I am teaching my children about the Lord’s prayer and what it means to pray, “Heaven come – on earth as it is in heaven.” One morning during family devotions, I told them how I grew up with the belief that God was good and heaven was real, but for later, once you die. It gave us hope for what was to come. But I have learned over the years that Jesus died so we can have life and have it abundantly NOW. We talked about what the Kingdom of heaven looks like; peace, love, joy, power, clear mind, empowerment, connection, belonging, patience, honesty, truth, being seen, known, heard, understood, valued, attached to Him, family, etc. I had them think of something happening in their world and hold it in their hands. I then had them declare and pray, “Heaven, come” over that situation. Lauren felt anxious about the pep rally and having to be present but also take photos for the yearbook, not fully knowing where to be and when. When she declared, “Heaven, come,” she instantly felt peace and confidence that she would be able to figure it out. Emma was burdened by the girls in her class who gossiped behind their friend’s backs and wanted to say something to them. When she declared, “Heaven, come,” she got an increase of conviction that she was to figure out how to lovingly speak truth to them in a way that invites them into something greater (not just calling them out on it). She felt like she was to wait and really go after this with Jesus before saying something. Hudson was really burdened that he did not manage his time well last night and had homework due. When he declared, “Heaven, come,” he felt like God said to use the remaining 15 minutes and get it done. He said there was no way he could do that as it would take at least an hour. I told him to declare, “Heaven, come” over his time. Fifteen minutes later, he put it in his backpack and said, “Well, it might not have been my best job, but I did get it done.” WOW. Ellie was concerned about a test where she had to memorize something. When she declared, “Heaven, come,” she felt like God was highlighting her identity and that she was still loved and wanted even if she failed. Could you imagine a generation of ambassadors for Jesus who declared heaven COME to the world around them as a lifestyle?
- Family Devotions, Playing in the Kingdom
Your child has a role in the Kingdom that you couldn’t fulfill. Don’t rob the world around you of what they carry.
One man at Walmart had a brace on his leg, and we went to pray for him. He bent down and began to give each child a shiny new quarter, telling them fascinating stories. I had an agenda that day, and shiny quarters weren’t a part of it. That man wanted nothing to do with me trying to rope the kids back into praying for his leg. I surrendered, as this man was clearly not going to give up. As I walked away, I felt a little discouraged that what we set out to do didn’t happen. Then I heard Holy Spirit say, “No, Lisa. You did what I set you out to do. You let your children love a man who desperately needed love.” I realized that my goal can’t be anything but loving people. Sometimes, it looks like healing or words of encouragement, and sometimes love looks like shiny quarters that are worth a million to a lonely man.
Someone was supposed to drop something off at the house but called to say they were running late because he had many screws in his back, which made it nearly impossible to move fast during the cold Colorado weather. I told the kids about the delay, and they all said we should pray for him when he comes. He was such a sweet guy, but I could tell he had a story. He mentioned that his wife had just died in her sleep. I invited him in so the kids could pray for him. While he said he didn’t believe in God, he was willing to let the kids pray for him. They bossed that back pain around like there was no tomorrow! So bold and confident in what they believe. He came in all hunched over, and by the time he left, he was standing up straight. I know more than anything he felt loved by us, which was evident by his spark of joy and desire to keep talking. I bless that man and will continue to pray for his broken heart.
“Jesus, who do You want me to show extra kindness to today?” Gather as a family in the living room, in the car, at the dinner table, or at bedtime, and ask Jesus together. This is so empowering for children because they witness how God communicates with you, it increases their faith, and you get to encounter Him as a whole family. Spiritual hearing is a muscle that is strengthened by worshiping and praying. The more you do it, the stronger you become at it.
