Thursday, March 3, 2011

Book Club: Ministry of Motherhood: Chp 15-16

Chapter 15: Training Children to Pray Effectively

Clarkson opens the chapter by sharing a story of how her family came together to pray during an important part of their lives.  Afterwards, her youngest child questioned why she should prayer knowing that she's not going to always get what she prays for.  Clarkson's response was that prayer encourages conversation and closeness with the Father.

As I was reading this chapter (and Clarkson mentions it as well), I was reminded of how many times we see Jesus' praying in the gospels.  Often we catch glimpses of him getting away to pray.  Particularly as he drew strength in the garden where he was betrayed (Matt. 26:42).  If Christ (who was God himself), relied so heavily on prayer, who are we to not do the same?

Prayer works miracles in our lives.  It keeps us going back to God and remembering that we don't have it all together.  Every time I pray I'm reminded that my abilities are so limited and God is the one who provides my strength.  And if I'm going to pass this knowledge on to my children, I'd better be modeling a healthy prayer life.  I'd better be willing to pray with my children and answer their questions in this area.

*Hebrews 12:11 basically admits that discipline is not fun; in the short term, it brings sorrow instead of joy.  But what does it say is the long-term result of this process of discipline?  Can you think of issues with your children where you tend to back off from discipline because the process is so uncomfortable?  List two ways in which you will strengthen your approach to loving discipline this month.  Ask for God's help and perhaps enlist the help of a friend to keep you accountable for this.

No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful.  Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it--Hebrews 12:11

I have a hard time disciplining the bickering and arguing.  Both because it's uncomfortable and because I'm just not sure what to do with it (any advice would be wonderful here).
Two of the things we've been working on in this area:
1. Getting on our kid's level when explaining to them
2. Asking them to encourage each other in a task, placing them in a position of teamwork

*As training in prayer, study the Lord's Prayer with your children.  Go through each line and discuss what it means.  Help them memorize it.  Then say the prayer together each morning or every night before you go to bed.

Chapter 16: Training Children for Tribulation

As moms I think we all want to protect our children.  Sure, I know that their difficulties will only build their character stronger.  But when troubles come their way, in the deepest part of my heart, it pains me to see them struggle.  I want to make things better for them and smooth out the rougher patches of life.

Still, as we live in a fallen world, troubles are inevitable.  Sometimes as a result of their own choices, sometimes just because this world is not perfect.  As mothers, part of our job is training our children to be ready when those times come.  And as Christian mothers, it becomes even more important for us to train our children in relying on God during those times.

One of the ways we can teach our children is by acknowledging that suffering is a part of our Christian walk (Matthew 10:38-39).  If we turn our back on this truth, if we smooth life over for our kids, if we deny that suffering is a part of life, we do them an injustice.  I don't want to raise kids that are so "surprised" by tribulations that they don't know how to bounce back.

*Think of some times when you've had the urge to step into a situation that was difficult for your children and "fix" it for them.  What happened?  What are some ways you can train your children to cope with trouble in a godly, mature manner?

Please feel free to share in the comments.  I love hearing how you're being challenged in motherhood.

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