In the beatitudes (Matthew 5), Jesus shared that the poor are blessed because they often are richer in faith. Yet we rarely associate the word “blessing” with the word “poor.” In fact, the American Dream has taught us to compliment wealth more than character. You rarely hear, “He lost it all, but he’s blessed. He’s standing firm, and his family is standing with him.”
Instead, we say, “Wow. He’s so blessed. He just got a raise.” Or, “You are so blessed to have such a beautiful house.” Perhaps we, as Christians, should use the word “blessed” more thoughtfully.
Can we really reconcile the American Dream with Jesus’ messages? In Matthew 6:24, Jesus clearly states that we cannot serve both God and money. But the American Dream says we can do both—in fact, that we are entitled to both. From every street corner, computer screen, and radio station blares the same theme: You need this to be happy! You need this to succeed! YOU NEED MORE STUFF!
Our possessions hold us captive, and we soon find ourselves enslaved to the worldly desires of security, comfort, and success.
Jesus calls us to discard our idol of the American Dream, to prevent materialism from hindering our pursuit of God. Let’s not allow our stuff to obstruct God’s work.
Content for this slideshow came from an article which first appeared in Fusion magazine Spring 2013. Used with permission.
Felicia Alvarez, a graduate of Liberty University, lives in Southern California and loves avocados, sunshine, and serving her Savior. Currently, she teaches dance to over one hundred students and is working on her second book. Connect with Felicia on her blog or on Facebook, she would love to hear from you!
Every Christian believes that the Lord Jesus’s return is imminent, meaning the return of the Lord Jesus could happen at any time and any moment. Paul calls this in Titus 2:13, “waiting for our blessed hope, the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ.”
Knowing the Lord could come back today causes some to stop what they are doing and only wait for Him. Yet, there is a difference between knowing Jesus could return today and knowing He will return today. In Matthew 24:36, Jesus says, “But concerning that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels of heaven, nor the Son, but the Father only.” The timing of the Lord Jesus’ return is something the Lord has not revealed to anyone, so until He calls His own to Himself, they should continue to serve Him faithfully.
The context of Matthew 24:24 finds itself in a section running from Matthew 24:1-25:46 discussing what is known as the Olivet Discourse, so named because Jesus “sat on the Mount of Olives” (Matthew 24:3) when He spoke these words. The Olivet Discourse is the fifth of Jesus’ five major discourses recorded in the Gospel of Matthew. Addressed to his disciples, the Olivet Discourse is intended to give them a prophetic overview of the events to transpire in both the near and distant future.
What Are “Signs and Wonders”?
Matthew 24:5-8 gives us some important clues for discerning the approach of the end times. An increase in false messiahs, an increase in warfare, and increases in famines, plagues, and natural disasters—these are signs of the end times.
In this passage, though, we are given a warning: we are not to be deceived because these events are only the beginning of birth pains; the end is still to come. The last days are described as “perilous times” because of the increasingly evil character of man and people who actively “oppose the truth” (2 Timothy 3:1-9; 2 Thessalonians 2:3).
Photo credit: Unsplash/Austin Chan
How Can We Know Something Is a Sign?
As soon as Jesus returns to Israel’s territory, opposition from Jewish leaders resurfaces (Matthew 16:1 ESV). The Pharisees and Sadducees were rival groups of leaders, so this is an unusual grouping. Here they operate together for two reasons. First, they are the two main groups of the Sanhedrin, the ruling Jewish council (Acts 23:6). Second, they are united by a common opposition to Jesus. They think that the enemy of their enemy is their friend (Luke 23:12).
The leaders’ quest for a sign is misguided. Matthew hints that the request for a sign is insincere. Yet Jesus has already performed an abundance of signs, and they never believed. As soon as possible, Jesus leaves their territory again, to escape them (Matthew 16:4).
But before Jesus departs, he commends the Pharisees and Sadducees for their ability to read the signs of the weather: a red sky in the evening signified good weather; in the morning, a red sky, plus clouds, meant just the opposite. How sad, then, that they could read the weather but could not read the signs of great events taking place in their times (Matthew 16:2–3). As religious leaders, they, above all, should know that God had visited his people, had sent the long-expected Jesus. A wicked generation cannot read the signs. The proof that they cannot interpret the signs is that they immediately ask for a sign after Jesus gives a sign!
Their spiritual blindness keeps them from seeing Jesus. As long as they refuse to see Jesus, they remain blind (Luke 13:34–35). Jesus then compared himself to Jonah (Matt. 16:4). Jonah, you recall, did not perform signs; he was the sign. Thrown overboard into a raging sea, swallowed by a great fish, spat out on dry ground, then preaching to great effect to the Assyrians of Nineveh, the very life of Jonah was the sign. The mere presence of a Jewish prophet in a hostile city was a sign. So too with Jesus. The leaders do not need signs by Jesus; they need to see Jesus. His presence, his life, is God’s greatest sign, then and now.
The Jewish leaders needed to add faith to the words and deeds of Jesus (Heb. 4:2). Then they would see him. So it is to this day. The quest for signs is wise if we are willing to see and to believe. But we must be willing to discern God’s work. We must be willing to hear the voice of God and to understand the signs, the nature, of the times.
Seeing with a Dual Perspective
We must know our times, and we must know the times and their signs. Above all, we must know that Jesus both transcends all times and gave the most important signs of all time. His miracles—his signs—showed his compassion, his generosity, his love for all. In our time, let us be faithful to him personally and let us faithfully strive to convey his truth to our age.
Jesus knew that, “When will the world end?” often leads people into unwise and unhealthy speculation, so immediately he clarified what he was saying. His answer in Luke 21 addresses both the more immediate question of the destruction of the temple and the bigger question of the world’s end. This dual perspective was necessary because what Jesus said about the temple made people think about the final judgment, and Jesus wanted to put both events into their proper perspective.
Studying Luke 21 is a little bit like wearing bifocals. The destruction of the temple is near at hand. Many of the prophecies in this chapter deal with specific events that happened before and during the fall of Jerusalem in a.d. 70. Yet, the end of the world is always in the background, and we continuously need to keep it in our gaze. The destruction of the temple is a portent of the final judgment; it is the beginning of the end. So Jesus extends the discussion from the destruction of the temple to the end of the world. Looking beyond his first coming to his second coming, he uses the messianic and apocalyptic language that the Old Testament prophets used when they talked about the great and terrible day of the Lord.
Here in Luke 21, the immediate historical context is the time leading up to and including Jerusalem’s fall. Thus the commands of Jesus apply most directly to the disciples who lived through those terrible days. However, the backdrop to that historical act of divine judgment is the judgment that is still to come. Therefore, the exhortations in Luke 21 also apply to us now and in the future as we face various trials and tribulations before the second coming of Jesus Christ.
The disciples asked Jesus to explain whether we should look for signs or not (Matthew 24:3). We must understand this inquiry correctly. “When will this happen?” means “When will Jerusalem fall and the temple be destroyed?” The disciples thought they were asking one question; the fall of Jerusalem, the coming of Christ, and the end of the age were essentially one event in their minds.
Whatever the disciples intended, Jesus heard and answered two questions, one at a time. The first part of his reply predicts events that will take place in “this generation” (Matthew 24:34), that is, within forty years—the lifetime of the disciples. Jesus’ purpose for this element of his reply is practical. He wants the disciples to be prepared—rather than shocked or alarmed—for the troubles, they will see in their generation. Those troubles are not signs of the end; therefore, the disciples must be ready to “stand firm to the end” in hard times (Matthew 24:13; cf. 24:6, 8).
Jesus begins his reply with a warning: “Watch out that no one deceives you” (24:4). During their days, there will be events that look like the final cataclysm, but there will be no mistake then. When Jesus returns, all the nations will see him, for he will come with angels and trumpets, power and glory.
The disciples do need to watch for signs of the fall of Jerusalem. That sequence will be necessary. We notice that the word “then” starts to appear: Then you will face persecution (24:9). Then many will renounce the faith (24:10). Then, when Jerusalem is attacked, the disciples should “flee to the mountains” (24:16).
In Matthew 24:36, Jesus begins to answer the second question and answers it. “That day” is commonly a technical term, roughly like the term “the Super Bowl” in American football. Similarly, the people of Israel knew “that day” meant the last day, the judgment day (Matt. 7:22; Luke 10:12; 2 Tim. 4:8). “That day” is the last day, the end of the world as we know it.
To interpret Matthew 24 correctly, we must ascertain where Jesus stops answering the first question and starts answering the second. Jesus finishes answering the question about the destruction of the temple at 24:34–36. Jesus’ prophecy of troubles in his generation has all the authority of God and his word. It would be easier for the universe to disintegrate than for Jesus’ prophecy to fail; “Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will never pass away” (24:35).
All that Jesus foretold did occur—at least provisionally—within a generation. The switch to the last day occurs in 24:36, “No one knows about that day or hour, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father.” So then, Jesus promised that certain things would happen in that generation, and they did happen in that generation.
Nonetheless, as often happens with prophecies, some of Jesus’ prophecies point beyond his generation. Prophecy often has a double fulfillment. Jesus’ word was fulfilled in his generation, as he said. He staked his reputation on it, yet there was more to come.
Notice that the disciples ask questions about timing. They want to know, “When will these things be?” They want to know what sign signifies that the end is near. But Jesus does not reply with a when—a set of dates or signs—but with a what and a how. He tells us what sorts of things are coming and how to prepare for them. In that way, he prepares us to stand firm in the storm and to stand ready to meet him when he returns.
Awaiting His Return
In 2 Timothy 4:8, Paul is facing his impending execution with joy, knowing that “a crown of righteousness” awaits him in the presence of the Lord. Now he is not referring here to being saved by good works but only by the righteousness of Jesus (Galatians 2:15-16). Once a person has been justified by faith alone, they will do good works that the Lord will reward in the life to come, although such works do not earn anyone a place in the kingdom of heaven. Though every saint-sinner is imperfect, the Lord will reward each Christian a crown for the good works they have done because they have loved the appearing of the Lord Jesus (2 Timothy 4:8).
Matthew Henry is right, “It is the character of all the saints that they long for the appearing of Jesus Christ: they love his second appearing at the great day; love it, and long for it.” It is very easy to become content with the comforts and material success of love. A love for the Second Coming of the Lord Jesus motivates every Christian to do good works that will gain an everlasting reward.
