Archive for the ‘Spiritual Disciplines’ Category

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Do you pray for your children regularly? Do you tell them you are praying for them during those difficult time of “training”? And when God develops in your children Christ-like character do you tell them how God has answered your prayers?

I know this is an area of struggle for me. An area that needs much growth, but that is vital and cannot be overlooked. This article was a great blessing and challenge to me, to share with my children how I am specifically praying for them and when the Lord answers those prayers.

So if you haven’t prayed for your children today, why don’t you stop, get on your knees and cry out to God. He will hear your prayers.

Our children are never too young and will never be too old for the prayers of their mother.

But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.

~ Hebrews 11:6


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Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom; teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord.
Colossians 3:16

Singing – it is one of my family’s favorite things to do. Whether we are having morning worship, picking up the house, cooking, playing outside, giving comfort after getting hurt, or riding in the car.

Singing is the third part of our morning worship routine. I would have to say this is my children’s favorite part of morning worship. We use one hymnal. Each child has their favorite songs and we pass the hymnal back and forth as they look up their favorites and then sing them. My 1 year old daughter can even look up her favorite hymns on her very own. It is so precious.

Sometimes we will just sit on the couch and sing. Other times we will gather around the piano and sing while I play. In the evening for family devotions my husband will sometimes pull out his guitar.

When teaching the hymns we do not just learn the first verse of each song. It is important our children learn the whole song. Most hymns tell a story or teach a complete thought or idea. Do not cheat your children by just teaching the first verse. Another part of singing hymns is teaching my children the history behind the hymn. There are many wonderful resources that you can use to teach the hymn history.

Our worship to the Lord needs to be honoring and glorying to Him. We are singing not for ourselves but to the Lord.  Our worship should not be wild and out of control. If our children are dancing around and goofing off they aren’t worshiping God – they are doing what feels good to them. Our worship should not feel dead either. If we are singing hymns that are more quiet and meditative then we need to sing them that way. But if the song is full of praise to the Lord we should not sing it like church mice. I plan to talk about this in a later post (the correct worship of Jesus Christ is something I am very passionate about).

Hymns can be chosen a variety of ways. I am focusing right now on teaching my children hymns of worship and praise. Here is a sample list of hymns we’ve learned so far:

  • To God Be the Glory
  • And Can It Be
  • Old Rugged Cross (Learned around Easter)
  • O How I Love Jesus
  • Trust and Obey
  • O Magnify the Lord
  • Be Thou My Vision
  • Holy, Holy, Holy
  • Rejoice the Lord is King
  • I Sing the Mighty Power of God
  • Come Thou Fount
  • A Child of the King (Learned because 3 yr old son asked Jesus to be his Savior)

I believe our children need to learn the great hymns of the faith. These hymns will carry our children through the exciting and difficult times in life. As I have gone through difficult times I have often sat on the couch with my hymnal on my lap, singing songs to the Lord, allowing Him to minister to my heart through song. Having taught my children hymns from a young age, I often hear them singing hymns while they are playing. Instead of stupid little songs they learn off tv (which is one reason I don’t allow much tv) they are singing songs of praise to God. It brings such joy to my heart to hear the children praising the Lord while they are playing. They don’t always sing the whole song right – sometimes they even put a few songs together – but it is during those times I just sit back and smile at the goodness of God.

One example of this has happened lately. We have spent a lot of time learning “I Sing the Mighty Power of God”. The last line says, “the moon shines full at His command and all the stars obey”. My one year old daughter has been going around the house singing, “moon shine, moon shine, moon shine”.  At first I couldn’t figure out exactly what she was saying, but the more she sang it I got it. I had to just sit back and laugh and wonder what people would think if they heard my 1 year old talking about “moonshine”!!!! 🙂

A great book on worship is called “How to Worship Jesus Christ” by Joseph Carroll. It is a book I first read when I took a college music course in highschool. I have since read it a number of times, including during morning worship. Every Christian should read this book at least once. It would also be perfect for a Bible study at church.


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“But You, O Lord, are a God merciful and gracious, Slow to anger and abundant in lovingkindness and truth.”

Psalm 86:15 NASB

“I will sing of the lovingkindess of the Lord forever; to all generations I will make know Your faithfulness with my mouth.”

Psalm 89:1 NASB

The dictionary definition of lovingkindness is “tenderness and consideration toward others”. About 10 years ago I was challenged each day to look for the lovingkindnesses of the Lord. To look for all the things the Lord had done for me. Ways He was showing me tenderness and consideration. It may be something as simple as I received a letter in the mail from a friend. Or it may be as big as my baby had a heart beat. I was to write down whatever it was that happened that day to remind me of the Lord’s love and care for me.

