The Guire Mantras

I’ve been loosely working through a study on Praying Circles around Your Children. Thanks for joining me!

“There is something powerful about a single God-inspired prayer repeated throughout a child’s lifetime. I’d like to call it a prayer mantra.”- Mark Batterson

The Guires have many mantras. People are more important than things is one of them. We have many habits that make us who we are.  One of our habits is- when someone is sick we buy blue Gatorade.  It can’t be any other color.

We also have some daily prayer mantras.  Every day after Bible study, I pray “that we would study to show ourselves approved and we have the discipline and desire to read and study the word.”  Another one I pray often is “we will walk in love towards one another.”  Of course I have more specific prayers for each child.

One of the failings of the current public/social system is the neglect of purpose.  Children are asked what they want to do with their lives in terms of monetary and material gain instead of what makes them “cry or pound their fist on the table”.  In other words, what are they passionate about?  What makes them lose track of time?  What makes them weep or leap for joy?  God has placed giftings in each one of us.  He expects us to use those to further his kingdom with gladness.

Enjoy

 The thief comes only in order to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have and enjoy life, and have it in abundance (to the full, till it <sup class=”footnote” style=”background-color: white; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;” value=”[a]”>[a]overflows).- John 10:10

Nothing sucks the joy out of life more than doing something I despise. It destroys life.  It kills joy.  Pete Seeger hits the nail on the head in his song “Little Boxes“.  Are we teaching our children to fit in the box or do the glorious thing that God has put them on earth to do?

Sometimes it is difficult to see past the now of our children. Their current outward behavior does not dull the vision God has for them.  He sees them through his Godly lenses.  He knows who they will become.  Two year old Einstein probably threw some tantrums.  Billy Graham probably was disciplined a time or two.  Queen Elizabeth fidgeted in her seat at some royal ceremonies. Michelle Duggar had her moments of disobedience.

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When I look at my children, I must see their potential not their poor behavior.  I must circle, pray and look for their passions. Instead of seeing a hurt child, I see a someone with a heart of compassion.  In the bee catcher, I see an adventurer.  In the comic, I see a someone who wants everyone to have a slice of joy.  In the child who takes everything apart (and doesn’t put it back together), I see a problem solver.  The great news is- God sees even more!

“Now FAITH is the assurance (the confirmation, the title deed) of things [we] hope for, being the proof of things [we] do not see and the conviction of their reality [faith perceiving as real fact what is not revealed to the senses]. -Hebrews 11:1

“What makes our kids laugh?  What makes them cry?  What gets them upset?  If we want to discover their destinies, we need to follow their trails of tears, their clenched fists, and their smiles.”- Mark Batterson

Praying Circles around Your Children- Yard Walking

When I’m pressed for time and cannot get in a full-fledged walk, I walk around my yard.  Usually when I yard- walk, I listen to my Ipod, a podcast or blast Mary Mary to get me moving.  Yesterday, I listened to a podcast, then thought, I am going to circle my house!

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“There is nothing magical about physically circling something in prayer, but there is something biblical about it.  The Israelites circled the city of Jericho until the wall came down.”- Mark Batterson

I headed up the hill to my front yard and walked the perimeter, praying for my home and family. I felt as if I were doing something historic, powerful, holy.  I set a walk-like-you-mean-it pace and prayed out loud.  Could my neighbors see me? Probably.  Hear me?  If they wanted.  It didn’t matter.  Word just poured out of me.  I am my family’s Herald.

Since we  started this study, my prayers have been more purposeful.   I am not as vague and thoughtless.  Definitely God.  Scriptures just begin to pour out of me and piece together that I didn’t even know were buried deep in the recesses of my heart.

“Jesus Christ broke the curse of sin at Calvary and secured every spiritual blessing as our inheritance.  This is our birthright as children of our heavenly Father, and it is our responsibility to pass down this generational blessing to our earthly children.”- Mark Batterson

I didn’t  have paper (which is my crutch) and a sharpie.  The Holy Spirit is the professional list maker. The Holy Spirit: convicts us, teaches us, lead us in the way we should go, makes our path straight, supplies words and prays through us when we do not know what we should pray.

