Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Crazy Prayer Lady on Raising Crazy Prayer Kids

Do I look holy? I was really just reading the newspaper.

So yesterday I told you about my trial by fire of praying in front of others. Last night Walker reminded me of what really got me used to doing it.

When I moved back to Houston from UT, I had some, er, wayward years. I was searching for God but He let me wander. I guess He wanted me to get really, really good and desperate before He rescued me so that there was absolutely no way I could take credit for it myself.

Have y'all ever noticed that in Matthew chapter 9, Matt - we're tight, I call him Matt - tells the story of a whole bunch of miracles Jesus did, and the last miracle he lists is the calling of himself, a  scumbag tax collector?  His list goes: Leprosy healed, check. Storms calmed, check. Demons cast out, check. Matthew repents of his slimy ways, check.

This is why Matt and I are so close: we track {point two fingers at your eyes, then my eyes, then your eyes}

One of the tools the Lord used on this pathetic little tax collectress was Bible Study Fellowship. There was a BSF singles group and it was full great Christian girls and cute Christian sidehugging boys - I married one of 'em - and shockingly, they asked me to be a leader. When I was told that Barbara, the teaching leader, wanted to meet with me, I thought I was getting kicked out, no lie.

Centurion's daughter healed, check. Missy asked to lead a bible study, check.

Leaders' meetings were each Monday night. At the beginning, we all knelt in a circle, most of us face down for piety, privacy, and to take the pressure off our knees, and we prayed out loud. This was crazy new to me, but it was so special, water to my parched soul. And it taught me how to pray using the ACTS model: Adoration, Confession, Thanksgiving, Supplication.

First, Adoration. We would list 15 or so of God's attributes: Shanna would say "Father, you are holy." Holly would say, "Jehovah, you are just." Walker would say, "Jesus, you are the Light of the world."  and I might squeak, "God you made butterflies" because every time I say "God you made butterflies" I cry because I can't even make a cake y'all, and he made butterflies?? Floors. Me. 

We skipped the Confession part because it was a group prayer thing and that was too private and remember there were cute boys in there.  "Lord I confess I'm jonesing for this hot godly chick right next to me" mighta broken the mood. Even though he married me later.

For Thanksgiving, about 15 more thank yous: "Thank you Lord for my new nephew."  "Thank you for healing my dad." "Thank you that the judge showed mercy and let me out of that speeding ticket." --> Missy prayer.

Lastly, Supplication, which is a fancy word I can never remember that means asking for stuff. These were written down and some details discussed beforehand, and someone was assigned to each request so that none would be forgotten.

It was an awesome model, and it's a great way to teach your kids. Just use that protocol - teach them to kneel face down, it reminds us that we are going before a reverant King AND having them kiss the carpet greatly helps with the wiggles and the sibling pokes.

We started teaching our kids the Lord's Prayer from the time they were infants using the cloze method. Cloze is teacher talk for fill in the blank. It goes like this:

Our Father, who art in...HEABEN!
Hallowed be thy...thy....COME! Hallowed be thy...NAME!
Thy Kingdom...COME!
Thy will be...DONE!

Everyone of my kids' favorite parts has been shouting Deliver us from EBIL!!! and I still melt when Maggie or Ike try to say Temptation.  It always ends with a rousing KINGDOM, POWER, and GWORY FOR EVER AND EVER!!!!

I try to work in a quick Adoration: Lord, you're so awesome, we love you so much but I always get run over with Ike's Thanksgiving, for cars and dirt and houses and dogs and cars and bears and school and cars and popsicles and cars and Jesus. And cars. 

Then I say, Lord forgive us when we...and he (theoretically) (with many reminders) answers: hit, steal cookies, yell at Maggie, don't obey Mom, etc.

Now, bring it on back to the Cross, the place that everything points to. Kids are not too young to start hearing it, like this: "Lord, even though we sin every day, we are so thankful that because Jesus paid the price for our sins on the cross, you forgive us every single time! Please help us to not sin anymore and become more like Jesus." We end with In the name of the Father and the Son and the HOWY! SPWRIT! HALLELUJAH!! AMEN!!

You see how we just worked in substitutionary atonement, sanctification and the doctrine of the Trinity in language a 3 year old can understand? Heck yeah! Rock on with your theological self!

For the older kids, we just do an older version. Lord, we're so thankful that Shepherd "Thank you God for making me so awesome" has a healthy self-esteem. Lord, we supplicate that he'd tone it down just a notch.

Funny, they are often just completely and utterly stumped when the time comes for Confession. I remember asking Eva Rose when she was 5 or 6,  "So you've been absolutely perfect all day?" She thought a minute and said, "Yup, pretty much."  Actually, they hardly ever remember THEIR sins, but they always remember their siblings' sins. Great teaching moments regarding the log in your own eye with a sprinkling of 'YOU are not his Holy Spirit, my dear.'

One of the best parts about praying with your kids is that you get to see their hearts. Shep always remembers to pray for Bethie to come home. And when Walker's grandma was dying, Eva Rose prayed for her faithfully. Maggie always prays for every person in the family and Ike always prays for...cars.

When the kids recount stories about the bad kid in their class, we pray for him. (Eva Rose prays that his parents will stop feeding him dye!) When someone is mean to them at school, we pray for our enemies. "Pray with Mom or Dad" is one of their morning chores so that each kid should leave the house every day with a blessing.

Am I always consistent? Oh please. Y'all know better. I pray like a fiend on my Good Mommy Days and on my Bad Mommy Days I stink at it.  But this is the goal. Realistic Motherhood is all about goals. Some days we're awesome, others, well, we have a very long Confession list.

But it's okay, because even though we sin every day, we are so thankful that because Jesus paid the price for our sins on the cross, you forgive us every single time! Please help us to not sin anymore and become more like Jesus. In the name of the Father and the Son and the HOWY! SPWRIT! HALLELUJAH!! AMEN!!


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