Wednesday, December 28, 2011

The Only Way To Change Someone Is To Change Yourself...

With the New Year fast approaching, we all have our goals about how we will better ourselves in 2012. Some of us will embark on the getting fit journey, others will try to attend church more often, some will try to get more organized and there are even some who will try to tackle all three. It's funny how the only time we try to change ourselves is during the new year. It's a fresh start. Time to start over. The rest of the year, we are probably spending a little too much time trying to change others. If only my husband would show me more attention. I wish my parents would spend more time with me. My boss is so difficult to get along with, why can't he be nicer? What we are not realizing is the easiest way to change someone is to change yourself. If you change your outlook on people, situations, etc., no one will have a choice but to change with you.

When I first read 1 Peter 3:1-12, I immediately said to way am I tackling the "obey" your husband verse. After reading it several times, I realized this group of verses is exactly what we need to discuss.

Let's look a little deeper...

1 Peter 3:1-6, teaches us that wives should obey our husbands, whether they are Believers or not, God urges us to respect and obey our husbands.

1 Peter 3:7, teaches us that husbands should honor their wives.

Sounds pretty easy, right? Unfortunately, in our fallen world, it's all about who goes first. Well, I'll respect my husband as soon as he honors me. Why should honor my wife when she doesn't respect me? Honestly, we sound like a bunch of kids. It's no fair Dad. Why do I have to go first?

The amazing thing is, if one person goes first, the other has no where to go but to change. If your husband is all of a sudden honoring you and making you feel special, you will have nothing but respect for him. Same goes for the husbands...if your wife would start respecting you, you will feel nothing but honor towards her.

The change has to start somewhere...why not with you?

As you're making your resolutions for the New Year, think of how you can help others change by changing yourself first. It's amazing the difference it can make in a marriage, a family and a friendship.

1 Peter 3:1 In the same way, you wives must accept the authority of your husbands, even those who refuse to accept the Good News. Your godly lives will speak to them better than any words.

1 Peter 3:7 In the same way, you husbands must give honor to your wives. Treat her with understanding as you live together.

1 Peter 3:9 Don't repay evil for evil. Don't retaliate when people say unkind things about you. Instead, pay them back with a blessing. That is what God wants you to do, and he will bless you for it.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

This Week's Reading is...

1 Peter 3:1-12

Please join us on Wednesday December 28th as we take a deeper look into 1 Peter 3:1-12.

Merry Christmas!

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Behavior That Is Pleasing To God

Last week, my family and I took a wonderful trip to Disney.  For those of you who have not had the pleasure of experiencing the kindness that Disney shows to our special needs children, let me give you a brief picture.  My son Sean, who has autism, loves Cinderella.  All he kept telling us before we left for Disney was that he was going to say to Cinderella "May I have this dance?"  He also was pretty adamant on dancing with her.  As we are waiting for our turn to see Cinderella, which was a very short wait thanks to Disney's Guest Assistance pass that was given to Sean, Sean was so excited.  He was literally bouncing off the walls, laughing, smiling...he couldn't wait.  Then, he turned the corner and saw her.  His eyes beamed.  His smile took over the room.  I secretly gave Cinderella's helpers a heads up that he was going to ask her to dance.  They smiled and said "we can't wait."  It was then Sean's turn.  He walked over to Cinderella, grabbed her hands, smiled and said "May I have this dance?"  She curtsied and said "You may."  Then, they danced.  Everyone in the room, including parents who were there to see there own children's faces light up, watched and smiled as Sean lived out his dream of dancing with Cinderella.  Moms cried.  Grandparents cried.  Even Sean's twin brother got a little emotional as we watched Disney World make his dream come true.

In moments like these, it's very easy to have behavior that is pleasing to God.  I smiled and thanked everyone for their support.  My patience with my children as well as others in the park was so easy to have because I felt the support and at that time, autism didn't seem that hard.

Fast forward a couple days later.  We are now at Epcot.  The one attraction that Sean really had his heart on riding was Mission Space.  Unfortunately, the ride was closed at the time.  He ended up not being able to ride Mission Space because we had to hurry up and catch our bus or we would have had to wait another 2 hours for the next bus.  At that time of the day, we were all done.  Of course, this meant major meltdown in the world of autism.  Please remember my child is now 9.  He starts doing what we call his "fake" cry as we are walking.  Keep in mind, on my son's shirt is a big name tag that says "Autism" along with his name and my cell phone number.  Most people smiled or gave me a supportive look.  However, I did have to meet that one person who made it all come crashing down and made this week's post really speak volumes to me.

As Sean is fake crying, a mom...yes, a mom...stops dead in her tracks, looks at my son and gets the most disgusting look on her face.  She then proceeds to say very loudly,  "Ew!" right in my son's face.  In that moment I could do one out of two things.  One is a behavior that is pleasing to God and the other is not.  I chose to look at her, smile and say "Merry Christmas!"  She still didn't get it and probably never will.  However, I did.  I knew that chasing her down, smacking her across the face and saying really mean things to her may have felt good in the moment but it is not the behavior that Christians need to have.  People are watching us and learn from us as we smile during our moments that seem to be the hardest.

1 Peter 2:12 says... Be careful how you live among your unbelieving neighbors.  Even if they accuse you of doing wrong, they will see your honorable behavior, and they will believe and give honor to God when he comes to judge the world.

You see, she may not have learned anything from that moment but someone else around me did.  She may not have seen how staring and saying things could really impact a person.  However, I did.  I know that I am more careful with how I look at others, say things about others and I try so hard not to judge.  After all, we have no idea what crosses others are carrying.

I like to think that this mom had no clue that my son has autism.  I like to think that to her he was acting like a typical 9 year old.  Thinking like this helps me continue to take moments like these and try my hardest to as Jesus did when he suffered.

This suffering is all part of what God has called you to do.  Christ, who suffered for you, is your example.  Follow in his steps.  He never sinned, and he never deceived anyone.  He did not retaliate when he was insulted.  When he suffered, he did not threaten to get even.  He left his case in the hands of God, who always judges fairly.  He personally carried away our sins in his own body on the cross so we can be dead to sin and live for what is right.  You have been healed by his wounds!  Once you were wandering like lost sheep.  But now you have turned to your Shepherd, the Guardian of your souls.  - 1 Peter 2:21-25

Wednesday, December 7, 2011


Join us to discuss our current reading on Wednesday December 14th!

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

This Week's Reading is....

1 Peter 2:11-25

In these verses, we learn how God wants us to behave during the times that we suffer.

I look forward to sharing more with you on Wednesday December 7th!

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

1 Peter 2:1-10

We all face disappointment in life at one time or another.  Whether it be not getting a job we were hoping to be offered or our spouse letting us down, we will face disappointment at one point.  During this time we need to remember that God will never let us down.  We need to remain faithful and true to God and his word.

The verse that just struck me the most in this week's reading is 1 Peter 2:6...

As the Scripture expresses it,
"I am placing a stone in Jerusalem,
a chose cornerstone, 
and anyone who believes in him
will never be disappointed."

My bible, Life Application Study Bible, explains this verse even further...

Christians will sometimes be put to shame or face disappointment in this life, but their trust in God is never misplaced.  God will not let them down.  We can safely put our confidence in him because the eternal life he promises is certain.

What disappointment are you facing in life?  What hurt or shame are you experiencing?  Have you truly trusted in God during this time.

I think about what my family and I go through with autism.  The struggles that my son with autism faces on a daily basis, on an hourly basis, on a minute by minute basis.  I think about the struggles that my son without autism faces as he's trying to understand autism and how he can truly connect with his twin brother.  I look at my husband as he pours himself hour after hour into work so that he can financially provide anything that Sean may need.  I watch as he still continues to worry about our children's future.  I feel the disappointment that I feel myself.  The disappointment that makes me, as the mom, feel guilty.  Guilty for feeling any kind of disappointment that has anything to do with my child.  You see, it's not my child that has disappointed me.  It's the struggles that he faces that get to me.  However, these struggles are related to my child so it really throws me through an emotional loop.

It's during these struggles and disappointment that we need to remember that we can trust in God.  If the only thing we can remember during our hardships is to trust in the Lord, than we will make it.

As we all know, tomorrow is Thanksgiving.  Let's take the time to remember what we are truly thankful for in our lives.  Our children, our spouses, food on the table, family, our health, God's word, and so much more.  Take the time tomorrow to see the blessings and not the hardships.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

This Week's Reading is....

1 Peter 2:1-10

I know this may seem like only 10 verses, but I promise you these verses hold so much information in them.  Spend this week reading, memorizing and studying these verses.  Discover how these verses speak to your life now.   If you read these verses and don't really get anything out of them, keep reading them.  Read them as often as you can.

Join me on Wednesday November 23rd to share what you've learned through God's Word.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

1 Peter 1:13-25

A Call to Holy Living

It's funny how on Sundays I'm ready.  I'm ready to fight the good fight for God.  I leave church feeling refreshed and armored to battle for the week.  Around Thursday, I start to fade.  I get overwhelmed, worry and start to doubt.  What am I doing wrong?  I'm a horrible mother.  Why is my son still struggling?  It's just not fair.  Then it's Sunday again.  I get out of church feeling refreshed and ready to fight my battle.

