Saturday, April 17, 2010

Prayer Saturated Kids

A few days ago, I finished reading Prayer Saturated Kids by Cheryl Sacks and Arlyn Lawrence.  The authors of this book have written the Pray! Kids curriculum by Navpress.  They have also written the prayer cards which Navpress has published for children.

Before I begin talking about the book, I do want to mention that I love the prayer cards.  There is a sampler pack that you can order or you can order packs of 20 or 50 for individual cards.  I liked the one for praying for your school especially well as well as the cards about praying for your family, your brothers and sisters, and yourself.  The kids cards would be wonderful to pray through with your children and would help them to have a place to start from with their prayers to the Lord.

Now, on to the book, