Category Archives: Writing

Prayers for our Children (Conclusion)

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Grace, Grace, Grace

Maybe some of you will read this book, follow its advice, pray a few prayers, and see instant miracles in your children’s lives. If so, praise the Lord. And if you write me, I will praise the Lord with you, but I may even drive to your home and shake your hand. You see, I prayed for over fifteen years for my son, daughter-in-law, and my daughter.

But paraphrasing a statement by the late Rev. R. W. Schambach: “Sink or swim, live or die, I will not let go of God’s promises until God moves in my children’s and grandchildren’s lives because all I need is a little faith in God.”

This is the persistent type of determination we must have when we pray for our children and grandchildren. Period.

My prayer for parents:

 Lord, help us to remember when we pray for our children to walk in their divine destinies that it will not be accomplished by our might or our power, but it will be done by Your Spirit. Remind us, Lord, that we can speak to the mountains in our children’s lives and these obstacles will become plains for our children to walk on and when the chief cornerstone −Jesus Christ −takes His place in their lives, we will shout, “Grace, grace, God’s amazing grace.” (Based on Zechariah 4:6-7)

(The above is an excerpt from Praying for the Frozen Chosen: Our Children by Larry Nevenhoven, © 2016, Amazon eBook)

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Praying for Our Children (Part 7)

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Let’s say Carol and I need a Special Widget for an important business project, which must be done right away. All of our money and resources are tied up in the project. So, we need to finish it as quickly as possible.

We jump in our Honda and search all over Temecula, but Best Buy, Staples, Home Depot, and all the other stores have no Special Widgets on hand. We then decide to check Amazon.com and there is one in stock. We purchase it with our VISA Card and have it sent by FedEx. An email from Amazon confirms our order and also gives us a tracking number from FedEx to follow the Special Widget’s delivery route online.

The next day, a friend asks if we have found a Special Widget as yet. “Yes, we have purchased one. It’s on the way,” we answer with big smiles on our faces.

“Are you sure?” the friend asks, raising both eyebrows.

“Yes,” we reply, without any doubts in our minds.

How can we be so sure the Special Widget will arrive at our home?

Carol and I trust the reputations of Amazon and FedEx. The two corporations have a long history of carrying out what they promise to do. Plus, we have guarantees to back up our trust in an email confirmation and a tracking number.

 

The above Special Widget story is a perfect analogy to show how God answers our prayers.

First, who has the better reputation −Amazon, FedEx, or God?

The answer is obvious for us believers: God.

He never lies, never fails, never sleeps, is omnipresent, omniscient, omnipotent, and has all of heaven backing His commands. And guess what? God created Jeff Bezos, the founder of Amazon, and Frederick W. Smith, founder of FedEx. So, obviously, God is not overwhelmed by the intricacies of the marketplace or anything at all.

Second, when did Carol and I own the Special Widget in the above story?

As soon as we purchased it from Amazon with our VISA Card, we owned it. It was ours before it ever showed up at our home.

Okay, when do we receive (or own) the answers to our prayers?

For this reason I am telling you, whatever things you ask for in prayer [in accordance with God’s will], believe [with confident trust] that you have received them, and they will be givento you. (Mark 11:24 Amplified Version)

In much the same way as ordering the Special Widget from Amazon, we must believe by faith that God has answered our prayers as soon as we pray them. It doesn’t matter that we don’t see the answers with our natural eyes because we must have faith the answers are on the way, just like we trusted the Special Widget was on its way via FedEx.

 

Third, Amazon sent us a confirmation email and FedEx gave us a tracking number. Because of these two guarantees, we felt safe in trusting them.

What about God?

Now faith is the assurance (title deed, confirmation) of things hoped for (divinely guaranteed), and the evidence of things not seen [the conviction of their reality—faith comprehends as fact what cannot be experienced by the physical senses]. (Hebrews 11:1 Amplified Version)

Faith in God that He will answer our prayers is our confirmation from the Lord.