It's very easy for us to "slip up" in our Christian walk.  We are tempted by so many things in this life to keep us from doing what God needs us to do.  Whether it's a gossip session, a movie about adultery that intrigues us or a little white lie that we feel won't harm anyone, it's far to easy for us to go back to our ways before becoming a Christian.

1 Peter 13-15 reminds us to be prepared for these set backs.  Be ready to jump back into your Christian ways and live a holy life.  Peter reminds us that all of our earthly things will disappear one day.  The Life Application Study Bible reminds us that Only God's Word, will and works will remain forever.

We need to keep this in mind during our walk with autism as well.  We will have the setbacks and regression that can very easily knock us to the ground.  However, if we remember that God's will, His Word and his works are what matter the most then our setbacks will be so much easier to handle.

Verse that meant the most to me:
"Through Christ you have come to trust in God.  And because God raised Christ from the dead and gave him great glory, your faith and hope can be placed confidently in God."  - 1 Peter 1:21

We thank you for your Word and all of the advice you have given us.  Please reach us during our "slip ups" and help us to quickly return to you and your Will.
In Jesus name we pray,

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

This Week's Reading is...

1 Peter 1:13-25

Take the next week and truly dive into His Word.  Take the time to pray, learn, read and re-read 1 Peter 1: 13-25.  See if you can summarize in your own words what you've read.  Ask yourself how this particular reading fits into your life.  Then pray again for guidance on what God is asking of you.

It's very easy to become distracted while reading the Bible.  I believe it's Satan's way of trying to get us as far away from God as possible.  I can't tell you how many times I've sat down to read a few Bible verses and my mind is wandering.  When this happens, I stop, pray and ask God to keep me focused.  Then I start the verse over.

I love forward to discussing these verses with you on Wednesday November 9th!

*  Please note, due to the upcoming holidays, we have chosen to "discuss" each reading every other week. Therefore, you will have an entire week to study each reading.  We look forward to you joining in on the discussions!

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

1 Peter 1-12

(We are very excited to study 1 Peter with you. Please keep in mind that we are not experts on the Bible. We are studying 1 Peter for the first time with you. Therefore, if we write anything that you feel is incorrect, we ask that you share this with us. We want to make sure we are as accurate as possible. We also ask that you share your thoughts each week as well.)

Peter, whose name Jesus changed from Simon to Peter, was one of the 12 disciples.  He did deny Jesus, but repented and became an Apostle.  Peter wrote this letter to encourage Christians who are suffering. A lot of the Christians during that time were being persecuted for their belief in Jesus. These were new believers who were being forced to question their new faith. The purpose of this letter is hope.

Even nowadays, there are Christians being persecuted for their beliefs. However, we also have to remember that persecution and suffering can happen to any of us through any trials of life. Including autism.  It's hard to remember during our suffering, persecutions and storms in life that this is not forever.  We have something so much better in Eternity with Christ.

Below are some points that my Bible, Life Application Study Bible; New Living Translation, made in the footnotes that meant a lot to me.

*  God will protect us and help us remain faithful during our trials.
*  Trials teach us patience.
*  Faith is tested during trials.

When I think about autism and the struggles we have dealt with over the years, I am so thankful for God's hand through it all.  During the hard times, I couldn't see where he was taking us.  I had no idea where we were going.  All I knew was to remain faithful and he would guide me on where to go, what to do and how to help my child.  My patience has been tested and made stronger.  My faith has been tested and is the strongest it's ever been.  1 Peter 1-12 shows me to keep my eyes on eternity, have faith in God and how he will be there for me and to stand firm in my Christian beliefs.

Verse that meant the most to me:
You love him even though you have never seen him.  Though you do not see him, you trust him; and even now you are happy with a glorious, inexpressible joy.   - 1 Peter 8

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Our Next Study is...

The Bible! Well, a book in the Bible. We've decided to study 1 Peter. There are many different versions of the Bible that are available. For myself, I will be studying from the Life Application Study Bible. Here's what this version tells us about Peter:

Peter, whose name Jesus changed from Simon to Peter, wrote this letter for Christians suffering for their faith, giving comfort and hope, and urging continued loyalty to Christ. The purpose of this book in the Bible is to encourage suffering Christians.

Key Verse:
"These trials are only to test your faith....So if your faith remains strong after being tried by fiery trials, it will bring you much praise and glory and honor on the day when Jesus Christ is revealed to the whole world." -1 Peter 1:7

Take the next week to read, study and pray that God will speak to you over the following verses: 1 Peter 1-12.

Join us on Wednesday October 26th for a more in depth discussion on 1 Peter 1-12.

We are excited to begin studying 1 Peter with you!

Thursday, September 29, 2011

We want to hear from you!

Before we end this study, we'd love to hear your thoughts on The Power of A Praying Parent by Stormie Omartian.

What prayers meant the most to you?

Do you have any creative ways of reminding you to pray over your children throughout the day?

Which prayer challenged you the most?

Please share your thoughts on this study in the comment section below this post.  We would love to hear from you!

Chrissy, Jessica and Nicole

*  We will be taking a few weeks off in October.  Please join us on Wednesday October 19th when we will announce our next study.  In the meantime, if you need some spiritual uplifting, you can always read our previous studies and posts.  If you are need of a prayer or have a praise report, you are always welcome to leave those as well.

Monday, September 26, 2011

"Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see." Hebrews 11:1

Below are Nicole's thoughts on Chapter 30 of The Power of A Praying Parent by Stormie Omartian.  Please know that what we all learn from a study is usually different.  We encourage you to share what you've learned from this study in the comments section below this post.

I've come to realize that one of the main things our children will take with them when they leave our realm of influence is their faith.  -Stormie Omartian page 198

Merriam Webster online dictionary for kids defines faith as a belief and trust in and loyalty to God.  Stormie teaches us that the most important thing our children will learn from us and our examples is their faith.  What are we teaching our children about faith?  How strong is our faith?

Stormie writes on page 197...
Kids without faith have a harder time in life.  Kids without faith have no positive motivation, no sense of purpose, and no hope for being any different than they are.  Kids without faith sit in front of the TV hour after hour, day after day, month after month.  Kids without faith roam the streets looking for trouble and usually find it.  Kids without faith hang around with other kids without  faith, and that's the main problem with kids who are in trouble today.

Stormie writes on page 199...
Children who have faith have distinctly different characteristics from those who don't.  They are more confident, more motivated, happier, more positive about the future, and more giving of themselves.  A person of faith is filled with God's love and looks for opportunities to share that love with others.  

Now how in the world do we teach our children with autism about faith?  The first thing we need to do is pray.  Prayer will be the best thing.  Pray that God will show us how to teach our children about faith.  Pray that we will lead by example.  Pray that as we read from our Bibles to our children that he is doing amazing work inside of them.

Ever since my children were born we have always said prayers at night with them.  I have twin sons who are now 9.  One of my sons, Sean, has autism.  When they were about 3, it was very easy to pray with Hunter.  He would thank God for all of his toys, family members and stuffed animals.  When we prayed with Sean, we were worried that he wasn't getting it.  Did he really know who God is?  We would pray each night with him as well.  Sean would say one word requests so we never really knew what he was thinking and learning.  Then, one night it was prayer time.  For some reason I paused before I started praying.  At that moment I heard the following...

Now my lay me down sleep
Pray Lord my soul keep
Angels watch me through night
Wake me wiff a morning light.

Our Father who art in Heaven
Hallowed be thy Name
Thy Kingdom come
Thy Will be done
On Earth as it in Heaven
Give us our daily bread
Forgive us our trespasses 
As we forgive our trespassers
Lead us not into temptation
But deliver us from Evil
For thine is the kingdom, power, glory
forever and ever

Dear God,
Thank you for mommy, daddy, Hunter, Aunt Tanya, Uncle Kevin, Drew, Nana, Pappy, Uncle El, Aunt Beff, Gramma and Grampa.

What was so awesome about that moment is is a little boy struggling to be able to say "Can I have a cup of juice?"  Yet, he could recite his version of The Lord's Prayer, his nightly prayer and his thank you prayer.  He was getting it.  His faith is there.  Over the years, we continued to do children devotions with him and his brother.  Sure, Hunter would sit right beside me and ask questions and even answer questions.  Yes, Sean may spent most of his time running around his room looking for something to play with but here's the thing, he was hearing it.  This will only strengthen his faith.  Now that Sean is older, he listens better and answers questions.   His faith is growing and that's what we want.

We want our children to know that they have no limitations in this life.  No matter what kind of diagnosis they have.  Stormie shares on page 198 about children without faith..."All they see are their own limitations and the failings and struggles of the adults around them, and so they give up.  But it's even more than that, because sensing our limitations doesn't necessarily mean we don't have faith.  It's feeling that God has limitations that indicates a lack of faith.  And if children don't have faith in the only thing that is secure, unchanging, and all-powerful, how can they believe in themselves and their future, which they know is insecure, unstable, and powerless?"

