A Simple and Powerful Prayer for Your Child

I remember learning about an approach to prayer years ago when my son was a toddler, and I’m grateful for the way it shaped me as a young father. The advice was simple and practical – use Ephesians 3:14-19 as a way to pray for those you love.

My son is a teenager now and I continue to pray this way for him and my other children. Using these few verses from the Scriptures to direct my prayers has not only helped me pray clearly and consistently for my kids, it has formed the deepest hopes and dreams I hold for them in my heart. I expect to ask God for these things in my kids’ lives for the rest of my life.

Ephesians 3:14-19 says, For this reason I bow my knees before the Father, 15 from whom every family in heaven and on earth is named, 16 that according to the riches of his glory he may grant you to be strengthened with power through his Spirit in your inner being, 17 so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith—that you, being rooted and grounded in love, 18 may have strength to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, 19 and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.”

Wrapped up in these five verses are three powerful things I ask God to do in each of my kids’ hearts.

Lord, please give my child faith in Christ

I strive to teach my kids about who Jesus is and what he has done, but try as I may, I cannot create faith in their hearts. I know God has to be the one to give them the grace of his presence and roots of faith, so I make verses 16 and 17 my request to God saying, “Lord, grant my son strength through your Holy Spirit so that Christ would dwell in his heart through faith.”

Father, please show my child how much you love them

I have spent a lot of time considering the richness of verses 18 and 19 in my own heart. This is the most impassioned prayer I regularly bring to God, “Father, please open my daughter’s heart and mind to the depths of your love. Help her know, without question, that she is loved by you. Give her security and identity rooted in your unquestionable love. Help me love her like you do.”

I often add in a confession of my own faults and shortcomings as a father and ask God to answer this prayer in spite of me. My kids need to know the nature of their true father and I ask God to help me be more like him.

Lord, please fill my child with your presence

This passage has God’s presence as bookends. Paul tells his reader that he bows his knees to ask that God gives them strength and power through the Holy Spirit in their inmost being, and he finishes hoping his reader is filled with all the fullness of God.

I make these words my request saying, “Lord, whatever my son faces today, be ever present to shape his experience, thoughts, and actions. Fill him with your Spirit and give him strength and wisdom to live differently — to live for you.”

I have many hopes for my kids but none more important than these. Consistently asking God to give and grow faith, to expand their knowledge of his love, and to make them aware of his presence each day has shaped the way I parent and the heart I have for each of them.

28 Days of Prayer — Psalm 5:1-8

Here at Clear Creek Community Church, we are walking through 28 Days of Prayer together.

As part of that, we have a special podcast series, where you will hear from different people around our church read and pray through a Psalm.

Our hope is that these prayers will be a blessing to you and also a resource as you grow in your relationship with our Father.

130: What is Spiritual Warfare?

Throughout Revelation, John wants his readers to realize that there is more going on that meets the eye; there is a spiritual reality at work with angels and demons, and God and Satan.

So, what is spiritual warfare?

Is it something we really experience today?

Ryan sits down with Bruce Wesley to discuss Satan and demons, as well as the authority, power, and peace of Jesus.

 

We Need Community

The last couple of years have been difficult. With rampant sickness, quarantines, and lockdowns, many of us have experienced a level of loneliness we never thought we would.

Community is a gift and a blessing. As we’ve become markedly more aware since March 2020, we were not meant to exist as sole individuals.

Even the most anti-social movements tend to create communities to support each other.

My generation saw the emo kids gather, the 80s had the punks, and 60s and 70s saw people flock to the hippie movement in droves.

Humanity longs for community — to know others and to be known. Humans need a place in which to grow, learn, work, serve, and worship alongside other people.

How gracious the Lord is to know what his creation needs!

Mankind was created to function together.

In the Genesis creation account, we see God pairing the man, Adam, with his wife, Eve. In creating this union, the Creator himself stated, “It is not good for man to be alone,” (Gen. 2:18).