Photo credit: Unsplash/Brendan Church
Dave Jenkins is the Executive Director of Servants of Grace Ministries, the Executive Editor of Theology for Life Magazine, and the Host of the Equipping You in Grace Podcast and Warriors of Grace Podcast. He received his MAR and M.Div. through Liberty Baptist Theological Seminary. You can follow him on Twitter at @davejjenkins, find him on Facebook at Dave Jenkins SOG, Instagram, read more of his writing at Servants of Grace, or sign to receive his newsletter. When Dave isn’t busy with ministry, he loves spending time with his wife, Sarah, reading the latest from Christian publishers, the Reformers, and the Puritans, playing golf, watching movies, sports, and spending time with his family.
This article is part of our larger End Times Resource Library. Learn more about the rapture, the anti-christ, bible prophecy and the tribulation with articles that explain Biblical truths. You do not need to fear or worry about the future!
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Many married American couples envision their marriage bed as a sacred space. It is a place where you can dependably reconnect at the end of the day.
If it’s not with some conversation, it is just by being snuggled up in the same cozy space as you both drift off to sleep. It’s a place you commit to returning to together no matter how the day went.
For many, leaving the bed to sleep elsewhere can be a sign of anger, separation, and can undermine your feeling of connectivity in your relationship. Sleeping apart from one another can be seen as the first step taken away from one another when your marriage is facing tension.
But sometimes, couples just have to because of their life situations.
Why do we see a growing number of couples opting to sleep in separate beds and sometimes also opting to sleep in separate rooms? According to a 2017 survey from the National Sleep Foundation, almost one in four married couples sleep in separate beds.
Is sleeping in separate spaces a sign of a relational break or just a pragmatic decision for more individual comfort? Let’s explore the potential consequences of this growing trend.
What Is Sleep Divorce?
While the term sleep divorce sounds a little dramatic, the reality is that the term is just referring to a decision some couples make to sleep in separate spaces for the sake of better rest.
While the trend is growing in popularity now, it is not a new idea. As recent as the 1960’s couples sleeping in separate beds or places was fairly common.
Over the past 50 plus years sleeping in the same bed became the norm for married couples but researchers are finding that up to 25% of married couples are choosing different arrangements.
Why Do Couples Choose to Sleep Divorce?
Sleep divorce may be prompted due to a couple’s differering schedule or inability to rest well in the same bed with your spouse.
I know firsthand that there are seasons where separated sleep is necessary due to circumstances outside potential marital conflict.
When we brought each of our babies home there were times when we had to sleep separately in order to facilitate better sleep for each other. I would take the first part of the night with the baby and then sometime in the early hours, my husband would come back upstairs to our room to take the baby downstairs to rest so I had at least 4 hours of uninterrupted sleep.
That was a gracious gift as my Momma body could not fully rest with our loud grunting little nuggets right beside me.
Some couples may be in a situation where they work opposite schedules. This can make sleeping at the same time in the same bed impossible.
Many others report factors such as loud snoring, disagreements about lighting, temperature preferences, and other disagreements about comfortable sleeping preferences have led them to opt for separate beds and/or separate rooms.
Couples select to separate at night for a variety of reasons ranging from practical concerns such as opposite schedules; to those who separate because they cannot agree to be in the same space together any longer.
Is Sleep Divorce Biblical?
Sleeping arrangements are mostly a cultural construct and the ways we have chosen to sleep in our homes have changed tremendously over the years due to a necessity or cultural norms of the time.
The Bible doesn’t offer specific instructions on things like where we should sleep when we are married but it does give us a lot of other advice for our marriages that we can draw on to help us navigate these sorts of decisions.
Ephesians 5 outlines many principles that can guide us in our marriages. It advises that we keep away from any sexual immorality, that we show each other love and respect, that we cherish one another, and that we serve each other. Let these be the standards that you judge your decisions by.
All of our decisions should be born of a desire to love one another as Christ would.
That means if sleeping together, even if it means less than stellar sleep, can be important to showing one another love. On the other hand, giving each other the freedom to rest without interruption can be an amazing gift of service and love to your spouse (particularly if you have a newborn).
Let love and open communication guide you and you can’t go wrong.
Before You Decide, Check Your Motives
Is choosing to opt for a so-called “sleep divorce” bad for your marriage?
Honestly, this is a hard question to answer because relationship and family circumstances vary so greatly!
Many couples are making these kinds of choices for purely practical reasons such as taking turns tending to a newborn or working opposite shifts, while for others the decision to separate at night may be a worrisome signal that things are decaying in your relationship.
Determining the line between “I need to sleep alone for the sake of getting better rest” and “I don’t want to be in the same space as you” can get fuzzy.
When dealing with circumstances that lead to the need to rest separately, clear communication and intentional times of connection have to be even more of a priority because you are missing out on a built-in time of shared space that a common bed allows for.
Sophie Jacobi-Parisi, a New York attorney at Warshaw Burstein, who practices matrimonial and family law, said that “couples that choose to sleep separately but don’t have a conversation around why they are making the change, it can be another step in the path toward divorce.”
She makes the point that there can be many practical reasons as to why separate sleeping arrangements may be beneficial but if we are not clear in our communication with one another as to why we are making these types of decisions this can be one step closer to separation or divorce.
The bottom line is that the decision to sleep separately is one that should not be taken lightly.
If there is a real need for this arrangement, communication with one another surrounding this decision is very important to make sure that it is not a choice to step away from your commitment to your marriage.
Every step we take away from our spouses, be it physically or emotionally, has the potential for negative long-term consequences. Wisdom invites us to weigh these types of decisions carefully.
How to Keep a Healthy Marriage While Sleeping Separately
If you are in a season of life where it feels impossible or disruptive to each other’s rest to sleep in the same bed there are a few ways to make sure you get through this season well.
1. Identify the sleep issue and determine the best way to remedy it.
For example, if opposite schedules mean you can’t go to bed together, then identify ways you are going to take time to rest together. There is something special about spending time resting together.
While many think best sleep comes alone, there is research that shows that sharing a bed actually leads to better sleep. Potential benefits include falling to sleep faster, lowered blood pressure, a boosted immune system, helps curb anxiety, and even can slow down aging!
If you are trading off dealing with children, one suggestion would be to do this switch during the week but reserve the weekends to still sleep in the same bed together. Another idea is to spend time together in bed catching up and snuggling before separating to your posts to get some rest.
If separating is due to snoring, a health concern, or another issue, make sure you are thorough in discussing how to make sure you both know that the decision to sleep separately is not a decision to live separately.
While it is easy to see the practical need for rest it is important to care and nurture each other’s feelings.
Find ways to express your desire to remain near one another in life even if your circumstances prohibit being together in the night hours.
2. Revisit your sleep arrangements frequently.
No decision like this should be permanent. Just because something works well or is necessary for one season does not mean it is good for all seasons.
Choosing to come back together to the same bed, even if it means lost sleep, is 100% worth it if it is going to bring your marriage closer together again.
We sacrifice sleep for so many other causes: our children, video games, binge-watching TV, and even work. It is reasonable to expect to have to sacrifice some sleep for the sake of your marriage.
Be wary of a temporary season of sleep separation becoming permanent. This could be a sign of a growing disconnect in your relationship.
Once that baby is sleeping then you should return to sleeping in your same bed or at least should be talking about what new arrangement would work best for both of you.
When your situation changes, it is important not to ignore the conversation around sleep arrangements. This can lead to resentment and false assumptions being made by each of you.
3. Be mindful of how your sex life is affected by your sleep arrangements.
One very practical reason to sleep in the same bed is that you are in the same place at the same time alone, giving you the chance to be intimate with one another.
If I just fall asleep on the couch before going to bed, there is a much lower chance I am going to be up for getting intimate with my husband. If you are parents, practically you need the late hours of the night to be able to have the privacy required to have intercourse.
Separate beds or separate rooms can become barriers to having access to one another sexually.
This of course does not have to be the case. If you are mindful of each other’s needs and make it a point to be available to one another at other times of the day or are willing to travel across beds or even rooms to be intimate, then it is possible to keep a thriving sex life under this arrangement.
Nonetheless, we know that a sexless marriage can be one factor that leads to divorce. Keep tabs on if your sleeping arrangement is affecting your sex life is a good way to determine if something is amiss in your relationship.
Loving your spouse well often means sacrifice.
Depending on your circumstances that sacrifice may look like buying ear plugs so you can remain close in the night to your chainsaw snoring spouse. It can also look like giving up your side of the bed so your baby and Momma have a safe space to rest together during those harrowing early months of life.
If we want our marriages to thrive we have to be careful to be taking steps closer to one another, showing each other love and consideration in our every decision.
Let that be your guide on how you navigate rest as you share your lives with one another.
Amanda Idleman is a writer whose passion is to encourage others to live joyfully. She writes devotions for My Daily Bible Verse Devotional and Podcast, Crosswalk Couples Devotional, the Daily Devotional App, she has work published with Her View from Home, on the MOPS Blog, and is a regular contributor for Crosswalk.com. You can find out more about Amanda on her Facebook Page or follow her on Instagram.
It’s another crazy Tuesday night. Getting the kids to do their chores or homework is like herding cats. My partner in crime is missing as usual. He was supposed to be home two hours ago. Chris stayed after work to finish up a project and I’m finding myself annoyed because I could totally use his help here, at home. After all, he married me, not his job. As he walks in the door, I try not to roll my eyes because I know what he will say next. Grinning, he says, “You complete me.” I can’t help but laugh because it’s our inside joke. He’s my best friend, but he doesn’t complete me. If he did, he would’ve prevented all the chaos and mishaps, right?
22 years of marriage that began with a teenage pregnancy and a shotgun wedding is hardly the stuff soulmates are made of. But when people get to know us, we often hear how we must’ve been star crossed lovers, destined by God to be mates for life.
We all want the Jerry McGuire moment when he says, “You complete me.” But then lights go up, the credits roll, and we find ourselves in the real world surrounded by imperfect people. We compare our significant other to the film, to our friend’s spouses or boyfriends. We scroll through social media and the comparison seems to find no end.
We see perfectly cropped, filtered posts about how so and so’s guy brought her flowers or we see a guy saying he has the best wife in the world because she just ‘gets him.’ But no one talks about the hard work any relationship takes. No one posts about bickering over unmet expectations, the budget talks or hurt feelings. No one wants to post about the fights, the arguments, the late conversations about trust. And no one will ever talk about their secret unrealized dreams, disappointments, or doubts.
We find ourselves living in a fallen world where there is no such thing as a soulmate. I’ll be the first to say my husband isn’t my soulmate, and the church needs to stop preaching it, teaching it, and supporting this ideal. While it may seem like the Bible is responsible for this phenomenon, the word “soulmate” isn’t found anywhere within its pages. Yet, the idea we were made for our soulmates has given individuals permission to bail from the bonds of marriage.