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My children do not have to remain under the curse of the past. My adopted children can be free from the generational sins of their biological parents.  Curses are traded in for blessings.  Life for death.  It is my job to speak it.  I pray it.  Blessings.

I am going to keep circling my home, weather permitting!

How is your week going?  Any answers to prayer?

Praying Circles around Your Children – Are you a prayer warrior or prayer worrier?

Are you a prayer warrior or a prayer worrier?

I habitually try my mind at both. How about you?

A few years ago, blogger friend, Selena, encouraged me to choose a word for the year instead of resolutions.  I prayed. My word (two years ago)-  REST.

REST?  Are you sure God?  I’ve been battling health issues for several years and the last word I wanted to hear was REST. I want to run and not be weary, walk and not faint.  I’ve had to put wider margins on my life then most and I’m still adjusting to the new normal.  After the word popped in my head, I wondered if the God was telling me to make my margins even wider.

I pulled out the Concordance and began my study on rest.  Turns out, God isn’t asking me to rest ONLY in the physical sense.  He is asking me to rest in HIM.

Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy-laden and overburdened, and I will cause you to rest. [I will ease and relieve and refresh your souls.] –  Matthew 11:28

If you are a mother of children with attachment issues, FAS, autism, any capital letter syndrome (or are at home all day with children)-you PROBABLY need some extra rest. YOU may be overburdened. YOU may need help carrying your burden. I do.
One of the areas I struggle with daily is slipping into prayer worrier mode.  Morning prayer time is great.  I recite scripture.  I sound holy, confident and inspired.  Then I step into reality.  The kids are up.  The school day begins.  I take the burdens of the children on my back.  I am weary and heavy laden.  When a child has a challenge and I give him a directive- he has a meltdown, I pray worry:  O Lord, did I ask too much of him?  Could I have approached that differently? Did he have too much sugar yesterday? 
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Before long, I have the worry hunch and an Eeyore attitude.  I have forgotten what I look like all covered with the Word from morning prayers.  REST.  Let it go, the Lord is telling me.  I cannot control my child’s reaction nor can I predict how any child is going to behave on any given day. There are too many variables; too many things I cannot control.  Therein is the truth- I cannot control my circumstances.
 
And who of you by worrying and being anxious can add one unit of measure (cubit) to his stature or to the span of his life?  Matthew 6:27
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I am not adding anything to my children’s spiritual or physical well-being by worrying.  REST.  The best thing I can do is hand my burdens over and take Jesus’. They are light.  He refreshes my soul.  I want to be relieved and refreshed.  Don’t you?  Hand it over.  Join me for a REST.

The pity party and the journal

The Journal

Sometimes I get tired, not just take a nap and feel better, but bone-weary-I- want- to- give- up- tired.  Then my brain retreats into old negative grooves, dark and damp. My Wormwood (demon receiving letters in Screwtape Letters) whispers, “Why pray?  It’s not having any effect is it? Your children break your precious heirlooms.  They don’t listen.  Your home is filled with strife.  You have no peace.  It’s only going to get worse!  Look, your children are regressing AGAIN! Give up!”

Growth-by-Holley-Gerth

And sometimes I have a pity party complete with tissues, maybe a Hallmark movie in which a single woman saves ten thousand inner city children through art and classical music, possibly some chocolate and definitely pajamas.  Then I hear the knock.  “Hello, it’s Jesus, just wondering how long you are going to stay down there in the pit?”