Okay, faith may not always seem as tangible as an email confirmation and a tracking number, but here’s something we can do to make it more concrete for us.

Because our Father in heaven is a covenant-making God, we can make a covenant with Him. His covenants with Adam, Noah, Moses, David, and Jesus are written down in the Bible and still in force today. The word “covenant” means pledge or legal agreement between two parties, in this case God and man.

Here’s what I often do:

I write down my prayers for my children and others in a special notebook. For example, let’s say I have prayed for my daughter to receive the baptism of the Holy Spirit and fire. I write down her name, the date of the prayer, and Matthew 3:11, the verse where the baptism of the Holy Spirit and fire is mentioned. This becomes a written covenant between God and me.

From the moment I write it down, I no longer ask God to baptize my daughter in the Holy Spirit and fire, but instead I thank Him for doing it. You see, the prayer was answered when I prayed it.

I flip through my notebook often each week, thanking the Lord for answering my prayers for my children and others.

If doubt ever hits me about my prayers, I open my notebook and point to the date and scripture, reminding God of our covenant.

This works!

Continue steadfastly in prayer, being watchful in it with thanksgiving.(Colossians 4:2)

(The above is an excerpt from Praying for the Frozen Chosen: Our Children by Larry Nevenhoven, © 2016, Amazon eBook)  

(Continued in Part 7)

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Praying for our Children (Part 5)

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An article authored by Ray Hughes in The Morning Star Journal changed my prayer life forever.  Its was entitled The Forgotten Legacy of Sam Jones and told about an almost forgotten evangelist who grew up to be labeled by a Southern newspaper as “the most famous man in America.” Jones was born in 1847, the same year as Alexander Graham Bell and Thomas Alva Edison.

The article related how Sam Jones became a hopeless drunkard by the age of twenty-five. His health was wrecked and an untimely death faced him when his dying father made him promise to change. Then the article said:

“Sam declared, ‘I yield, I yield,’ determining right then and there that every remaining step of his life would be an honest effort to fulfill that promise to his father. But Sam’s father wasn’t the only one shouting that day; his saintly grandmother was another. She was said to have read the Bible from cover to cover thirty-eight times while on her knees, applying the promises of God in prayer for Sam’s wayward life.”

Click! The light switched on inside me. I knew that I knew that Scripture was a powerful spiritual tool in praying for people, especially our children.

There is only one book where the words in it are “living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and spirit, of joints and marrow, and able to discern the thoughts and intentions of a person’s heart.” 

That one book is the Bible.

It should be everyone’s favorite prayer book because what is our biggest struggle in praying for our children? I would guess that it centers on whether God will actually answer our prayers.

And this is the confidence that we have toward Him, that if we ask anything according to His will He hears us. And if we know that He hears us in whatever we ask, we know that we have the requests that we have asked of Him. (1 John 5:14-15)

Scripture is God’s revealed will to His believers. Thus, by praying Scripture, we are praying the Father’s will back to the Father so He can move in our children’s lives.

It’s a win/win deal for us parents.

But yet, there is still another benefit of praying Scripture for our children.

Bless the LORD, you His angels, mighty in strength, who perform His word, obeying the voice of His word! (Psalm 103:20 NKJV)

When we pray Scripture for our children, God’s angels are put to work, bringing the prayers to pass in their lives. We can think of ourselves as “spiritual labor bosses” if we pray Scripture, sending angels out to their jobs: our children.

There are hundreds of Bible verses, which make great prayers for our children. You can choose your own as you study the Bible, but here’s a few of the ones I pray along with examples of how I pray them.

The coming of the lawless one is according to the working of Satan, with all power, signs, and lying wonders, and with all unrighteous deception among those who perish, because they did not receive the love of the truth, that they might be saved. (2 Thessalonians 2:9-10 NKJV)

“Therefore give to Your servant an understanding heart [or hearing heart] to judge Your people, that I may discern between good and evil. For who is able to judge this great people of Yours?” (1 Kings 3:9 NKJV)

This is one of my favorite prayers in which I combine the above two verses.

