It’s our instinct as parents to shield our children from harm. But our true responsibility is to raise children equipped to live well for God even in the midst of struggle. Upside-Down Prayers for Parents encourages us to pray for our children in ways we may never have before:
• I pray you’ll get caught doing things wrong—and experience the power of confession.
• I pray your prayers will go unanswered—and you’ll find a deeper trust in Him.
• I pray you’ll fail in things that don’t matter—and learn what matters to God.
• I pray you’ll encounter battles—and discover that God is your greatest ally.
By turning our prayers “upside down,” we not only learn to release our children to the care of God alone, we also uncover how our own desires need to be submitted to God’s will.
Each entry in this thirty-one-day devotional includes a short reflection, a Scripture verse, and ideas to jump-start conversations between you and your child or teenager. Together you’ll discover a deeper trust in God that will help you make it through the upside-down times with a right-side-up perspective.
|Publisher:||The Crown Publishing Group|
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Upside-Down Prayers for ParentsThirty-One Daring Devotions for Entrusting Your Child--and Yourself--to God
By Lisa Tawn Bergren
WaterBrook PressCopyright © 2013 Lisa Tawn Bergren
All right reserved.
Nurturing a Faith That Endures, Come What May
Here in southern Colorado, we recently witnessed the most devastating wildfire in state history. Hundreds of homes and thousands of acres burned. Smoke billowed up in an eerily colored, apocalyptic swirl, then descended over our city in a thick, brown haze that made your lungs hurt when you took a deep breath. Ash rained down, covering rooftops and yards—the sorrowful, wispy remains of other people’s rooftops and yards. One elderly couple lost their lives.
It was surreal, horrific to watch the flames march down the mountains like a dragon with a thousand tongues of fire, engulfing one house after another in fireballs. Over a thousand firefighters fought to keep it from taking other homes, yet it raced unabated across the forest floor, taking ridge after ridge.
In the aftermath, it broke our hearts to look upon the blackened remains of the once-verdant, beautifully green hills and valleys that border our town. But experts say that fire is actually good for the forest. (They’d prefer a manageable
surface fire to a full-scale canopy fire like this one, but sometimes the choice isn’t theirs.) According to principles of forest management, what looks like devastation can actually be a gift, thinning out the dead material, opening up the tree canopy, and enriching the soil with nutrients that aid new life.
Individuals who so tragically lost their entire neighborhood to the fire also sought the good that comes through loss.
They sifted through the remains of their homes—a foot deep in ash—but they consistently mused about the gifts of life, of community, of people coming to their aid. It was heartwarming to watch a spirit of unity unfold. Amid tragedy and crisis, people came together around a common focus: a desire to help others heal, survive, and rise again. And in our busy, separated, largely short-on-true-community lives, this was another gift we all counted among the ashes.
As Christians, we’re called to take the lead when hard times hit. To stand and be counted among those who place their confidence in a God who is completely good, even when life feels bad. Yes, life is rough. At times, brutal. But it’s also
amazingly, achingly beautiful. Full of hope and potential and possibility. And if we want to raise children whose faith can thrive in difficult circumstances—children who live in a loving, wholly trusting relationship with their God, who are able to see the beauty even in the midst of the fire and smoke, who remain alert for signs of hope amid the rubble—we have to model that kind of relationship with our God. Come what may.
As parents, we want to equip our children to be strong and courageous disciples. But we can only teach them what we already know for ourselves, right? So this devotional addresses both our personal relationship with God—to make sure we have his priorities clear in our heads and hearts—and our role as parents who seek to trust our loving God with our
precious children, knowing he only seeks to be closer to them. Come what may.
We feel responsible to protect and shield our children from harm. So it seems odd to wish upon them anything but
peace and prosperity. But if you’re like me, the adults you admire—the people you’d like to befriend and emulate—are
people who live life deeply, richly, and in a holy fashion, regardless of what life throws at ’em. They have the spiritual
stamina to make it through the fires of difficulty and maintain a sense of optimism and hope. To press on through the darkness, which in turn somehow helps them better appreciate the light.
It’s understandable and right to pray for our children’s protection, health, and well-being. But too often, we slip into
spiritual timidity. We like to stay in that safe zone—and we definitely prefer to see our children in that happy place, right? But if we wish to be warriors for Christ, resilient disciples of the Way, we’re after more depth in discipleship, knowledge of the Holy, and a full-on trust of the One who loves our children best. And if we’re to trust him with everything in us, we have to lay our lives—past, present, and future—in his hands. Perhaps most challenging, we have to lay our children’s lives there as well.