I'm sure we can all agree that we all want our kids to be a kid with faith.  Let's pray...

Dear Lord,
What an amazing study!  Thank you so much for putting this book on our hearts.  Thank you for teaching us how to pray over our children and even where we need to pray over others as well.  Faith is such an amazing thing when you find it.  Please help us teach our children about the faith they can have in you.  Show us what we need to do to help them.  Teach our children in ways that only you can.
In Your Name We Pray,

Bibles Verses from Chapter 30
Without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him.  -Hebrews 11:6

Therefore I say to you, whatever things you ask when you pray, believe that you receive them, and you will have them.  -Mark 11:24

If you have faith as a mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, "Move from here to there," and it will move; and nothing will be impossible for you.  -Matthew 17:20

But let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for he who doubts is like a wave of the sea driven and tossed by the wind.  For let not that man suppose that he will receive anything from the Lord, he is a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways.  -James 1:6-8

And let us not grow weary while doing good, for in due season we shall reap if we do not lose heart.  Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all, especially to those who are of the household of faith.  -Galatians 6:9-10

Thursday, September 22, 2011

The Autism Prayer

Below are Nicole's thoughts on Chapter 29 of The Power of A Praying Parent by Stormie Omartian.  Please know that what we all learn from a study is usually different.  Therefore, we encourage you to share what you've learned in the comments section below this post.

Stormie begins Chapter 29, Seeking Wisdom and Discernment, with the following:

Will my child know not to get into a car with a stranger?  Will she see that playing near deep water is dangerous?  Will he just say "No" when peers offer him drugs?  Will she remember to look both ways before crossing a street?  Will he ask the wrong girl to marry him?  Will they be able to sense danger when it is imminent?  

Now let's add autism...
Will my child wander off?  Will my daughter ever really know how to make a real friend?  Will my child know who they can trust and who they can't trust?  Will they know not to just take what they want?  Do they know they real dangers out there in life like fire, water, traffic, etc?

As a parent to a child with autism, we think these things just about every day.  This is the prayer that I would actually consider The Autism Prayer.  This is what I feel like my child needs the most.  He needs to know how to make his own decisions based on what is pleasing to God and not himself.  He needs to know what can hurt him and when to back off.  For me, this is the prayer that I need to pray over him each day.  My child with autism not only needs my guidance throughout his life, he also needs God's guidance in making the right decisions throughout his day.

I thank you for showing us how important it is to pray over our children.  I ask that you give each of our children the wisdom and the discernment they need to make the choices that are pleasing to you.  Help us to remember to pray this prayer over them.
In Your Name We Pray,

Bible Verses from Chapter 29
The father of the righteous will greatly rejoice, and he who begets a wise child will delight in him.  Let your father and your mother be glad, and let her who bore you rejoice.  -Proverbs 23:24-25

Wisdom is the principal thing; therefore get wisdom.  And in all your getting, get understanding.  Exalt her, and she will promote you; she will bring you honor, when you embrace her.  -Proverbs 4:7-8

The law of the Lord is perfect, converting the soul; the testimony of the Lord is sure, making wise the simple.  -Psalm 19:7

When wisdom enters your heart, and knowledge is pleasant to your soul, discretion will preserve you, understanding will keep you, to deliver you front the way of evil, from the man who speaks perverse things.  -Proverbs 2:10-12

Happy is the man who finds wisdom, and the man who gains understanding; for her proceeds are better than the profits of silver, and her gain than fine gold.  She is more precious than rubies, and all the things you may desire cannot compare with her.  Length of days is in her right hand, in her left hand riches and honor.  Her ways are ways of pleasantness, and all her paths are peace.  She is a tree of life to those who take hold of her, and happy are all who retain her.  -Proverbs 3:13-18

Monday, September 19, 2011

Praying Down The Strongholds of Anxiety and Fear

Below are Nicole's thoughts on Chapter 28 of The Power of A Praying Parent by Stormie Omartian.  Please know that what we all learn from a study is usually different.  Therefore, we ask that you share what you've learned in the comment section below the post.

In Chapter 28, Breaking Down Ungodly Strongholds, we learn the importance of praying away certain feelings that Satan can use to keep us down.  We also learn about the different types of strongholds that are not good for us.  Lying, fear, hurting, anxiety, hopelessness, confusion, envy, selfishness and pride.  There are so many strongholds that Stormie encourages us to pray to God to show us the strongholds over our children.

For my child with autism, it's fear and anxiety.  Almost everything he does is out of fear.  Scripting, going into his room and being by himself, not approaching other children, covering his ears.  My son is now able to tell me how he is feeling.  Still working on the why he's feeling that way however, if I ask him "why are you covering your ears?"  if he's scared, he will tell me "I'm scared."  If it's too noisy, he will say "too loud."  It breaks my heart to know that he is constantly living in a state of fear.  However, it warms my heart  knowing that God is there to help him through it.  I just need to cover him in prayer and ask God to break down that stronghold of fear and anxiety.  Ask him to show me why anxiety is playing such a huge role in his life.  Is it environmental, physical or a combination?  God will show me what I need to know to help my son through his fears.  I know this because when I am anxious, I pray over myself for God to help me through the fear and he does.  This is something I need to be doing for my son with autism throughout the day.

Thank you for bringing us together for this study.  Thank you for opening our eyes and our hearts to how you need for us to pray over our children.  We lift up all of our children and ask that you show us what strongholds need to be broken in them.  Please show us how we can help our children and how they can help themselves.
In Your Name We Pray,

Bible Verses from Chapter 28
I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven, and whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven.  -Matthew 16:19

There is nothing covered that will not be revealed, and hidden that will not be known.  -Matthew 10:26

Though they join forces, the wicked will not go unpunished; but the posterity of the righteous will be delivered.  -Proverbs 11:21

The Lord also will be a refuge for the oppressed, a refuge in times of trouble.  -Psalm 9:9

Call to Me, and I will answer you, and show you great and mighty things, which you do not know.  -Jeremiah 33:3

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Confessing and Repenting

Below are Nicole's thoughts on Chapter 27 of The Power of a Praying Parent by Stormie Omartian.  Please know that what we all learn from a study is usually different.  Therefore, we ask that you share what you've learned in the comments section below this post.  We're sure you'll lift someone's spirits.

In Chapter 27, Walking In Repentance, Stormie shares with us how even our children need to confess, repent and change their ways.  I believe this chapter is a lot like our chapter on forgiveness in that we need to lead by example and let them see us doing this.

On page 179, Stormie writes "Children who admit their mistakes and are sorry enough about them to want to change their ways have an entirely different countenance than those who hide their sin and have no intention of being different."  She also shares with us how children who know how to confess and repent are more confident because they are not weighed down with worry because they sinned.

"I remember detecting sin on my children's faces before I ever discovered it in their actions.  They used to tell me how irritating it was that they could never get away with anything for long.  'That's because I asked God to reveal to me anything I need to know', I told them, 'and the Holy Spirit always tells me if you've done something wrong."  I would say this was the most important lesson I learned from this chapter.  Having a child with autism makes it that much harder for us to see when they need to repent.  Therefore, we need to spend a lot of time praying that God will not only show us when we need to teach them how to confess and repent, but that he will also show us how we can teach them this.  I don't believe there is just one way to teach this.  I believe it will be in the moment depending on each child.  Therefore, it is imperative that we cover them in prayer over this.

Our children with autism are already full of anxiety, stress, gut problems, sensory issues, communication issues and so much more.  The last thing they need to feel is guilt.  I pray that you will join me in covering all of our children with autism in prayer over confession, repentance and learning from their mistakes.

We lift up all of our children to you.  We know that you have an incredible plan in our lives and we totally trust you with this plan.  We ask that you will show us when our children need to confess, what they need to confess and how they can repent.  You know how truly difficult it can be raising a child with autism.  We know that you are with us through this all.  Please show us when we need to confess and repent as well.
In your name we pray,

Bible Verses from Chapter 27
Beloved, if our heart does not condemn us, we have confidence toward God.  And whatever we ask we receive from Him, because we keep His commandments and do those things that are pleasing in His sight.  -1 John 3:21-22

Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts; let him return to the Lord, and He will mercy on him; and to our God, for He will abundantly pardon.  -Isaiah 55:7

"Therefore, I will judge you, O house of Israel, every one according to his ways," says the Lord God.  "Repent, and turn from all your transgressions, so that iniquity will not be your ruin."  -Ezekiel 18:30

He who covers his sins will not prosper, but whoever confesses and forsakes them will have mercy.  -Proverbs 28:13

Repent therefore and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, so that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord.  -Acts 3:19

Monday, September 12, 2011

I Forgive You

Below are Nicole's thoughts on Chapter 26 of The Power of A Praying Parent by Stormie Omartian.  We'd love to hear your thoughts on this chapter as well.  Feel free to share in the comments section below the post.  We're sure you'll lift some one's spirits!