All too often we want to shape our identity, relationships, and marriage to fit our idea of what love is supposed to be instead of the truth. The truth is this, we are matchless. No one on this earth will complete us. No, not even your spouse or future spouse. But finding the one who completes you is a dangerous myth in Christian dating and marriage. There is no prince charming. There is no happily ever after. There is no one who will make you whole.
What Does ‘You Complete Me’ Mean?
‘You complete me.’
This probably sounds like the most romantic thing your partner may have said to you. It definitely feels good when someone tells us that we complete them. It sounds even more romantic than, “I love you.” But if we dig into the phrase a little deeper, it means this person needs you to be a complete person which eventually leads to the conclusion that without you, this person cannot grow. The question here is whether such need-based relationships are fulfilling for a lifetime or not.
Where Did the Phrase ‘You Complete Me’ Originate?
So, where did this idea come from? The soulmate myth originated from pagan philosophy thousands of years ago. It has recently started trending in popular culture and has crept into our church and ideals about marriage.
According to Plato, humans were originally created with two faces, two arms, and four legs. They roamed the earth as a sphere and possessed incredible strength. Humans were so strong that their power became a threat to the divine realm. The Greek deity Zeus took notice and acted upon the threat by slicing humans in half. Humans were then sentenced to spend their mortal days not rivaling the gods but instead, searching for their missing half—their soulmates. At least that’s the story in The Symposium. While Plato is definitely not the best source of insight into our lonely condition, we can look to the One who is Truth (John 14:6). He knows the truth and reveals the truth through his word.
What Does the Bible Say about Two Becoming One?
“But at the beginning of creation God ‘made them male and female’. ‘For this reason, a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, And the two shall become one flesh’: so that they are no more two, but one flesh.” Mark 10:6-8 and in Genesis 2:24 it says, “…A man leaves his father and mother and is united to his wife, and they become one flesh.” Ecclesiastes 4:9 says, “Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their labor.”
Are we getting a clearer picture yet? Two becoming one does not mean that we were missing our other halves. The Bible shows and teaches the nitty-gritty of marriage: Two stubborn, broken people, united together for a common purpose: to build a home and relationship that reflects God. Two becoming one is less about aligning preferences and more about uniting in purpose. All of this, not in spite of marriage, but because of it. This shows us there is a fine line between becoming one with your mate while maintaining your God-given identity. Becoming one takes effort and persistence.
Mark Groves summarizes what it means to become a unit quite wonderfully:
“While most people seek to be independent in relationships, I seek independent dependence. As in, I want to preserve my wholeness, honor my partner’s need to do the same, and also be able to depend on her. What is the point of a partnership if we can’t turn to the one we love and say, “Today I can’t hold up my world alone, will you help me? It’s healthy to depend on people for support, it’s not healthy to depend on them for our wholeness and happiness. Those are two very different things.”
What Are the Dangers of the Phrase ‘You Complete Me’?
The dangers of looking for someone to complete you could be a codependent relationship. It also means we begin looking at our spouse as our savior instead of the One who did save us. Interestingly enough, Plato and the Bible do have one caveat in common: humans are naturally incomplete. But before you go quoting Jerry McGuire, the solution to completeness is different. Plato says we must find our soulmates to be complete. Scripture says Jesus makes us complete. This is the difference. Humans are flawed and fading. Jesus is infallible, infinite, and faithful.
When churches teach and preach there is a soulmate out there for each of us, we are in danger of idolizing marriage. We begin to put marriage on a pedestal. We elevate it, covet it, and only have rose-colored glasses for married life. We replace Jesus for marriage and send ourselves into the wastelands of our perceived incompleteness. Our belief that true love should be passionate and dramatic causes us to cling to unhealthy relationships that should have been left in the past. We expect our spouse to meet all our needs. We think of love as a matter of chance, not choice. We mistake marriage and our spouse to be our saving grace.
This kind of thinking puts us in danger of becoming unsatisfied in marriage or current relationship. Believing that you are destined to be with someone dramatically changes the way you look at your potential partner and changes the way you handle conflict because every instance begins to feel like a failure. Your marriage will begin to unravel because you’re less likely to work at it. Seeing your marriage as a partnership requires work, effort, commitment, and compromise.
Churches should be teaching against the grain of this mentality. God is the crux of our completeness. And this should be the message for our souls. Our challenge isn’t to let go of the idea of finding a partner to do life with—our challenge is doing life with our partner and God at the center. For more about soulmates and marriage, check out, “If God Doesn’t Make Soulmates, How Do I Know They’re The One?”
What Does the Bible Say about Our Identity?’
One of the richest passages about identity found in the Bible in the book of Ephesians. In Ephesians 1:3-14, Paul addresses the church in Ephesus, explaining the new identity given to a person when they are in Christ.
According to Ephesians 1, we have been blessed with every spiritual blessing. We have been chosen, adopted, redeemed, forgiven, unconditionally loved, lavished in grace, and accepted. We are blameless and forgiven. We have received the hope of spending eternity with God. When we are in Christ, these aspects of our identity can never be altered by what we do.
The Bible tells us that our identity is in Christ. “When we become followers and believers in Jesus, we lose our identity in this world and embrace our identity in Christ. Our identity in Christ is being a member of His body, the church.”
You are the son or daughter of the Most High King. We are the sons and daughters who had been redeemed, created new, and awakened spiritually to the Lord. This means we are heirs to God’s Kingdom. As long as we recognize our identity in Christ alone, we won’t get lost seeking the empty things that the phrase, ‘You complete me,’ brings.
Heather Riggleman is an author, national speaker, former award-winning journalist and podcast co-host of the Moms Together Podcast. She calls Nebraska home with her three kids and a husband of 21 years. She believes Jazzercise, Jesus, and tacos can fix anything and not necessarily in that order! She is author of I Call Him By Name Bible Study, the Bold Truths Prayer Journal, Mama Needs a Time Out, and Let’s Talk About Prayerand a contributor to several books. Her work has been featured on Proverbs 31 Ministries, MOPS, Today’s Christian Woman, and Focus On the Family. You can find her at www.heatherriggleman.com or on Facebook.
When I talk about what it means to have joy and contentment, I am not talking about relying on the power of positive thinking as you live out your life like The Little Engine That Could (“I think I can, I think I can”), or the many programs in books and on television about the power of positive thinking.
I am talking about the power that comes from being content with what God has already given you.
Contentment at Work
When I think about people I know who are so content with Jesus in their life they reflect the joy and love of Jesus in a way that actually infects those around them with their joy, one of those people that always comes to my mind is the Port-O-Let driver (his name is Fred) I worked with in the Undercover Boss show.
I never met Fred before being assigned to him as my boss for the day on the Waste Management Undercover Boss episode, and I worked with him undercover as his helper cleaning out Port-O-Lets all day.
I have to be honest with you, when I heard I was going to have a job cleaning out Port-O-Lets all day, I thought it was going to be a long day I would not enjoy very much. I knew it would be a tough, stinky job! But honestly, that day was one of the most fun days I had of all the different jobs I did for the Undercover Boss show.
And the reason I had so much fun was because of Fred’s positive and fun attitude. He showed how a happy disposition, when you are filled with the love of Jesus Christ, can make even a stinky job fun for you and everyone around you.
I have never laughed so much while doing work. In fact, after eight hours of working with him that day, my face muscles were fatigued from laughing so much that I kept getting cramps in my face. I have never had that happen to me before!
At one point I asked Fred if he was a Christian because I could just tell there was something inside of him giving him all that joy. Fred told me he was a Christian, and he guessed I was too! We hugged each other, said a prayer together, and then just kept on working.
Jesus Christ was clearly evident in his life. Fred taught me how important it is to let that joy and contentment with what you have shine on those around you and what an impact that can have on others. It is so infectious and draws others to you because they want to know the reason for the hope that is within you.
Contentment in Our Culture
Our culture tries to tell us that pursuing everything other than God will bring us contentment. People are searching hopelessly for contentment by pursuing material things or their own selfish desires and pleasures, but they aren’t seeking God.
We can see it all around us—people pouring their lives into their work with a focus on themselves, getting ahead, and making a name for themselves. I am sure everyone can identify someone they know (or maybe even you are that person) that on the outside seems to have achieved much in their career—their position, their status, their home or homes, their car or cars, etc.
Yet, even with all the material possessions they have, deep down the people who have not placed their faith in Jesus Christ are not happy.
I think that is why there is such a huge drug and alcohol problem in the world. People are trying to find contentment with drugs, alcohol, pornography, and material things because they think those things will bring them contentment or comfort or take away their pain.
Those things might provide a brief relief from some of life’s pains and struggles, but they will never find lasting contentment and peace without Jesus in their life and turning control over to God. The Bible tells us in Genesis 1:26 that God made us in His image.
God loves us and He wants a relationship with us. Without God we won’t be content.
Contentment in Adversity
Most of the Scripture about contentment in the New Testament is written by the apostle Paul, who was arrested for teaching that Jesus Christ died for our sins and rose again.
Paul was beaten, placed in chains, tortured, and eventually died a martyr’s death, but never did anything to deserve it. So if anyone should have had an attitude that life is not fair, it is Paul.
But he placed his faith in Jesus and was content, no matter the situation, because he trusted God.
Paul, while he is in chains in prison, tells us: “I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do all this through him who gives me strength” (Philippians 4:11–13).
The last sentence of this verse is usually taken out of context when people quote it. It is really talking about contentment. It is about knowing God will give us what we need. Being content and trusting God through our trials can even reflect God to others.
Paul didn’t draw his strength from having more material possessions than his friends or from worrying about what others thought about him.
Paul’s faith in Jesus Christ brought him contentment. Paul got his strength from God and it was his faith in Christ that gave him the strength to be content–to endure–through all things.
The Source for Contentment
Unfortunately, our sinful nature, along with Satan, are at work every day to try to convince us we are not content. Paul tells us that to overcome our discontentment we must pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, endurance, and gentleness.
Paul is telling us to focus on our relationship with God, and that will bring us contentment.
So contentment is a spiritual issue, not a money issue or an issue about how many material possessions we have. I think the secret to contentment is understanding God is sovereign and in control. If God doesn’t want something to happen, it won’t happen.
That means God is in control when good things happen in our lives, and God is in control when times are tough for us.
