A Song for a Season

What a Friend we have in Jesus,
  All our sins and griefs to bear!
What a privilege to carry
  Everything to God in prayer!
O what peace we often forfeit,
  O what needless pain we bear,
All because we do not carry
  Everything to God in prayer!

I've listened to him strum his guitar and whisper these lyrics over the last few days. Sometimes there are no words to be said. No formal prayers to be spoken. Sometimes there are only lyrics and a melody that soothe and heal.

Songs matter. They move us.

That's why you can find a teenage girl crying over the lyrics of a song after a break up.
That's why couples find the perfect song that personifies their relationship to have their first dance to at their wedding.
That's why you can be transported back to your childhood when you hear a song that triggers a memory.

We all have different songs for different seasons. And in a season of pain, distress and growth a song can become a prayer. A prayer you sing that you long for your heart to believe. A song that can begin to heal your heart. An offering to God when you can't find your own words.

After 3 relatively easy pregnancies, I was stunned when we found out there was several complications in my 4th pregnancy. Life-changing complications. I had no words. I would sit trying to find the "right"  words to pray. I would open my journal, but the words to write would never come. I was trapped in a state of fear.

As I was driving one day in the midst of the chaos of loud children, a song came on. A song that became my anthem, my prayer through this season. These were the words I couldn't find on my own.

Lord I have see your goodness
And I know the way you are
Give me eyes to see you in the dark
And your face shines of glory
That I only know in part
And there is still a longing
A longing in my heart

You revive me
you revive me Lord
And all my deserts are rivers of joy
You are the treasure, I could not afford
So I'll spend myself till' I'm empty and poor
All for you, you revive me lord

It was the reminder I needed that no matter what may happen, He is the one who revives me. He is the one who is still good even when I am in the dark. 

Often times while driving by myself during that season, I would get in the car all alone and let the song play. I would turn up it loud and sing those words and the tears would stream down my cheeks. Many days I would play the song 5 times in a row - determined for it to play until I could believe what I was singing.

I'm alive, I'm alive
You breathe on me
You revive me

I inhaled His grace and exhaled my prayers and praises - a mom in a minivan with a song to sing and a prayer to give to her Creator. And He heard me. He revived me.

What song has God given you to sing during your season?

 

 

 

Teaching Your Preschooler to Pray

As a family, my husband and I are pretty good at those standard prayer times with our children. You know, the blessing of the food (which your children always end up blessing everything but the food) and the night time prayer routine (that is the never ending list of all the things they are thankful for down to their toothbrush).

I joke about these prayer times, but I am so thankful for the habits that our little ones are starting to form. Mealtimes and bedtimes are great places to start praying with your kids. When you want to build a relationship or a friendship with someone, you spend time with them. That is exactly what our preschoolers are doing when they begin to have prayer time. When they begin to talk to Jesus, our preschoolers begin to realize that Jesus is their friend, and He cares about the details of their little life.

Within these prayer times, there is so much that preschoolers are able to grasp as they talk to God. I believe there are 3 key areas of understanding that you can teach your preschooler regarding prayer.

  1. HELP:  We see time and time again, whether in Scripture or in our own personal lives, that Jesus is our ever present help. We can go to Him and ask Him for the things in our life we need help with. Psalm 121:2 says, “My help comes from the Lord, who made heaven and earth.” In the story of the Centurion soldier in Matthew 8:5-13, we see him ask Jesus for help for His sick servant. Jesus says to him in verse 13, “Go! And let it be done just as you believed it would.” This is a great story to illustrate to our preschoolers about how we can ask for help through prayer.
  2. THANK YOU:  This is the easiest one for preschoolers to grasp. Honestly, it’s the easiest one for us as parents to teach our kids. Praying with your children before bedtime is often a great time to reflect on the day and thank God for what He has done. Psalm 136:1 says, “Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good. His love endures forever.” We want to cultivate a heart of thanksgiving into our little ones for who God is and for what He has done for us!
  3. FORGIVENESS:  With my 3 year old I am not always quite sure she is getting the whole forgiveness thing. When I instruct her to tell her sisters she is sorry for something, she replies with what seems like a really flippant reply of, “Sorry!” And you know what, her heart probably really doesn’t mean it yet. BUT, she is learning the habit of apologizing and right now that is what is important. I want my children to also know that God doesn’t like it when we sin either, but He is always there ready to forgive us. The Bible says in 1 John 1:19, “But if we confess our sins, He will forgive our sins, because we can trust God to do what is right.”

I know if you are like me, it can be really easy in the hustle and bustle of mealtimes and bedtimes to want to rush through those routines. But these are great times to begin to instill in your little ones the habit of praying and to spend some time teaching them what prayer is. Preschoolers are little sponges ready to soak up and absorb from you, mom and dad!