"Then Manoah prayed to the LORD, and said, “O my Lord, please let the Man of God whom You sent come to us again and teach us what we shall do for the child who will be born.” Judges 13:8
At a time of great trouble for Israel, God put His finger on a particular barren couple in order to bring supernatural deliverance for His people. When the Angel of the Lord made the announcement, Manoah asked, “Teach me how to raise this child?” He recognized that God had a set destiny and purpose for the miracle son that was to be born, and he desired to set the course for his son to fulfill the promise. This is the heart of every parent. This week as we honor Mother's Day, we thought it would be good to share with you some of the parenting lessons and wisdom we have learned over the years.
Manoah had one thing right. Before he even held his miracle child in his arms he started his journey to parenthood with prayer. Never underestimate the supernatural power of prayer. If Jesus prayed for His disciples, how much more do we need to pray for our children? Plead the blood over them. Proclaim the blessings of Deuteronomy 28. Declare Scripture over them. Pray for them to grow in stature and favor with God and man. Cover their teachers, peers, schools. Seek God’s counsel, wisdom, and intervention for particular situations they face.
If you have a child that is going through a rascally season, don’t despair. Prayer is your answer. Remind the Lord the prophetic promises He has given you for your child. Aggressively plead the blood over your children. Hold them before the Lord as you take communion. Your child may stray, but the Lord will honor your prayers. Like Abraham’s intercession for Lot, God will loose angels to grab your child and pull him back to safety. He will bring your children back to their borders.
God has given you the authority as the priest in your home to bless your children. A great picture of this is when Samuel anointed David as king. Samuel identified David. He called him by name. He spoke his future destiny over him. He poured oil, a symbol of the anointing of the Holy Spirit, over him. His blessing set David apart and released divine power from heaven to protect, empower, and transform David from shepherd to king. As a parent, you are the priest with the anointing to speak into, call forth, and anoint your child to rule and reign in Christ.
Psalm 127:3-4 tells us that children are a heritage from the Lord. They are like arrows in the hands of a warrior. Arrows are not meant to rest in your quiver. They are shot out for a purpose in a set trajectory. That direction is set by the parents. The Lord will correct and fine tune their path as they mature and grow, but as parents, your responsibility is to set your children’s course.
We live in days where every aspect of the culture around us is trying to bend our children into a mold that denies God and holds to an identity that is contrary to everything we know to be true. But God has chosen you and your children to live for such a time as this. Your children are going to be His mighty champions. They are the arrows that will pierce the enemy’s fortress. They are vessels God has ordained to display His glory on the earth. It begins as you set your children in the right direction by raising children that love God and serve God.
One of the biggest tragedies of our contemporary culture is the desire of parents to be their child’s best friend. Parents are parents, not buddies. God has anointed and called you to be the parent so that your child will grow up as a whole human being who knows and hears the Lord. Psalm 23 say, “Your rod and staff, they comfort me.” The shepherd used the rod to gently nudge the sheep to keep them from falling over a cliff! Don't feel guilty for setting boundaries. Children need limits. You can be gentle, but firm. Direct, correct, protect, and love your kids as the parent God ordained you to be. As you do, you are teaching your children to love, honor, and fear the Lord, too.
One of the most important things we learned over the years is that the Third Person of the Godhead is also the third parent. This is especially important if you are a single-parent home. I, Bonnie, especially appreciated this as Mahesh was often gone for long stretches at a time ministering in different corners of the world. There are so many times that I can look back and see where the Holy Spirit stepped into that empty place as Father, Mother, Comforter, Teacher, Deliverer, Caretaker, Lover of my children. He filled the gaps where we missed it. He came to be the wisdom where we didn’t know what to do. He was the balance when Mahesh and I found ourselves at odds in regards to our parenting style.
God foreknew and ordained your children to know Him and walk in His ways. He has a good future for them. So make room for Him in your life and in the life of your children. The Holy Spirit is your best friend and the best parent in the world.
Stay connected to a vital local church. This is the place that the Lord has ordained to form our children, to give them identity, strength, refuge, and friends with like values and vision. It creates a network for your whole family that offers both spiritual and natural support. We deeply believe that God wants you and your children to experience Him in a place of permanence and stability that comes from being rooted in relationships with other believers in a local church family. We have seen the fruit of extraordinary blessing and favor in the children that have been nurtured in the corporate anointing that comes through strong relationships and formation within the context of the local church body.
The primary emotion of the Holy Spirit is joy, and so we always try to cultivate an atmosphere that is full of joy and humor. When our kids were young we made our family time talking about God and Bible fun. We acted out Bible stories. The kids would get to play the different characters. We would often add a few fun details here or there just to spark their imaginations. When there was a prayer need, we would naturally include it into our daily conversation with our kids: “Let’s pray for so-and-so today.” Make God joyful, fun, and funny because children will fall in love with goodness and happiness. It will mark them.
If you are in the stage where you feel like sleep deprivation is a state of life, your children need you 24/7, and you wonder if you are going to make it to the other side know this, the Holy Spirit will never leave you or forsake you. He has entrusted you with the most precious gift, the life of His little ones who carry the seed of destiny for their generation, and He will be right there by your side every moment of every day.
None of us has all the answers. Thank God He is bigger than our biggest mistakes. We are all on a journey together to greater glory! We honor and bless all of you who are raising up the next generation. May God bless you with His wisdom and grace, and His glory overshadow your house.
Mahesh and Bonnie Chavda, 5/10/2012