Your story of how Christ redeemed you and what he is doing in your life is one of the most powerful stories you can share with others. It points to God’s holiness, love, and shows his glory. Your story is your witness of Christ’s power, it is your experience. No one can argue with it. The question is, how many of you know your story? I somewhat knew my story, but I had very little practice sharing it and had never written it out. In one of my leadership roles this last winter our team was challenged to each go through a devotional and follow the guiding questions to know and practice your personal story.
If you have never written out or thought about your story of how Christ has changed you consider reading Mark 5, then answering the following questions. Here are my answers:
When did you first realize your need for Jesus? I don’t remember the very first time. I know I was somewhere around 5 when I decided to follow Christ, my parents did and I felt like I wanted to as well. As an adult there have been so many times that I realize I need Jesus. Recently I feel like it is often when I am emotional- either with anger, depression, or sadness. I break down, I want to have love, joy, grace, compassion, but I know those things don’t come from me, they only come from God and through Jesus is the only way I can have them. I turn to him in desperation, wanting an instant change, I cry out in my heart for him.
What have you focused on in the past that didn’t fulfill you? How did you discover that Jesus was the only one that can make you whole? My own pride, my own wisdom. I can have the best of intentions, but when I rely on myself so often I screw up and hurt someone or things don’t work out like I planned. I start out thinking “this is a problem”, which it may be, then I go on “this is what I need to do to fix it”, instead I should be turning to God and asking him, “Lord, what do you want me to do about this?”. Continue reading
I remember singing the doxology at family gatherings, I loved to listen to everyone sing the praise to God together. I often hear other biblical passages or spiritual writings that I wish I knew by heart. I decided that I wanted to also teach them to my children.
I started typing up the writings that I wanted to pass down. I then printed and laminated them and keep them on a ring so I can flip through them at meal time. Often times at dinner, instead of praying we will read one of these writings together, or just listen while one person reads. This also gives us an opportunity to talk about the rich spiritual theology in the writings.
Our collection will grow with time. So far we have:
- The doxology
- The Lord’s prayer (broken down in segments)
- The Niceen Creed
- A prayer of turning to God in Obedience
- How to Pray for someone to Follow Jesus
- Psalm 136 (this one is fun, the kids say “His Love Endures Forever” after every line)
This also works great in conjunction with teaching your children how to pray.
Prayer is definitely a weakness of mine. I tend to be in communication here and there with the Creator, but to actually sit down and dwell in His presence and have intimate communication is not something I do frequently. As my children begin to follow Christ (two have decided to follow Christ), I endeavor to teach them how to pray, as I also continue to focus on improving this area of my life.
Here are some strategies I have started using in my home:
The Lord’s Prayer
As I shared in another post, one of the writings we read at dinner is the Lord’s prayer. The purpose isn’t just memorizing a section of scripture to repeat in some ritual, the purpose is to teach the parts of prayer. If you break down the Lord’s prayer it is rich with so much purpose behind each phrase. Sometimes we do just say the prayer, other times we say the idea behind each phrase and make up our own prayer, following Jesus’ example, and sometimes we just pick one part of the Lord’s prayer and pray over that area. Here is how we broke it down:
- “Our Father in heaven, Hallowed be your name” – Praise God for who he is, acknowledge one of His many names
- “Your Kingdom come, your will be done on earth as it is in heaven” – Pray for God’s will in all areas of your life
- “Give us this day our daily bread” – identify your needs and ask God to provide for them
- “Forgive us our debts” – Ask God to forgive you for your sins (identify specifics)
- “as we also forgive our debtors” – Ask God to help you to forgive others (identify specifics)
- “and lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil” – Ask God to give you the strength and wisdom to avoid what is tempting you and overcome that temptation
Care for Those Who are Missing or Hurting
At every meal I ask the children “who is missing”, then I ask who wants to pray for that person. This teaches the children to care for others and notice when they are gone. Praying for the missing person teaches them that we can lift them up in prayer to The One who can watch over that person.
Encouraging Each Other
Another part of prayer is encouraging each other in prayer. Every morning at breakfast I ask my children how I can pray for them today. My daughter is in Kindergarten now and asks that I pray for her safety at school. Sometimes she will ask for other things as well. My middle child usually copies whatever her sister says, sometimes he asks that we also pray for the dog. I give every child a chance to pray over their request in addition to me praying. valuable Continue reading
The Treasure Tree is one of our favorite books. The children and I will sit and read through the whole book (takes about an hour). It is so fun to learn about the different personalities God has created in us and how we can use our personality to work together to accomplish a goal. It is also a great tool for learning to accept others!