3 Prayers You Can (and Should) Pray!

Hello hello! 

As we continue navigating our way through post-pandemic life, we’re transitioning into new normals. As we adjust to the new life as we know it — whether that means going back to school this fall, going back to work in the office or remaining working from home, or just living your routine life again — we can, and we must, pray. 

The absolute need for continuous and effective prayer begs the question: “How do we pray?” Fear not, friends. We’re staying hot-on-the-prayer trail and uncovering all the details in this pivotal message…"3 Prayers to Pray from a Powerful Position."

Have you ever wondered if your prayers are working? Are you curious about the effectiveness of your prayer life? To what degree do you have confidence that your prayers make a difference? To best answer these questions, we’re going to thoroughly explore the ins and outs of each of these 3 prayers to pray, and we’re also going to emphasize your position in prayer that makes them productive. 

>> 3 Prayers You Can (and Should) Pray! 

Here we have it, folks. Clear, simple, effective prayers you can (and should) be praying now and into the future. We also deeply explore each of these prayers in the 3 Prayers to Pray from a Powerful Position episode of our prayer series that you can find on the Valley Family Church YouTube Channel (where I Pastor with my husband Jeff).  

Ok, here we go! Here are the 3 prayers God has promised to answer because they are straight out of His Word, which is His will:

  1. Colossians 1:9-12 

This is a prayer for the knowledge of God’s will, for spiritual wisdom, for empowerment to live a life pleasing to the Lord, to produce fruit, to know God better, to be strengthened, to be joyful, to be thankful. 

Here’s what it says: "So we have not stopped praying for you since we first heard about you. We ask God to give you complete knowledge of his will and to give you spiritual wisdom and understanding. Then the way you live will always honor and please the Lord, and your lives will produce every kind of good fruit. All the while, you will grow as you learn to know God better and better. We also pray that you will be strengthened with all his glorious power so you will have all the endurance and patience you need. May you be filled with joy, always thanking the Father. He has enabled you to share in the inheritance that belongs to his people, who live in the light." 

There’s a lot wrapped up in this prayer! As pastors, we’ve taught this prayer many, many times. We learned this practice from one of our mentors as he prayed this prayer among others for months and months and saw noticeable, dramatic results in his own life. 

By simply inserting your name, your husband's name, your wife, your friends, your family, friends at church, the church name itself, you can pray God’s will for your life. Praying this prayer brings complete knowledge. That means if your knowledge of God is incomplete (which it is for all of us), he’s going to continue to complete your knowledge and complete you. 

Everybody wants to know God well. This is the prayer for it! We get understanding and wisdom spiritually so that we may live in a way that honors and pleases the Lord. In attending church, the ultimate goal is to know God better. It’s the whole point of the church, the worship, and the messages being preached. If you want to know God, pray this prayer over yourself as well as anyone and everyone impacting your life.

  1. Ephesians 3:14-20 

Here we see a prayer for inner strength to understand and experience, and a revelation of God’s love. Feeling weak? Anxious? Disoriented? This one’s for you. If you look this prayer up in your bible, the heading even says, “Paul’s Prayer for Spiritual Growth.” It doesn’t get much clearer than this, y’all! 

"I fall to my knees and pray to the Father, the Creator of everything in heaven and on earth. I pray that from his glorious, unlimited resources he will empower you with inner strength through his spirit. Then Christ will make his home in your hearts as you trust in him. Your roots will grow down into God’s love and keep you strong. And may you have the power to understand, as all God’s people should, how wide, how long, how high, and how deep his love is. May you experience the love of Christ, though it is too great to understand fully. Then you will be made complete with all the fullness of life and power that comes from God. Now all glory to God, who is able, through his mighty power at work within us, to accomplish infinitely more than we might ask or think."

Simply put, this is a prayer to strengthen you and your inner man, to help you get understanding, experience, and a revelation of God’s overwhelming love. Pastor Jeff and I have prayed this prayer for you, for us, for our kids, and our family for decades. As you begin doing the same, you’ll start to notice these “gusher moments” where God imparts the answers to these prayers into our lives. You see, there’s always a steady stream of God pouring understanding and knowledge into you, but there’s also big, bursting gushers where all the things we’re praying become real in a fresh, expansive way. 