I am one who gets easily discouraged, especially when I’m tired (and I’m tired most of the time). I often can only see all the bad and how life is “falling apart” around me. Writing in my lovingkindness journal helps me remember and keep my focus on all that the Lord has done for me. I love looking back and seeing all of the lovingkindnesses the Lord has shown to me.

Because our child are little versions of us, my son especially has this problem. We have now added a time when we sit right after prayer, and write all the wonderful things God has done for us. Yesterday he was thankful for the trees, blue sky, grass, flowers, and the Bible. Those were the blessings the Lord gave him. It is fun to look back and see the different things the Lord has done for us. It is a great journal to keep. So in the difficult times, you can remember how gracious, loving and kind our God is.

We serve a God who loves us dearly. May we praise Him everyday for His goodness to us.

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If I live in a house of spotless beauty with everything in its place,
but have not love,
I am a housekeeper, not a homemaker.

If I have time for waxing, polishing, and decorative achievements,
but have not love,
my children learn cleanliness, ­not godliness.

If I scream at my children for every infraction,
and fault them for every mess they make,
but have not love,
my children become people-pleasers, not obedient children.

Love leaves the dust in search of a child’s laugh.
Love smiles at the tiny fingerprints on a newly cleaned window.
Love wipes away the tears before it wipes up the spilled milk.
Love picks up the child before it picks up the toys.

Love accepts the fact that I am the ever-present “mommy,”
the taxi-driver to every childhood event,
the counselor when my children fail or are hurt.

Love crawls with the baby, walks with the toddler, and runs with the child,
then stands aside to let the youth walk into adulthood.

Before I became a mother I took glory in my house of perfection.
Now I glory in God’s perfection of my child.

All the projections I had for my house and my children
have faded away into insignificance,
And what remain are the memories of my kids.

Now there abides in my home scratches on most of the furniture,
dishes with missing place settings,
and bedroom walls full of stickers, posters and markings,
But the greatest of all is the Love
that permeates my relationships with my children.

-Adapted by Jim Fowler

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“Call to me and I will answer you, and will tell you great and hidden things that you have not known.”

Jeremiah 33:3 ESV

Teaching your children to pray is one of the most important things you will ever teach your children to do. So many Christians do not know how to pray – and so they don’t.

What is prayer? Prayer is simply talking to God. It is how we communicate with God. When I pray I don’t talk to God like I would my children or a stranger. I share my heart with Him, as I do my husband. I pour my heart about before Him. Sharing my innermost thoughts and feelings. There are times when I don’t even know what to say and in those times,

“Likewise the Spirit also helpeth our infirmities: for we know not what we should pray for as we ought: but the Spirit itself maketh intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered.”

Romans 8:26 KJV

Sometimes I pray when I am working in the kitchen. Sometimes I pray when I teaching school or potty training. One of my favorite times to pray is in the middle of the night when I cannot go to sleep. When it is dark all around me and the only sound is that of my husband and children sleeping. I feel completely alone with God. In peace.

As an imperfect woman there are many things in my life I regret. But teaching my son how to pray is not one of them. My son (3 years old) is learning how to pray like a man. In the morning we start Morning Worship with prayer to get our hearts right before the Lord (confessing sin), to bless my husband at work, and provide for our daily bread, and to ask the Lord to take our offering of worship and make it pleasing unto Him. I often encourage my son to pray also. He will never learn HOW to pray unless he does.

On Wednesday evenings at church he stays with his father and I in the prayer service. My husband and I feel it is vital for our son to learn how to pray. When we look around the world today at Christians and we see how many of them do not pray, because they don’t feel they know how to pray, we see the importance of teaching our son. Our little 3 year old sits by his father and often the Pastor (or other older men in the church) and he is learning how to pray. He hears these older, wise men of faith praying to God, and he learns how to talk to the Lord. He then is given the opportunity to pray – like a man. Oh how precious his prayers are. Often my husband will share with me what our son has prayer and it will bring tears to my eyes the heart of our son. A heart that would never be like this – unless taught. On the way to Wednesday evening prayer service you will find him in the back seat of our car with his Bible, piece of paper, and a pen. He is making out his prayer list of all the things he wants to pray about. Now to me it is just scribbles but to Him it is his mission for that night.