From the outset of creation, God envisioned his image bearers existing in community, beginning with the family.

Family is the first community we are given — the first place to know others and be known. But our familial situation changes throughout our lives. We move, marry, and experience loss.

Thankfully, God has created an eternal family.

The story of Scripture is that God shows how wonderful and glorious he is by redeeming rebels and not only showing them mercy and grace, but actually bringing them into his family.

Just look at the familial language throughout the Bible like God being called “the Father” and Jesus “the Son,” believers being called co-heirs with Christ, the Church being referred to as Jesus’ bride, and Christians being adopted by God.

The Church is a new family. There we can experience community to a degree not seen elsewhere. As the Body of Christ, believers are called to take up each others burdens, provide for each other, hold each other accountable, and encourage each other. Joining a church means joining a community of people who recognize God as Father and long to serve one another.

In this community, believers know others and are known themselves.

Personally speaking, my family would have crumbled long ago had Christ not blessed us with a loving and faithful community of believers.

When we experienced a chronic health issue that resulted in pain, these faithful followers of Jesus were there to lift us up in prayer.

When I struggled with addiction, they were there to hold me accountable.

When my wife and I feared for our physical safety, they offered protection.

When my family was in need, they were there to provide support.

To this day, when I experience difficulties or doubts, I can remember the times in which the Lord has provided for me through other believers — his hands and feet. 

If you have never experienced authentic gospel-centered community, I would encourage you to do the work to connect with other believers in the local church.

Fewer gifts or blessings have proven so sweet.

128: Women in the Church — Discernment and Discipleship

Our culture clamors with voices seeking attention and influence in women’s lives.

From Bible study teachers to internet influencers, we choose daily who will lead and guide us.

Why is it important that women have other women’s voices in their lives?

How can we discern the best sources to teach and disciple us?

Guest host Yancey Arrington talks with Rachel Chester and Mandy Turner about the unique contributions and challenges women face today within the church.

 

 

127: End Times Forum Q&A — Part 2

On February 20, we hosted the End Times Forum featuring our Teaching Pastor, Yancey Arrington.

After the main session, Yancey answered questions from the audience, but we were unable to get to all of them.

So on this episode, Ryan Lehtinen invited Yancey to the podcast studio to ask him the rest.

 

126: End Times Forum — Q&A

What does the end of history look like?

When will Christ return?

Will believers undergo the tribulation?

These are the kinds of questions that Christians have been asking for centuries, and in seasons where global troubles increase like today, the questions are even more pervasive.

In partnering with our series All Things New: A Study of Revelation, CCCC hosted an End Times Forum where we looked at the different ways Christians have understood what the Bible teaches about the end of the age and sought to answer some of the most asked questions about one of the most important doctrines of the faith.

 

 

125: End Times Forum — Main Session

What does the end of history look like?

When will Christ return?

Will believers undergo the tribulation?

These are the kinds of questions that Christians have been asking for centuries, and in seasons where global troubles increase like today, the questions are even more pervasive.

In partnering with our series All Things New: A Study of Revelation, CCCC hosted an End Times Forum where we looked at the different ways Christians have understood what the Bible teaches about the end of the age and sought to answer some of the most asked questions about one of the most important doctrines of the faith.

 

 

Genesis to Revelation: The Tree of Life

As people who can stop at HEB for any food we desire, regardless of the season, a garden holds little appeal for most of us in today’s world.

We prefer flowers or shade trees in our yards instead of plants we can eat.

But to a herding, agrarian culture like the ancient Israelites, food growing freely from a tree wasn’t too far from miraculous. It’s no wonder that when God placed Adam and Eve within the Garden of Eden, he surrounded them with fruit trees.

In the garden, their every need was met. They were protected from every danger. Everything chaotic had been brought under the perfect control of their powerful Creator and ordered for their good.

And in the midst of it all, there were two trees.

