Friday, February 20, 2009

Take Two

James and I were talking about prayer the other night and he reminded me of a sermon he heard once by Mark Driscoll.

Mark asked the question, "How do you think your children learn how to pray?"

He claimed that your children will learn to pray by hearing you pray. I totally have to agree with that statement. I mean think about it... so much of our lives, habits, words, actions, etc are all behaviors we have learned by observing those around us. And since we spend majority of our lives (growing up) with our family it's only a matter of time that we start to mimic them.

Have you ever had one of those 'o my gosh, i'm becoming my mother... o my gosh, my father used to say that' moments?

Come on. Admit it. You grow up watching your parents and claiming that you will never be like them, and then something happens and out pops your moms words or (re-)actions. And you gasp and stand shocked. Yep.

So i'm thinking Mr. Driscoll is right on the mark when he claims that your children will learn to pray by hearing (or observing) you pray.

You know what's cool?

Jesus did the same for us. Christ gave his disciples (and now us) an example of how they should pray in Matthew 6. He didn't sit down every day and remind them... "this is how you should pray, say this"... he gave them that example and then he lived it out. How did he live it? He prayed. continually. in public.

Don't you think his disciples probably learned how to pray by watching him pray? By hearing him pray? By observing him?

Jesus prayed alone (Mt 14:22-23), before meals and in public (Mt 14:19, 15:36), when tempted, when sorrowful and troubled (Mt 26:36-37), after performing miracles (Mt 14:22-23) ...

on all occasions.

Also, Paul and Silas prayed while in prison; and the other prisoners were listening to them (Acts 16:25). I'm thinking that probably had a HUGE impact on the other prisoners who were listening to them pray in the midst of their situation.

So... prayer. Your children (and other people, fellow believers, friends) need to not only see you praying, but hear you praying. And they will, no doubt, observe you in the midst of your circumstances (ALL of them -no matter what they may be- happy, sad, joyous, troubling). They will learn to pray by hearing and seeing you.... let me reword that.... you will have the opportunity to teach your children how to pray; communicate with the Father.

Think about the example you are setting. And pray. Alone, in public, quietly, outloud, you get the idea. They need to see it all.

Then when they get older they can have an 'o my gosh, i'm praying like my mother' moment. Now wouldn't that be cool?

Rodney Atkins "Watching You"

We got back home and I went to the barn
I bowed my head and I prayed real hard
Said Lord please help me help my stupid self
Then this side of bedtime later that night
Turning on my son's Scooby Doo nightlight
He crawled out of bed and he got down on his knees
He closed his little eyes, folded his little hands
And spoke to God like he was talking to a friend
And I said son now where'd you learn to pray like that

He said I've been watching you dad, ain't that cool
I'm your buckaroo, I wanna be like you
And eat all my food and grow as tall as you are
We like fixing things and holding mama's hand
Yeah we're just alike, hey ain't we dad
I wanna do everything you do
So I've been watching you

1 Thessalonians 5:17 Pray Continually.

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