Contentment comes to us when we depend on God rather than ourselves. Contentment can come to us when we give to others in need, not just of our money but of our time.
One of the things God has taught me is that neither my money nor my time is mine. My money and my time are both given to me by God. No matter how much or how little each of us has, it is still more than we deserve because God owes us nothing.
Everything we possess is a gift from God. And God wants us to be a good steward of everything He has given to us.
Another thing I have found that contributes greatly to contentment is telling God how thankful I am for all He has given me. The more I thank God, the more I become aware of what He has done for me and the more content I find myself.
We can even find contentment in difficult times. Maybe God is trying to teach us something through our crises. We can give thanks to God even when times are tough that He is taking an interest in us to teach us something and to draw us closer in our relationship to Him.
I think we all have work to do when it comes to contentment. Next time you find yourself feeling down or that life is unfair, just remember Paul being wrongfully chained in a Roman prison, and yet he was joyous and content.
I doubt any of our lives will be as difficult as Paul’s was in prison. But we can be just as content by placing our focus on Jesus Christ, being thankful for all God has given us, and asking the Holy Spirit to help us grow in our ability to live with righteousness, godliness, faith, love, endurance, and gentleness.
Ultimately, our contentment comes as a result of our faith in Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior.
Larry O’Donnell served many years as president and COO of Waste Management, where he became best known as the first “Undercover Boss” from CBS’ hit reality show. A popular speaker, leadership consultant and ministry leader, he holds a Master’s in Biblical and Theological Studies from Dallas Theological Seminary and mentors leaders around the world through his full-time ministry. His new book, Management Waste, from which this piece was adapted, is available now atwww.larryodonnell.com.
Parenting in this day and age is not for the faint at heart. That’s why Mama Take Heart is here to help you be the gospel-centered, compassionate, and influential voice in your Gen-Z daughter’s life. In this show, we give listeners the tools they need to love and lead well in their child’s formative years. Host Robrenna Redl is here to help equip and empower you with resources and practical takeaways, whether you’re looking for ways to intentionally connect or to have hard conversations. So don’t fret, Mama. Instead, take heart!
Churches come in all shapes, sizes, and sometimes even beliefs.
In Revelation 2-3, the Bible gives us some descriptions of a church that might have lost its way. Although, the Bible also mentions positive things that these very same churches were doing, so they weren’t all bad. This is an important idea to remember, because no church is going to be one hundred percent perfect; after all, they are run by humans.
Be wise and be aware, but before you leave any church, take some time to evaluate your own motives. Any problems that you see might be a result of your own perception and not really issues at all. Your inclination to avoid a particular church may be valid, but it could also be your own pride thinking you deserve better. Always check yourself and your motives.
Still, certain characteristics may be a good reason to go elsewhere:
When we hear that a church leader has fallen short and has engaged in illicit activities, it can often lead us to a place of frustration and sadness. Sometimes Christians even leave the church when a leader who seemed to exercise a strong faith falls into temptation and sin.
So, what happens when a Christian leader who has passed has committed some difficult-to-swallow sins? And what if the news leaks out after they have passed?
Should Christians preserve the legacy of the person who is no longer with us, even if they made mistakes? Or should we also bear in mind that they may have caused hurt? And how do we reconcile both as Christians? Let’s dive into this extremely tough topic with grace and turning to Scripture.
What Does the Bible Say about Holding Leaders Accountable?
Proverbs 27:17: “Iron sharpens iron, and one man sharpens another.”
We need to sharpen one another like iron. If we find that our brother or sister has engaged in a sinful lifestyle, we need to step in and remind them of the truth of Scripture. Passivity doesn’t fly.
This becomes difficult, of course, when someone has passed. After all, how do we reprimand someone who cannot speak for themselves? How can we encourage them to improve if they no longer live here on Earth with us?
Galatians 6:1-2: “Brothers, if anyone is caught in any transgression, you who are spiritual should restore him in a spirit of gentleness. Keep watch on yourself, lest you too be tempted. Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ.”
Scripture calls us to restore one another in a spirit of gentleness. This doesn’t mean pointing the finger or casting stones. But it does entail not allowing sin to continue. The verse also warns us not to fall into temptation ourselves, to remove the plank from our own eyes.
James 5:19-20: “My brothers, if anyone among you wanders from the truth and someone brings him back, let him know that whoever brings back a sinner from his wandering will save his soul from death and will cover a multitude of sins.”
The difficulty arises, once again, because how can we do what the verses from James commands us if the person has passed? Do we have examples from Scripture about holding leaders accountable for what they did after they passed?
What Does the Bible Say about Accountability after Someone Has Passed?
Let’s analyze a few examples from Scripture about how people handled the legacies of less-than-perfect people who caused grief for friends, loved ones, and future generations.
One of the best examples happens early in the Old Testament: Isaac.
Isaac followed the Lord and served as a patriarch over Israel. This didn’t exclude him from committing sins that ended up pulling his family apart and tarnishing his legacy.
Because Isaac chose favorites, something Scripture commands us not to do (Romans 2:11), this not only tore Jacob away from the family (after Jacob tricked Esau due to this favoritism, Esau vowed to kill him), but Jacob carried this pattern with him. Because Jacob adopted favoritism from his father, his son Joseph is led into slavery in Egypt.
Does this exclude Isaac from his patriarch status? No. God uses an imperfect man to continue the line of his people through Israel. Nevertheless, it takes generations to heal from Isaac’s sin, even after he had passed.
We can look further back in the patriarchs for another example: Abraham when he sleeps with Hagar. Scripture doesn’t dive into details here, but as a handmaiden, she didn’t have much of a choice in the matter. More likely, she didn’t want to sleep with Abraham.
When she gives birth to a son, Abraham’s wife mistreats her, casts Hagar and her son out of the house, and leaves them to die. Although God ultimately saves Hagar and her son Ishmael, the animosity continues between the Ishmaelites and Israelites throughout their history. Because Abraham committed a sin, even after his death, the repercussions continue and hurt many generations to come.
This doesn’t exclude Abraham from the hall of faith (Hebrews 11). God doesn’t take away Abraham from the patriarchs for his actions either. But this doesn’t make the repercussions of his actions disappear either.
What Does ‘Judge Not’ Mean?
Christians do, in difficult situations like this, often say the phrase, “Judge not,” from the verse Matthew 7, “Just not, lest you be judged.”
So what’s the difference between judging and accountability? Let’s see what Matthew Henry has to say on this:
“We must judge ourselves, and judge of our own acts, but not make our word a law to everybody. We must not judge rashly, nor pass judgment upon our brother without any ground. We must not make the worst of people. Here is a just reproof to those who quarrel with their brethren for small faults, while they allow themselves in greater ones. Some sins are as motes, while others are as beams; some as a gnat, others as a camel. Not that there is any sin little; if it be a mote, or splinter, it is in the eye; if a gnat, it is in the throat; both are painful and dangerous, and we cannot be easy or well till they are got out. That which charity teaches us to call but a splinter in our brother’s eye, true repentance and godly sorrow will teach us to call a beam in our own. It is as strange that a man can be in a sinful, miserable condition, and not be aware of it, as that a man should have a beam in his eye, and not consider it; but the god of this world blinds their minds. Here is a good rule for reprovers; first reform thyself.”
In the words, we should make efforts to reform ourselves, especially if we fall into the same temptations as the one accused.
This doesn’t negate justice systems or accountability. Scripture calls us to hold one another accountable, especially as we spur one another to be more like Christ. Turning a blind eye to injustices committed by Christians is the opposite of what the Bible calls us to do.
What Did Jesus Mean by ‘He Who Is Without Sin Cast the First Stone’?
When we analyze these examples and think of Christian leaders, alive or no longer with us, who have messed up, we may say, “Well, Jesus said, ‘He who is without sin cast the first stone.’ Why should we tarnish their legacy if we deal with sin ourselves?”
Jesus does tell us to pull the plank out of our eyes (Matthew 7:5) and to analyze ourselves to find where we have wanting. After all, we all do sin and our actions have consequences, whether we see them in this lifetime or they happen after we pass.
Matthew Henry has the following to say about John 8 and Jesus’ saying on casting the first stone:
“He aimed to bring, not only the accused to repentance, by showing her his mercy, but the prosecutors also, by showing them their sins; they thought to insnare him, he sought to convince and convert them. He declined to meddle with the magistrate’s office. Many crimes merit far more severe punishment than they meet with; but we should not leave our own work, to take that upon ourselves to which we are not called. When Christ sent her away, it was with this caution, Go, and sin no more. Those who help to save the life of a criminal, should help to save the soul with the same caution.”
We do have a God of mercy and grace, who gives us many chances. But we also need to remind each other to “go and sin no more.” This becomes difficult when a person has passed, and we can no longer remind them of the truth of Scripture.
It also becomes especially hard when they leave victims in their wake. People still experience the pain of their actions, even after they have passed. By disregarding the struggles of the victims, we risk failing our calling in Micah 6:8. To not only love mercy but do justice. To help the victims in the difficult and arduous healing process. And to not allow their voices to disappear as well.
Imagine if Hagar or Jacob hadn’t had their pain seen by God when they were wronged.
Hagar says this in reply when God gives her a promise. Genesis 16:13: “She gave this name to the Lordwho spoke to her: “You are the God who sees me,” for she said, “I have now seenthe One who sees me.”
If we strive to become more like God, we need to see the hurting, the victims, and those in the wake of destruction left behind by Christian leaders who sinned.
This topic is, of course, by no means an easy discussion. After all, we all sin and fall short (Romans 3:23). We may have no idea what consequences will follow our actions.
So, when it comes to Christian leaders who have passed, we may not have a copy-paste solution. Yes, we should remember how they helped so many begin a relationship with Christ. But we should also see those hurt by them and extend the same grace and gentleness to those people as well.
Hope Bolinger is an editor at Crosswalk.com, literary agent at C.Y.L.E., and a graduate of Taylor University’s professional writing program. More than 1,000 of her works have been featured in various publications ranging from Writer’s Digest to Keys for Kids. She has worked for various publishing companies, magazines, newspapers, and literary agencies and has edited the work of authors such as Jerry B. Jenkins and Michelle Medlock Adams. Her modern-day Daniel trilogy released its first two installments with IlluminateYA, and the final one, Vision, releases in August of 2021. She is also the co-author of the Dear Hero duology, which was published by INtense Publications. And her inspirational adult romance Picture Imperfect releases in October of 2021. Find out more about her at her website.
My husband and I would like to be cremated after our deaths. Our families do not approve. Is there scripture that will back us in our decision? What does the Bible say about cremation?