So often we say, “Oh he’s just a child. He can learn that when he’s older. He needs to have fun time with kids his own age.” But when I look around I see teenagers all across this nation, who’s hearts are not close to the Lord. They don’t want to be in prayer service because “it’s not fun”. They don’t want to pray with the “old” people. They don’t even hardly come to church anymore. It should be a warning to all of us parents – we have a choice how we train our children. We will answer to God one day. Are we teaching our sons and daughters how to pray or are we letting them just hang out with the friends – hoping someday they’ll learn?

“He who walks with wise men will be wise, but the companion of fools will suffer harm.”

Proverbs 13:20 NASB

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A couple of years ago the Lord prompted my heart to begin having what we call in our home, Morning Worship. When I first began this with Josiah (Annalynn had not yet been born), I did not realize the vast blessing that would come from this time together.

As I began sitting with Josiah each morning (he was just a year old) one of my main goals was to practice sitting each day, to help him sit through Church. I knew he was too young to understand what I was reading, but I also wanted him to begin to develop the habit of spending time with God every morning. I wanted him to develop a love and respect for God’s Word.

I have seen our Morning Worship time go from something that Josiah complained about having to do, to now something that he enjoys and will often ask to do. It has become a special time where Josiah and I talk about the things of the Lord and offer our worship to Him. Oh what a blessing when he shares spiritual insight!

There are days when I fail to start the day with Morning Worship. We’ll have breakfast, and I’ll start some laundry and then one thing leads to another and it’s 11:00 a.m. and life seems to have fallen apart. The kids attitudes are terrible. There is whining and fussing and I wonder – WHAT HAPPENED!!! It is then when it hits me like a load of bricks – we didn’t spend time with the Lord first thing.

When I start our family off with Morning Worship (before ANYTHING else is done in the house, even breakfast) it changes everything.

– Our day runs smoother

– The kids have good attitudes and they don’t fight as much

– My heart is right before the Lord (The other day I was feeling upset with my husband. I knew I needed to have MW with the children, and I just couldn’t bring myself to have MW with the kids until I had called my husband confessed my bad attitude and asked his forgiveness.)

– And there is just a sense of peace in the home

Here is what we do for our Morning Worship:

  • Prayer (We thank the Lord for the nights rest and ask Him to take our Worship as an offering of Praise to Him)
  • Lovingkindness journal (Writing down all the blessings and lovingkindnesses from the Lord)
  • Sing (My children LOVE to sing. I have been teaching Josiah many great hymns of the faith. We try to stick with songs of worship.)
  • Quote Scripture (Josiah has been memorizing Scripture since he could barley talk. Now Annalynn is doing the same. Though she can’t quite pronounce all the words correctly just giving her one word at a time. She gets really excited to quote Scriptures like her older bother.)
  • Catechism (I found a catechism that I mostly like. You must be careful. I have not found one that I agree doctrinally with 100%. I use one as a foundation and change the questions/answers as I need to)
  • Scripture Reading (I read through a book a time, going back and forth between Old and New Testament. I try to spend the majority of our Morning Worship reading the Bible. It is very easy to get caught up reading and doing everything else, but what is the MOST important part!)
  • Inspirational Reading (I choose a book that I like to read to the children. Sometimes it is about a missionary or other spiritually encouraging books.)

I hope this helps you get an idea of what we do for Morning Worship. There is no right or wrong way to have Morning Worship with your family. Over the next few days I will share with you specifics in these areas.

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Editors disclaimer:

Four years ago ~ after I was married ~ I was introduced to a website called, “Women at Home University”. It was developed to encourage wives and mothers. I thoroughly enjoyed the website and was saddened when it was shut down. The couple who ran the website were committed to serving the Lord. They lived by a high standard ~ a standard that challenged me daily. Since that time the family has chosen to take a different direction in life. Though saved, they do not have such high standards for their family anymore. This article and any others I post by this author in the future were written before the family left the conservative movement.

In this article it is stated that Charles H. Spurgeon had four sons. Upon research he actually only had two sons – Thomas and Charles.



By Jocelyn Zichterman

As already mentioned on this website, I am a mother of six young children. As most of you can imagine, my life is very busy from day to day meeting the needs of each of my special gifts from God. As I sat today reading a wonderful article on mothering in one of my magazines, I was thoroughly impressed with one thought which inspired the title I chose for this section article: “One Needful Thing.”

