A Christians Voice From Raymore, Issue 2; Number 1: April 30, 2010

A Christians Voice From Raymore, Issue 2; Number 1: April 30, 2010

A Prayer For Peace In Our Families

We just completed our first year of publication of this blog. I apologize for the three-month absence, but I found myself needing to step-up my job search activities. After expending some time and effort, I determined that the time was not right to start a second career teaching at the college level, nor was the market sufficiently able to support a non-profit youth and men’s ministry. I began more aggressively seeking a position in my core area of Supply Chain Management (Sourcing and Procurement). If you know of opportunities, please consider sharing those with me. I pray that the Lord will use me to His glory in whatever role he has in store for me!

I began this article in November of last year when I ran across information on the internet about a man that history knows as saint Francis of Assisi. It is not the intent of this article to delve into the particular history of this man nor of the use of the term “saint” but rather to note the words and history of the “Prayer of Saint Francis.” With that as an introduction we hope to focus on the need for peace in our families in light of statistics that show division in the family. So the main points I wish to discuss here are:

1. What do the stats show?

2. What does Scripture teach?

3. What tools are available to the family wishing to restore the family to what God intended it?

To conclude I will then issue a clear call to action. Please follow along with me and add your comments by scrolling to the bottom of the article at http://achristiansvoice.com and typing your thoughts in the comments box.

Wikipedia says, “The Prayer of Saint Francis is a Christian prayer. It is attributed to the 13th-century saint Francis of Assisi, although the prayer in its present form cannot be traced back further than 1912, when it was printed in France in French, in a small spiritual magazine called La Clochette (The Little Bell) as an anonymous prayer, as demonstrated by Dr Christian Renoux in 2001. The prayer has been known in the United States since 1936 and Cardinal Francis Spellman and Senator Hawkes distributed millions of copies of the prayer during and just after World War II.[1]

The words cited by them are:

Lord, make me an instrument of your peace;

where there is hatred, let me sow love;

where there is injury, pardon;

where there is doubt, faith;

where there is despair, hope;

where there is darkness, light;

and where there is sadness, joy.

O Divine Master,

grant that I may not so much seek to be consoled as to console;

to be understood, as to understand;

to be loved, as to love;

for it is in giving that we receive,

it is in pardoning that we are pardoned,

and it is in dying that we are born to Eternal Life.

Amen.

By googling I also found that this song was recorded in South Africa in the early 1990s by either Maranatha or Integrity Singers. I think it was sung by the Johannesburg Boys Choir

Lord, Make us instruments of your peace,

Where there is hatred, let your love increase

Lord, make us instruments of your peace,

Walls of pride and prejudice shall cease

When we are your instruments of peace.

Where there is hatred, we will show his love

Where there is injury, we will never judge

Where there is striving, we will speak his peace

To the millions crying for release,

We will be his instruments of peace

Lord, Make us instruments of your peace,

Where there is hatred, let your love increase

Lord, make us instruments of your peace,

Walls of pride and prejudice shall cease

When we are your instruments of peace.

Where there is blindness, we will pray for sight

where there is darkness, we will shine his light

Where there is sadness, we will bear their grief

To the millions crying for relief,

We will be your instruments of peace.

Whichever version you choose to use, it conveys great ideals. It verbalizes a passion to seek peace. It describes the pursuit of peace as a personal responsibility not something that will happen without effort.

What Do The Statistics Show?

Sadly, the statistics show families that are broken and divided. In their book, Reaching A Generation For Christ, Richard Dunn and Mark Senter III (p. 489) site research from The Dad Difference by J. McDowell and N. Wakefield that says that one in four teenagers now indicate that they have never had a meaningful conversation with their fathers. Citing parental absence and conflict as a contributing factor as to why today’s teens are hurting, the authors say (pp. 512-513), “Many of today’s teenagers are left to parent themselves. If they are not from the 40 percent of young people who come from broken homes, they most likely come from homes where both parents go to work. This makes for a home life that is often characterized by busy schedules, chronic fatigue, and weary battles of discord and dissension. Parent-adolescent conflict occurs in all families some of the time and in some families most of the time. Sadly, however, the latter category is growing.”

The “National Fathering Profile” published by Headfirst Ministries and Gary Bauer are also cited (pp. 491-492) in raising “a pointed question about the cost of the national neglect of our children. ‘What are we saying to our children if we allow them to spend more time watching television by the time they are 6 than they will spend talking with their fathers the rest of their lives?” (Learn to Discern by R. G. DeMoss, p. 14)

I heard my good brother Ken McDaniel cite an alarming statistic in a great lesson, “Parenting – A Blessing With Responsibilities” Tuesday night of this week in a Gospel Meeting with the County Line Church of Christ in St. Joseph, MO. Brother McDaniel astutely observed that we often overestimate the time that we give to our children. As evidence he cited the results of a recent experiment where microphones were clipped to children to record the verbal interactions with their fathers during a day. The shocking result of that experiment showed that, on average, a father had 3 interactions, totaling a mere 37 seconds per day with his child.

