Every week we pray for our kids and their school. There is a certain format that all MIT groups are encouraged to follow, the "ACTS" model for prayer. It goes like this:
A is for adoration, when we focus on a certain characteristic of God and meditate on it and praise him for it.
C is for confession, where we reflect on ourselves (silently), often in relation to the attribute of God's character. He serves as a mirror by which we can see ourselves, ask forgiveness for our shortcomings, and ask him to help us be more like him.
T is for thanksgiving, where we thank him for answered prayer, and for the ways he has helped and blessed us.
S is for supplication, where we bring our concerns and requests to him for our kids and their classmates and school staff. We usually take the attribute of God that we focused on, and pray in some way that their lives would reflect that quality either in their character, or in the way they interact with God and others. We also pray for any specific needs we are aware of.
So here's how it went this morning.
Adoration: We praised him for being the God who indwells us.
Colossians 1:27-29 says, "To them (the saints, or believers in Christ) God has chosen to make known among the Gentiles the glorious riches of this mystery, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory. We proclaim him, admonishing and teaching everyone with all wisdom, so that we may present everyone perfect in Christ. To this end I (the apostle Paul) labor, struggling with all his energy, which so powerfully works in me."
In Philippians 2:12-13 Paul writes, "Therefore my dear friends, (...) continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who works in you to will and to act according to his good purpose."
Confession: As we meditated on the scriptures above, it became obvious that there is a tension in the believer's life. We are to work, and work hard at following Christ and living godly lives, and yet we are utterly in need of his help, which is completely available to us. His very presence is the hope of glory. Without it, we are hopeless to produce anything glorious.
We asked God to show us areas in our lives where we are trying to do it on our own. We confessed that our anxieties and frustrations in doing so affect us and those around us. We wrapped up this time of quiet reflection with these verses from 2 Corinthians 12:9-10 "But he (God) said to me (Paul), 'My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.' Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses so that Christ's power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ's sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong."
Thanksgiving: We thanked God for inviting us to come to him with our weaknesses, and for the fact that he doesn't ask us to confess our sin so that he can condemn us. He wants to extend his grace and forgiveness to us, to deliver us from our own self-condemnation, and to help us do it right. It's for our good and his glory!
Supplication: In light of what we had already looked at, we prayed through 2 Peter 1:3-4 for our kids. It says, "His divine power has given us everything we need for life and godliness through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness. Through these he has given us his very great and precious promises, so that through them you may participate in the divine nature and escape the corruption in the world caused by evil desires."
This passage was a feast for us. We found ourselves praying for our kids not to be frustrated (or even motivated) by the pressure of feeling like they're supposed to be extra good because after all they are Christians and come from Christian families. We prayed that instead they would experience the life of Christ firsthand within them, that they would know him increasingly, and that in knowing him they would desire more than anything the joy of participating in his divine nature. We prayed that WE as parents would not pressure them, but that we would have wisdom to let God do his work in them personally, and that we would come along side them and encourage them with the truth that God forgives and empowers them, and that we see him at work producing fruit in their lives. (And as I write, I find myself asking that God would make us instruments of freedom in our kids' lives, freedom to find God's grace sufficient, as opposed to instruments of bondage to the belief that they can never measure up.)
So there you have it. A mini-Moms in Touch meeting, and an example of how scripture shines a spotlight on God's amazing character, which in turn inspires us to pray, and sets us free. This week, may you know and dwell on the glorious riches of this mystery, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory!
(And if you don't, please don't hesitate to email me to find out what in the world I'm talking about!)