Luke 10:41-42 refers to two ladies. One lady’s name was Martha. She was cumbered about with much serving, doing something that was very good as she prepared a meal for Jesus and His disciples. The other lady mentioned is Mary. She was told by Christ that she had chosen the “good part” which was “sitting at Jesus’ feet” and “hearing His Word.” Most of us can relate to Martha in our daily lives much more easily than we can to Mary. We are often so busy serving by educating and ministering to the children, washing the clothes, cleaning the house, etc. Those things are good, but they often cause us to neglect the “one needful thing” of spending time in fellowship with Christ.

This story illustrates the difference between choosing the good, the better, and the very best. There is no better way to serve your husband or your children than to spend time in prayer for them. I have been greatly influenced in my own life by many Godly Christians of the past and several of them were great examples of faithfulness in the “one needful thing.” One was Susannah Wesley (mother of 19 children, 9 of whom lived to maturity). It is said of Susannah that she arose every day 2 hours before the rest of the house to pray for the needs of every one in her family.

Another story tells of the wife of probably the greatest preacher of the nineteenth century, Charles Haddon Spurgeon. At one time during a great revival at which he spoke, he became convicted of not spending enough time with his family, so he decided to return home early. When he arrived at home that evening, he heard a voice coming from the bedroom upstairs. He ascended the stairs and walked to the room of his four sons where he found his dear wife on her knees with the boys all around her. She was praying for each one of them by name and casting them at the Lord’s feet. Charles quietly left the room and said in his heart, “Thank you Lord for such a dear wife. Now I know that I can go on with my ministry, for my home is being carefully tended to.” Charles’s four boys all later became godly preachers. It was not their mother’s clean house, gardening, cooking, or tender nursing that made the difference. It was that she dedicated herself to that which Jesus said was the “good part,” that which would never be taken from her. The most amazing thing about Susannah Spurgeon’s testimony was that she was an invalid for most of her life. God made up the difference for her in spite of her limitations; He can do the same for you and me as well.

Maybe you are like me and you struggle with the “Martha mentality.” You might ask, “How can I possibly be like Mary when I have so much to do?” Follow these practical suggestions:

(1) Set a schedule and stick to it. The old saying is true that “if you aim at nothing you’ll hit it every time.” Setting a schedule helps you keep yourself accountable to “redeem,” or “make the best use of your time.” I often wonder how any mother could even function from day to day by doing whatever, whenever. Chances are that if you have that “whatever, whenever mind-set” about prayer you will never really get around to it. James 5:16 says, “The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much,” and the devil is very aware that prayer can completely revolutionize our homes. You must make it a point to schedule prayer in no matter how many items you have on your to-do list.

(2) Set a higher goal for yourself than you have ever thought possible. Maybe you will want to do as one friend of mine does- tithe your time to God by giving Him the first fruits of your day. Ten percent of your time in a 24-hour period is 2 hours and 23 minutes. You could evaluate your day by asking the question, “What good thing can I skip today to spend more time in doing that which would be best?” Ask God how much time He wants you to spend with Him each day and obey the prompting of His Spirit. Let me remind you again that this decision is a choice between good, better, and best for you.

(3) Make a prayer journal and write out every single thing you desire for each one of your family members. Pray through those lists several times each day. Make your journal very special by adding pictures and cards and quotes. This format makes the time go by so quickly that you will often not even realize you have been on your knees for so long.

“How to Have a Holy Hour of Prayer”

(Each step takes 5 minutes)

1. Praise – Praise God for who and what he is.

2. Waiting – Simply wait upon God meditating on His person.

3. Confession – Removing the greatest roadblock to prayer

4. Word – Study of God’s Word

5. Intercession/supplication – Come boldly into God’s presence on behalf of others.

6. Thanksgiving – Thank God for all his marvelous blessings.

7. Petition – Ask God for personal needs.

8. Singing – Sing Scripture back to God.

9. Meditation – Activate your mind pondering spiritual truths.

10. Listening – Listen for the still small voice of God.

11. Psalms – Pray the Word back to God.

12. Praise – End your time with praise for your fellowship during your “holy hour of prayer.”

Are you ever tempted to complete your service to your family with the secret hope of being seen and appreciated by others? The wonderful thing about being a “hidden woman” of prayer is the joy of knowing that you are doing this “secret” task for one reason alone–the glory of God. This is the one thing you can do as a mother that is completely in secret, something only the Lord will see. Remember that “the greatest mothers in the world today are the mothers who pray.” So go buy a notebook, get creative and get busy. I know I have to remind myself on a regular basis to get back to the “one needful thing.” Let’s work together as mothers and turn the next generation “upside-down” for Christ through the ministry of prayer.

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