 That is what God wants for all his church, his people, his children. He wants us to know his love, embrace it fully, and rest in its peace. Don’t forget, when you pray this prayer, God hears you! In your heart, you’ll receive a revelation of the length, the breadth, the depth, and the height of his love. It changes everything

  1. Ephesians 1:15-19 

This prayer is one for spiritual wisdom, insight, knowledge, hope, your calling, and God’s power. We need to know our individual purposes and assignments so we can always keep running our race. Similar to the previous prayer, the heading above this portion of scripture reads “Paul’s Prayer for Spiritual Wisdom.”  

"Ever since I first heard of your strong faith in the Lord Jesus and your love for God’s people everywhere, I have not stopped thanking God for you. I pray for you constantly, asking God, the glorious Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, to give you spiritual wisdom and insight so that you might grow in your knowledge of God. I pray that your hearts will be flooded with light so that you can understand the confident hope he has given to those he called--his holy people who are his rich and glorious inheritance. I also pray that you will understand the incredible greatness of God’s power for us who believe in him."

 Remember: throughout this prayer, you can insert your name and say, “Lord, I’m thanking You and I’m praying for myself and my spouse and our family. Please give me the spirit of wisdom and insight so that I may grow in my knowledge of You, Lord.” Customize the wording to include those in your heart, yourself included.

 We have got to get ahold of the hold of the hope to which God calls us! Each of us have individual tracks, purposes, and assignments. It’s time to get clear on your calling! God, fill us with the hope of our calling! May it stay in front of us always so we keep running our race. 

>> Your Powerful and Productive Prayer Position

Now we know the prayers to pray. We know the ‘what’. But what about the ‘how’? Here’s the deal: The effectiveness of your prayers is based on your position. It depends on the perspective of how you pray. Before we dive into this concept, consider Ephesians 2:6 from The Passion Translation: 

“He raised us up with Christ, the Exalted one, and we ascended with him into the glorious perfection and authority of the heavenly realm, for we are now called, seated as one with Christ.”

THIS is your position. It’s a new perspective in prayer, and we’ve gotta get ahold of it. Remember: We are co-seated with Christ in the heavenly realm. And this has nothing to do with us… It has everything to do with God’s love for us as he raised us up together with Christ. It’s our job to enforce the victory that Jesus purchased for us through his death on the cross. We decree, we declare, and we pray according to God’s word and God’s will. 

When we do this, God and the angelic realm and all of heaven goes to work fulfilling his will, because we are ambassadors for Christ on this earth, both in prayer and in being a witness for Christ to those in our world. This is powerful stuff, folks! And keep in mind, this position of authority isn’t just for the ‘super-spiritual’ people. NO SIR! You  are a CHRISTIAN! That means you’re in the body of Christ! 

You have been raised up far above every authority, every name that can be named, you have the position of being seated together with Christ. We cannot come from a weak, helpless, hopeless position. Do not let intimidation, low self-esteem, or any other negative thoughts talk you out of doing these things! 

 Through Jesus, you are no longer in a position of striving. You are in a position to grab yourself up by the shirt collar and straighten up and act like you are raised up and sitting with Christ in heavenly place. Because, you are. Are you stirred up?! Let’s not squander this position that we have been given.

In the name of JESUS, rise up! Take your place seated with Christ!

Blessings!
Beth

p.s. want to learn more on prayer? feeling stirred up? I encourage you to study with me through my Bible study workbook: Getting A Grip On The Basics Of Prayer

 

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If you can see it, you can have it.

“The things that are seen are temporal.” 2 Corinthians 4:18, NKJV

If you can see it, you can have it. This is a faith and leadership principle. It’s the vision protocol. 

The converse is true, too. If you can’t see it -- often you can’t have it.

Again, let’s look at this interesting verse in 2 Corinthians, “The things that are seen are temporal.” (2 Corinthians 4:18) In other words, if you can see it then it must be possible to experience in the temporal realm -- aka: your life! 

We often see this verse in light of not being focused on temporal things, but on having an eternal perspective, and that is the overall context of the verse, but there is a vision truth for the temporal lodged in this verse as well. Let’s highlight different words and read it several different ways...

“The things that ARE seen ARE temporal.”

“The things that are SEEN are TEMPORAL.”

The encouraging thing is that if you can see it, it must be possible in the temporal realm. If you can see yourself in a new house, with a new job, moving up in life, expanding your family, enlarging your circle of friends, increasing your influence and so on -- it must be possible in the temporal realm. Can you see that? (Pun intended!)