I forgive you...I'm sorry...these words are very important for us to hear.  It is important for us to teach this to our children as well.  I'm on the fence with making our children with autism say these words.  I do believe it's important for our children to say their sorry or that they forgive someone.  However, I think it's equally important for our children to understand what it means.  If I make my son with autism say he's sorry to a child he accidentally ran into, I am more so doing it for the other child and not my own.  I need to teach him what it means to say I'm sorry and in turn, I forgive you.

How do we teach our children with autism this?  I believe we teach them in the moment, by example.  For instance, we accidentally step on our children's foot.  Very quickly tell them you're sorry, give them a big hug, smile and show them the feelings on your face.  Teaching forgiveness is a lot trickier.  We can also teach in the moment with this as well.  Your child says they are sorry for something they've done.  Use your facial expressions to show them how happy it made you for them to say sorry and immediately tell them you forgive them.

Adding autism to the mix makes this a lot more difficult.  We definitely need to be praying over our children with this one.  We want our children to forgive and to truly understand what it means to be sorry and to forgive.  The easiest way to teach them this is to lead by example and to cover them in prayer.

I lift our children to you and ask that you will give them a heart full of forgiveness.  Show us how we can teach them out to forgive and how to let others know that they forgive them.  Remind us to lead by example and to always be quick to forgive.
In Your Name We Pray,

Bible Verses from Chapter 26
Let all bitterness, wrath, anger, clamor, and evil speaking be put away from you, with all malice.  And be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, just as God in Christ also forgave you.  -Ephesians 4:31-32

If you forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you.  But if you do not forgive men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.  -Matthew 6:14-15

His master was angry, and delivered him to the torturers until he should pay all that was due to him.  So My heavenly Father also will do to you if each of you, from his heart, does not forgive his brothers his trespasses.  -Matthew 18:34-35

The discretion of a man make him slow to anger, and it is to his glory to overlook a transgression.  -Proverbs 19:11

Whenever you stand praying, if you have anything against anyone, forgive him, that your Father in heaven may also forgive you your trespasses.  -Mark 11:25

Thursday, September 8, 2011

The Perfect I-Do

Below are Nicole's thoughts on Chapter 25 of The Power of A Praying Parent by Stormie Omartian.  Please know that what we all learn from a study is usually different.  Please share what you've learned in the comment section below this post.  We'd love to hear from you!

Will my child ever get married?  

I'm sure this thought has entered your head just as often as it does mine.  I immediately try to push this thought out of my head.  I have too much to concentrate on now.  Making friends, holding an age appropriate conversation, being friendly, happy and loving life.  Why in the world would  I want to add more to my plate and think about my child with autism getting married in another 15-20 years?

In Chapter 25, Finding the Perfect Mate, Stormie writes the following...

Some may think these prayers are premature.  They are not.  Next to their decision to receive Jesus, marriage is the most important decision our children will ever make.  It will affect the rest of their lives, not to mention the lives of other family members.  The wrong decision can bring misery and pain for everyone concerned.  And since only God knows who will make the best marriage partner for anyone, He should be consulted first and He should give the final answer.  

Again, we must pray now.  We need to pray for our children, especially our children with autism, that they will find the perfect mate.  The one that God wants them to share their lives.  I know it's such a long way away, but think about, we can get in to the habit now of covering them in this prayer so that when the time comes, it will be easy for them.  Our children with autism will grow up into fine young adults.  Adults who have jobs, go to school and yes, get married.  Let's pray now for their special "other half" now.

Dear Lord,
Thank you for teaching us the power of praying over our children.  We pray for all of the children with autism and their future spouses.  We pray that you will help build their future spouse into the person that You need them to be for our children.  We pray that you will help our children know who that special person is and when the right time to get married  will be.
In Your Name We Pray,

Bible Verses

From the beginning of creation, God made them male and female.  For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh; so then they are no longer two, but one flesh.  Therefore what God has joined together, let not man separate.  -Mark 10:6-9

Marriage is honorable among all, and the bed undefiled; but fornicators and adulterers God will judge.  -Hebrews 13:4

Whoever divorces his wife and marries another commits adultery against her.  -Mark 10:11

He who finds a wife finds a good thing, and obtains favor from the Lord.  -Proverbs 18:22

You cover the alter of the Lord with tears, with weeping and crying; so He does not regard the offering anymore, nor receive it with good will from your hands.  Yet you say, "For what reason?"  Because the Lord has been witness between you and the wife of your youth, with whom you have dealt treacherously; yet she is your companion and your wife by covenant.  But did He not make them one, having a remnant of the Spirit.  And why one?  He seeks godly offspring.  Therefore take heed to your spirit, and let none deal treacherously with the wife of his youth.  For the Lord God of Israel says that He hates divorce.  -Malachi 2:13-16

Monday, September 5, 2011

Today, We Pray.

Below are Nicole's thoughts on Chapter 24 of The Power of A Praying Parent by Stormie Omartian. Please know that what we all learn from a study is usually different. Therefore we encourage you to share with us what you've learned from this chapter as well.

Chapter 24's title made me want to skip right over it....Rejecting Sexual Immortality. "My children are only 8. I can wait on this prayer." I thought to myself. Then, I read the chapter.

On page 162, Stormie writes the following...

We can't wait until our children are teenagers to pray about this, just as we can't wait until then to instruct them that life works better when we live God's way. Today is the day we pray. Sexual temptation is everywhere. It's in front of our children's eyes at every turn.

Today we must pray for our children. Pray that sexual sin will not be a strong temptation for them. Pray that they will want to live a pure life for God and that they will know that sex out of marriage will never give them what they are searching for in this life. Pray that they are safe from anyone who wants to wrong them sexually. No matter how much it makes us want to skip right over this prayer, it is so important that we pray for our children to reject sexual immortality.

Our children grow up very quickly. One minute they are bouncing up and down on a Johnny Jumper and the next minute they are trying to jump their bikes over a bike ramp. They will need this prayer before you know it.

As Stormie writes on page 162....We must pray for them to live God's way.

I lift up all of our children today and ask you to give them the spirit of wanting to reject sexual immortality. I pray that you will make their heart and desires pure and that they will always long to live a life that is pleasing to you.
In Your Name we pray,

Bible Verses from Chapter 24

This is the will of God, your sanctification: that you should abstain from sexual immortality; that each of you should know how to possess his own vessel in sanctification and honor, not in passion of lust, like the Gentiles who do not know God. - 1 Thessalonians 4:3-5

Flee sexual immortality. Every sin that a man does is outside the body, but he who commits sexual immortality sins against his own body. - 1 Corinthians 6:18

The body is not for sexual immortality but for the Lord, and the Lord for the body. - 1 Corinthians 6:13

No temptation has over taken you except such as is common to man; but God is faithful, He will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will also make the way of escape, thar you may be able to bear it. - 1 Corinthians 10:13

But each one is tempted when he is drawn away by his own desires and enticed. Then, when desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full grown, brings forth death. - James 1:14-15

Abstain from fleshly lusts which war against the soul. - 1 Peter 2:11

He who trusts in his own heart is a fool, but whoever walks wisely will be delivered.". Proverbs 28:26

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Addiction Avoidance

Below are Jessica's thoughts on Chapter 23 of The Power of A Praying Parent by Stormie Omartian. Please know that what we all learn from a study is usually different. Therefore, we encourage you to share what you've learned from this chapter as well.

"The point is, the draw of the flesh and the devil's plans are alot stronger than we'd like to think. In a moment of weakness, such as is possible for all of us, we can end up doing something we never thought we would. Only the power of God, through prayer, can make the difference"

-Stormie Omartian, The Power of A Praying Parent, p. 160

I have to be honest, my first thought when reading this chapter and especially the above sentences, was of us as parents, not our children. I want to take a moment to encourage all of the moms who are feeling exhausted and overwhelmed right now. We all reach a breaking point and the important thing is that we reach out before we get there. The first person we need to reach out to is God. Cry out and surrender all to Him. The next step is to get support and prayer from your family in Christ and you will find strength in your weakness. Just as our children need to be covered in prayer, so do we. OK, back to the kids...

This chapter, to me seemed to point out the need to further cover our children in prayers of protection against the evil one. Tendencies toward addictive behavior can take the form of drugs, alcohol, but also worry, approval and striving for perfection. Even if we don't think our children are in imminent danger of being offered drugs or alcohol, we still need to cover them in prayer. We need to pray, as Stormie points out on p. 161, that our child will "choose life in whatever she (he) does and may her (his) only addiction be to the things of God." (Stormie Omartian, Power of A Praying Parent)

Bible Verses:

I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing; therefore choose life, that both you and your descendants may live.
-Deuteronomy 30:19

Let those who love the Lord hate evil,
for he guards the lives of his faithful ones
and delivers them from the hand of the wicked.
-Psalm 97:10

The God of peace will soon crush Satan under your feet.
The grace of our Lord Jesus be with you.
-Romans 16:20

Turn from evil and do good;
seek peace and pursue it.
Psalm 34:14

Monday, August 29, 2011

A Godly Inheritance

Below are Jessica's thoughts on Chapter 22 of The Power of A Praying Parent by Stormie Omartian. Please know that what we all learn from a study is usually different. Therefore, we encourage you to share what you've learned from this chapter as well.