It may not give you the confirmation you need, but here is your answer about what the Bible tells us about cremation – as best as I can tell, there is no Bible passage that attempts to give guidelines regarding acceptable burial procedures. No matter which burial practices one follows, the results are always the same: “Dust to dust, ashes to ashes.” Job reiterated the final disposition of the body in Job 34:14-15: “If it were his intention and he withdrew his spirit and breath, all mankind would perish together and man would return to the dust.”
The ancient Egyptians embalmed bodies to delay decay and to prepare for the afterlife.
In first-century Israel, bodies were buried on the day of death! A 60-foot length of one-foot-wide cloth was wrapped around and around the deceased while all sorts of spices were sprinkled in the wrappings in order to reduce the stench of decay. The bodies were then placed in caves or stone sepulchers.
In more recent times, it’s customary to embalm a body before burial in order to delay decay long enough for the family to mourn the deceased and to give time for out-of-town friends and relatives to arrive before the funeral.
Burial procedures are rapidly changing in today’s culture. Many people are turning to cremation as the body disposition of choice. One of the primary drivers in this change is the astronomical cost of having a “traditional funeral.” The costs for embalming, buying a casket and purchasing a piece of ground to put the casket in is cost prohibitive for too many families.
The only long-term difference between embalming and cremation is time. Cremation just speeds up the process.
Biblical Perspective on Cremation
You may do well to investigate why your family doesn’t approve of your cremation choice. Perhaps they consider cremation as not Biblical. However, as we have seen, cremation is never a Biblical issue. Here are some other concerns of Christians about cremation.
1. Perhaps they are worried that when Jesus returns at the Rapture and the bodies of long-dead Christians are resurrected and transformed into spiritual bodies — that you won’t have a body to resurrect. Frankly, since the first century, most (if not all) bodies are now dust anyway. Since God is big enough to produce a world-wide resurrection, He certainly can make a spiritual body from only a speck of dust — or less.
2. Perhaps your family wants you in a casket-filled grave so they can have a place for remembering you and your lives together. This desire is natural and normal.
Recently, I’ve observed families foregoing the expensive caskets and burial plots by choosing cremation. They then purchase a small cemetery plot in which to bury the ashes. Others scatter the ashes over a prearranged place meaningful to the deceased. Some save a few ashes in a small locket as a token reminder of their loved one. Some ashes reside in burial urns over fireplace mantles.
With all that being said, remember that your body is still your body. Discuss openly with your family that you want to dispose of your body in the way most comfortable to you. In your case, that is cremation.
My mother just traded in her outdoor burial plot for an indoor mausoleum space. She decided that she was uncomfortable with the idea that she would be down in the ground with the “worms and maggots!” Then, she got to worrying that above ground a tornado could hit the mausoleum! She wanted to change back; but, she finally decided that worms were worse than tornadoes.
If you are more comfortable with cremation then I recommend that you do so.
Personally, I want my body cremated. I’ve picked out four golf courses where I want my family to spread my ashes. I think.
Recently, our church erected a columbarium with small niches for burial urns of ashes. It’s on an outdoor wall of the new chapel. Recently, Julie and I exhumed our first daughter’s ashes from Evergreen Cemetery and placed them in an urn in the niche in the far-left top row of the columbarium. I’m thinking about changing my mind. I just might have my ashes placed in the niche with Jessie.
After all, the chapel wall sounds like a great final resting place while we wait for the sounds of the resurrection trumpet. Jessie and I could even hold hands together on the way up!
Psalm 103:15-17 is a Bible passage that gives us a great perspective on cremation — or on any other burial practice: As for man, his days are like grass, He flourishes like a flower of the field; The wind blows over it and it is gone, And its place remembers it no more. But from everlasting to everlasting The LORD’s love is with those who fear him, And his righteousness with their children’s children…
Well, B, I hope this helps. Have a great talk with your family.
Watch: Should Christian Families Bury or Creamate?
Theologians Apply Scripture to Cremation
“Actually, the Scriptures do not say anything about required modes of burial for believers. Standard practice among Old Testament and in the New Testament was burial. Saul and Jonathan were cremated by the Israelites after their deaths, but this was not normal practice in Israel. Their bodies were mutilated by the Philistines, thus the decision was made to cremate, then bury the ashes (1 Samuel 31:8-13). Achan, and his family, were cremated upon their execution for sinning against Israel, which again appears to be an exception to normal burial practices among the Israelites.” – John MacArthur, Grace to You
“Although there is biblical evidence for burial instead of cremation, it is still a preference, and Christians should not condemn other Christians who have chosen cremation…Burial is thus equated to “sowing the seed of the body,” and “is the biblical picture of belief in the resurrection of the body.” Piper also says that cremation can be viewed as anti-biblical due to the Bible’s many references to hell and evil being associated with fire. “The use of fire to consume the human body on earth was seen as a sign of contempt. It was not a glorious treatment of the body but a contemptuous one,” Piper writes…Pastor John Piper: Christians Should Choose Burial Over Cremation
This article is part of our larger Spiritual Life resource meant to answer your questions about the Bible, God and the Christian faith. Visit our most popular questions on “What does the Bible say about…” questions answered by well known Christians and theologians to find more inspiration. Remember that as you read these articles, the Holy Spirit will give you understanding and discernment to make the right decision for your walk with Jesus Christ! If you know others struggling with these faith questions, please share and help others discover the truth on these controversial topics.
What Does the Bible Say About Drinking Alcohol? What Does the Bible Say About Gambling? What Does the Bible Say About Marriage? What Does the Bible Say About Suicide? What Does the Bible Say About Tithing?
Editor’s Note: This Ask Roger article features insights from Roger’s daughter, Brie Barrier Wetherbee, a sought-after Bible teacher and conference speaker, author, analyst, and Christian theologian.
Pastor Roger Barrier’s “Ask Roger” column regularly appears at Preach It, Teach It. Every week at Crosswalk, Dr. Barrier puts nearly 40 years of experience in the pastorate to work answering questions of doctrine or practice for laypeople or giving advice on church leadership issues. Email him your questions at [email protected].
Find prayers for the protection and healing of children. Pray for and with your children using these prayers at morning and bedtime!
Powerful prayers for children
Children are a precious gift from God. So, when the challenges of life come along, it’s easy to fear for their futures. But praise God, we have the gift of praying for children we know and love, and those around the world who may be facing difficult times.
Praying for children is one of the most powerful things you can do as a parent, carer or compassionate Christian. That’s why we’ve gathered together 10 prayers for children.
When inclined to worry about the future of our children – as we naturally do from time to time – use this special collection of prayers to lift up your children to our loving Heavenly Father. Be encouraged by our unique prayers for children written by Compassion Ambassadors.
“Father God, we ask for your blessing today as we pray these prayers over our children. We praise you that every day we can trust in your goodness. Amen”
1. PRAYERS FOR MY CHILDREN’S PROTECTION
Take encouragement from the fact that our God is fully in control of all things. Remind yourself that “we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.” Romans 8:28
Prayer:Lord God, we praise you that you are fully in control of all things. I pray you would protect my child. Keep them healthy and help them to thrive. I thank you that you know every hair on their head. You know exactly when they rise and when they fall. Watch over my child in every area of their life and keep them safe I pray, Amen.
2. PRAYERS FROM COMPASSION AMBASSADORS
As well as praying for your children, it’s great to make a difference in your prayers by remembering some of the most vulnerable children around the world. Praise God, that when you sponsor a child living in poverty, you give them security and hope for the future!
We invited singer-songwriters and Compassion ambassadors, Chloe Reynolds and Philippa Hanna, to share a prayer for kids around the world.
A prayer for precious children around the world from Philippa Hanna:
Dear Lord Jesus. Thank you so much for all the precious children in this world. We know they mean so much to you. We pray you would help us do all we can to protect and give them the start in life they deserve. Lord we bring to you all of the wonderful work being done to release children from poverty, and we pray that you would bless every pair of hands that works for you. Increase and bless their efforts in Jesus name, Amen.
A prayer of thanks to Christ know knew what it was like to be a child by Chloe Reynolds:
Thank you Jesus that you have lived here as one of us, you know what it’s like to be a child, and to feel everything that children feel. Thank you that we as adults have everything we need to encourage, nurture and provide for those in need.
I pray for children around the world that you would be in their lives and they would grow up knowing they are loved by you. As you bless them with opportunities in their local projects, I pray they would be able to change lives for others in their communities too. Amen
3. PRAYERS FOR CHILDREN’S FUTURES
In the uncertainty of life, give thanks that God has good plans for your children. He will give them a hope and a future (Jeremiah 29:11).
Prayer:Heavenly Father, I thank you that all good gifts come from you. I thank you that I can trust you for the future of my family. Please guide my child in every step they take. I pray they would know your provision and protection. Make steady their steps I pray. Amen
4. PRAYERS FOR CHILDREN’S EDUCATION
Praise God for the educational opportunities He’s given your child! Pray for them to grow in intrigue and wonder at world around them. Ask that they would develop a real love of learning. “For the Lord gives wisdom; from his mouth come knowledge and understanding.” Proverbs 2:6
Prayer:God I thank you for the gift of knowledge! I praise you that you provide us with brains to think and question the world around us. I pray you would help my child learn well and flourish. May they discover their unique talents and giftings. Give them a passion for the world around them. Amen
5. PRAYERS FOR CHILDREN’S FRIENDSHIPS
As these Bible verses about friendship remind us, relationships truly are a gift. Take a moment to pray for your child to know the support of great friends around them.
Prayer:Father God, I thank you that you made us to be in relationship with others. I pray for my child to know great care and support from those around them. May they be encouraged by friends at school, college or university. May they show your love and care to their friendship circle. Amen
Child advocate and President Emeritus of Compassion, Wess Stafford, shares a prayer for all those caring for children to know God’s patience and grace. Take time to pray that you would know God’s hand on your life as you care for children.
Prayer : We love You so much, Lord! We surrender fully to You and pray that Your love will guide us today and every day. May we simply be conduits of Your love to the children in our care. Amen
“Watch carefully the children around you. In precious moments you will catch a glimpse of your Saviour’s face. Listen intently and you will hear his voice. Walk gently among them; his footprints are all around you. Embrace them, for you are embracing him. Respect them, because they are sometimes God’s agents – exactly the kind of instruments he needs. At such times, only a child will do.” Wess Stafford
Babies are such a precious gift. Thank God that He is the author and giver of life! “For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb.” Psalm 139:13
Prayer:Lord God, we thank you for the gift of new life. We thank you for this precious baby’s safe arrival into our world. We pray this baby would sleep peacefully and be kept from harm. We pray you would bless this child as they grow. Keep them safe and strong in the weeks, months and years ahead. Give us grace and strength through the highs and lows of caring for a newborn baby. In Jesus’ name. Amen
Being a teenager can be tough. We hope this prayer will spur you on to pray for your teenager to know the faithfulness of God through both challenges and joys.