This is not a sweet and gentle devotional. It wrestles with thirty-one issues that will most likely drive us to our knees,
praying ourselves or our children through them. But I believe God redeems the time, the effort, the pain, every time. And when you fully absorb these truths and make them a part of your prayer life, I believe you will see a harvest in your own life and in your children’s. Because this is rich, dark, moist, fertile soil, post-fire stuff. Growth stuff. The kind of stuff that initially leaves you grasping for words and gasping for air. But after the smoke clears, when you can rise and take a deep, unencumbered breath, you will feel stronger for the experience, knowing that you’ve witnessed yet again the faithfulness of the One who loves you most.
The topics we’ll be exploring touch on truths we want our children to learn sooner rather than later, truths that offer the
security of knowing they will always be loved and will never be alone. And that, ultimately, is what all parents really want for their children, right? To that end, I’ve included little “discussion starters” at the end of each devotional, to aid you in sharing these perspective-shaping truths with your children.
I am praying for you this day, as you hold this devotional in your hands, that our Lord will hold you and your precious
children in his hands. Peace upon you, sister and brother. May you be strong and courageous. May you make your God and your children proud by daring to know him better, each and every day, and by trusting him, regardless of what comes, so that your relationship with the Holy deepens, and your life grows richer in the process. Amen!
Excerpted from Upside-Down Prayers for Parents by Lisa Tawn Bergren Copyright © 2013 by Lisa Tawn Bergren. Excerpted by permission of WaterBrook Press, a division of Random House, Inc.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.
Table of Contents
Introduction: Nurturing a Faith That Endures, Come What May xiii
Day 1 I pray you'll get caught doing things wrong-and find the good and true path 1
Day 2 I pray you'll fail in things that don't matter-and learn to seek what matters to God 7
Day 3 I pray you'll have to forgive someone who doesn't deserve it-and find the peace that forgiveness brings 13
Day 4 I pray you'll weep-and feel free to express both tears of anguish and tears of joy 19
Day 5 I pray you'll get lost-and discover you have the Compass within to help you find your way 25
Day 6 I pray you'll sweat-and learn what it means to work hard for what's worthwhile 31
Day 7 I pray you'll get so weary you give up-and learn that with submission comes strength 37
Day 8 I pray you'll encounter battles-and find God is your greatest ally 43
Day 9 I pray you'll experience unanswered prayers-and develop deeper, wider trust 49
Day 10 I pray you'll feel foolish-and know that the wise obey God anyway 55
Day 11 I pray you'll know what it is to be lonely-and find intimacy with the One who is always beside you 61
Day 12 I pray you'll suffer loss-and witness how your Creator can use all things for good 65
Day 13 I pray you'll be shattered-and allow God to build you up again 71
Day 14 I pray you'll be nearsighted-focusing on the present 75
Day 15 I pray you'll be farsighted-able to see where our God is leading us 81
Day 16 I pray you'll lose a job-and know that your Provider has not forgotten you 85
Day 17 I pray you'll brush up against death-and catch a glimpse of eternity 91
Day 18 I pray you'll have to wait-and learn the value of patience 97
Day 19 I pray you'll have selective hearing-deaf to all but the Father's voice 103
Day 20 I pray you'll know fear-and find courage in living with God beside you 109
Day 21 I pray you'll take crazy risks-and dare to adventure where your Shepherd leads 115
Day 22 I pray you'll face financial hardship-and see how God is after something bigger than food and shelter 121
Day 23 I pray you'll be disappointed in people-and realize that we're all fallible, sinful, and redeemable 127
Day 24 I pray your beliefs will be challenged-and the roots of your faith will be strengthened 133
Day 25 I pray you'll be confronted by your shortcomings-and recognize you need a Savior 139
Day 26 I pray that when you are broken-you'll discover that, in healing, you grow stronger 145
Day 27 I pray you'll press through heartbreak-and be better able to identify true love 149
Day 28 I pray you'll confront evil-and recognize that Good is a stronger force 153
Day 29 I pray you'll have to let go of a dream-and live to discover new ones 159
Day 30 I pray you'll watch a friendship fade-and discover the value of heart-friends who go the distance 165
Day 31 I pray you'll one day pray over a child of your own-and know more about why you're a beloved, treasured child yourself 169