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