What Does Scripture Teach?

Scripture teaches that in order for peace to reign in the family, the members of it must respect God’s design of the family and the role that He has given to each to fulfill. As Brother L. A. Stauffer observes,

“Other than the individual, the oldest, the smallest, the closest, and the most basic unit of society is the family. Families, therefore, form the building blocks of a community, a nation, a civilization. As families go, so fo the city, the country, and the world. When, for example, love, respect, honesty, responsibility, subjection, fairness – the bonding elements of the family – are not taught in the home, how can they possibly exist in society? No nation can long survive the absence of these fundamentals in family life; they are the basis of all human relationships.” (Family Life: A Biblical Perspective, p. 2)

Marriage, as God designed it, is one woman for one man for life (Matthew 19:4-5). In God’s design, the husband is the provider (Genesis 3:19; 1st Timothy 5:8 ) and the spiritual leader of the family (Joshua 24:15; 1st Corinthians 16:15). In God’s design, the wife is subject to the husband (1st Corinthians 11:3, 8-10 ) and is the manager of the household (1st Timothy 5:13-14; Titus 2:5). In God’s design the parents are the instructors and disciplinarians of their children (Proverbs 22:6).

As Brother McDaniel so ably pointed out in his parenting lesson, God who gives children as a “blessing” or “heritage” has also given instruction for their “care and feeding.” This blessing comes with responsibilities. As Brother Stauffer says,

“This responsibility is stated so simply, and yet so poignantly, in the familiar proverb ‘Train up a child in the way he should go, And even when he is old he will not depart from it (Prov. 22:6.)

Three thoughts are taught in this verse about children. First, there is a way children should or ought to go…. Second, training is essential if children are to go the way they should. Training involves both instruction and discipline…. Finally, the proverb teaches that the most lasting impressions upon man are the trainings he received from his youth. (IBID, p. 52)

What tools are available to the family wishing to restore the family to what God intended it?

Obviously, the number one tool available to the family wishing to restore the family to what God intended is His Word. Following the plan for the family, as God designed it, is the first key to this restoration. In conjunction with carefully studying the pattern of Scripture, pray to the God of Heaven who created us in His image and who desires to have an intimate relationship with us.

Other resources that can be used as an aid to your number one tool, pickup a book or two written by one who has a biblical perspective. I highly recommend L. A. Stauffer’s workbook from which I quote again,

“Husbands, wives, fathers, mothers, children must all listen to God who created them, believe that he knew what he was doing, and resolve to fulfill their roles in family life. This study is designed to help each one learn the place that God has assigned him or her in the home. May he help all to accept that place by faith.” (IBID, p. 5)

A Clear Call To Action

I have made some rather bold assumptions in writing this article. I have assumed that you, the reader, are a Christian and that you accept the authority of the New Testament Scriptures as your guide for living. If that does not describe YOU and you have NOT made Jesus Christ the Lord of your life, that is the first step that you must take.

Recognizing Him as the author of everlasting life, make the decision to repent, that is turn from fulfilling your own desires to serving Him. Confess him before others and be baptized in water for the remission of sins (Acts 2:38; 8:35-39; Mark 16:15-16; Romans 10:9-10; 1st Peter 3:21).

Having done this, identify yourself with a local congregation of God’s people who will help to encourage you and will provide additional resources for your growth and development as an individual and as a family. Being part of a spiritual family is one of the many blessings in Christ (1st John 1:5-10).

We, who recognize God as the designer of the universe and of the family, must call upon all of our energy and all of our influence to counter the forces that are attacking our families. Won’t you join with me in helping fathers and mothers to teach, train and discipline their children, not abdicate these God-given responsibilities. Help fight the evil and corrupt influence of evolution, a philosophy that promotes the idea that man is nothing more than a thinking ape or gorilla and therefore should be free to follow his “instincts” to do as he pleases. Enlist in the fight against humanism, an increasingly pervasive ideology in our culture that proposes that all wisdom originates with man and for man, and therefore it is totally up to him to decide what is good and pleasurable and beneficial.

Finally, if there is anything that I can do to assist you, please post your comment here or send me a private e-mail to randy.sexton@achristiansvoice.com.

Thanks for reading with me, dear friend. Have a blessed day!

–Randy Sexton

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