Archive | January 2014

Parents Need Prayer, Too

Your Parents Need Prayer | another free printable prayer guide from Loving Life at Home

[Click image to print a black & white version of this guide]

One of my readers recently wrote me to say that she allows her daughter to read many of my posts, including the Praying for Your Children from Head to Toe guide I published last week.

The daughter wanted to know whether there was a similar guide that kids could use to pray for their parents.

Doesn’t that just melt your heart?

And so, I set about compiling this short list of verses that children can pray over their parents. Your Parents Need Prayer — at all ages and stages of life!

Please feel free to print out a copy and use it during in your own personal prayer time.

The guide is divided into seven broad topics; you can pray through the whole thing at once, or pray for a different area each day of the week.

  • P is for Perspective

    Pray that they would keep an eternal focus and would prioritize those things that God says are important. Ask God to give them wisdom and discernment in their dealings with you and with one another. (Psalm 90:12; Micah 6:8; James 1:5)

  • A is for Attitude

    Ask God to give your parents a positive, cheerful outlook. Pray that the fruit of His Spirit would be evident in their lives, and that they would “do nothing from selfish ambition or vain conceit,” but would instead model the “attitude that was also in Christ Jesus.” (Proverbs 17:22; Galatians 5:22-23;Philippians 2:3-5)

  • R is for Relationships

    Pray that God would bless and strengthen your parents’ relationship to Him, to one another, and to their children and grandchildren. Pray that their marriage would be characterized by an abiding, self-sacrificing love and a deep, heartfelt respect for one another. (Isaiah 41:10; Ephesians 5:33; Ephesians 6:1-4)

  • E is for Energy

    Parenting is hard work! Pray that God would refresh and rejuvenate your mom and dad. Ask him to renew their strength and replenish their energy. Pray that they would not grow weary in well-doing, but would persevere to the end and finish strong. (Isaiah 40:28-31; Galatians 6:9-10; 2 Thessalonians 3:13)

  • N is for Needs

    Ask God to provide for all your parents’ needs “according to the riches of His glory in Christ Jesus.” Pray that He would bless them abundantly, beyond all they ask or think, and that they would serve as an open channel of blessings to others. (Philippians 4:19; 2 Corinthians 9:8; Ephesians 3:20-21; Luke 6:38)

  • T is for Testimony

    Pray that your parents would live their lives with integrity and that God would reward them with a good name among those who know them. Pray that they would be salt and light in their community, and that the love of Christ would shine through them to a lost and dying world. (Proverbs 20:7; Proverbs 3:3-4; Matthew 5:13-14)

  • S is for Security

    Pray that your parents would recognize God as the source of their security. Ask Him to do a work in their hearts, conforming them to the image of Christ and making sure their salvation. Pray that they would earnestly seek after wisdom and would walk in their way securely. (Psalm 121; Romans 12:2; Proverbs 3:23)

Admittedly, this guide is better suited to older children who’ve already learned to read. But kids who are too little to use this list are NOT too little to pray!

If you want to encourage very young children to pray for others, I would suggest you make a little photo album, with a picture of the individual person being prayed for (parents, grandparents, siblings, friends) on each page. Your child can then use this as a reminder of whom to pray for each day.

We did this with our older children when they were little, and they loved it. If you like, you can include a short list of simple, specific requests under each picture. If you laminate the pages, you can even use a wet erase marker to change up the requests as each prayer is answered.

Pray for Your Children from Head to Toe

After I published my popular “Praying for Your Husband from Head to Toe” printable, several readers requested a similar prayer guide for wives. I made one, and my husband published it on his blog last year. Recently a reader suggested I do a “Praying for Your Children from Head to Toe” guide, which I agreed was an excellent idea. So here it is. May you and your children both be blessed!

Pray for Your Children from Head to Toe | free printable from Loving Life at Home

[Click image to print a black & white copy of this guide.]

Pray for Their Mind:

Pray that your children would earnestly seek wisdom and understanding; that they would value knowledge and discernment; and that their thoughts would stay centered on the truth of God’s Word. (Proverbs 2:1-6; Proverbs 3:21; James 1:5; Psalm 119:97)

Pray for Their Eyes:

Ask God to guard your children’s eyes and protect their innocence. Pray that they would focus their attention on doing what is right. (Romans 16:19; Proverbs 4:25)

Pray for Their Ears:

Pray that your children would be quick to hear and that they would incline their ears to listen to instruction. (James 1:19; Isaiah 55:3; Proverbs 8:32-34)

Pray for Their Mouth:

Ask God to keep their tongues from evil and their lips from speaking lies. Pray that all their words would be pleasing to Him and edifying to others. (Psalm 34:13; Psalm 19:14)

