. A man will linger in the corner, wait for others to finish their questions, and then finally ask: “What if I don’t know how to pray? What do I do then?”
I doubt this is an anomaly. More likely, it’s epidemic. And I’d guess much of the epidemic flows from the lack of prayer in our worship services.
Teach Them to Pray by Praying
As a leader offers extended prayer in the worship service, congregants are taught how to pray. They hear the structure, the tone, the words, the manner, the items that rise to importance, and the Word applied. Prayer is as much caught as taught.
Each Lord’s Day worship service should include an extended time of prayer so that people are taught. But instruction is not the only reason. We are a people of prayer. We are sons and daughters who should long to speak to our heavenly Father—and not just individually, but together. The Christian life is not a solo endeavor. Our spiritual lives are inextricably tied to other members of the body. Corporate prayer reminds us of this common bond.
It’s also helpful to fill corporate worship with different types of prayer. This allows for teaching and expression along different lines. I think an average service should include a prayer of invocation, adoration, confession of sin, supplication (pastoral or prayer of intercession), illumination, and thanksgiving. The prayer of supplication should be an extended prayer—not so long that people fall asleep, but long enough that the congregation knows it as a long prayer. I believe this should either be a pre-written prayer or a studied prayer.
The typical pastor or elder today—myself included—lacks the ability or experience to offer an extended extemporaneous prayer, in a way that richly engages and edifies God’s people, without writing or thinking through it beforehand. Other prayers in the service could be extemporaneous or even written prayers the entire congregation prays together aloud.
Include Prayer Services
The second principal way corporate prayer can be encouraged in the church is by having a regular prayer service. This is a service in which prayer dominates the hour. I’ve attended too many “prayer services” filled with teaching, preaching, or singing to the exclusion of prayer. By definition, a prayer service is mainly for prayer. It’s an occasion for the church to gather on its knees before its Lord. These services should be regular—at least monthly, if not weekly.
But don’t make them too routine in structure. Prayer services need to vary so that minds don’t run too far afield. If the service is an hour, divide the hour into segments. Use different methods of prayer, types of prayer, and subjects of prayer in the various segments. The combination of methods, types, and subjects is truly endless. This prevents a prayer meeting from becoming tedious, and it also allows for each prayer service to have a different feel, though the same practice is taking place.
As our prayer in corporate worship grows in maturity, so it will grow in the personal lives of our people. This is a much-neglected discipline and a means of grace. I would love to see this changed in the evangelical world. I’m confident our Father would as well.
Find the original article here.
The question is timeless. Pondered, throughout history, by human beings of every culture, age, and nationality: how many stars are there in the universe? This fascinating film explores worlds gigantic and microscopic to reveal answers that challenge our perceptions of creation. Travel with us through galaxies and grains of sand; molecules and atoms, to count the stars and marvel at all that God has made.
By David C Cook
Download a 5 page guide here:
Forever, O Lord, your word is firmly fixed in the heavens. Your faithfulness endures to all generations. (Psalm 119:89–90)
Are you a grandparent or do you hope to be one someday? Are you an “empty nester” or do you still have children in your home? No matter where you are in life or who is currently living in your home, there are children who would be blessed by your prayers. I hope to encourage you in the joy and privilege of praying for and with your grandchildren, surrogate grandchildren or future grandchildren. In today’s culture the authority of God’s Word is eroding and our children are facing the consequences of turning to man’s word as the authority (evolutionary takeover of creation, disregard for authority, gender confusion, etc.), it is more important than ever to pray for our future generations.
Just a few years ago I remember praying that my husband and I would be grandparents one day. Within five years of that prayer we were blessed with five children that would call us grandpa and grandma. Each child is a unique and special gift from God and we not only have the joy of having them as part of our lives, we also have the privilege and responsibility of praying for them.
Find the rest of the article here.