Prayer:Lord God, I pray for my teenage son or daughter to know your goodness and provision. I pray they would place their identity in you. I ask that in the pressures of life, they would know you are their rock on which they can stand. I pray that through the challenges of school life, exams, and future decisions, you would lead them, guide them and bring them comfort. In Jesus’ name, Amen
Use this helpful prayer to guide you in praying for your son as they grow up.
Prayer:Father God, I praise you for the gift of my son. I pray he would follow after you and be a builder of your kingdom. I ask that you would protect and steady his steps. May he learn to hear and follow your voice. Like Timothy in the Bible, may my son be an example to believers in speech, love, conduct, faith and purity. (1 Timothy 4:12) Amen
Take a moment to give thanks for the gift of your daughter. Let these words spur you on as you pray for her future.
Prayer:Holy God, I thank you for the precious gift of my daughter. I pray you would protect her through the years. May she become a young woman of great character, seeking after your heart. I pray that through the challenges of life, she would find her confidence in you. May she know your joy as her strength (Nehemiah 8:10). Amen.
A child’s prayer can be beautiful and powerful. As well as praying for your children, it’s also great to encourage your kids to pray simple prayers themselves. Let this collection of prayers for kids help your child as they reach out to their Heavenly Father.
Morning prayers for kids
Teaching your children to pray in the morning is really simple and it’s a great foundational habit to teach them. These are some ideas of morning prayers your child can use as a guide:
Father God I thank you for this new day. I thank you that you love me and are with me today. Amen
Father God, please be with me today in everything I will face. Help me to learn well at school. I pray that I would be a good friend to those around me today. Amen
Father God, I thank you for everything you have done for me. I thank you for my family and my friends. I thank you that you love me so much that you sent your son Jesus for me.
Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for the gift of life. Thank You especially for my children who You have entrusted to me. Truly, they are a treasure from You, Lord. They make life so much more fulfilling. I will be forever grateful to You for giving them to me.
As my kids are growing up, help me, Father, to be a good example to them always. Help me to be a Godly parent. Help me to love them just like You have loved me. Enable me to bring them up in proper discipline and instruction. Make me the instrument, Lord, by which they will see You and who You are. Being a parent is not an easy task, but with You, Lord, everything is possible.
I also ask You to bless my children, God. As I do my best, with Your help, to teach them how to live a righteous life, help them to always do the right thing. Bless their minds with sound decision-making skills. Let their hands be channels of Your blessing to their friends, classmates, and relatives. Let not their tongues be used to destroy others through harsh words. Rather, enable them to speak words of life, encouragement, and grace.
Protection of Children
Protect my children, Father God, each and every day. As they go to school, and as they come back home, be their shield and their fortress. Keep them away from the evils of this world. Let no bad influence corrupt their precious minds. Let no accidents fall on them while they’re away from home. Allow no physical harm to touch their bodies. Keep them away from illness.
Last but not least, Lord, bless their studies. Allow them to gain more knowledge both about You and the universe You created. May they develop minds that seek the Truth above all.
All these I ask in Your Name, Amen.
Prayer for a Sick Child
Lord Jesus, my child has fallen prey to disease. My precious little one is hurting, and I almost cannot bear to see the pain in her eyes. As a parent, there is nothing that hurts me more than seeing my child suffering. It is during these times that I wish I could do something more, but I just cannot. For that reason, Lord, I need You now, and my little one needs You even more.
Lord, I firmly believe that You have the power to heal my child. You are greater than this disease. You are the author of her life, and You are fully able to bring her back to normal. Touch her now with Your healing hands, God. Remove the affliction from within her body. Enable her to rise up and walk again. Bring the smile back to her face.
Despite all of this, I am still thankful, Lord, that You have given my little one a chance to rest. Thank You, Lord, that she is able to be comfortable at home as she recovers her strength. Thank You for giving her an unexpected day off from school. When the disease has left, she will be once again ready to face the challenges ahead of her.
As I look forward to my little one’s complete healing, I would like to thank You ahead of time, Lord, for restoring her strength. Thank You for your healing touch that you will grant my child. Through this experience, allow her also, Lord, to experience You in a special way. Let this circumstance draw her closer to You. May it teach her to depend on You more, especially in times of weakness.
Thank You so much, Lord Jesus, that we are able to draw strength and healing from You. Even during the times when we are weak, You are always strong. Thank You, Lord, that You also share that strength with us when we need it the most. All these I pray in Your Name, Amen.
Morning Prayer for Kids
Dearest Lord, this is the day that You have made, and I will rejoice and be glad in it. Thank You, Lord, for another opportunity to serve You and to live life in fullness. Thank You for the good night’s sleep You have given to us. Thank You for restoring our strength for today. Thank You for the bright hope that we have for the day ahead. Truly, Lord, life is more worth living with You to guide us always.
Today, I ask You to bless my kids, Lord, that they too might experience Your grace today. Thank You that they are well-rested and ready to face another day. I am also grateful, Lord, for the wisdom You give to their young minds. Guide them always, Lord, to express love to the people around them – their classmates, teachers, and friends. May they always exhibit the fruits of the Spirit – love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. Let them be fountains of blessing to everyone around them.
As I send them on their way to school, Lord, protect them all the way. Be their Guardian in the hours that I am not with them. Shield them from accidents, disease, and other forms of harm. Protect their minds from evil influences. Guard their hearts against any ungodly character. May their tongues always speak words that give life, and may their hands be extensions of Your grace to others.
As my kids go about their way, Lord, also enable them to be positive influencers for Your glory. Let them spread Your love to their community. May their friends catch a glimpse of who You are through their actions. Let them be salt and light to the world around them.
All these I pray in Your Name, Amen.
Bedtime Prayer for Kids
Dearest Lord, thank You for helping us through this day. Thank You for allowing us to be productive, for allowing us to be channels of Your blessing to the people whom we serve. Thank You also for allowing my kids to do the same today.
As we lay our heads to rest tonight, Lord, will you bless my little ones. Grant them a restful night. Allow them to recover their strength, that they may face tomorrow with confidence. Quiet their minds and guard their hearts tonight, Lord. Let no cares or worries surround them as they sleep. Instead, let Your love and peace be with them during the night.
I also ask You, Lord, to be their armor of protection as they rest tonight. Watch over them, and let no harm fall on them. Let no disease enter their bodies in their sleep. May Your hands be upon them tonight and every moment of their lives.
Thank You also, Lord, for granting me this opportunity to be a parent to my kids. Thank You for the wisdom that You give me in raising them. I am forever grateful for their lives, and for how they are growing up to be individuals that give glory to Your name. Keep enabling them, Lord, to grow in Godly character. Through this, allow them also to be good influences to their community.
Renew our strength, Lord, so that we may be ready for another day. Grant us a good night’s rest, and make us able to serve You again tomorrow. All these I ask in Your Name, Amen.
Bible Verses about Children
Proverbs 22:6 – Train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old he will not depart from it.
Ephesians 6:4 – Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord.
Psalm 127:3-5 – Behold, children are a heritage from the Lord, the fruit of the womb a reward. Like arrows in the hand of a warrior are the children of one’s youth. Blessed is the man who fills his quiver with them! He shall not be put to shame when he speaks with his enemies in the gate.
Psalm 127:3 – Behold, children are a heritage from the Lord, the fruit of the womb a reward.
Matthew 18:10 – See that you do not despise one of these little ones. For I tell you that in heaven their angels always see the face of my Father who is in heaven.
Proverbs 17:6 – Grandchildren are the crown of the aged, and the glory of children is their fathers.
Isaiah 54:13 – All your children shall be taught by the Lord, and great shall be the peace of your children.
Mark 10:13-16 – And they were bringing children to him that he might touch them, and the disciples rebuked them. But when Jesus saw it, he was indignant and said to them, “Let the children come to me; do not hinder them, for to such belongs the kingdom of God. Truly, I say to you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God like a child shall not enter it.” And he took them in his arms and blessed them, laying his hands on them.
John 16:21 – When a woman is giving birth, she has sorrow because her hour has come, but when she has delivered the baby, she no longer remembers the anguish, for joy that a human being has been born into the world.
Matthew 19:14 – But Jesus said, “Let the little children come to me and do not hinder them, for to such belongs the kingdom of heaven.”
Proverbs 20:11 – Even a child makes himself known by his acts, by whether his conduct is pure and upright.
10 Ways to Pray For Your Child
At some point, every parent reaches that place of realizing that we can’t control everything, and we can’t produce a lifetime of happy endings for our kids. But rather than throwing up our hands in defeat, a wise mom gets on her knees and seeks the wisdom and help of God: the one who created your child, and loves him even more than you do (it’s true!). Here are some specific ways you can pray for your child and Scripture references to help you.
1. Pray for faith.
We do what we can to give our children a steady diet of the truth, but at some point they must embrace a relationship with God on their own. (Luke 2:52 “Jesus grew in wisdom and stature and in favor with God and all the people.” John 10:27 “My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me.”)
2. Pray for health.
It’s something that moms of healthy kids naturally take for granted, but that moms of kids with serious health challenges value above all else. (Psalm 103:2-3 “Praise the LORD, my soul, and forget not all his benefits—who forgives all your sins and heals all your diseases…”)
3. Pray for friendships.
Good friends are an important part of your child’s social and emotional development, and can play a major role in shaping their views. (Proverbs 12:26 “The righteous choose their friends carefully, but the way of the wicked leads them astray.”)
4. Pray for a future.
Your little one may still be a part of the crayons-and-paste set now, but the years go by quickly and they’re suddenly out there making a life for themselves. Pray now for their preparation for what lies ahead and God’s blessing. (Jeremiah 29:11 “‘For I know the plans I have for you,’ declares the Lord, ‘plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.’”)
5. Pray for character.
A child with a strong sense of right and wrong will make better choices and be spared many of the potential sorrows of poorer ones. Pray that they will embrace a life of integrity and goodness, even in childhood. (1 Corinthians 15:58 “Therefore, my dear brothers, stand firm. Let nothing move you. Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain.”)