Pray for Their Heart:

Ask God to give your children a happy, cheerful heart. Pray that they’d come to faith early and would trust easily and completely in Him. (Proverbs 15:13; Psalm 28:7)

Pray for Their Hands:

Pray that they would be diligent in their work and that their hands would not be idle, but that God would bless, confirm, and establish the work of their hands. (Ecclesiastes 9:10; Ecclesiastes 11:6; Proverbs 10:4-5)

Pray for Their Legs:

Pray that your children would not walk in step with the wicked nor stand in the way of sinners, but that they’d find wise and godly companions along life’s journey. (Psalm 1:1; Proverbs 13:20)

Pray for Their Feet:

Ask God to direct their steps, to help them stand fast, and to protect them from stumbling. (Psalm 17:5; Psalm 37:23-24; Psalm 121:3; Psalm 119:133)


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Turn Your Thinking Around

Have you bought into society’s low view of marriage? It’s time to turn your thinking around. Read through the following statements from top to bottom, then bottom to top. Which better reflects what you believe? (Personally, I believe this is one instance that backward thinking makes the best sense).

It's Time to Turn Your Thinking Around : Re-examining What We Believe about Marriage | Loving Life at Home

What Society Teaches about Marriage:
(read top to bottom)

Modern day marriages don’t last
That is why
You should only look out for #1
It is foolish to think
You can live happily ever after
By giving your all
To build up your man
Take whatever measures are necessary
To maintain your autonomy
Don’t worry about trying
To give 110%
Always remember instead
That marriage is a 50-50 proposition
Don’t think for a minute
Your husband will respond in kind
If you treat him with respect
That’s a lie
Being a submissive wife makes you a doormat
I don’t believe
Marriage is worth the sacrifice

What Christianity Teaches about Marriage:
(read bottom to top)


“Turn Your Thinking Around: Time to Reconsider What We’ve Been Taught about Marriage”
Copyright Jennifer Flanders, 2014. First published on Loving Life at Home

New Devotionals for a New Year

19 Ways to Boost Productivity

Do you start every new year like I do, with a long list of things you want to accomplish in the following twelve months? Wouldn’t you love to look back on 2014 next December, having actually completed a large portion of that list? What follows are nineteen habits that can help those dreams become a reality:

19 Ways to Boost Productivity | Loving Life at Home

  1. Stop procrastinating.

    We tend to over-estimate the time required to do a dreaded task, and under-estimate the amount of work we can accomplish in incremental units. Stop putting it off and just do it. (James 4:17)

  2. Make a schedule.

    This needn’t be rigid and inflexible, just a barebones game plan for your day, a general idea of what you plan to do and when you plan to do it. As Alan Lakein so sensibly observed, “Failing to plan is planning to fail.” (Proverbs 16:9)

  3. Eat breakfast.

    Never skip the most important meal of the day, as it will provide the energy you need to greet the day’s responsibilities with vim and vigor. Be sure to include complex carbohydrates, for staying power that will carry you till lunchtime. (John 21:12)

  4. Exercise regularly.

    Aerobic exercise increases your energy reserves, so get your heart pumping. You’ll expend a little effort upfront, but you’ll build your endurance and ward off fatigue in the long run. (1 Timothy 4:8)

  5. Preserve margin.

    Don’t pack your schedule so full that you leave yourself no time to rest and reflect and recharge. Such times of relaxation are vital to our health and well-being, which is the whole concept behind Sabbath observation. Margin also leaves room for unexpected interruptions and unforeseen emergencies. (Exodus 34:21)

  6. Review your goals.

    Zig Ziglar once said, “Don’t count the stuff you do, do the stuff that counts.” Make sure the goals you’re pursuing line up with your core priorities and values. Remind yourself of these things often, and stay focused on what’s really important. (Philippians 3:13-14)

  7. Work fresh.

    If you’re a morning person, get up early and tackle important tasks then. If you do better in the evening after little ones are in bed and the house is quiet, then be a productive night owl. When your energy starts to sag, take a break (or take a nap). Go for a jog, grab a cup of tea, or catch forty winks, then return to work with renewed vitality and clear thinking. (Proverbs 31:15-18)

  8. Rethink perfectionism.

    Perfectionism is often at odds with productivity. In fact, sometimes perfectionism can be downright paralyzing. I’m all for pursuing excellence, but some of our responsibilities warrant less attention to detail than others. We must tend to trivial tasks quickly and efficiently if we want to have the time and energy we’ll need to do our most important work well. (Matthew 23:23)