My prayer: “Lord, give  (child’s name) an understanding and hearing heart so that he/she receives the love of the truth and is saved in all situations he/she might face.”

And he said to all, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me. (Luke 9:23)

My prayer: “Lord, I pray that  (child’s name) would deny himself/herself, take up his/her cross daily, and follow Jesus.”

Your word is a lamp to my feet and light to my path.(Psalm 119:105)

My prayer: “Lord, I pray that Your word is a lamp to  (child’s name) feet and a light to his/her path.”

Send out Your light andYour truth; let them lead me; let them bring me to Your holy hill and to Your dwelling. (Psalm 43:3)

My prayer: “Lord, send Your light and Your truth to (child’s name); let them lead him/her to Your holy hill and to Your dwelling.”

I baptize you with water for repentance, but He who is coming after me is mightier than I, whose sandals I am not worthy to carry. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire. (Matthew 3:11)

My prayer: “Lord, I pray that You baptize (child’s name) with the Holy Spirit and fire.”

Do not be slothful in zeal, be fervent in spirit, serve the Lord. Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer. Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good. (Romans 12:11-12, 21)

My prayer: “Lord, I pray that (child’s name) is not slothful in zeal, but fervent in spirit, serving You; that he/she rejoices in hope, is patient in tribulation and constant in prayer; and that he/she is not overcome by evil, but overcomes evil with good.”

That I may know Him and the power of His resurrection, and the fellowship of His suffering, being conformed to His death. Brethren, I do not count myself to have apprehended; but one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus(Philippians 3:10, 13-14 NKJV)

My prayer: “Lord, I pray that (child’s name) knows You and the power of Your resurrection, and the fellowship of Your suffering, being conformed to Your death. And that one thing he/she would do, forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead, that he/she would press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.”

Pursue love, and earnestly desire the spiritual gifts, especially that you may prophesy.(1 Corinthians 14:1)

My prayer: “Lord, I pray that (child’s name) pursues love, earnestly desires the spiritual gifts, especially that he/she may prophesy.”

So flee youthful passions and pursue righteousness, faith, love, and peace, along with those who call on the Lord from a pure heart. (2 Timothy 2:22)

My prayer: “Lord, I pray that (child’s name) flees youthful passions and pursues righteousness, faith, love, and peace, along with those who call on the Lord from a pure heart.”

But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all things shall be added to you. (Matthew 6:33)

My prayer:“Lord, I pray that (child’s name) seeks first the kingdom of God and Your righteousness so that all things are added to him/her.”

These ten examples should give all of us a good idea on how to pray Scriptures for our children. All we have to do is read our Bibles and when we see a verse with a promise, pray it for our children.

Praying the word for our children moves our prayers from being passive into being powerfully active with all of heaven working to bring the prayers to pass.

(The above is an excerpt from Praying for the Frozen Chosen: Our Children by Larry Nevenhoven, © 2016, Amazon eBook)  

(Continued in Part 6)

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Uncle Phil was a Hero

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Phil Fielder was a handsome seventeen-year old Iowan whose remaining boyhood years were set aside by World War II. Four older brothers enlisted soon after Pearl Harbor. He followed their lead by signing up on July 10, 1942. After boot camp, he attended airplane mechanic’s school and specialist’s training for P-38 fighter planes.

But like many other young men, Phil hated sitting on the sidelines, thousands of miles away from action so he volunteered for gunnery school. The heavy casualties in the air war over Germany caused his transfer orders to quickly pass through proper channels for his relocation to Pueblo, Colorado. The Army assigned him to a B-24 bomber crew as a flight engineer and a machine gunner after graduation.