After my pity party, I get out my journal.  It is my Herald, shouting out the Word and past victories. When King David got bone-weary tired of fighting the enemy, he rehearsed his past victories, so I am following the advice of royalty.  There is a catch!  When my child is struggling with Algebra and I am praying: ______ has the mind of Christ, he can do all things through Christ who strengthens him.,suppose he miraculously grasps a Algebraic concept a week or a month later, if I don’t write it down, how can I Herald it to myself? Suppose I am praying for my hurt child to accept Jesus as his savior and begin the road to healing and recovery.  He does and I don’t note it on paper.

Journals are not for wimps!  It takes discipline to write down prayer scriptures.  It requires backbone to stick to it.  I know, not everyone a journaler.  You don’t have to be.  Journals can be all sorts of things, prayer lists, Bible references, that may be enough for you.  Or maybe you like to mark scripture with sticky notes or write things on index cards that you keep on your bedside table.  I’m a little obsessive compulsive about words, so I do all three.

Circle scriptures  to pray for your children.  Write them down.  Pray.  Write down answers when they come and they will.

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Some answers:

When I prayed for my pre-adopted children all those years ago,  that someone would be taking care of them.  My prayer was answered in the form of their legal guardian, Pani Eugenia- a bubbly-happy woman and a committed Catholic Christian!  She prayed for us! She went to her priest and asked if she were making the right decision to recommend us as parents.  She recommended us to the court.  She took us to the church of the Black Madonna to share her faith. Thank you Pani Eugenia!  God transcends time, culture and continent!

I’m still circling, still praying!  How about you?  Do you journal?  Have some victories to share?  Post them in the comments, I would love to hear them.

Praying Circles Around Your Children -Week One

Praying Circles around Your Children

Week One, Chapter 4
I have been excited about doing this study together!  for this week, read up to and including Chapter 4. It’s a quick read. If you don’t have the book, no worries, join me anyway!
The first Circle: Circling the Promises
“Drawing prayer circles is a metaphor that simply means “to pray without ceasing.””
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Before the Guire family adopted, I prayed specific prayers concerning spiritual health for my biological children
– to grow in wisdom and stature and favor with God and man
– to accept Jesus as their savior at an early age
– to have the discipline and desire to study and read the Word
along with prayers for physical health:
-healing from various diseases and sicknesses
-protection physically, mentally and spiritually
  When I began the adoption journey, I began to pray for children who would become of my forever family that I had never met, never been to their country, their home, met the friends or family or seen a picture of. I didn’t even know their names. WOW!  Talk about waving a sword in the dark.  I looked back in my old pre-adoption journals.  I wrote a lot of general- let them be fed, warm and have someone to take care of them prayers. Then the Holy Spirit quietly prodded me to begin to pray for their inner healing as well as their outer well being.
 
I began to pray from Ephesians 3:16-19 for my pre-adopted children as well as my biological children.
May Christ through your faith [actually] dwell (settle down, abide, make his permanent home) in your hearts!  May you be rooted deep in love and founded securely on love,
That you may have the power and be strong to apprehend and grasp with all the saints [God’s devoted people, the experience of that love] what is the breadth and length and height and depth [of it]: (emphasis mine)
[That you may really come]to know [practically, through experience for yourselves] the love of Christ which surpasses mere knowledge [without experience]; that you may be filled [through all your being] unto all the fullness of God [may have the richest measure of the divine Presence, and become a body wholly filled and flooded with God Himself]!
 
Powerful WORD!
I prayed that my pre-adopted children would be healed from the wounds of the past….hearts, minds and bodies healed. (Isaiah 61).
Remember God is:
 
Omnipresent- all present
Omnipotent- all powerful
Omniscient- all knowing
 
He was there when my pre-adopted children experienced hideous trauma.  He can transcend time and heal the brokenness.  I have seen it.  Nothing is impossible with God.  If you find your child in a situation that seems hopeless, too bleak to endure for another day, too painful for the family to handle, if you have a secret of a wound so deep you are afraid to bring it out into the light, a past full of regret the impedes your parenting, then get out your pen and circle.  Circle the promises of God for you and for your children.  I’m doing it with you! I’m praying for you!
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And their offspring shall be known among the nations and their descendants among the peoples.  All who see them [in their prosperity] will recognize and acknowledge that they are the people whom the Lord has blessed.”  Isaiah 61: 9
*I’ll be sharing more on Monday, March 16th

