Remembering God, Part 4: In Prayer
In our introduction I began by laying out four things we risk when we do not remember who God is and all that He has done. These were:
- Falling into idolatry/trusting ourselves or our possessions (Deut. 8:13-14)
- Never growing in trust of/faith in God (Isa. 40:20-21)
- Stumbling into sin and suffering the Father’s discipline (Deut. 8:19)
- Forfeiting a generation to the enemy (Judges 2:10-11)
So how do we, as parents, make sure that our family is all about remembering God? So far we’ve looked at remembering Him in the Word and remembering God in song. This post, I’d like us to look at how the people of God remember him in prayer.
How do we teach our children to pray? I know that all too often I fall into the pattern of thanking God for the day’s blessings, asking forgiveness, and making requests. These are all biblical and worthy topics for prayer. But when it comes to remembering God for who He is and all He has done, we want to have something more than short-term memory.
In the book of Nehemiah we find a beautiful example of prayer that truly remembers God in all His glory. In the ninth chapter of Nehemiah the priestly Levites are leading a gathering of the people in worship after the wall has been rebuilt and many of the remnant of Israel have returned. In verse five, they call on the people to stand. Then there begins a rather lengthy prayer.
I think that in this prayer we can find a model for remembering God. First God is recognized for who He is. “Blessed be your glorious name,” they begin. “You alone are Lord.” Many of God’s attributes are then declared in prayer. He is praised as the creator of all things seen and unseen. Immediately following this they begin recounting to God the history of His interaction with them beginning with Abraham. Miracle by miracle, grace by grace, blessing by blessing, they revisit God’s hand at work among them and their own failings throughout the relationship. Wow! It is based on this detailed memory that they are able to cry out to God in the end and say, we know we have failed, we have sinned, but You are compassionate and forgiving and we are turning back to You. How sad it would be if no one present could remember any of it? Where would that have left them?
When it comes to remembering God for who he is and all he has done we want to have something more than short-term memory.
So how might our family emulate this example of memorable prayer? Here are two ideas for you to consider.
- Sit down as a family and record your family’s spiritual history. Include when people were saved, God provided in a different or special way, answers to prayer, etc. Go back as far as you can. Hearing about how grandpa or grandma came to Christ is exciting and interesting for your children. Include the failings as well, where age appropriate, but focus on how God worked through and in these struggles.
- Pick a time when the family can gather for prayer and worship. During your prayer time pray through your recorded history to God. Remember back to Him, as the priests in Nehemiah, who He is, all that He has done in your relationship, and acknowledge Him. Try to do this with some regularity, whether it’s once a month thing or something you do at a specific time of year. You will also need to keep the story updated as God continues to work in and through your family.
Tune in next time when we talk about remembering God through fellowship.