Family Discipleship
by Paul Coleman

Rejoice always!
Pray constantly.
Give thanks in everything,
for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.

1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 (HCSB)

When do those who live in your house with you observe your love for and dependence on your Father, the Creator of the universe? They see it in many ways, but none more clearly than when you pray. Prayer demonstrates our dependence in a very tangible way. Not only do our kids and spouses get to hear our heart as we pray, they also get to see our trust lived out. Sure, we could show them anxiety, anger or frustration when one of the troubles of life shows up, or we could practice Paul’s instructions here to do three simple things:

  • Rejoice Always – because I have unfettered access to the Throne of Grace.
  • Pray Constantly – because there is always something I can’t control that God can.
  • Give Thanks in Everything – because there is always an undeserved blessing in my life.

Paul then brings motivation to these instructions when he says, “For this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus” (1 Thessalonians 5:18b, HCSB). How many times have you wanted to know God’s will? Knowing what God wants brings clarity to everything because His will must be my first concern. As parents, practicing these three simple instructions will make a lasting impact on your kids’ lives.

Prayer: Lord, teach me how to pray for my family, my church and my workplace. Teach me to listen for Your voice throughout my day so that I am prompted to pray for those around me.

“True prayer is neither a mere mental exercise nor a vocal performance. It is far deeper than that – it is spiritual transaction with the Creator of Heaven and Earth.” -Charles Spurgeon

Engage10K Request: Pray for the entire Engage10K leadership team.

Merge Moment: Thanksgiving Jar
An aspect of prayer that is often overlooked is being thankful. Set aside a time this week to begin this project as a family. Get a large jar and some slips of paper. Give each member of the family a slip and have each person record something they are thankful for—a brief “thank you note” to Jesus. Place the slip in the jar. Decide on a time you can meet together to add more slips to the jar.

Maybe you can do this after breakfast on Saturday or on Tuesday nights – whatever works with your schedule. If things happen during the week, encourage your child or student to record their “thank you” and add it to the jar. As we progress through this 40 days of prayer and fasting, continue to record what you are thankful for. Keep the jar and share your “thank you notes” as you gather at your Thanksgiving table in November.