What We Can Learn From Jewish Parents - Page 2

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Before sending a child off to school, a parent should pray with them. Using the Scripture, "So Abraham rose early in the morning" (Gen. 22:3), the Shacharit, meaning "early morning hour," prayers were the first of three daily prayers. The moment a devout Jew awakes, he prays, "I gratefully thank You, O living and eternal King, for You have returned my soul within me with compassion—abundant is your faithfulness."

We know Christ prayed a great while before sunrise (Mark 1:35), and at the temple, morning prayers were offered as the sun rose, beginning a new day. As a parent, speak a protective prayer over your children before they depart from the security of your dwelling.

3. Involve your children in a local assembly.
Most churches in North America have a children's ministry. Growing up, our church's children's ministry was more of a babysitting service where kids went to kill time while their parents worshiped in the main sanctuary. Today, some of the most progressive church programs are found in a local children's ministry, especially among the larger congregations.

Traveling with us until he was eleven, my son Jonathan was a connoisseur of children's ministries. After a service he would inform me where that ministry's strengths and weaknesses were as well as their communication skills at reaching the kids. If you attend a church without a children's ministry, consider getting with the leadership and initiating a ministry for the children.

4. Speak blessing over your children.
Words are arrows that can cut or a balm that can heal. As it is written, "Death and life are in the power of the tongue, and those who love it will eat its fruit" (Prov. 18:21). Parents and grandparents should never speak down to their children in a condescending manner. A child should never hear, "You're dumb. You're stupid. You're never going to amount to anything." Throughout their life, children remember wounding words.

The patriarchs are examples of how to speak over your children. They knew when it was time to rebuke their sons when they did wrong (Gen. 34:30), but they also knew how to commend them when they did right. Speaking blessing is not an exemption from discipline but is an affirmation to the child for choosing the right path.

5. Pray for their spiritual growth and protection.
There is never a day that passes without me petitioning God to bless my children and family in the morning and evening. I find myself praying the same prayer my father prayed over his four children: "Lord, protect them, keeping them from harm, danger, and any disabling accident." Do not assume that just because the Scriptures give promises of protection, these promises operate automatically without any effort of the believer to claim the promises personally.

In the same manner Christ did in Matthew 4:1-11, we must read, believe, and verbally speak (confess) the Scriptures for them to be activated and effective.

6. Lay hands upon them and bless them (Matt. 19:13).
Then they also brought infants to Him that He might touch them; but when the disciples saw it, they rebuked them. But Jesus called them to Him and said, "Let the little children come to Me, and do not forbid them; for of such is the kingdom of God" (Luke 18: 15-16, NKJV).

The Jewish tradition of having a righteous person bless a child was repeated by Christ throughout His ministry. In the Jewish faith, the Sabbath begins on Friday at sunset (about 6 p.m.). Every Friday night, the devout father will lay hands upon his children to bless them. This custom comes from Jacob's blessing on Ephraim and Manasseh (Gen. 48). As a Christian, you can follow the role model of Jacob and bless your children each week during the Jewish Sabbath or the traditional Christian Sabbath.

7. Have men and women of God bless your children.
When I was a child, many great men and women of God ministered at my dad's churches. I was always in awe of their amazing testimonies and faith-building stories. I also sat under large tents and witnessed men of God praying for those in need and can recall the excitement charging the atmosphere. When these individuals would pray over us, I experienced a spiritual and emotional charge, which I still remember. There is heavenly reaction through prayer, and spiritual authority is released through the power of the blessing.

When you are in the presence of great servants of God and those carrying God's presence in their life, ask them to pray over your children as Christ did the children He encountered.



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