So, what do you see? What can you envision? What can you visualize?

If you can see it, you can have it -- and the Lord will guide you with His wisdom to experience it in this temporary life! Trust the Lord for His wisdom and plan for realizing it in its fullness!

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Why you should buy wisdom.

“Wisdom is the most valuable commodity -- so buy it!” Proverbs 4:7, TPT

Yes, as Christian leaders we should read our Bibles, we should pray, we should seek God to get His wisdom. And, He’s promised to “freely” give wisdom to those who ask. (Aren’t you glad some things in life ARE free!) But, that doesn’t mean we should discount the value of buying wisdom. In fact, the Bible tells us we should!

Buying wisdom means throwing down some hard earned money to obtain the knowledge, wisdom, insight, discernment and strategy we need and desire. We buy wisdom from those who have it. Whether we buy their books, video series, online courses, expertise, conference tickets or their lunch to spend an hour asking them questions -- the truth is, you do get what you pay for!

Sure, there are a lot of free things out there in cyber world and we access all of it as often as possible. But, if you want the gold. The secrets. The scoop. The details. The how-to’s. You’re going to have to buy it. 

In order to “buy it” -- you’ll have to change your mindset from “freebies” to “investments.” What I mean is this, sometimes when it comes to buying wisdom, people say, “I can’t afford it.” Or, “Is it worth it?” Those are the wrong questions. The real questions are: “Are you worth it? Can you afford to NOT have the wisdom you need?”

>> The answer is a resounding YES, you are worth whatever the wisdom costs!

And a resounding NO, you can’t afford to NOT have the wisdom you need!

Wisdom will accelerate your life, business, marriage, family, ministry, health and relationships. You need wisdom.

Over the years, I’ve purchased wisdom. 

I purchased my college degree by attending two great universities -- Western Michigan University and Boston University. Not sure how much wisdom I gleaned in my first year of college, not because it wasn’t being dished up, but because I was young, too busy having a good time and I didn’t have ears to hear everything I needed! (Any other young and foolish college freshman out there?)

The first time I remember purchasing godly wisdom was after I became a Christian in May 1978. As a sophomore in college, I raised the funds and paid for a trip to join Campus Crusade for Christ for a week of discipleship training and beach evangelism at Daytona Beach during Spring Break 1979. (Location. Location. Location.) I was such a baby Christian and so hungry that I gulped down the wisdom the Bible teachers were serving and with a fresh boldness from the Holy Spirit, we went person-to-person on the beach sharing the gospel. We got to pray the salvation prayer with dozens of people! After that, I bought wisdom by attending every conference, workshop or Campus Crusade event they offered -- always learning and growing. #daytonabeachspringbreak1979

I got serious about buying wisdom when I went to Bible school!! It was expensive! Not the actual Bible school itself, but the whole process -- it cost money to move to another state, to rent an apartment, pay tuition and buy books. It cost me two years of my life. And...it was one of the best investments I ever made. 

Later, I needed more wisdom. So, I purchased EVERY cassette tape (those were popular right before CDs were invented!) two of my favorite preachers had available. I had been touched and ministered to by their teaching and I wanted to hear and know everything they had to say. So, I bought ALL of their materials and I listened to everything they taught and I studied all the Scriptures they shared, until it got inside of me. It was life-changing.

As a young married couple, my husband needed financial wisdom so we had to decide between buying extra groceries or sending him to an expensive conference where he could accelerate his knowledge and wisdom in this area. We invested in wisdom and went without the Doritos.

When our son Luke was in high school, he wanted to learn how to make videos. I wanted to learn, too. So, he and I paid to attend a week-long video camp at the University of Michigan. I was the oldest person in the class, but I didn’t care. I wanted the wisdom our young instructor had. Both Luke and I learned how to make and edit videos in the industry standard video software of that time. Right away we were able to put that wisdom to use in our ministry.

When I’ve wanted to learn new technologies or entrepreneurial methods, I paid the big bucks to take online courses from those who knew what they were talking about. I watched every video. I did the worksheets. I mastered the topic. The wisdom I’ve gleaned has helped our own lives and ministries immensely. In fact, without the wisdom I gained through these courses, we would be light years behind where we are now.