6. Pray for safety.
Even as they suffer playground bullies and struggle to ride a two-wheeler, asking for God’s hand of protection—physical, emotional and spiritual—over your child is always a good idea. (Psalm 4:8 “I will lie down and sleep in peace, for you alone, O LORD, make me dwell in safety.” Proverbs 18:10 “The name of the LORD is a strong tower; the righteous run to it and are safe.”)
7. Pray for joy and peace.
No amount of money or success will ever bring your child happiness unless they learn to be content in a variety of circumstances. Real joy is found in our perspective, rather than our situations. (Philippians 4:11 “I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances.” 1 Timothy 6:6 “But godliness with contentment is great gain.”)
8. Pray for their desire for the things that matter.
It’s hard to articulate to younger children why the things of the world are fleeting, and that eternal things are those you can build a meaningful life around. Pray for God to show you how to live this idea daily in front of them and for them to be able to understand it. (Matthew 5:16 “In the same way, let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven.”)
9. Pray for purity.
Forchildren, the battle for purity is largely a battle for their minds: keeping the multitude of negative influences and ideas that are shouted at them daily by the media at bay. Pray for God’s guidance and help in keeping your kids pure in thought and deed. (Philippians 4:8 “Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.”)
10. Pray for their future spouses.
It may sound crazy to pray about something that’s twenty years in the future, but out there, somewhere, is another child who may one day bring all of their baggage, good and bad, into your child’s life. Pray for God to provide the right mate for your child, and that they would enjoy a healthy marriage rooted in a strong common faith. (James 5:16 “…Pray for each other…The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective.”)
A Prayer to Pray Over Your Children Each Morning
As parents, grandparents, mentors, and leaders, we have been given the incredible power to make a difference in the world through the lives of the children we love. And though many of us pray for our kids daily and strongly believe in the power of prayer, it’s sometimes hard to know how to pray strategically, or even what exactly to pray for.
There’s a battle over our families today, and the enemy would love nothing more than to destroy all that we hold dear in this life. He’ll do everything he can to lure our kids his way. But we don’t have to let him win. Here’s hope from God’s word to remember…
Prayer is powerful, and His words are true. I’m aware more than ever, of just how much our kids need our prayers. It’s one of the most important gifts we could ever give to them in this life. God knows our hearts, He sees, He hears, and is always at work, even when we can’t fully see.
Our children are His. And no matter where they go, how old they are, or what they’re facing in this life, they are secure in His care. They’re in His hands, and He has great purpose for them in this life. God loves each one of them so much more than we could ever imagine.
We may not be able to be with them every hour of every day. But He is.
We may not see every struggle, every worry, every burden that can weigh our kids down from day to day. But He does.
And He is always there, carrying them, and us, straight through.
Though it’s true, this world may seem dark many days, God calls us to be light, to make a difference in this life. Praying daily for our children, and for this generation to hold fast to that call. I’m freshly challenged and determined, more than ever before, to pray strategic prayers of blessing and hope over our kids and families, today and every day.
A Daily Prayer for Your Children:
Another day is ahead, and once again, I want to release my children who I love so incredibly much, straight into your tender care. Because I know that’s the best place they could ever be. Thank you in advance for all that you have in store, for this day, for this season, and for their entire lives.
I ask for your wisdom and direction over their day, that you would give them understanding beyond what their years say they should even know. I ask that you would remind my kids again of how very much you love them. I pray that they find security and confidence fully in you, knowing that you are trustworthy and true.
I ask for your peace to cover them. I ask for laughter and joy to fill their day. I pray that you would give them boldness and courage to face the challenges set before them, with the confidence and calmness that can only come from your Holy Spirit.
I ask that you would teach them your ways, help them to be respectful to others, obedient to your paths, and have a desire to learn your word. Give them a compassionate spirit, and a willingness to look beyond the outward appearance of another to the deeper heart.
I pray that you would bring wrong to the light, that you would bring restoration and forgiveness when they mess up and lose their way. I ask for you to protect them from feelings of shame or condemnation, but instead, cover them with your grace and hope. I pray that you would surround them with friends and leaders who would challenge them to press closer to you.
“Thank you in advance for all that you have in store…”
Please keep them safe today. I ask that you would protect them from any harm or evil intent that would lurk close by, or attack them while they’re unaware. I ask for you to cover them in your care and hide them in the safety of your powerful presence. I pray for you to protect their coming and going, and to remind them that you’re always with them. Give them alertness, spiritual discernment, and wisdom to avoid temptation and to make the best choices. Give them a heart for your word and for your ways.
I pray that you would direct their steps, that your plans for them would prosper, and that every place you have determined for them to walk would be paved clear. We ask for you to open doors that need to be opened and close every one that needs to be shut tight. Allow every gift and treasure you have placed inside their lives to grow, develop, and flourish, to bring you glory.
I ask that you would raise up greatness in my children, greatness in this generation, willing to stand strong and true, passionate for you, believing that you have designed them for purpose and good works, which you have planned and prepared in advance for them to do.
Be a lamp for their feet. Be a light to their path. Shine over them. Fill them with your Spirit. Bless them with your favor and peace.
I thank you God, that you walk ahead of them, beside them, and behind them too. So I can trust you to always lead the way, be constantly at their side, and to have their back too, all at the same time.
Thank you so much for allowing me the privilege to care for my children, and I praise you for the work you are continuing to do in their lives. They are a gift to me and to many others.
I love you Lord. I need you. And I trust you today with these precious ones I love so dearly.
In Jesus’ Name,
12 Verses of Blessing to Speak Over Your Children:
“The Lord bless you and keep you, the Lord make his face shine upon you and be gracious to you, the Lord turn his face toward you and give you peace.” Numbers 6:24-26
“Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid, do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.” Joshua 1:9
“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” Jeremiah 29:11
“Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.” Proverbs 3:5-6
“Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God which transcends all understanding will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:6-7
“Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.” Ephesians 4:32
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For God’s Word to Guide Them:
“Your word is a lamp for my feet, a light on my path.” Psalm 119:105
For the Fruit of God’s Spirit:
“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. Against such things there is no law.” Galatians 5:22-23
“Do not fear for I am with you, do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.” Isaiah 41:10
For God’s Power:
“You dear children, are from God and have overcome them, because the One who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world.” 1 John 4:4
“He will command his angels concerning you to guard you in all your ways.” Psalm 91:11
For God’s Watchful Care:
“The Lord will watch over your coming and going both now and forevermore.” Psalm 121:8
40 Powerful Blessings to Pray over Your Children
Children are a gift – an amazing blessing from God. Every single day we may find ourselves doing a lot for our kids, loving and caring for them, nurturing, teaching, training, helping, leading, equipping, encouraging, protecting, and so much more. We spend precious hours just living out life, helping with homework, and driving them to activities. We spend money on sports, lessons, and various classes to help them grow and become all they can be, providing opportunities for them to do what they most love in this world. But in the midst of busy, full lives, we have to ask ourselves: Are we praying for our children?
I mean, really praying specific, powerful, promise-filled, hope-inspired prayers for our children. Are we praying God’s powerful Word and promises over our childrens lives? I’m freshly aware, and challenged to pray more.
There’s a battle over our families today, and the enemy would love nothing more than to destroy all that we hold dear in this life. He’s ruthless and cunning, deceitful and sly. He’ll attack when we’re not watching, he’ll do everything he can to lure our kids his way. Don’t let him win.
Prayer is essential over our children and families, in order to stay alert, aware, and discerning of God’s voice, as well as to stand against the attacks of the enemy in our lives. We should never underestimate the importance of speaking blessing and truth over their lives. Prayer is powerful and his words are true.
Prayer + God’s Word = Power – the pathway for Him to do miraculous things.
Let’s start asking God for his protection and blessings today. Here are 40 blessings to pray for children:
We praise you for your love and faithfulness. We thank you for your protection and care over our families. Thank you that you give us the power to love well; the wisdom to lead and teach our children. We know you’re for us; that you fight for our families today. You are Redeemer, Restorer, and Friend, we believe you have good in store. We confess, some days, parenting is tough. Many days we can feel anxious or overwhelmed. We ask that you would make us more like you, more aware of your constant Presence in our lives. Help us to release our children to You, so that You are free to fully accomplish all that You desire, in them, through them. Please fill our families with your truth and cover us with your favor.
Lord, we pray for these blessings over our children, today, and every day…
Belief – “Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved – you and your household.” Acts 16:31
Blessing – “The Lord bless you and keep you, the Lord make his face shine upon you and be gracious to you, the Lord turn his face toward you and give you peace.” Numbers 6:24-26
Courage – “Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid, do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.” Joshua 1:9
Contentment – “Keep your life free from love of money, and be content with what you have, for he has said, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.” Hebrews 13:5
Encouragement – “Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen.” Ephesians 4:29
Endurance – “Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, fixing our eyes on Jesus…” Hebrews 12:1-2
Faithfulness – “Only fear the Lord and serve him faithfully with all your heart. For consider what great things he has done for you.” 1 Sam. 12:24
Favor – “For you bless the righteous, O Lord; you cover him with favor as with a shield.” Psalm 5:12
Forgiveness – “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.” 1 John 1:9
Fruitfulness – “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.” Galatians 5:22-23
Generosity – “They are to do good, to be rich in good works, to be generous and ready to share, thus storing up treasure for themselves as a good foundation for the future, so that they may take hold of that which is truly life.” 1 Timothy 6:18-19
Godly Relationships – “Whoever walks with the wise becomes wise, but the companion of fools will suffer harm.” Prov. 13:20
Grace – “May the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all.” 2 Corinthians 13:14
Health – “Beloved, I pray that all may go well with you and that you may be in good health, as it goes well with your soul.” 3 John 1:2
Honesty – “And you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” John 8:32
Hope – “But those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles, they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.” Isaiah 40:31
Humility – “Do nothing from rivalry or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others.” Philippians 2:3-4
Integrity – “Whoever walks in integrity walks securely, but he who makes his ways crooked will be found out.” Proverbs 10:9
Joy – “…for the joy of the LORD is your strength.” Nehemiah 8:10
Kindness – “Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.” Ephesians 4:32
Love – “How great is the love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God.” 1 John 3:1
Obedience – “Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right.” Ephesians 6:1
Patience – “Know this, my beloved brothers: let every person be quick to hear, slow to speak, and slow to anger.” James 1:19
Peace – “You keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on you, because he trusts in you.” Isaiah 26:3
Protection – “He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High will rest in the shadow of the Almighty. I will say of the Lord, “He is my refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust.” He will cover you with his feathers, and under his wings you will find refuge; his faithfulness will be your shield and rampart…He will command his angels concerning you to guard you in all your ways.” Psalm 91:1-2, 4, 11
Provision – “And my God will supply every need of yours according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:19
Purity – “How can a young man keep his way pure? By guarding it according to your word.” Psalm 119:9
Purpose – “For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you hope and a future.” Jeremiah 29:11
Respect – “Show proper respect to everyone: Love the brotherhood of believers, fear God, honor the king.” 1 Peter 2:17
Safety – “The Lord will watch over your coming and going both now and forevermore.” Psalm 121:8
Salvation – “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.” John 3:16
Self-Control – “For God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control.” 2 Timothy 1:7
Servant Heart – “For you were called to freedom, brothers. Only do not use your freedom as an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another.” Galatians 5:13
Strength – “Be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on the full armor of God so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes.” Ephesians 6:10-11
Submission – “Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.” James 4:7
Thankfulness – “And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.” Colossians 3:17
Trust – “Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.” Proverbs 3:5-6
Value – “For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.” Ephesians 2:9
Wisdom – “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom…” Proverbs 9:10
Wise Instruction – “All your sons will be taught by the Lord, and great will be your children’s peace.” Isaiah 54:13
Please let your blessings and Word shine on our children and family, as we seek to honor you. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
“Pour out your heart like water in the presence of the Lord. Lift up your hands to him for the lives of your children…” Lamentations 2:19
10 Popular Bedtime Prayers for Children
Saying bedtime prayers every night can help a child develop a habit of praying regularly and to self-reflect on his/her thoughts, behaviour, and actions of the day. Teaching bedtime prayers to your child can be extremely beneficial. Read this article to find out how bedtime prayers can benefit your child, as well as 10 popular bedtime prayers that you can teach your dear child.
