The Voice of Zion November 2021 - Home and Family Articles --
Most of us will admit that we are tired and forgetful when it comes to prayer. But isn’t prayer an expression and exercise of our personal faith, that brings with it comfort and calm? Prayer is in itself a worship practice and an acknowledgement that God truly is the Giver and Creator of all things. This month’s theme and the articles on this page seek to remind us that God hears the prayers of His children and He will answer them in His time and way.
A Father’s Lord’s Prayer
Brent Herrala | The Voice of Zion November 2021 - Home and Family Article --
Perhaps you are a busy mother or father as I am, with hectic days and chaotic evenings. Home life is busy, work is endless, and the days seem to end just as fast as they have started. Perhaps the children’s energy has exceeded yours, and you were left at the end of the day feeling grumpy and short-tempered. Does this picture describe your situation? Has the daily toil of life left you feeling tired and exhausted? Soon the day has come to an end, and the children have gathered on our laps and around us to pause and fold their little hands.
Our Father who art in heaven, hallowed be Thy name.
Dear father, give me a moment to pause. Give me a moment to consider You, from whom these blessings come. Help me to teach my young ones to hold You close and cherish Your holy name.
Thy kingdom come; Thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.
God, You know how busy a parent’s life is. Keep us close to Your kingdom. Keep our children close to Your kingdom as well. Guide them through childhood according to Your will. Let me trust in Your guidance and wisdom with raising our children.
Give us this day our daily bread.
The days are long, the work can be hard. Inspire me to do what Your will is to provide, and give that which You find necessary in the task of upbringing my children. Help me remind that all these things in life which You have given have come from Your loving hands.
Forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us.
It seems the day did not slip by without my becoming short with the kids. It seems I spent much time prodding them to help with chores around the house, breaking up spats over silly things, or getting after them for doing this or doing that. Help me to forgive, and give me the wisdom to teach to forgive and to ask for forgiveness as well, remembering that I am the example which is set before them. Keep the desire for the gospel close to our hearts.
Lead us not into temptation.
Father, satan works tirelessly to entice us all into sin. Give us strength to shield ourselves from the temptations that press upon us. Help me teach the children to utilize the power of prayer and of the gospel to help protect them from those specific temptations that press on them.
Deliver us from evil.
Keep the often-appearing evil thoughts and deeds away. Give me the strength I need to face the evil in my daily calling. Protect these children from the wickedness we see and hear in the world around us.
After evening prayers, the kids’ minds turn to the next step in bedtime routine. Sometimes one recounts something of the day which they wish to share prior to sleep. Sometimes, the post-prayer conversation turns immediately to wandering thoughts, or some temporal item that has lingered in their mind. Nevertheless, they are left with an impression that Mom or Dad wants to pause with them in prayer.
The gospel is preached with each child, and a peace falls over the bedroom as kids crawl into beds and drift off to sleep.
As difficult as it can be to take the time to pause around the Lord’s Prayer and Benediction for a few moments with the kids each night, it is good to use these powerful, God-provided prayers to teach and reinforce the most important matter in life – to put sin away and keep faith and a clean conscience. We remember that the Lord’s Prayer is referred to as the “perfect prayer” and contains everything that we ought to pray for. I encourage you, as we’ve tried to do as parents, to end the day with the children in prayer and preaching the gospel!
Even in this effort we can turn to our Father in prayer and ask for renewed strength and resolve.
For Thine is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever and ever. Amen.
God, you are most powerful. You are in control and know exactly what I can and cannot handle. You know just what I need, and you provide strength for each day. Let me remember this as I provide for and raise these children. Amen.
Prayer Carries Me
Sandra Hall | The Voice of Zion November 2021 - Home and Family Article --
Prayer has always been a part of a believer’s life of faith. For some reason, we tend to turn to prayer in times of trial. I remember praying to God as a little girl, that my mom would be happy and that my dad would repent and come back into our lives. I kept that prayer in my heart when my parents were alive. God doesn’t always grant every wish we pray for. Life experiences have helped me learn that living in sin will eventually cause one to lose their precious faith and much unhappiness will befall you.
My mother was an obedient servant and strived to keep faith as the most important matter in her life. Despite her heavy burdens, she remained faithful, and God blessed her life. She was blessed with believing children, good health, a strong mind, a good work ethic and an outgoing personality. She lived a long life and had a happy retirement. For that, I will be forever grateful.
As I grew into adulthood God gave me various trials, and I recognized that some were similar to my mother’s trials. Mother often told me, “Don’t depend just on one friend; have many friends. You never know when you might lose that one friend.” Throughout her life, I witnessed how she lost friends to natural death and to heresy. She was able to pick herself up and make new friends.