What wisdom do you need? What person(s), what church, what organization has it? Buy the wisdom you need. Buy every book they have. Purchase every teaching they offer. Enroll in all the online courses they have. Attend the conferences they offer. Pay for every video they sell. 

Wisdom is the most valuable commodity -- so let’s follow the Lord’s advice in Proverbs and “buy it!”

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If you want the baton, run faster.

 “Don’t you realize that in a race everyone runs, but only one person gets the prize? So run to win!  All athletes are disciplined in their training. They do it to win a prize that will fade away, but we do it for an eternal prize. So I run with purpose in every step. I am not just shadowboxing. I discipline my body like an athlete, training it to do what it should...” 1 Corinthians 9:24, NLT

If you want the baton, run faster! Run like you want to win.

Your future promotion, influence, impact and calling depend on how you run!

Think about it. At some point, the people in front of you want to pass the baton! Your parents, your boss, your pastor or the company owner aren’t going to be leading the parade forever. One day, they will pass the baton, but to who?

To the runner who can keep pace with them and better yet, run faster and farther! To the runner who can grab the baton and move everything forward! Not to a runner who is lazy, disorganized, going slow, sitting back and waiting for the baton with an entitled attitude. 

No, if you want the baton, learn how to outrun your parents, your boss, your pastor or the company owner. Show them you don’t make excuses, show up late, forget deadlines or mismanage your income. Show them you’ve got the motivation, optimism, dedication, discipline, work ethic, people skills, administrative ability, vision and leadership quotient needed to keep the organization moving forward at the same speed or faster.

I don’t know any leaders, founders or influencers who want to pass the baton and watch things go backwards. But we know many leaders who regularly look around their organizations to see if anyone is running faster than they or if anyone will emerge with the leadership gifts and anointing to take things further, faster!

 If you want the baton, run like the wind my friend.

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My 10 favorite apps.

I am not a tech guru by any stretch, and I know there are lots of apps I’ve never even heard of or utilized, but nonetheless, other than the standard apps that come with our mobile devices -- here are the top 10 apps I love and use almost every week!  

  1. Blue Letter Bible | Bible study software that has in-depth resources such as commentaries, Greek and Hebrew word tools, concordances and more.

  2. Bible Gateway | Mobile app with devotionals, Bible reading plans, various Bible translations and more. 

  3. Over | Easy, on-the-go way to create great designs or videos with customizable graphics, videos, fonts, color palettes, etc. It’s your graphic design team in an app! 

  4. VideoLeap | So easy anyone can use it. Make great videos on the go without all of the major equipment and export time. 

  5. Aviary | This is a photo editing app that allows you to crop, rotate, resize, flip and adjust colors as well as add captions, effects and filters. 

  6. Candy Crush | Gotta have something to do while I’m sitting on an airplane or waiting in line somewhere! 

  7. Marco Polo | Great way to communicate with friends and family via short videos in a private thread. I love keeping up with friends across the country or my kids across the globe (in Australia!) with this app. 

  8. Notability | A great note taking tool! 

  9. Audible | I am a big advocate of doubling your time. Audible allows me to listen to audiobooks while I’m driving, working or getting ready in the morning. 

  10. Blinkist | Blinkist lets you read the main points and lessons from thousands of nonfiction books in 15 min or less. Great way to keep up with the latest in a short amount of time! 

What apps can you not live without and make your life easier? 

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Ten things I pack when I travel.

The Lord keeps watch over you as you come and go, both now and forever. Psalm 121:8, NLT

We’ve traveled enough that I’ve finally caught on to packing a few essentials. Here are 10 things I always pack when we travel.

  1. Just in Case Essentials -- I always pack these extras in my carry-on in case of spills, unexpected weather or delayed luggage: extra PJ’s, undies, toothbrush, basic makeup, Qtips. 

  2. Compression Socks -- especially for long flights. I feel like an old lady, but my legs are happy!

  3. Flip Flops -- for those quick jaunts to get ice or coffee -- or in case we find a beach! 

  4. Magnifying Mirror -- Gotta see what needs fixing.

  5. Basic Drugs -- nothing worse than needing a little medical attention and not knowing a local doctor or the language -- so, I always pack essential pain relievers, basic antibiotics and vitamins. 