When we read the story of temptation in Genesis 3, our attention is drawn to the forbidden tree, by whose fruit humanity fell. But after their sin, the focus shifts:

Then the Lord God said, “Behold, the man has become like one of us in knowing good and evil. Now, lest he reach out his hand and take also of the tree of life and eat, and live forever—” therefore the Lord God sent him out from the garden of Eden to work the ground from which he was taken. He drove out the man, and at the east of the garden of Eden he placed the cherubim and a flaming sword that turned every way to guard the way to the tree of life.

Genesis 3:22-24

Because of their sin, the man and woman were removed from both the presence of God and the provision of the garden.

The curse of the ground meant that never again would all of their needs be met without struggle, and the way to life eternal was permanently barred.

The uncertain and dangerous wilderness stretched before them as their only home.

But Adam and Eve were not left hopeless.

They had been given a purpose: to fill the earth and bring order to the chaos of the world beyond Eden.

They had been given a promise: Eve would bear children, and one of her offspring would deliver them from the serpent’s path of death.

Despite their removal from the direct presence of God, he had not abandoned them.

Humanity slowly cultivated the earth building families and farms, cities and civilizations.

Every effort and achievement was inevitably marred by sin, but the image of the creator still shone throughout.

With each step toward order, each moment of beauty, each development of culture and technology and polity and art, God built a world in which his people could flourish.

A good creation, stained by sin, but bringing glory to him as humans ever sought for the paradise that was lost, collectively crying out for its return.

They shall beat their swords into plowshares,

    and their spears into pruning hooks…

but they shall sit every man under his vine and under his fig tree,

    and no one shall make them afraid.

Micah 4:3-4

But the desire for Eden went unmet, until a man came to the shores of the Sea of Galilee, proclaiming the kingdom of God. His words were filled with life and hope. His compassion was generous and contagious. His signs were inexplicable and undeniable.

He was like a green olive tree in the house of God, trusting in his steadfast love forever (Psalm 52:8).

He was the righteous one who flourishes like a palm and grows like a cedar, planted in the house of the Lord (Psalm 92:12-13).

He was that man who trusts in the Lord, like a tree planted by water who has no fear when the heat comes and never ceases to bear fruit (Jeremiah 17:7-8).

The presence of God and the provision of the garden had once more come to his people, as Jesus embodied the tree of life perfectly among them.

And in his death on a tree, he made a way beyond the barrier to enter into eternal life. Though the serpent believed himself victorious in the death of the Son, the very one whose identity was Resurrection (John 11:25) could never have been held by the grave.

The source of all our life and hope rose to new life as the firstfruits of all our future resurrections.

In the final chapter of Revelation, John is shown a picture of the future promise, of life without fear under our own vines and fig trees:

Then the angel showed me the river of the water of life, bright as crystal, flowing from the throne of God and of the Lamb through the middle of the street of the city; also, on either side of the river, the tree of life with its twelve kinds of fruit, yielding its fruit each month. The leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations. No longer will there be anything accursed, but the throne of God and of the Lamb will be in it, and his servants will worship him. They will see his face.

Revelation 22:1-4

The scene is not identical to the Garden but completes and transcends it. The people of God have multiplied and filled the earth with the glory of God, as we were created to do. The garden city has been established, and the tree of life provides eternal health and abundance. No enemies can enter, for the victory of the Lamb over the serpent is complete.

And, if we believe in Jesus, this is the promise: we will be in his presence once more, for the blood of Christ has washed us clean, redeeming and restoring us to the garden of grace and peace forever.

He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree,

that we might die to sin and live to righteousness.

By his wounds you have been healed.

1 Peter 2:24

124: Does What I Do Now Affect My Eternity?

God’s judgment is not only a difficult idea to swallow, it also leaves us with many questions.

Will God judge everyone based on how we live now?

For Christians, are there different rewards in heavens based on how we live?

If there are different rewards in heaven, won’t that leave people being disappointed or jealous?

On this episode, Ryan Lehtinen, Yancey Arrington, and Lance Lawson discuss these questions and how this impacts our lives today.