Your family’s prayers can change the world – literally! Revelations shares how the story ends. Pay attention to Revelations 8 – “The smoke of the incense, with the prayers of the saints, ascended before God . . . Then the angel took the censer, filled it with fire from the altar, and threw it to the earth” (Rev. 8:4-5). This is not to be taken lightly or flippant. When you pray, you are filling the prayer bowls of heaven. Gather your family and place a bowl with a little water in the center of the table. Give each person a glass filled with water and a spoon. Play a game to see how many spoonfuls of water they can get into the larger bowl to make it spill over (literally). It will simply take ONE more spoon full of water to tip the water over the edge. Have fun, and let joy break out. Then share the verse above and tell them that their prayers can change the world. I encourage you to use Philippians 4:6-7 as your prayer guide as a family. Talk about the verse, act it out, and then pray in response to each line. Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need and thank Him for all He has done. Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus.
**Don’t worry about anything – make a list of the things you are worried about.
**Take that list and pray over each item.
**Tell God what you want and need.
**Thank Him for what He has done in the past.
**Thank Him for what He is going to do now.
I was teaching parents how to pray for their needs, and a father sent me this testimony. Wahoo!
“It works for vehicles too! We live an hour from town on a steep, windy, narrow mountain road. It was -15 degrees on the drive to town, and I hit a patch of ice, did a 360 turn, and slid into the snowbank. The car then wouldn’t start, so I had the girls and I pray. After praying, the car started, and we continued the remaining drive to town.”
We had ministry students who would come to our home once a week. Our sweet Laura walked in and told us about a friend of a friend who was staying at their house from London. She was telling them about school and that once a week they are with our family. He says, “OH, Lisa Max, doesn’t she have an Airbnb?” and grabs his Bible and pulls out a prophetic card from Ellie from years ago. Teaching and training our children to love those around us bears lasting fruit because it is GOD’S heart we are releasing over them.
Turn family devotions into a time of character training and making memories by having each child take a turn picking a subject and then teaching it. One morning, Ellie (then 6) asked Jesus what He wanted to say to each of us and then drew them in picture form on a sticky note and hid them in the living room. She was so cute as she called us in for a ‘family meeting’ and then began to play the hot/cold game to find them. I love this because they are learning leadership, how to teach others, and how to come up with creative ways of releasing the Kingdom. There were no yawns doing family devotions that morning!
How far would you go to empower your child’s faith? A dear brother mentioned they were coming to Redding for a quick trip. I could feel something so strong on this trip but he did not communicate the purpose. The night before they came I asked a friend if he would be willing to get a word for the family. But in the morning as we were getting ready for church, I felt like God said to focus on the eldest daughter. I called my friend and asked if he would seek God’s heart for her specifically. After the service, they remained in their chairs as the Lord was touching the daughter deeply. We connected with my friend who gave her a very powerful word. Hours later, back at my house, I asked him what made him feel led to come out. He shared that during their church planting summer in Spain, God began to speak to him about truly preparing his children for the call of mission. That it wasn’t just about taking them along but truly preparing the next generation. Shortly after their return from Spain his eldest daughter said, “I think God told me that we are supposed to go to Bethel.” This father booked round trip tickets for five, two hotel rooms and a rental car for a less than 24-hour trip JUST to sow into his daughter hearing from God and empower her in that area. He wanted to strengthen her own faith and get behind what God was doing in her life. Jesus, bless this father for having eyes to see that his daughter was learning how to hear you and getting behind it. Give us eyes to see how we can strengthen our children’s spiritual muscles.
The kids and I never set out to write a book. We just told our story over and over, and here we are nearly a decade later with the chapters of our adventures of playing in the Kingdom in a gorgeous magazine-style 130-page book.
JOURNEY is for anyone in the midst of parenting, grand-parenting, or those who will someday become a mother or father. It is about the journey of becoming Sons & Daughters and parenting the next generation out of that place.
This is so precious. I was teaching this mom how to help her children hear God, and she sent me this testimony. THIS is how we teach our children how to be the light around them.
She shared: “We have a not-so-friendly neighbor who never waves to us, making the kids upset. We just asked Jesus what He wanted us to know about him… It amazed me what we heard… We ended it by praying for him.”