  6. Bathing Suit -- even if it’s going to be snowing and cold -- you never know when you might find a hot tub or pool.

  7. Comfy Sweatshirt and Jean Jacket -- the weather channel app has lied to me before and when I’ve expected it to be hot at our destination and it turned out to be cold as ice, I am happy to have my fav sweatshirt or jean jacket.

  8. Baseball Hat -- for the bad hair days. I have a lot of hair products to help in almost any weather, but when it’s really humid -- my hair goes as flat as a pancake. Rather than fight it, I put on a baseball cap!

  9. Coconut Oil -- for removing make up, moisturizing skin and giving everything a nice shine!

  10. Ear Buds -- I like to have at least three pairs with me -- wireless, old-fashioned jack for airplanes and modern jack for my iphone...in case my wireless ones aren’t charged. Gotta have options.


What 10 things do you pack?

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Five favorite places for coffee.

Wake up, wake up, O Zion! Clothe yourself with strength. Isaiah 52:1, NLT

Not sure we can call coffee, “clothing,” but this is one Bible verse “maybe” referencing coffee. (wink!)

I know there are loads of amazing coffee places in the world, but here are five of my faves. If you’re ever in these towns, be sure to check them out!

  1. La Café Del Caffe -- Rome, Italy -- http://www.tazzadorocoffeeshop.com

  2. Higher Grounds Coffee Shop -- Idyllwild, California -- http://idyllwildcoffeeroasters.com

  3. Eternity Coffee Roasters -- Miami, Florida -- https://www.eternitycoffeeroasters.com

  4. Original Starbucks -- Pike Place Market, Seattle, Washington -- https://www.starbucks.com

  5. Biggby’s Coffee -- I go here the most! -- Kalamazoo, Michigan -- https://www.biggby.com
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You need a family vacation, now!

... God, who richly gives us all we need for our enjoyment. 1 Timothy 6:17, NLT

You need a vacation. Now! Or at least regularly -- with, not from, (wink) your family!

Why? Because the clock is ticking and these are the years to make memories. Don’t let the demands of work or financial pressures rob you and your family of taking a vacation where you’ll build memories and strengthen your bonds. 

When our kids were little, I was passionate about taking an annual summer vacation for at least one week with our entire family. In the early years, we didn’t have two nickels to rub together so our vacations were shoestring budget worthy -- but we made memories. We rented little cottages. We went fishing. Made a bonfire. Packed a picnic basket. 

As the kids got older, the vacations changed. Maybe it was a trip out west or to Washington DC...but it often included a beach. 

Now here’s the thing. Our vacations weren’t perfect. There was always chaos. Someone needed an attitude adjustment. We spilled stuff. The photos didn’t turn out. We forgot to pack important things. We got lost. We were hot and sweaty -- or freezing. 

And all of those things made the memories!

Sitting around a campfire making s’mores, playing poker with candy, trying to spot a bear or a moose around the edge of the woods and talking about life -- those are the little things -- the big things everyone will remember. 

On top of the memories and bonds that are built, it’s healthy to get out of the normal routine of life, to breathe fresher air, to see bigger cities, to ride down a river and learn a little history. 

Need some inspiration? Here’s a trip down our memory lane (25 years ago -- whaaaat?) and perhaps you’ll be inspired in your vacation planning.

1995 - Toddler Years - Our minivan was loaded with car seats, playpens and swimmies as we made the trek “up-north” to rent a little cottage. We had just enough energy to sit on the beach with a book and pray our four little ones took long naps! Benadryl helped. (I’m just kidding…relax!)

2001 - Elementary Years - These were the high-octane vacations - full of sleeping bags, fishing poles, marshmallows, bikes, skateboards, tubing, rafting, fireworks, adrenaline - and the “are we there, yet?” question every ten minutes. We drank a lot of coffee.

2004 - Middle School Years – The kids were not too excited about the trip to see all the monuments, memorials and museums in DC. I persuaded them, “C’mon, you’re Americans! Someone paid a price for our freedom….” I saw their eyes roll back into their heads. Ok, so maybe it was overkill. After six hours at the National Air and Space Museum, I finally sat down on a bench with my kids and we prayed that dad would quit reading every plaque in the Smithsonian!