"for I, the Lord, your God, am a jealous God, punishing the children for the sin of the parents to the third and fourth generation of those who hate me,
but showing love to a thousand generations of those who love me and keep my commandments."-Exodus 20: 5-6

We all have dysfunction and sin in our family history to some degree or another. It is easy to fall into condemnation and guilt over how this affects our children and what we are praying for their future. As soon as I am tempted to fall into this, I must choose to meditate on the second part of this scripture-and realize that the choices I make now can reverse this for my family here on earth and future generations.

In my own family, through my own example I can see a history of perfectionism that is showing up in my nine year old son, Anthony. With God's help, I have made great strides in my own life but am still seeing some of the effects in how he sees himself when he makes mistakes or just isn't the best at something. This chapter was a good reminder for me to pray more fervently about this, and for any other ways patterns and habits of sin could be affecting our family. The thing to remember, especially for a perfectionist, is that no amount of striving will change this kind of behavior. We must repent, commit to working with God and allow Him to work in us little by little until we get there. We must remember that as long as we are working with God and making progress there is no reason to condemn ourselves or feel guilty.

Heavenly Father,
I thank you for all of the wonderful blessings you have bestowed on us and our children. Thank you for your Love and Your grace that has the power to break any bondage and create a new family pattern of holiness. We realize that all blessing and all goodness within ourselves come from you. In Jesus' name we break the bonds of sin in our families and surrender to Your grace so that we can change. We trust You and invite You to lead us into all truth regarding this kind of bondage in our family. Thank you for Your promises and for Your faithfulness in all things.
In Jesus' name we pray,


Thursday, August 25, 2011

A Peaceful Child

Below are Nicole's thoughts on Chapter 21 of The Power of A Praying Parent by Stormie Omartian. Please know that what we all learn from a study is usually different. Therefore, we encourage you to share what you've learned from this chapter as well.

On page 146 Stormie writes the following...

Take a long look at your child. Is the common expression on his or her face one of peace, happiness, and joy? Or is it distress, frustration, dissatisfaction, anger, depression, or sadness?

After reading this, I pause and think of my child with autism. I remember when he was 2, 3, 4, 5, 6 and even 7 years old he was the happiest child. He always smiled. He always gave big hugs. Most importantly he always had a sense of peace about him that let you know "I'm ok mom." even though he couldn't verbally tell me. Recently, we enrolled Sean, who is now 8, in public schools. I have been thrilled with his academic progress, his social progress and how well he is adjusting. However, he seems to have lost that permanent smile. The desire to hug us all of the time. This chapter reminded me that our children go through so much socially and emotionally. It's important that we lift them up in prayer so that they have a peaceful mind. Most likely with Sean, it is due to more anxiety with starting school again. It's so easy for me though, to blame it on the food, sugars or fighting off a virus. I'm sure it all plays a part in his anxiety. However, I've forgotten the most important thing here...prayer. I should be covering my son in prayer over his anxiety. By doing this, God will not only protect my son and give him that peaceful mind he needs, he will also guide me in the right direction to help find the source of the anxiety.

I lift up all of our children to you today. I ask that you give them all a peaceful mind. Help them fight off the anxiety that plays such a huge role in autism. Guide us in helping them remain peaceful and feeling your love. I also pray that you will protect everyone on the East Coast from any disaster that Hurricane Irene may cause. I pray that you will give us all a sense of peace during this time and keep us safe from harm.
In Your Name we pray,

Bible Verses from Chapter 21
If you keep My commandments, you will abide in My love, just as I have kept My Father's commandments and abide in His love. These things I have spoken to you, that My joy may remain in you, and that your joy may be full. -John 15:10-11

You will show me the path of life; in Your presence is fullness of joy; at Your right hand are pleasures forevermore. -Psalm 16:11

Now may the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that you may abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit. -Romans 15:13

His anger is but for a moment, His favor is for life; weeping may endure for a night, but joy comes in the morning. -Psalm 30:5

I will greatly rejoice in the Lord, my soul shall be joyful in my God; for He has clothed me with garments of salvation, He has covered me with the robe of righteousness, as a bridegroom decks himself with ornaments, and as a bride adorns herself with her jewels. - Isaiah 61:10

Monday, August 22, 2011

A Peaceful Mind

Below are Nicole's thoughts on Chapter 20 of The Power of A Praying Parent by Stormie Omartian. Please know that what we all learn from a study is usually different. Therefore we encourage you to share your thoughts on this chapter as well.

Cow jumping over the moon...cow jumping over the moon....cow jumping over the moon...cow jumping....These were the words I heard coming out of my son's mouth over and over again this past weekend. If I tried to help get these thoughts out his mind by having him talk to me about other things it increased it more. This time louder...COW JUMPING OVER THE MOON, COW JUMPING OVER THE MOON, COW.... Until he breaks down in tears saying "I'm sorry Mommy." It's so difficult for me to know what it's really like for him having autism. Does he say these things to control the situations surrounding him? Or does he say these things because he gets thoughts, phrases, songs stuck in his head like a broken record? When my son has episodes like this, I can't even get him to answer me. It's heartbreaking, frustrating and feels hopeless.

What Jesus wants me to see is that it's not hopeless. I tried everything in my power to get him to stop saying this and to just focus on being with us. However, it kept getting stronger and I felt like he was blocking us all out. In fact, as I type this, he is in school and I wonder if he's having as difficult of a time there. I'll be the first to admit that I totally forgot about writing in the blog this morning. In fact, I just read the chapter. However, I am so glad I did remember. Chapter 20, Receiving a Sound Mind, is exactly what I need to be praying over my son at this particular moment.

Stormie reminds us on pag 139 that the Bible says "Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus.". Phillipians 2:5. We are also reminded on page 140 "For God has ot given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.". 2 Timothy 1:7. Further down the page she gives us the following verse from 1 Corinthians 14:33 "God is not the author of confusion but of peace."

In other words, we should be praying that our children have a restful mind. We need to go to God in prayer and ask for peace of mind in our children, especially our children with autism. We need to ask that anxiety, confusion and fear be taken from their minds and be replaced with peace, rest, and love.

We lift up all of our children with and without autism. We ask that you will fill their minds with your love. Give them the peace that can only come from you. Keep their minds safe and away from any confusion that may be thrown their way.
In Your Name we pray,

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Fearless Faith

Below are Jessica's thoughts on Chapter 19 of The Power of A Praying Parent by Stormie Omartian. Please know that what we are learn from a study is usually different. Therefore, we encourage you to leave your comments, questions and/or scripture in the comment section below this post.

"FEAR-or False Evidence Appearing Real- easily strikes children because they can't always discern what's real and what isn't. Our comfort, reassurance and love can
help them; but praying, speaking the Word of God in faith, and praising God for His love and power, can free them." (Stormie Omartian, The Power of A Praying Parent, p. 136)

I know this chapter is about praying for our children to be free from fear. I feel like I need to examine and reflect on how we as parents can recognize and deal with our own fears first. Stormie reminds us of a very important truth in this chapter. Fear is not from God. It is a tactic that the devil uses to confuse, immobilize, frighten and scatter us so that we can't see our blessings and give up before we reach our victory.

Jesus tell us in John 10:10, "The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full."

Those nagging doubts, fears about the future, how it feels when one bad day seems like the ultimate realization of defeat-these are not from God. Anything that paralyzes us, traps us and defeats us is not from God, it is from the enemy. Whenever a thought comes into our minds, whatever it is based on- we can determine if it is from God or the enemy by the effect it has on us. When God speaks to us, we receive revelation, insight, courage, strength and inspiration. When the enemy speaks to us, we receive condemnation, doubt and fear. God's words give us peace and can fill us with boldness. The enemy's words steal our joy so that we don't know our power through Christ in us.

At the end of this chapter Stormie shares this scripture, "
There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love." (1 John 4:18)

I always understand this scripture better when I include the two verses before it:

God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in them. This is how love is made complete among us so that we will have confidence on the day of judgment: In this world we are like Jesus. There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love. (1 John 4: 16-18)

If we keep our minds, hearts and mouths full of God's love we can drive out fear, just as Stormie and her family did in Los Angeles. As Stormie points out, our children are even more vulnerable to fear because they do not understand how they can discern what is good and evil. However, our prayers can cover them and protect them from this kind of fear. We can use the wisdom and knowledge that God gives us to bind evil spirits and break strongholds in prayer. By confessing God's love as spoken in His word, being persistent in prayer and full of praise, we can set our families free from fear.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Spiritual Cleaning

Below are Jessica's thoughts on Chapter 18 of The Power of A Praying Parent by Stormie Omartian. Please know that what we are learn from a study is usually different. Therefore, we encourage you to leave your comments, questions and/or scripture in the comment section below this post.