In the midst of the Army’s hurry-up-and-wait schedule, Phil married Helen Kimler on October 24, 1943. Their honeymoon was brief, but fortunately, she was able to travel with him to Colorado. The months quickly passed until Phil was assigned to a bomber crew. Helen left for Iowa, pregnant with their soon arriving child, while Phil flew off to war.

During World War II, more than 18,300 B-24 bombers were manufactured in America. It was a clumsy looking four-engine airplane with twin tails and a nose wheel. The cruising speed was 200 miles per hour with a maximum rating of 300 miles per hour. Aptly named the Liberator, it was armed with ten .50 caliber machine guns and could carry a payload of 8,800 pounds of bombs. 

Though fondly remembered by their ten-man crews, the B-24’s were anything but passenger friendly. Noisy, bumpy, cumbersome, awkward, cramped, and uncomfortable with no heat, no restrooms, no pressurized cabins, no padding on the iron seats, and no kitchen facilities. Temperatures were as low as fifty degrees below zero at times with winds gusting through the cabins from the open bomb bay doors and machine gun turrets. Each man used an oxygen mask at altitudes above 10,000 feet and wore two parachutes: front and back. 

Phil’s ten-man crew was a part of the 15th Army Air Force and the 485th Bomber Group. Their ages ranged from nineteen to twenty-three years old. Captain Tom McDowell was a respected veteran at the ripe old age of twenty. Uncle Phil was the second youngest and the only married man on the crew.

Landing in Venosa, Italy, the B-24 crew flew their first mission on September 6, 1944. Thus, began their countdown towards a minimum of thirty-five bombing runs over enemy territory before being reassigned to less hazardous duties.

Thirty-five missions over Germany, Czechoslovakia, Yugoslavia, and Austria. Thirty-five flights bombing oil refineries, railroad yards, ammunition plants, ball bearing factories, and whatever else. Thirty-five trips through anti-aircraft fire filled with deadly flak so heavy it appeared to be black clouds. Thirty-five times taking off knowing one in three planes might not return that day. Thirty-five tests of courage far beyond what normal men could ever hope to bear. It was no wonder these crews became life-long friends after enduring such perils together.

On one particular mission, Phil’s B-24 came under heavy anti-aircraft fire just after dropping their bombs. A piece of flak tore a hole in the hydraulic reservoir tank, spraying oil all over the cabin. If left unrepaired, the bomb bay doors would remain open and the plane’s wheels could not be lowered into landing position when they returned to the base. Valuable seconds ticked off. Something had to be done or the plane would have to be ditched, forcing them to use their parachutes. A dangerous last resort for B-24 crews.

“See if you can do something! And be quick about it!” shouted Captain Tom to Uncle Phil.

Phil saw a small broom under the pilot’s seat. He grabbed it, broke the handle off, and made his way toward the hydraulic tank.

The trek to the rear was dangerous under normal conditions because there was no aisle. Just an eight-inch wide catwalk spanned the thin aluminum doors, but on that day, the bomb bay doors were wide open with high winds ripping through them. The plane flew at an altitude of twenty-eight thousand feet, with temperatures at forty degrees below zero. Slippery hydraulic oil covered everything, including the narrow catwalk.

Phil unhooked his front parachute pack and edged sideways over the long oily catwalk, much like a high wire walker in a circus. He crossed the open bomb bay doors to the leaking tank. Arriving there, he cut off a finger on his leather glove, shoved the broom handle into the lopped off piece, and rammed the jury-rigged wad into the tank’s gaping hole. It worked. The leak stopped.

Was there a band playing for our hero when he arrived back at the base? No. Did any reporters rush to write about his heroic act of courage? No. Were any medals of honor pinned on his chest? No. Did he really expect to receive any of this? No. Phil instead received the grateful thanks from the ones he considered the most important people in the war zone: his crewmembers.

Phil and his crew completed their quota of thirty-five bombing missions in April 1945 and then were reassigned back to the states. There he reunited with Helen and finally met his seven-month old son, Philip, Jr.