Praying Circles around your Children (Reprise)

A few years ago, I did a study through the book, “Praying Circles around Your Children” and I believe it is powerful enough to repeat. In fact, I think I need a refresher in purposeful prayer for my children (often). So, if you joined me two years ago, dust off your copy or fire up you kindle (if you need renewal) or order up a copy and join us! Prayers for our children are priceless!

Praying Circles around Your Children

It’s a short read and full of meat.  I was tempted to read it straight through without pausing for reflection- too much is missed that way- what better way to study it than together? You can order the book hard copy or download it to your Kindle (I feel so hip saying that)- click here.  If you are like me, you won’t want to read this book via a kindle, because you can’t write in the margins, the old fashioned way.

The prayer foundation of the book is found in the “Legend of the Circle Maker”

“It was the first century BC and a devastating drought threatened to destroy a generation, the generation before Jesus. The last of the Jewish prophets had died off nearly four centuries before. Miracles were such a distant memory that they seemed like a false memory. And God was nowhere to be heard. But there was one man, an eccentric sage who lived outside the walls of Jerusalem, who dared to pray anyway. His name was Honi.1 And even if the people could no longer hear God, he believed that God could still hear them.
When rain is plentiful, it’s an afterthought. During a drought, it’s the only thought. And Honi was their only hope. Famous for his ability to pray for rain, it was on this day—the day—that Honi would earn his moniker.
With a six-foot staff in his hand, Honi began to turn like a math compass. His circular movement was rhythmical and methodical. Ninety degrees. One hundred and eighty degrees. Two hundred and seventy degrees. Three hundred and sixty degrees. He never looked up as the crowd looked on. After what seemed like hours, but had only been seconds, Honi stood inside the circle he had drawn. Then he dropped to his knees and raised his hands to heaven. With the authority of the prophet Elijah who called down fire from heaven, Honi called down rain.
“Lord of the Universe, I swear before your great name that I will not move from this circle until you have shown mercy upon your children.”
The words sent a shudder down the spine of all who were within earshot that day. It wasn’t just the volume of his voice. It was the authority of his tone. Not a hint of doubt. This prayer didn’t originate in the vocal chords. Like water from an artesian well, the words flowed from the depth of his soul. His prayer was resolute yet humble; confident yet meek; expectant yet unassuming.
Then it happened.
As his prayer ascended to the heavens, raindrops descended to the earth. An audible gasp swept across the thousands of congregants who had encircled Honi. Every head turned heavenward as the first raindrops parachuted from the sky, but Honi’s head remained bowed. The people rejoiced over each drop, but Honi wasn’t satisfied with a sprinkle. Still kneeling within the circle, Honi lifted his voice over the sounds
of celebration.
“Not for such rain have I prayed, but for rain that will fill cisterns, pits, and caverns.”
The sprinkle turned into such a torrential downpour that eyewitnesses said no
raindrop was smaller than an egg in size. It rained so heavily and so steadily that the
people fled to the Temple Mount to escape the flash floods. Honi stayed and prayed
inside his protracted circle. Once more he refined his bold request.
“Not for such rain have I prayed, but for rain of Thy favor, blessing, and
graciousness.”
Then, like a well-proportioned sun shower on a hot and humid August afternoon, it
began to rain calmly, peacefully. Each raindrop was a tangible token of God’s grace.
And they didn’t just soak the skin; they soaked the spirit with faith. It would be
forever remembered as the day. The day thunderclaps applauded the Almighty. The
day puddle jumping became an act of praise. The day the legend of the circle maker
was born. It had been difficult to believe the day before the day. The day after the
day, it was impossible not to believe.
Honi was celebrated like a hometown hero by the people whose lives he had saved.
But some within the Sanhedrin called the Circle Maker into question. A faction
believed that drawing a circle and demanding rain dishonored God. Maybe it was
those same members of the Sanhedrin who would criticize Jesus for healing a man’s
withered arm on the Sabbath a generation later. They threatened Honi with
excommunication, but because the miracle could not be repudiated, Honi was
ultimately honored for his act of prayerful bravado.
The prayer that saved a generation was deemed one of the most significant prayers
in the history of Israel. The circle he drew in the sand became a sacred symbol. And
the legend of Honi the circle maker stands forever as a testament to the power of a
single prayer to change the course of history.”