  9. Put On Some Music.

    For physical labor, tune into something upbeat and energizing; if you’re doing mental work, try something calming and classical. Listening to music in the OR improves surgeons’ job performance, and the same principle may hold true for you. (2 Chronicles 5:13)

  10. Forgive those who wrong you.

    Don’t harbor bitterness or nurse grudges. You’ll waste a lot of valuable time perseverating over past offenses. Fully forgive offenders: just let it go and move on. (Colossians 3:13)

  11. Turn off the T.V.

    The average American watches five hours of television a day. If you fall into that category, flip the switch. You can pack a lot of productivity into five hours a day. When you’re on your deathbed, I guarantee you won’t be lamenting, “Why, oh why, didn’t I ever watch that last season of Survivor?” (Psalm 101:3)

  12. Work offline.

    I don’t know about you, but I find it terribly distracting when I’m trying to work to receive a constant stream of bells, whistles, dings, and other alerts notifying me about new emails, texts, tweets, and Facebook messages. I make a lot more progress on my writing when I turn off the wireless connection to do it. Likewise, anytime I need to focus on a task at hand (like schooling my children) with minimal interruptions, I leave my iPhone on my nightstand, my laptop on my desk, and let the answering machine deal with any calls that come across the land line. (Hebrews 12:1)

  13. Brainstorm.

    Got a problem? Don’t be afraid to think outside the box. If something isn’t working, try a new approach. Don’t just keep doing what you’ve always done, expecting better results next time. (Wasn’t that Einstein’s definition of insanity?) What are you trying to accomplish? How can you make it happen? Unleash your creativity. Dream big. Then come up with a plan to accomplish those dreams. (Proverbs 16:1)

  14. Set a timer.

    Overwhelmed by the sheer volume of work that needs to be done? Break it down into manageable chunks. Set a timer for ten (or twenty or thirty) minutes, delve in with gusto, and see how much you can knock out before the buzzer sounds. (Proverbs 13:4)

  15. Work ahead.

    If looming deadlines stress you out, pace yourself. Start early and give yourself plenty of time to finish the task without rushing. My sister has successfully used this strategy since grade school, and I’ve seldom ever seen her flustered. (Luke 14:28-30)

  16. Harness adrenaline.

    If you work well under pressure, capitalize on that fact. Tack as many extras onto your “to do” list as you can think of, then race the clock to see how many you can finish before time is up. I do this whenever we host a party. My “must do’s” (send invites, clean house, prepare food) are invariably followed by a slew of “want to’s” (paint kitchen, redo landscaping, sew curtains, clean attic). I never finish everything on the extended list before the guests arrive, but I usually accomplish far more than those few items on my short list. (Philippians 4:13, Ephesians 3:20-21)

  17. Multi-task wisely.

    Sometimes doing two things at once is smart and efficient: If you have a long daily commute, it makes good sense to listen audio-books or language tapes while driving. If you’re facing a long wait at the doctor’s office, by all means bring along a book to read or some knitting to do or some papers to grade. At other times, however, multi-tasking is foolish, dangerous, or just plain rude: Texting while driving? Not smart. Checking stocks in the middle of church services? Don’t do it. Perusing Facebook during family dinners? Think again. Pocket your phone and connect with the people seated around your table instead. (Deuteronomy 11:18-19)

  18. Be Polite.

    Show kindness and consideration to everyone. Be as helpful to others as possible. Be generous with your time and money. It may sound counterintuitive, but showing uncommon courtesy is not only right and good from an ethical standpoint, it is also smart and savvy from an efficiency standpoint. Sure, it requires a little extra time and effort upfront, but it pays off in the long run. When you are terse and rude and cold toward others, not only are they disinclined to help you, but they’ll often work actively against you. You will be thwarted at every step, and everything you try to accomplish will be undermined by your own insolence. By contrast, when you are warm and caring and helpful toward others, that kindness will neither go unnoticed nor unrewarded. What goes around, comes around. We reap what we sow. (Proverbs 19:17; 2 Corinthians 9:6)

  19. Say a prayer.

    Although I’m ending my list with this, prayer should really be our starting point. Martin Luther’s approach to an unusually busy day was not to skimp on his quiet time with the Lord, but to extend it: “I have so much to do that I shall have to spend the first three hours in prayer.” He knew his only hope for accomplishing everything on his agenda was divine empowerment. I don’t think in all my life I’ve ever spent three continuous hours on my knees, but I can testify that my days do go more smoothly, and far more gets done by the end of them, when I begin my mornings with Bible study and prayer. (1 Thessalonians 5:17)

Those are my tips for being more productive. What helpful hints would you add to this list?