Benefits of Bedtime Prayers
Bedtime prayers are very beneficial for children. Some of the benefits include:
1. Saying Bedtime Prayers Helps Reduce Stress
Studies have shown that spending some time each night on self-reflection and prayer reduces stress levels in both adults and children. Praying increases feelings of calmness and wellness, thus, reducing the ill-effects of stress. Prayers can also nullify the negative effects of stress, on physical health.ADVERTISEMENT
2. Praying Helps With Self-control
Research has found that people who pray regularly have better discipline and self-control than people who do not pray. Studies have also shown that children who pray regularly are less prone to throwing tantrums and are more disciplined.
3. Praying Makes One Compassionate
Praying makes people more kind and compassionate. This is a value you definitely want to inculcate in your child. Studies have shown that regular prayer can reduce aggressive behaviour and prevent angry outbursts in adults and children. Praying for the needs of other people makes children more empathetic and sensitive to the feelings of people around them. Overall, praying makes kids nicer.
4. Praying Helps Develop Trust
Praying with your child strengthens the bond of trust and unity between you and your child. Praying with family members can help your child get closer to them.
5. Praying Makes One More Forgiving
Adults and children who pray regularly are found to be more willing to forgive others and are less inclined to hold grudges.
6. Praying Strengthens Faith in God
The best way for parents to inculcate and maintain their child’s faith in God is by having them pray before bedtime. Even if kids are unable to visit places of worship, due to school and homework, they still maintain a connection to God. Having a specific prayer time builds a habit that is likely to continue into adulthood as well.
7. Praying Builds Discipline
Praying every day builds discipline in kids, especially as their faith begins to grow each day. Maintaining a routine each day helps keep kids disciplined. Praying can have a great effect on children, especially if parents are having a hard time disciplining them.
8. Praying Sets a Child’s Moral Compass True North
A person’s moral compass is the internalised set of moral values and ethics he/she lives by. This is typically set during childhood, based on the beliefs inculcated in children and the experiences they have had. Praying sets a child’s moral compass north, which means their moral values are in the right place.
Simple Night Time Prayers for Kids
Here are some simple bedtime prayers for toddlers and young children
1. Thank You, God!
This prayer is in the form of a rhyme and can be remembered by children easily. It is also simple and can be understood without difficulty. This prayer is about thanking God for all the good things he has provided. It goes as follows:
“Thank you God for the world so sweet, Thank you God for the food we eat, Thank you, God for the birds that sing, Thank you, God, for everything!”
2. Now I Lay Me Down to Sleep
This is a very popular prayer that has several variations. Here are 2 versions of this prayer:
“Now I lay me down to sleep. I pray the Lord my soul to keep. If I should live for other days, I pray the Lord to guide my ways. Lord, unto thee I pray, thou hast guarded me all day; safe I am while in thy sight. Safely let me sleep tonight. Bless my friends; the whole world blesses; Help me to learn helpfulness. Keep me ever in thy sight, so to all, I say good night.”
“Now I lay me down to sleep; I pray the Lord my soul to keep. May God guard me through the night, And wake me with the morning light.”
3. Hi, It’s Me!
This beautiful rhyme is a child’s bedtime prayer and can be easily understood even by toddlers.
“Hi, it’s me, just come to pray And thank you for a fun-filled day! You’ve been with me, so I know you’ve seen All the great exciting things. But also when I’m sad or cross I know you love me, no matter what! So help me rest and go to sleep And feel the peace of your love for me.”
4. Dear God
This is a prayer for young children of school-going age and for a child who has had a bad day or is feeling sad or troubled.
“Dear God, I’ve felt a bit sad today. Sometimes people say things that upset me. Sometimes I feel lonely at school. Sometimes I feel misunderstood by my mum and dad. Sometimes my feelings are all mixed up inside. Please make me feel better. Please make me sleep with good dreams. Please make a happier day tomorrow.”
5. Father, We Thank Thee
Children should say this bedtime prayer to show gratitude to God for showering his blessings on them. This prayer is ideal for making your child understand that it is important to be thankful for the good things in life, and to be kind and loving.
“Father, We thank thee for the night, And for the pleasant morning light; For rest and food and loving care, And all that makes the day so fair. Help us to do the things we should, To be to others kind and good; In all we do, in work or play, To grow more loving every day.”
6. Angels Bless
This prayer asks angels to watch over your child.
“Angels bless, and angels keep Angels guard me while I sleep Bless my heart and bless my home Bless my spirit as I roam Guide and guard me through the night and wake me with the morning’s light.”
7. Lord in Heaven
This prayer asks for God’s care and guidance. It also asks God to bless all the people who love you.
“Lord in heaven, hear my prayer, Keep me in your loving care. Be my guide in all I do. Bless all those who love me, too.”
8. When I See the Moon
This is an ancient prayer that praises God for his kindness.
“When I see the moon in the night sky, I speak my evening prayer; Praise be to the being of life, For his kindness and his goodness.”
9. Lord Be Beside Us
This prayer asks God to guide and protect the whole family.
“Lord be beside us, all every day Guiding and leading us gently always. Lord be above us, help us to see The hope of the future, of all we could be. Lord be beneath us, carry us when We’re too shattered or tired to really have strength. Lord be ahead of us, smoothing our paths Protecting and blessing the places we pass. Lord be behind us, healing our wounds, Forgiving our mistakes and making us new. Lord, be within us, this family is yours Now and forever, you are our Lord.”
10. God, Grant Me the Serenity
This prayer is for slightly older children and asks God for serenity, wisdom, and courage.
“God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, Courage to change the things I can, And wisdom to know the difference.”
Making your child say a bedtime prayer every night will give you a chance to bond with him/her. You can also talk to your child about the things that might be troubling him/her and give a solution to his problem. After the prayer session, teach your child values like kindness and truthfulness. A bedtime prayer habit will also help your child calm down and sleep restfully. So, teach these bedtime prayers to your little one, and raise a happy child.
12 Powerful Verses to Pray Over Our Children
I would never have guessed what parenting would do for my prayer life.
My pre-conceived notion was that parenting was about making peanut butter sandwiches and tucking kids into bed at night. About kissing boo-boos and reminding them to close the front door. And mostly about being kind to others and learning to love God.
About loving, correcting, supporting, cheering, and then loving them some more.
But I can see now that parenting is also a whole lot about prayer.
And for a while there I thought it was just me. You know, like I wasn’t doing enough right or I wasn’t quite enough or…..something.
That I found myself so often throwing myself down on my knees. Calling out to God
With a heart-cry to keep our kids safe – and hopefully thriving- in this world we find ourselves living in.
But I was recently talking with a dear friend of mine who also happens to be a seasoned parent—and a really good parent too.
She mentioned to me that she relies more on prayer now than ever before.
And I confess that I was glad to hear it.
So whether you’re a “seasoned” parent or a brand-new fresh one, let me encourage you that your prayers will have a powerful impact on your children – both now and for the rest of their lives.
Powerful Verses to Pray and Over Your Children
Pray that God gives them the strength to do what they need to do each day.
I can do all things through him who strengthens me. ~ Philippians 4:13
Pray that they will be brave as they face the challenges that are before them.
Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go. ~ Joshua 1:9
Ask that their hearts will be calm and peaceful as they go through their day and in their sleep at night.
Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. ~ Philippians 4:6
Ask God to provide for all that they need – for stamina, spirit, and finances – for each day.
And my God will supply every need of yours according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus. ~ Philippians 4:19
Pray that the Lord will lead them as they begin to make more and more decisions as they get older.
Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths. Proverbs 3:5-6
Ask that God keeps them safe in this increasingly unsafe world. That He will protect them from harm and wickedness.
He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High will abide in the shadow of the Almighty. I will say to the Lord, “My refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust. Psalm 91:1-2
Pray that God fills them with the kind of joy that can only come from Him.
You make known to me the path of life; in your presence there is fullness of joy; at your right hand are pleasures forevermore. ~ Psalm 16:11
Pray that they will show compassion on those in need and who have less than they do.
Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you. ~ Ephesians 4:32
Ask God to give them a sense of justice – to stand up for what is right and to defend the weak.
Learn to do good; seek justice, correct oppression; bring justice to the fatherless, plead the widow’s cause. ~ Isaiah 1:17
Pray that they will grow in wisdom and understanding. That they’ll be more than “smart” and embrace what is good and right.
If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him. ~ James 1:5
Ask God to give them the hope that comes from above – the kind that far exceeds what we have in the here and now.
May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope. ~ Romans 15:13
Pray that our children are filled with the love of God. That they will know how deeply they are loved, and that love will overflow onto others.
Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never ends. ~ 2 Corinthians 13
Want to hear one more unexpected blessing of praying these things for our children? We can pray the same requests for ourselves.
So, as I go over these verses, I remind myself that they are true for me too.