Another time in my life, I was faced with a difficult pregnancy. At first, I prayed to God, that if this baby were to be born severely handicapped, please take him home. My baby was born full-term looking beautiful and healthy! But inside, he was severely handicapped. I told God, I changed my mind! I want this baby! But that was not to be. The doctors could not save our baby.
Sometimes, we don’t know what to pray for. In time, I learned to accept God’s plan. The doctor had told me that as long as my baby is attached to the umbilical cord, he will grow and thrive. But as soon as the umbilical cord is cut off, he cannot breathe and cannot live. The lesson I learned from that trial is this: if we remain attached to God’s kingdom, we will be loved and cared for and thrive. When we remove ourselves and go a different path, faith withers and dies, just like a branch removed from its tree.
Another painful trial came after the passing of my father. It dredged up painful memories that I thought I had buried. I realized that as much as I yearned for that fatherly figure in my life, I never got it. I had to fervently pray to God to help me out of this black hole. Again, God saw fit to answer my prayers. My believing spouse was there for me, I had precious believing friends to lean on, and God gave me many children to keep my life full and happy.
The dark clouds lifted, and life felt busy and fun. But then storm clouds started brewing. Spiritual confusion descended upon us. My footsteps became heavy and my eyes of faith began to dim. I felt lost and deserted. Why couldn’t I see clearly and hear the voice of the Good Shepherd? Many nights I cried out in anguish, “Dear God, show me the right path! I need to hear and feel the Holy Spirit, and to know that I am still a child of God.” I began listening to online sermons.
I poured out my heart to a friend and asked for that precious gospel for all my doubts, fears, and wrong understandings. I felt great comfort, but still many questions, doubts and fears lingered. I continued to pray for peace for my troubled heart. On a beautiful sunny day, basking in God’s nature and listening to an online sermon, God answered my prayer! He opened my heart to the beautiful soothing Word of God revealed through the Holy Spirit in that sermon! I cried out to my husband, “I get it! I can hear!” The whole way home, I listened to sermons and rejoiced when my spirit said, “Amen!”
Despite the blessings I can see along my life’s path, at times my anguish has been great. When loved ones have struggled or denied faith, my pleas to God have become almost unbearable. I cried out to a dear elderly friend, “This pain in my heart! Oh, I pray to God to take away this pain!” She reassured me, “In time, God will ease that pain in your heart.” I had to learn to cling to the meaning of the saying, “Where there’s life, there’s hope.”
I look around in God’s kingdom and I see these beautiful escorts that have been there to help fill the holes and missing gaps in my life. Now I look further and I see these battle-worn soldiers, who have lost much but still thrive and survive. And I ponder: how did they do it? How did they get this far?
Deep down I know. God has helped me understand this: when we keep our gaze towards heaven, when we strive to keep faith and a clean conscience, when we remain in the love of God’s kingdom, God will carry us to the end of our journey. We have much to be thankful for! I have learned to count my many blessings! I have learned to grasp the goodness of life, yet my utmost prayer remains that I will be granted eternal life in heaven.
My Prayer for Understanding
Karen Fuller | The Voice of Zion November 2021 - Home and Family Article --
I have a vivid memory from 6th grade. One day I got off the school bus and broke down in tears on my short walk to the house. I had just learned that a loved one had left faith and I prayed to God, “Even though I am struggling with friendships now, I hope I can always stay believing.”
Shortly after my husband and I were married, differences over a certain matter began to appear among believers, and there was much discussion; many were concerned and others were in support of the matter. I didn’t know what was correct or what I should think of all the discussion. My husband and I had many conversations with friends, family members and ministers about faith. During this time my husband understood where the truth was, while I remained confused as to how I believed.
After many conversations and hearing one side from my husband and another from some family and loved ones, it came time for me to really recognize how I believe, I could no longer just listen to or follow what my husband had to say or anyone else. Following other people will not get me to heaven. I broke down and realized that I cannot just ignore this matter that has caused such division within God’s kingdom. I needed to go to church and listen to God’s Word. And I needed to pray that I would hear the Spirit and be obedient. I fully realized that faith is personal and I had to believe for myself.
I turned to God and prayed again that He would show me where the truth is. It was not long after this that I was having a conversation with a loved one and I turned to her and said, “I just cannot agree with you.” Instantly a weight was lifted off my shoulders, and I then understood how I believe, that I was securely believing as I did when I was a child.
I am at peace. God answered the prayer I remember making in 6th grade, a prayer that I had forgotten about for so long.
Questions for Discussion:
1. How has prayer helped you in your life and faith?
2. How can parents teach their children to pray?
3. What can we say to those who feel that God has not answered a prayer?
4. What does the verse on the front cover of this issue mean to you?
5. How can it be true that God will give believers whatever they ask for?