2005 - High School Years – Skiing trips up north in the winter and road trips in the summer. I remember our big road trip out west. The kids went against their will and wondered why we – a non-camping family of six - were going to a campground near Jackson Hole, Wyoming? I figured every family should try camping; so, I made a reservation for three nights in the “tent-cabins." As soon as I saw “the park,” I began to plead, “Oh dear God, please don’t let my family kill me…” Ok, so all the other families had Coleman stoves and Rubbermaid tubs filled with camping gear? We had dad’s pocket knife! Oh, the tent-cabin only sleeps four? It will be 33 degrees, tonight? Hey, it’s THE vacation the kids still talk about!

Like most families, our summer trips have been flavored with the usual - kids fighting over personal space in the car, small wars over who called “shotgun” and yes, tears over the one most important “vacation” decision: who gets to push the elevator button! Wonderful memories. 

2007 - Technology Years – This year, we loaded up our four teenagers to head to Florida for a few weeks. Our goal was to do nothing. As it turned out, it was our first taste of a high-tech vacation. It started in the car - Jeff drove, followed the GPS system and listened to his iPod; the kids watched a few DVDs and I wrote part of a column on my laptop. Where were the coloring books, flying french fries and travel Yahtzee? Once we got to our destination, the first thing I noticed is that the kids didn’t run to the pool or ice cream store; they plopped down to get online and check Facebook, MySpace and AIM. (Old technology now!) It was a new era. 

2012 and Beyond - College and Young Adult Years - Vacations were different in this season. The kids were busy with college, jobs and their emerging independence, so we tried to make memories when we could. Maybe it was a short "girls cruise" with me and my daughters or a day of fishing for the boys. Vacations included fiances and the our son and daughter in laws. A cookout at the house, sitting around a bonfire or a day of floating around on a pontoon were moments we cherished.

2019 - My 60th - I knew we had a very small window to take the whole family on one last  vacation together before all the kids began having babies and a whole new era of fun, grand baby chaos would emerge. At that time, two of our kids and their spouses were living in Australia so we had to find a spot where all 10 of us could meet and vacation. If we could make it happen, my 60th birthday dream was to take all of our kids with us on a mediterranean cruise. As it turned out, everyone was able to meet up in Rome and we hopped on a Norwegian cruise ship for a glorious 10 days to make the best memories and fill my mom-heart to the brim! It's a time I will never forget!!

2020 and Beyond - Now that we're empty nesters, my husband and I are loving our time together and we're keeping the vacation tradition going doing fun things together! We like cruising so we make it a point to get on a few ships a year, either just the two of us or together with friends. We know a fun season of grandkids is coming and we can't wait to introduce them to fun vacation getaways with gramma and gramps! :) 

Family vacations...the years tick by so fast...be sure to make time to make memories! Things don’t always go according to plan, chaos can be expected and someone might blow a gasket -- and all of that makes great memories!

If you’ve not made family vacations a priority, please for the love of God and family -- do it. Plan your next family vacation right now. (Check out vrbo.com, vacationstogo.com to jumpstart your vacation!)

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Why we are not campers.

So I recommend having fun, because there is nothing better for people in this world than to eat, drink, and enjoy life. That way they will experience some happiness along with all the hard work God gives them under the sun.” Ecclesiastes 8:15, NLT

I promised my family they would love camping in the tent-cabins at Colter Bay near the Grand Tetons of Wyoming — when in fact, I had never been camping there, nor had our family ever camped once in our existence. 

I knew we were in trouble when my husband and I pulled our minivan, filled to the brim with four teenagers, up to our campsite and saw a small tent-cabin (yes, it’s exactly that: a tent-cabin) and a small bonfire pit. (Keywords: Everything. Was. Small. We are a giant family of six—kin to Shrek—each hovering near six feet or more.) When our campsite neighbors pulled up and began to unload their multiple tubs of Rubbermaid camping gear complete with tents, screens, a propane stove, and lanterns, my children stared at me with dagger-like eyes. 

Fine. 

So, we didn’t have a stove, flashlight, utensils, plates, food, or matches. We had a pocketknife. But this was nothing a trip to the camp store couldn’t fix. Two packages of hot dogs later, along with stale buns and a few packets of ketchup and mustard we “stole” from the deli, and we were living like pioneers! Never mind we had to borrow matches from our professional camping neighbors to start our bonfire. The non-stop disapproving body language I felt from my loving family should have discouraged me, but I knew eventually they would love this whole experience!

