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Jodie Berndt: Praying the Scriptures for Your Children

Praying The Scriptures 

As a mom of four grown children, Jodie has always seen prayer as a part of the parenting process. However, for many years her prayers tended to be, “God help my kids on their spelling tests, protect them on field trips, and help them to feel better when they have a cold or the flu.” It wasn’t until she got involved with a group called Moms in Prayer that her prayer life began to change. With this group she learned to focus on using the Bible itself as the foundation for her prayers. “When we pray the promises of God for our children, our faith increases because we are praying back the very words of God. Because they come straight out of the Bible itself—they carry the full weight and power of God’s Word,” shares Jodie. As a result, she has taught her children to regard God’s Word as something not just to be read through but to be prayed through. For example, "Make known to __________ the path of life; fill _________ with joy in Your presence." -Psalm 16:11

20th Anniversary Edition 

In Jodie’s 20th Anniversary edition of her book she teaches you how and what to pray for your children in the areas of faith, character, safety, relationships, and the future. Plus, she includes some all new material such as specific prayer strategies, a collection of child friendly Bible verses, and some new sections on praying for your child which include:

  • Praying for Your Child’s Sense of Identity – A child’s self-worth is wrapped-up in their identity in Christ which contributes to the way they think and behave. When a child understands how much they are loved this lays the groundwork for emotional health and security.
  • Praying for Your Child’s Use of Technology – With so many screens invading children’s eyes daily, Jodie stresses the importance of cutting back on your child’s screen time. Establish boundaries by praying about your kids’ use of technology and look to the Lord, not to other parents, to help you set standards and boundaries. Be knowledgeable about the websites and apps your kids use. 
  • Building a Prayer Legacy – Jodie’s kids were young when she wrote her original book. Two decades later she has learned a few things that she wants to share with other parents. Each day as a parent she is reminded of three truths: (1) You never stop being a parent; (2) You never stop praying and (3) Prayer is work – God’s answers usually take time to unfold. Perseverance is part of the process. Enlist the support of a prayer partner or prayer group. Praying with partners unleashes power. After you pray about your needs be sure to praise and thank God (put up an altar) for His answers. Remind yourself of God’s faithfulness. Write a few words on a rock or record it in your journal. When your kids observe something that God has done have them write it down on a piece of paper and store them in a Tupperware container or basket. Once in a while, read together the pieces of paper to be reminded of what God has done for them. 

Prayer Tactics 

Jodie has been praying the Bible for nearly 40 years. She understands the power of praying for your children and offers the following tactics or tools to strengthen your family’s prayer legacy:

  • Give Your Children the Why – teach them that God’s Word is powerful. Your kids need to know that God’s Word makes things happen. He spoke the whole world into being, starting with light. All the verses you read in Scripture come straight from God to help us know right from wrong and equip us for every good work. As you teach your children to pray, share these things as the backdrop for why there is power in God’s Word. And then introduce them to John 15:7, where Jesus says, “If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish and it will be done for you.” Tell them what you already know: that the more you spend time in the Bible, allowing what you find there to shape your perspective as well as your prayers, the more the things you want God to do will line up with what He already has planned.
  • Build a Prayer Bank with Your Kids – take two or three verses at a time and encourage your children to write them in their journal or use a treasure chest method where you write verses on slips of paper and put them inside the chest. As your children begin to memorize scripture, they will be able to partner with God’s redemptive work as they begin to pray for their family, friends, and situations.
  • Introduce Your Child to Real Life Bible Characters – your child can gain inspiration from real-life people in the Bible. For example, Peter was bold in his faith, Anna devoted her life to worship and prayer, and Solomon, who when God said he could ask for whatever he wanted, he picked wisdom. Ask God to use your children to accomplish His Kingdom purposes just like he used people long ago. 
  • Make it Fun – introduce your children to the fun side of God. Some of the ways Jodie introduced this concept when her children were young was with ice cream sundae prayer parties, treasure chests and altar building baskets to record prayers and God’s answers. Another fun idea you can do with your children annually (Thanksgiving or New Year’s Day) or weekly is to play the Happy-Hope game. Often kids are intimidated when you ask them for prayer requests and praise reports. Instead of churchy sounding language try something like, “Tell us something happy that happened in your life today and something happy you hope will happen tomorrow,” shares Jodie. Another fun idea Jodie suggests to do with your children is to make prayer hands. When her kids were young, she would trace each of her children’s hands and then write a verse that she felt applied to a need that child had in their life. She would date it and laminate it and then prayed over each child’s need daily. As her kids grew up, she switched to bookmarks applying the same principle. This has become a tradition in her family. Although her kids are grown, they still make time to sit down with her and hear the need that Jodie is praying for God to answer in their life each year.
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