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