Well, our three-day camping experience turned into a one night “get us the heck out of here” experience. Other than the fact that we spent the night in a World War II era tent-cabin where the wood-burning heater ran out of wood around 2 a.m., the temperature dropped to 32 degrees, and we were all freezing, it wasn’t a big deal. I hardly noticed the frostbite because of the shooting pain in my torn rotator cuff that zapped me every time I tried to roll over in my 1940s army cot. 

Besides, who could sleep? I was still thinking about the “watch out for the hungry bears late at night” comment I’d heard at the camp store earlier. Not to worry, I was pretty sure the shouts from our cabin sent every bear in three counties running for cover at 2:15 a.m. when my husband woke up to stoke the woodless fire and tripped over our boys who were sleeping soundly in soccer chairs. When they collapsed under dad’s falling body, their freaked-out screams likely started a flurry of bears texting one another, “Crazy Alert: Stay away from Site 37.” 

Somehow the girls slept through the chaos, but in the morning, their parsed-lip mumbles about having to pay 25 cents to take a shower in a grimy stall didn’t go unnoticed. Trying to be chipper, I reminded them, “C’mon you guys! This is how the Little House on the Prairie people did it!” Eyes were rolling. By the time we packed up our goods and pulled out of the campground, I’d had enough of the bad attitudes and forced the entire family to sing, “You’ve got to get up every morning with a smile on your face and show the world all the love in your heart.” (Thank you Carole King, Tapestry Album, 1970s.) 

Wouldn’t you know, once we saw the Grand Tetons and hiked up beautiful trails to see mountain views and waterfalls, not to mention the moose, bears, and plentiful wildlife (from a distance!), the entire family was singing my praises about what a great vacation this was! 

So, here’s the punch line. I promised they would love camping and to this day, the Colter Bay camping experience is the one and only vacation our family still raves, mocks and reenacts all of these years later. 

(I knew they would love it!) 

And that’s why we are not campers.

(Excerpt from Beth’s book, Wealth and Generosity, published by Harrison House.)

The point? Make memories with your family -- whether in a tent-cabin in Wyoming or by sitting around the card table playing games. You will never regret the effort and expense of spending tine with family!

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Two things God told me when we had teens.

So we have not stopped praying for you since we first heard about you. We ask God to give you complete knowledge of his will and to give you spiritual wisdom and understanding. Then the way you live will always honor and please the Lord, and your lives will produce every kind of good fruit. All the while, you will grow as you learn to know God better and better. Colossians 1:9-10, NLT

When our kids were entering middle school. I was nervous.

I remembered being in middle school -- I wasn’t a Christian and it was during that season, I started doing all the bad stuff.

I was feeling anxious as our kids entered middle school. I wondered, “How do you raise Christian teens?”

As I sought the Lord, the Holy Spirit told me two things. 

First, He spoke to my heart with this: “Jesus is the only perfect Person. Everyone makes mistakes and your kids will, too.” 

Second. He went on, “Pray that their mistakes are minor and they learn their lessons quickly.”

So that’s what I did. 

I accepted the fact that our kids would make mistakes. It wasn’t as if they (or we) were perfect anyway -- but somehow, when I acknowledged they would make mistakes in middle school and high school, it set me at ease. When I made that simple adjustment in my heart, the fear of trying to raise perfect kids or be perfect parents (or even pastor the perfect church) lost its power. 

The fact that I could pray specifically that the mistakes our kids made would be minor and that they would learn quickly, also gave me a great deal of rest. I knew I could lean on the Lord to help them in this regard and I trusted the Holy Spirit would be with them to coach and instruct them along the way.

I bet you can guess what happened?

  • Our kids made minor mistakes.
  • They learned their lessons quickly.
  • And… of course, they were also grounded, lost their cell phone privileges and car keys.
  • But, they learned their lessons quickly! 

If you’ve got middle school or high schoolers, be encouraged as you accept the fact that you’re your kids will make mistakes, but you can pray their mistakes are minor and they learn their lessons quickly too.

The best part of all of this for me was that during those teen years, my kids and I stayed close and kept the lines of communication open. Other than a few bad days, it was an enjoyable season and these days they are all married, and they all love the Lord. 

Need God’s wisdom to guide your kids through their teen years? Pray the prayer above from Colossians and ask the Lord for the insights you need. (And, feel free to adopt what He led us to do!)

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