Uncle Phil summed up his actions on that day with the hydraulic reservoir by saying, “Somebody had to do it. It just turned out to be me.”

(Excerpt from The Hunt for Larry Who by Larry Nevenhoven, © 2014, Amazon eBook)

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Praying for Our Children (Part 2)

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“Lord, did I do something wrong?” I said aloud after hanging up the phone.

Almost instantly, I felt the Holy Spirit say to my heart:  “Don’t ever pray that way again for your son Scott and his girlfriend Liza. Pray for the two to get married and have a great marriage.”

This quick back and forth conversation came about one weekend in the 1990s because a few months earlier I had prayed for my son to break up with his girlfriend.  My prayer was not because Liza wasn’t a great girl because she was all of that and more. But according to my thinking, she didn’t pray or study her Bible or seem sufficiently interested in the Lord to meet my nearsighted standards. So, I figured she had to go.

Did my prayer work?

It seemed to work for a while as the two quit dating almost immediately after my prayer. This continued for a few months until I spoke with Scott on that weekend.

“Just want you to know that Liza and I are dating again,” said Scott.

“Oh…” I replied.

We said our goodbyes and hung up.

When Scott told me about dating Liza again, fear enveloped me. The fear shredded my hardened heart so that I could ask, “Lord, did I do something wrong?”

Upon hearing the Lord’s voice, I repented and began praying for the two to be married, which happened three years later. Liza and Scott now have two sons and a godly marriage.

Does scripture back up my experience?

“Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, and before you were born I consecrated you; I appointed you a prophet to the nations.” (Jeremiah 1:5)

“For I know the plans that I have for you,’ declares the LORD, “plans for welfare and not for calamity to give you a future and a hope.” (Jeremiah 29:11)

Declaring the end from the beginning, and from ancient times things not yet done, saying, “My counsel shall stand and I will accomplish all My purpose.” (Isaiah 46:10)

My frame was not hidden from you, when I was being made in secret, intricately woven in the depths of the earth. Your eyes saw my unformed substance; in your book were written, every one of them, the days that were formed for me, when as yet there was none of them. (Psalm 139:15-16) 

The above verses reveal God has plans for our children before they are even born. We also know God revealed plans about children and grandchildren to various parents in the Bible:

Hagar about her son Ishmael. (Genesis 16:10-12)

Abraham about his son Isaac. (Genesis 17:19-21)

Rebekah about her twin sons −Esau and Jacob. (Genesis 25:23)

Jacob prophesied over his grandsons. (Genesis 48:15-20)

Jacob prophesied over his sons. (Genesis 49:2-27)

Manoah and his wife about their son Samson. (Judges 13:3-5)

King David about his son Solomon. (1 Chronicles 23:8-10)

All of Judah about Josiah. (1 Kings 13:2)

Zacharias about John the Baptist. (Luke 1:13-17)

Mary and Joseph about Jesus. (Luke 1:30-33; Matthew 1:20-21)

Maybe you’ve raised an eyebrow after reading so far. “Yes, God did this for Israel’s patriarchs, His kings, John the Baptist, and for our Lord Jesus,” you may be muttering to yourself, “but these were people especially chosen by Him to carry out His plans on earth. Why would He do this for me and my children?”

(Excerpt from Praying for the Frozen Chosen: Our Children by Larry Nevenhoven, © 2016, Amazon eBook)

(Continued in Part 3)

 

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Praying for our Children (Part 1)

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The number one prayer request I have heard in my thirty-three years of being a believer is this one: “Pray for my children to be zealous for the Lord.”

Almost every Christian parent desires for his or her children to have fiery hearts filled with passion and zeal for God. But sadly, today’s world is filled with increasing levels of lawlessness, which causes many of our children’s hearts to grow cold. This lawlessness creeps into our children’s lives through the Internet, cellphones, texting, Facebook, TV, movies, music, and much more – all of it has the potential of chilling our children’s hearts toward God and His ways.