When I first saw the title of this chapter, "Praying Through A Child's Room", I thought of the many times I have prayed on my knees in my boys' rooms, often while they are sleeping. I am usually prompted to do this after we have had an extremely difficult day or I feel like something is troubling them that I wasn't able to help with. Doing this gives me the peace I need to put it in God's hands and call it a day.

It never occurred to me to actually pray about what is in their rooms. Just as we pray about the influences that they are exposed to outside of our homes, we need to make sure that we prayerfully consider what is already there. This chapter was a wake up call for me. There are a few things that I will now look into further to see if there are indeed evil undertones to the video games, toys and collectibles that my son has in his possession. I have a feeling there will be some things that we will be getting rid of as well. Stormie reminded me of how subtle and crafty the enemy can be, and how he seeks to strike at our children and build strongholds any way he can. By being persistent in prayer, we can receive insight from the Holy Spirit as to what changes need to be made and how to live in a way that is pleasing to God. We can also receive discernment to know if there are any evil influences that we are unaware of and can bless our child and his/her room, also our homes in general as an act of dedication to God and for our protection.

Blessing our homes and inviting the Holy Spirit to dwell in every area covers our family with protection and frees us from alot of fear. Several months ago I couldn't sleep one night and felt the urge to go through every doorway in my house with blessed salt, blessing it in Jesus' name, covering every area and room of our house by name with His precious blood in prayer. I especially felt like I had to open and pray over every doorway that led into the house from the outside. Around that time I learned that there were a string of robberies in the neighborhoods surrounding mine. I later noticed more police cars patrolling and reminding homeowners to keep their houses locked. I have to say that knowing that I had invoked God's blessing and protection gave me the peace I needed to sleep at night in spite of all of this. Thankfully, our home was not burglarized.

This chapter also reminded me to examine and pray through the room in my heart. As I raise my special needs child, there are certainly many ways the devil tries to discourage and derail me. There are also many obstacles that my child has to overcome, and God's discernment alone will show me what needs to be done in all of these areas.

Dear Lord,
I pray in agreement with every mother reading this for the protection, blessing and well-being of their children, families and homes. In Jesus' name I ask You to put a hedge of protection around each family member, home and surrounding community. I pray for the Holy Spirit to give discernment so that evil can be rooted out, wisdom so that right choices can be made and perseverance so that we can stay constant in prayer as You work in our lives. In Jesus' name I bind anything that is not of God and place it at the foot of the cross. Bless our children's rooms, that they may be special places that are occupied by You. Let them be places where Your healing, restoration and peace can work Your purposes for our children's lives. Fill them with the Holy Spirit and the overflowing love of the Father. Lord, search the rooms of our hearts and show us if there is anything there that is not of You. Cleanse us, strengthen us, fill us and give us your peace. I ask this in Jesus' name.


Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Forever Seeking God

Below are Nicole's thoughts on Chapter 17 of The Power of A Praying Parent by Stormie Omartian. Please know that what we are learn from a study is usually different. Therefore, we encourage you to leave your comments, questions and/or scripture in the comment section below this post.

I remember my boys being two years old and loving church. They couldn't wait until Sunday. After church, my son Hunter would fill our ears with everything he learned at church and how he needed to make sure everyone knew Jesus. Our son with autism, Sean, would tell us his memory verse each week. When Hunter turned three he was very concerned about his friends at school that didn't know Jesus. Sean would sing "Jesus Loves Me" and "Joshua Fought The Battle of Jericho." My boys had a true desire to not only hear and learn about God but to be surrounded by other Believers.

Then when they turned six, the songs changed from "Jesus Loves Me" to songs Sean heard on television. Hunter complained about having to get up and go to church. They were losing their true desire to be holy. I believe this happens because of many different things. We may have skipped a Sunday or two and they got in the habit of not going. They watched tv and read more books that didn't have anything to do about God. They wanted to watch what all of their friends were watching. I look back now and can see that they are still Believers and love church. However, their passion has dwindled.

I am so thankful for this chapter. It has shown me that I need to pray that my boys will get their passion back and seek the Holy Spirit. I know they love God and I know they are Believers and enjoy church. However, I also know they have so much more passion in them for Christ.

Dear Lord,
I thank you so much for giving my kids the love for You. I pray that you will show me how I can help them always seek the Holy Spirit so that they can discern what is right and what is wrong in life. Help them find their passion for you again and to truly desire to seek your ways throughout their lives.

Bible Verses from Chapter 17
Who may ascend into the hill of the Lord? Or who may stand in His holy place? He who has clean hands and a pure heart, who has not lifted up his soul to an idol, nor sworn deceitfully. He shall receive blessing from the Lord, and righteousness from the God of his salvation. -Psalm 24:3-5

In a great house there are not only vessels of gold and silver, but also of wood and clay, some for honor and some for dishonor. Therefore if anyone cleanses himself from the latter, he will be a vessel for honor, sanctified and useful for the Master, prepared for every good work. 2 Timothy 2:20-21

Every branch in me that does not bear fruit He takes away; and every branch that bears fruit He prunes, that it may bear more fruit. -John 15:2

Monday, August 8, 2011

Speaking Life

Below are Nicole's thoughts on Chapter 16 of The Power of A Praying Parent by Stormie Omartian. Please know that what we all learn from a study is usually different. Please feel free to share what you've learned in the comment section below this post. We would love to hear from you!

* My son is never going to get better...
* My life is too hard...
* This is not fair and is too much for me to handle....
* My child will never make friends...
* I can't believe our family has to live with autism...

So, the statements above may not be your typical "bad words". However, they are definitely NOT words of life. In other words, they are not words that God wants us to speak into our lives. I believe that what comes out of our mouths effects our lives in so many different ways. I also believe that statements like those listed above can do more harm in our lives than those naughty four letter words. Not saying I'm a fan of using foul language. What I'm saying is that what we speak really truly effects our lives. Therefore, it's important that when we open our mouths and speak, we are speaking in a way that is pleasing to God. So let's take the above statements and speak life into them.

* I know my son has autism and the world is telling me that autism isn't curable. However, I also know that "with God all things are possible."...
* My life may seem hard but "this too shall pass" and God is with me every step of the way...
* No one ever said life was fair. I am a strong person of God and I know that I have so much to learn through this all.
* My child will make some incredible friends one day and he is going to be an awesome best friend to someone.
* Our family has learned so much through autism. We are finding ways to see the blessings through this all.

Isn't this how we want our children to speak? Isn't this what we want from them? To see the best out of every situation. To find the good in the bad. To speak good into everything and about everyone around them. If this is what we want, then we need to lead by example.

Our first step in leading by example needs to be praying. We need to take the time to not only speak the word of life into our children but into ourselves as well. We also should take the time to make sure if we are pouring out to others that we are some how, some where getting poured into. Whether it's church, Bible studies, Bible readings, praying...we need to be fed to make sure the right words are coming out of us.

Below are the points that Stormie made that meant the most to me:
Words have power, and we can either speak life or death into a situation. -p 116
We need to ask God to put a guard over our own mouths as well as the mouths of our child. - p116
Speech that is not godly or not of the Lord, such as "I'm no good," "I wish I was dead," "Life is terrible," "People are horrible," "I'll never be anything special," does not reflect a heart filled with the Holy Spirit. It reflects the work of darkness. And that is exactly what will play itself out on the stage of your child's life if you don't help him monitor what he says. -p 166
The best way to improve speech is to improve the heart. - p 117

Life gets tough. It's hard to remember to speak so positively about things when everything seems to be crashing down all around you. This is when we need to speak life into our situations. Speak positively about what can and will happen in your lives. Remember the good things that have happened and speak about them. This will only help you to teach your child to do the same.

I pray that you will help us to remember the good things in life and to not focus on the bad. Help us to see the good things that either have happened or can happen in our lives. Help us lead our children into speaking positively and being full of life. Show us the right words to use in every circumstance we encounter. Guard our mouths as well as our children's mouths from any foul language and negative speaking.

Bible Verses from Chapter 15
Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in Your sight, o Lord, my strength and my redeemer. -Psalm 19:14

A good man out of the good treasure of his heart brings forth good things, and an evil man out of the evil treasure brings forth evil things. -Matthew 12:35

But I say to you that for every idle word men may speak, they will give account of it in the day of judgment. For by your words you will be justified, and by your words you will be condemned. -Matthew 12:36-37

Pleasant words are like a honeycomb, sweetness to the soul and health to the bones. -Proverbs 16:24

There is one who speaks like the piercings of a sword, but the tongue of the wise promotes health. -Proverbs 12:18

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Gifts from God

Below are Jessica's thoughts on Chapter 15 of The Power of A Praying Parent by Stormie Omartian. Please keep in mind that what we all learn from a study is usually different. We would love to hear your thoughts on this chapter as well. Please share in the comment section below this post.