.- Mark Batterson,  www.thecirclemaker.com

What are you doing right?

What if we believed as Honi did?  What if we prayed with such conviction, such authority for our children?  What if we circled our children in prayer?  Will you join me?
What supplies do you need?
Praying Circles around your Children
A journal
A pen
A willing heart
(and if you are anything like me- totally optional- sticky-notes, hi-lighter, index cards and a fine tip sharpie)

Please join me!  Go ahead and read up to and including chapter four so we can begin together on Monday, February 4th, with the first circle-circling the promises of God.

Throughout the five week study, one for each of the five circles, I will share some of my past and present prayers for my children, along with the answers. My emphasis will be praying for hurt children with attachment issues and the capital letter syndromes.Your emphasis can be whatever God puts on your heart.  I’ll be digging out my old journals, dusting them off and sharing from the history of God’s faithfulness!
I’ll be blogging more about it this week!

Praying Circles around Your Children- Triggers, Part 2

Triggers, Part 2

Children and toddlers lined both sides of the table, babbling, joyfully anticipating the traditional Friday meal out.  The children outnumbered parents almost six to one, so in the name of efficiency, one Mom traveled down the line  with antibacterial drops, blobbing a small portion on each  outstretched hand.  When she neared my youngest son, I called, “Stop!”  It was too late.  I saw the drop of sticky goo suspended in mid-air.  My body seemed to only work in slow motion as I tried to get to him.  He let out a loud, long, guttural wail and then he fell forward, his mouth still agape, his lips blue.
“I’m sorry!” my mom friend offered.

  Any antiseptic sent him into a meltdown in his early years.  How do we pray for our kids in the midst of a trigger?  How do we help them through.  There’s an old adage, “Time heals all wounds”.  That is not true!  Time does not heal. 


If a trigger is not addressed and time simply passes, a child will not heal or overcome the trauma.  That is why circling your child in prayer is so important.   My youngest son no longer melts down at a drop of antibacterial  hand sanitizer.  


How did I pray for him and how did he overcome this?  I wish I had some magic formula to whisk pain away and remove all difficult circumstances.  I couldn’t pray for all hand sanitizer to vanish from the face of the earth.  I did pray that God would heal him and then I had to help him do it afraid.  


If we removed every obstacle from our children’s lives, how would they learn to overcome?  More sensitivity needs to be applied to children who have come from hard places, but they too must learn to ‘do it afraid’.   


Paul does not admonish us to pray for removal of the circumstance, but the secret to facing any circumstance is the strength that Christ gives us.


