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From the Trade Paperback edition.
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How great is the love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! 1 JOHN 3:1
Traveling for work can be a lonely thing when you have to leave your family behind. When Bill travels, he knows what it's like to come "home" to a hotel room instead of to his wife and children. His family misses him, too, and often he finds a little note or card in his luggage from his wife or one of his kids.
A couple of years ago, Bill was away on a trip and came across a note that his son, Alex, had smuggled into his luggage. Bill smiled as he read the crooked writing: "Alex loves Dad." What a great reminder of his loved ones at home! But then Bill noticed something else written on the paper. Turning it upside down, he read, "Dad loves Alex." His heart leaped! Bill was happy to read that Alex loved him, but to read that Alex knew his dad loved him ... that was priceless!
God created us to give and receive love, not just with each other but with Him as well. He's our loving Father, and in many ways He constantly tells us, "You are My child. I was delighted when you were born, and I love you still." God loves hearing that we love Him, but how His heart must jump when He knows that we really get it,that we understand, receive, and delight in His love.
When we understand the Father-love of God, we naturally desire to spend time talking with Him. Prayer is no longer a duty; it becomes a delight! We recognize God not as an unapproachable entity, but as the loving Father who invites us to come straight to Him and tell Him what our day was like, what we'll face tomorrow, and how we feel about life.
Some of us have earthly fathers who loved us well; others of us have been deeply hurt by our fathers. Either way, God wants us to experience the fullness of a heavenly Father in His steady, consistent love. As Bill says, "On God's daisy there is no 'He loves me not.'"
1. Complete this sentence: "I know God loves me because ..." Let's create a list of all the ways God shows His love.
2. Think back over the last month. Tell of a time when you really experienced your Father's love. If you have a hard time remembering, ask God to show you glimpses of Himself acting as your heavenly Father.
3. Parents, share with your children the kinds of things you like to hear them tell you. Then, as a family, tell those kinds of things to your heavenly Father.
SCRIPTURES FOR GOING DEEPER
Father, we love You. Thank You for loving us. We like these times of talking with You and listening to You. When we get busy with our day, please remind us of Your presence. When we want to pull away from You, please remind us that You never pull away from us. When we shy away from Your discipline, please remind us that it's part of Your love. Thank You, Father, that Your love is steady and constant and that You always want to hear from Your children. In Jesus' name, amen.
A PARTING THOUGHT
"Love God and you will always be speaking to Him."
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A Loving Father
Approaching God as a Father may be easy if you've had a good earthly father. But if your dad was less than what God intended (and to some extent every father is), seeing God as a good and loving Father might be more difficult for you. If you or someone in your family has experienced the absence of a good and loving father, spend some time with the Scriptures for Going Deeper in this devotion. As a family, discuss the characteristics of a good father and how God exhibits those characteristics. Then pray that each of you can know and feel the Father's love. If necessary, ask God to show you how to talk with and/or forgive your earthly father.
Excerpted from When Families Pray by CHERI FULLER Copyright © 1999 by Cheri Fuller
Excerpted by permission. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
|How to Get the Most From When Families Pray||11|
|Your Family Prayer History||15|
|1.||Daddy Loves Me||19|
|2.||Faith That Moves a Mountain||23|
|3.||Tad Lincoln and His Dad||27|
|5.||When We Ask for a Fish||35|
|6.||Hotline to Heaven||39|
|7.||A House of Prayer||43|
|8.||God's Power and a Gray-Striped Cat||47|
|9.||The Way That I Take||51|
|11.||Lord, Save Me!||61|
|12.||Praying for Our Enemies||65|
|13.||A Christmas Prayer||69|
|14.||Christmas Card Families||73|
|15.||The Street Wher You Live||77|
|16.||Monday: Praying for Missionaries||81|
|17.||Tuesday: Praying for Two Friends||87|
|18.||Wednesday: Praying for the World||91|
|19.||Thursday: Praying with Thankful Hearts||95|
|20.||Friday: Praying for Family||101|
|21.||When God Says Wait||105|
|22.||Getting Out of the Ruts of Prayer||109|
|23.||The Stone Bearers||113|
|24.||A Cross-Country Prayer Drive||119|
|25.||How Do You Explain God?||125|
|26.||Mighty Prayer Partners||129|
|27.||God Wants to Use Children||133|
|28.||When God Says No||137|
|29.||The Grateful Leper||143|
|30.||Pardon for Traitors||149|
|31.||Praying on the Spot||153|
|32.||Putting on God's Armor||157|
|33.||What Should I Pray?||163|
|34.||God Hears Us||169|
|35.||When You're Afraid||173|
|36.||Listening to God||177|
|37.||Listening to God, Part Two||181|
|38.||When the Lord Says Pray!||185|
|39.||God Cares About the Little Things||189|
|40.||Prayer Lessons From a Child||193|
|About the Author||201|