I have often been inspired by some of the most fascinating stories about individuals with autism who have areas of giftedness. Often, these gifts are what enables them to overcome their autism and succeed in ways they never could have imagined. Temple Grandin immediately came to mind when I read this chapter. I also have a friend whose autistic son is extremely gifted in music.

As I've mentioned previously, I have two sons, ages 6 (with autism) and 9 (with ADHD). I feel like I am still "discovering" what their gifts and talents are. This chapter was a good reminder for me to pray about and be on the lookout for whatever these gifts and talents might be. My older son has shown some precursors to athletic ability in soccer and innovation in art. He has also enjoyed playing in his school orchestra last year. He also struggles with tremendous anxiety and is prone to give up easily or lose interest quickly. My husband and I agree that his well being is most important and are doing our best to not pressure him in any one direction. This chapter helped me to see that we are the ones who need direction. I will be more mindful to first thank God for this wonderful child in whom He's placed special gifts and talents and then ask for guidance to help him develop and grow in those gifts. My younger son is the one who has autism. While he definitely has some real areas of strength (especially relative to his areas of need), we have not seen any savant-like qualities or areas of exceptional giftedness. This does not mean that he is lacking his God-given gifts and talents.

On page 113, Stormie writes,

"What gifts and talents has God planted in
your child? Every child has them. They are there, whether you can see them or not. the Bible says, 'Each one has his own gift from God, one in this manner and another in that' (1 Corinthians 7:7). Sometimes it takes prayer to uncover them."(Stormie Omartian, The Power of A Praying Parent)

I try to remain thankful for and to view every step forward of progress as a precious gift from God. Whatever gifts my children have, I pray that I my eyes will be opened to see, and and that I will follow God's lead in nurturing them.

Heavenly Father,
Thank you for all of our precious and wonderful children. Thank you for all of the special gifts and talents that you have placed in each and every one of them. Give us the discernment, wisdom and knowledge we need to recognize and develop these gifts as You would have us do. Give us a true and heartfelt appreciation for what you have placed in our children. Cover our children with your divine favor, so that these gifts can continue to flourish in spite of the obstacles they face. With your help, we believe that our children can and will overcome the difficulties of autism through the development of these gifts and talents. We ask this in the name of Your Son, our Lord, Jesus.

Monday, August 1, 2011

A Love of Learning

Below are Jessica's thoughts on Chapter 14 of The Power of A Praying Parent by Stormie Omartian. Please keep in mind that what we all learn from a study is usually different. We would love to hear your thoughts on this chapter as well. Please share in the comment section below this post.

This chapter ministered to me on so many levels. I have been homeschooling my six year old son with autism, Matthew and have recently begun to also home school my nine year old son, Anthony. I was especially touched by the prayer at the end of this chapter, which focused and encouraged me greatly in terms of what I want each of my children to receive from their educational experience.

"In one way or another, of course, we all have deficiencies. Thankfully, God makes up for our deficiencies with His strength. His word says, 'Not that we are sufficient of ourselves to think of anything as being from ourselves, but our sufficiency is from God' "(2 Corinthians 3:5) -quoted from The Power of A Praying Parent, Stormie Omartian p. 107-8)

When I tell people that I am homeschooling I am always intrigued by their reaction. Often, people think I must be a saint or full of unending patience. The truth is that I am neither of these things, I am simply doing what God has put on my heart to do. Whenever we are operating in God's will for our lives He gives us His grace to do what we think we cannot do. I needed that reminder: that I am only able to do this through God's grace. As Stormie points out from 2 Corinthians 3:5, my sufficiency is from God, and He makes up for my deficiencies. In the same way, we must trust and believe that when we place our children and their needs in His hands, He will do the same for them.

It also encouraged me greatly when Stormie reminded me to pray that my children will be taught by the Lord. The hardest part for me about homeschooling is falling prey to the thought that I am doing this all on my own, when this couldn't be farther from the truth. God has his own plan for my children and I am simply the hands and feet that He is using at the moment. She also reminds us that a love of knowledge begins with love and knowledge of the Lord.

I know that many of us are either preparing to begin our school year or getting our kids ready to go back to school. Wherever and however our children are being taught, we can pray that they will be taught by the Lord, and that He gives them knowledge, understanding, perseverance and strength to make up for any areas where they are lacking.

Bible Verses from Chapter 14:

"All your sons shall be taught by the Lord, and great shall be the peace of your children."
-Isaiah 54:13

"Reflect on what I am saying, for the Lord will give you understanding in everything."
-2 Timothy 2:7

"Not that of ourselves we are qualified to take credit for anything as coming from us; rather our qualification comes from God"
-2 Corinthians 3:5

"Then you will understand the fear of the Lord; For the Lord gives wisdom, from his mouth come knowledge and understanding"
-Proverbs 2: 5-6

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Praying for Healthy Habits

Below are Nicole's thoughts on Chapter 13 of The Power of A Praying Parent by Stormie Omartian. Please keep in mind that what we all learn from a study is usually different. We would love to hear your thoughts on this chapter as well. Please share in the comment section below this post.

"I don't ever want to go back to that doctor again!" Hunter screamed as we walked out of the pediatrician's office yesterday. "He's the worst doctor ever. I can't believe he told you that!"

Yes, my son was mad. He was devastated. How could his favorite doctor in the world advise me the worst possible thing in the more fast food. As Hunter is screaming mad and Sean is clearly not happy either that we would no longer be visiting some of our favorite fast food hang outs and getting those cool little toys, I'm wondering how in the world am I going to do this. How can I take away something that I just started giving them?

Sounds crazy right? Let me back up a little...for the past four years, my children have been on a very healthy diet. Aside from the occasional splurge, everything we ate was organic, no preservatives, no food dyes and my son with autism ate completely gluten and dairy free. Fruits and vegetables were the core of our diet. Since the beginning of summer, we have had alot of traveling, alot of company and alot of chaos. So my husband and I decided we'd let our son go off the diet with enzymes. He did wonderfully. No behaviors, no bathroom issues. We, along with our son, loved our new options of food. Then, we slipped more. We did more fast food, chicken nuggets, french fries, chips, ice cream, chocolate, candy....all of the things that I swore I would never give my kids on a daily basis. About a month ago, my son with autism was prescribed a big dose of steroids and antibiotics to try to eliminate all of the strep in his body. Needless to say, a mixture of steroids and a bad diet equals weight gain. My son gained six pounds in less than a month. My pediatrician reassured me that he is by no means over weight. Before the steroids and bad diet, he was a little on the skinny side. However, if we keep eating the way we have been and he continues to gain six pounds each month, that's a 72 pound weight gain in a year. Not good for anyone, especially a child.

Back to the screaming and crying about no more fast food...I'm driving in the car thinking how in the world am I going to get these kids back on a healthy diet. How am I going to convince two eight year olds, one with autism, that grilled chicken, asparagus and rice is so much better than that Happy Meal from McDonald's? What have I done?

After we get home from our wonderful doctors appointment, I grabbed my book, The Power of the Praying Parent. It's my turn to write in the blog this week. I really am overwhelmed but I will follow through with what God wants. Then, I open the book to this week's chapter...Having the Motivation For Proper Body Care.

Seriously God?

Just what I needed. I realized in that moment that it's not about me convincing my children to have healthy habits. It's not about me sneaking their veggies in their favorite foods or taking the long way home so that we don't pass those fast food restaurants. It's about me giving it to God. It's up to me to pray for my children as often as possible to desire the healthy foods, to truly want to eat healthy so that when they grow up they make the right choices for their bodies, not for me.

You know, my first thought when the doctor told me no more fast food was "but they are so happy when we pull into Chick-fil-A." The very first sentence in Chapter 13 quickly grabbed ahold of my heart....

"Left to themselves in this junk-food world, children will be attracted to all the wrong foods." page 99
In other words, if we let our children decide for themselves, they are going to go for the food that looks good. Most of the time, it's food that is not good for them. Stormie reminds us on page 100 that we can't force our children to make these healthy choices for themselves, especially when they are older. Only the power of God through prayer can make the difference. Stormie ends this chapter with this...
Your child needs Holy Spirit guidance and strength to do what's right for his or her body. Your prayers can spare them much defeat, frustration, and heartbreak. Don't you wish you'd had someone praying about this for you?

Dear Lord,
I lift up all of our children as we try to teach them the healthy road in life. I ask that you guide us as teach them about healthy food and exercise. Give them the spirit to crave the healthy way in life instead of the fast food way. Also give us as their parents the desire to be healthy as well so that we can lead by example.
In Your Name We Pray,

Bible Verses from Chapter 13

Do you not know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and you are not your own? For you were bought at a price; therefore glorify God in your body and in your spirit, which are God's. - 1 Corinthians 6:19-20

If anyone defiles the temple of God, God will destroy him. For the temple of God is holy, which temple you are. - 1 Corinthians 3:17

I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service. - Romans 12:1

Put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh, to fulfill its lusts. - Romans 13:14

Therefore, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God. - 1 Corinthians 10:31

Monday, July 25, 2011

Praying for a Healing

Below are Nicole's thoughts on Chapter 12, Enjoying a Life of Health and Healing, of The Power of A Praying Parent by Stormie Omartian. Please know that what we all get from a study is usually different. We would love to hear your thoughts as well. Feel free to leave a comment below each post.