12 I know how to be abased and live humbly in straitened circumstances, and I know also how to enjoy plenty and live in abundance. I have learned in any and all circumstances the secret of facing every situation, whether well-fed or going hungry, having a sufficiency and enough to spare or going without and being in want.
13 I have strength for all things in Christ Who empowers me [I am ready for anything and equal to anything through Him Who <sup class="footnote" style="font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="[a]”>[a]infuses inner strength into me; I am <sup class="footnote" style="font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="[b]”>[b]self-sufficient in Christ’s sufficiency]. -Philippians 4:12-13
Christ’s strength is infused in us.  He gives us strength for all things.  As I mentioned in my last post, I still have triggers that I am working thorough with the help of Christ.  I empathize with my children and I am more willing to pray for them in their times of struggle, hypersensitivity and regression because I am just a weakling.  For years, I let fear boss me around.  Triggers shot me out the door like a bullet.  I would have been the Israelite who turned and ran back to Egypt instead of crossing THROUGH the Red Sea because it would have been too claustrophobic-feeling-scary for me.  What if God forgot for a moment to suspend the laws of nature and a wave crashed over me (cause I am not valuable enough to save)?  
Hurt children have overwhelming catastrophic fears.  If they cannot control the day- something will go wrong.  If the schedule changes-something horrible might happen.  If people are wearing white lab coats-they will hurt me.  
 For God did not give us a spirit of timidity (of cowardice, of craven and cringing and fawning fear), but [He has given us a spirit] of power and of love and of calm and well-balanced mind and discipline and self-control.               -II Timothy 1:7 
Yes, the scripture I pray for myself (last post), I pray for my children. I am thankful for EVERYTHING I went through in my life and my residual triggers because I can attest of His faithfulness and deliverance to my children when I sit, when I stand, when I walk by the way, in an elevator and a tunnel.
* Click on Red Sea above to read blogger Tracey’s post!
Next time:
Meltdowns are Opportunities! 





Praying Circles Around your Children, Week 5

Triggers

This is the last week of our study, Praying Circles Around your Children!
It’s been a great study. I am glad you took the time to study with me!

The last circle-praying through the Word for your children is an awesome task.  It is a sowing project of mammoth proportions.  I keep random notes everywhere, so if you are diligent and disciplined enough to write in a Bible for each child, then Godspeed and God bless.  I will stick with my posty-notes and ask God to bless my randomness.  He will. He promises in Isaiah that HIS WORD will not return void.  It won’t return empty.  It is out there in the atmosphere doing what God commissioned it to do. 

“As the rain and the snow come down from heaven,
and do not return to it without watering the earth and making it bud and flourish, so  that it yields seed for the sower and bread for the eater,
so is my word that goes out from my mouth;
It will not return to me empty,
but will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent.
Isaiah 55:10-11


I’d like to switch gears a bit and delve into praying for hurt children.  

Saturday I went to lunch with daughters two and three and a son-in-law.  We were driving to the restaurant when I felt my old nemesis rise up in my chest- fear.  My heart rate increased.  My face felt hot, my palms sweaty.  For the next hour, I was on the edge of panic.  I cried out to God (in my head), “Why?  What is going on?  I thought I was past all this!”  I’m not sure what set off the panic, the change of plans?  Not being in the driver’s seat?  

After my parent’s divorce, my father moved from state to state.  When he came in the summer to pick us four kids up, the departure was swift.  We packed our bags in the trunk of his car and sped down the lane, leaving a trail of dust behind us, Mom growing smaller in the distance, standing on the porch watching us disappear. This is the moment  fear gripped me, the familiar faded; the unknown lay before me.  Anxiety choked me while my stomach threatened to explode its contents.  No one explained where we were going.  I didn’t have a map.  My sensitive soul craved positive words of affirmation.  None came.

Once in awhile, fear grips me and I am transported to my childhood once again. After ions of adulthood, a smell, a phrase, a sound, a change in plans cans send me back into the spindly freckle-faced body.  Logic leaves.  Fear reigns for a time until I circle- God has not given unto me a spirit of fear, but of power and love and a sound mind. (II Timothy 1:7)

It is a mistake to think that hurt children grow out of the pain of traumatic experiences.  My adopted children have experienced trauma beyond my understanding..  My momentary panic attacks are tangible reminders to pray for my children when I see a precursor to meltdown moments.

Everyone has triggers.  Most are minor annoyances.  We can switch gears and deal with life. Hurt children have a difficult time switching gears and a simple change in plans can lead to panic and meltdown.  I recognize the signs in my children.  What are yours?

More next time on triggers.  How do you pray for a child in the midst of a meltdown?