O offspring of Abraham, His servant, children of Jacob, His chosen ones! (Psalm 105:16)

God promised the descendants of Abraham numerous blessings because of the patriarch’s faith and obedience toward Him and His ways. Because of these promises, Abraham’s children and descendants are referred to as His chosen ones.

God’s plans for Abraham and his descendants are just as valid today for believing parents and their children. Thus, our children should be viewed by faith as His chosen ones, too.

Now, our children may not look like His chosen ones as yet. They may not even be saved and may be walking in the exact opposite direction.  But because our children are considered His chosen ones we have all of heaven backing us in our efforts.

…If God is for us, who can be against us? (Romans 8:31)

 It’s time for us to pray for the frozen chosen −our children −to walk in the destinies God has ordained for them.

(Excerpt from Praying for the Frozen Chosen: Our Children by Larry Nevenhoven, © 2016, Amazon eBook)
(Continued in Part 2)

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Still in the Fight

 

The drive to meet Pastor Rick took me past the Temecula Valley High School baseball field where our son, Cole, played shortstop for the Golden Bears during his four years there. Cole was a good player, but that wasn’t the reason I always thanked the Lord for His mercy when I drove by the field. It was because of a special miracle the Lord did twenty-two years ago during a state playoff game.

On that particular day, the Golden Bears were playing the Norco High School Cougars. The pitcher for the Cougars was Carson Riley, a right-hander, who threw around ninety-five miles per hour and was a solid major league prospect.

Cole stepped into the right side of the batter’s box to lead off the seventh inning. Riley’s first pitch was a fastball, which tailed inside and hit Cole in the middle of his chest, knocking him to the ground. He laid motionless on the ground.

The coaches for Temecula Valley rushed to him. One of them took out a cell phone and made a call.

Jane and I were sitting in the bleachers above the dugout on the first base side of the field. I grabbed Jane’s hand. “Honey, we need to go out there. Cole’s in danger,” I said.

We stood up and hurried to field.

Jim Dawson, the head coach for the Golden Bears, looked up as we approached home plate. “Dylan, he’s not breathing. I phoned for an ambulance, which should be here in four minutes,” he said.

Jane and I dropped to our knees and began praying. She prayed in tongues while I placed my hand on his chest.

“Father, You gave me a promise when Cole was born that He would preach the gospel and do miracles in Your name. When You made that promise, You looked into the future and saw this day. And yet, You still made that promise to me. I am not leaving until You honor Your promise and Cole stands up, totally healed in Jesus’ name. You did it for Elijah when he prayed for the widow’s son and I’m asking You to do the same thing for Cole, right now,” I prayed.

Coach Dawson grabbed my shoulders. “Dylan, let’s wait for the ambulance,” he whispered.

I slapped his hands away. “Let go of me,” I shouted. “God is doing a miracle here.”

Dawson released his grasp and wandered off. A siren could be heard pulling into the school’s parking lot.

“Father, I didn’t ask You to give me that promise for Cole. You did it on Your own. So, honor Your promise, in Jesus’ name,” I prayed over and over again.

“What’s happening here?” asked a paramedic, rushing toward us with a stretcher.

Cole’s green eyes fluttered and opened. He looked into my eyes. “Dad,” he whispered, “I met Jesus. He said I had to come back to life because of your prayers.”

My son was totally healed and wanted to stay in the ballgame, but of course, the two paramedics insisted on him riding in the ambulance to Temecula Valley Hospital. Jane and I followed them in our Chevy Tahoe.

All of the tests on Cole proved to be negative. The Lord healed him.

Cole graduated from high school two weeks later and now lives in San Diego with his wife Allyson and their two daughters, Mia and Madison.

If I drove by the baseball field a hundred times in any one day, I always thanked the Lord for that miracle every time. I never want the Lord to forget how much it meant to me.

(Excerpt from Still in the Fight, a remodeled update of the short novel Unhinged Geezer, and a work still in progress by Larry Nevenhoven)

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