A prayer of health and healing....probably one of the most popular prayers that moms who have children with special needs pray on a daily basis. We pray for our children to be healed of autism. We pray it as hard as we can every day, sometimes more than once a day. We know this prayer. However, are we praying it knowing that it is in His timing? For me, I don't have peace about my son having autism. I feel there is something else going on with him as well. I pray every day that God will either heal my son or give me peace about it. He may heal him tomorrow, twenty years from now or He may give me peace about it. Either way, He is in control of this. I will trust Him and keep moving forward.

Its very important for us to continue to pray that our children will be healed from autism. However, we also need to cover them in prayer over other health issues as well. Accidents, diseases, cancer....there are so many things we need to pray over our children to keep them safe. That's what I love about the prayer Stormie wrote in this chapter. You can pray this prayer over a specific health issue and also covering their health in general.

Remember that God's healing is real and is powerful.

Bible Verses from Chapter 12

He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities; the chastisement for our peace was upon Him, and by His stripes we are healed. Isaiah 53:5

Confess your trespasses to one another, and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much. James 5:16

But to you who fear My name the Sun of Righteousness shall arise with healing in His wings. Malachi 4:2

I lift up all of the children in this world who have autism. I pray that you will heal each child. Show each parent what we can do to help our child be the person you need them to be in this world. If it is something we need to accept, I pray that you will give us an incredible amount of peace that can only come from you. I also pray a wall of protection over all of our children. Protect them physically and mentally.
In Your Name we pray,

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Vacation Week

Nicole, Chrissy and I are going to take this week off from posting so that we can enjoy some vacation time with our families. We hope that you will all join us on Monday, July 25th as we continue our study with Chapter 12 of The Power of a Praying Parent, Enjoying a Life of Health and Healing. Have a blessed week!

In the meantime, we hope that you will be encouraged by these Bible verses from each of the chapters that we've covered so far:

1. Becoming A Praying Parent:
You did not choose Me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit, and that your fruit should remain, that whatever you ask the Father in My name He may give you. -John 15:16

2. Releasing My Child Into God's Hands:
If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him! -Matthew 7:11

3. Securing Protection From Harm:
If you say, “The Lord is my refuge,”
and you make the Most High your dwelling,
no harm will overtake you,
no disaster will come near your tent.
-Psalm 91:9-10

4. Feeling Loved And Accepted:
And so we know and rely on the love God has for us.
God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God,
and God in them.
-1 John 4:16

5. Establishing An Eternal Future:
For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans to prosper you and not harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Jeremiah 29:11

6. Honoring Parents And Resisting Rebellion:
Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. Honor your father and mother, which is the first commandment with promise: that it may be well with you and you may live long on the earth. - Ephesians 6:1-3

7. Maintaining Good Family Relationships:
Now I plead with you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that you all speak the same thing, and that there be no divisions among you, but that you be perfectly joined together in the same mind and in the same judgment. -1 Corinthians 1:10

8. Attracting Godly Friends and Role Models:
Blessed is the one
who does not walk in step with the wicked
or stand in the way that sinners take
or sit in the company of mockers,
but whose delight is in the law of the Lord,
and who meditates on his law day and night.
-Psalm 1: 1-2

9. Developing A Hunger for the Things of God:
Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness,
for they will be filled.
-Matthew 5:6

10. Being the Person God Created:
We know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose. For whom He foreknew, He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the firstborn among many brethren. Moreover whom He predestined, these He also called; whom He called, these He also justified; and whom He justified, these He also glorified. - Romans 8:28-30

11. Following Truth, Rejecting Lies:
Do not let kindness and truth leave you;
Bind them around your neck,
Write them on the tablet of your heart.
So you will find favor and good repute
In the sight of God and man.
-Proverbs 3: 3-4

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Walking in Truth

Below are Jessica's thoughts on Chapter 11 of The Power of A Praying Parent by Stormie Omartian. Please know that what we all learn from a study is usually different. Feel free to leave what you've learned in the comment section below this post.

But when he, the Spirit of truth, comes, he will guide you into all the truth. He will not speak on his own; he will speak only what he hears, and he will tell you what is yet to come.
-John 16:13

I have no greater joy than to hear that my children are walking in the truth.
-1 John 1:4

Walking in truth can be pretty brutal for parents in the world of autism. To be honest, if I were 100% facing the truth on my own strength, I think that I would be a very depressed person. I am learning to allow God to show me what He feels I need to know and face, so that I will have His grace to do so. By allowing God to reveal hidden truths we are able to receive healing in the places of our hearts that are hurting the most.

I realize that this chapter is about teaching our children to value truth and honesty. I agree that this is of the utmost importance. Recently, a few of my autism mom friends have been celebrating because their children told a lie for the first time. This isn't because they want their children to be dishonest or to encourage the behavior. It is recognizing that their child is passing through a "normal" developmental phase and taking delight in the opportunity to guide their child in this area of development.

On page 91, Stormie says, "Children will lie at one time or another. The question is not if they will, but whether or not lying will become something they can get away with". We want to discourage our children from lying. More than that, we want to make sure they know the full ramifications of lies. I have told my nine year old that if he lies, then I won't be able to trust him because I won't know if he is telling the truth or not. That upset him greatly. I really appreciated Stormie for reminding me that Satan is the father of all lies, and every time we tell a lie we give him a piece of our heart. This is another reason for not lying that I need to reinforce with my children.

As far as facing the truth in our own lives, I am by no means suggesting that we all live in denial. I am suggesting that we surrender our entire lives to God, and trust Him to lead us into all truth. Whether that is about why our child regressed into autism, the full scope of all that our child needs or may need in the future, or simply how to help them in the here and now: these are all areas that God can help us with. He can heal our hearts so that we don't feel condemnation about our child's autism and its possible cause. He can show us the way in which we need to go and He can provide for and bless us in our journey in ways we could never imagine.

Dear Lord,

Please grant a special blessing to every mother who reads this. Many of us are in great pain over the condition of our child/children. Cover us and our children with your precious blood and free us from any condemnation. Give us the grace and strength to walk in truth and to teach and guide our children to do the same. Cleanse us of any areas in the past when we did not do this and fill us with your healing love. I ask this in Jesus' name.


Monday, July 11, 2011

Below are Nicole's thoughts on Chapter 10 of The Power of A Praying Parent by Stormie Omartian. Please know that what we all learn from a study is usually different. Feel free to leave what you've learned in the comment section below this post.

Chapter 10,Being The Person God Created, was difficult for me to read. I trust God and know that He knows what is best for my son. However, I don't feel like autism could be a part of His plan. Or could it? I believe that our God can take something difficult, hard and hopeless and give it a whole new meaning. I think back to how many lives my son has touched. Therapists, friends, family, even complete strangers. Could he have done the same without autism? I don't think it's our job to find the answers to these questions. I believe it's our job to have faith in God and trust in Him.

Below are the points that Stormie made that meant the most to me...
* We become the person that God created us to be when we ask God for guidance and then do what He tells us to do. p. 82
* One of the devil's plans for young people is to get them to compare themselves with others, judge themselves as deficient, and then seek to be someone they were not created to be. p. 82
* This day after day comparing and falling short can attack the true identity of a child. p. 82

As parents of children with autism, it is very difficult for us not to compare our children. It is hard to look at other children, see what they are doing and then look at our own and try to make them do it as well. I think it's very important that we help our children and strive to make them the best they can be. However, I also think it's just as important to help them be the children that God created them to be. Their personalities, their spirits, their loving nature. We need to pray and protect them from losing who they truly are. Therapy is a must with our children. Whether it's occupational therapy, speech therapy or ABA, this is what our children need. However, I'm sure they feel overwhelmed at times. We, as their parents, need to protect them in prayer that God will help show us how we can help our children stay who God created them to be while helping them strive to be the best they can be.

I lift up all of our children with autism. I pray that you will show us and them who you need them to be. I pray that you will help us find ways to bring out the best in them and to protect them from the enemy. Help us raise them into the person you created them to be.

Bible Verses
You are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, His own special people, that you may proclaim the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light. -1 Peter 2:9

Eye has not seen, nor ear heard, nor have entered into the heart of man the things which God has prepared for those who love Him. -1 Corinthians 2:9

Be even more diligent to make your calling and election sure, for if you do these things you will never stumble. - 2 Peter 1:10

We know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose. For whom He foreknew, He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the firstborn among many brethren. Moreover whom He predestined, these He also called; whom He called, these He also justified; and whom He justified, these He also glorified. - Romans 8:28-30

Arise, shine; for your light has come! and the glory of the Lord is risen upon you. -Isaiah 60:1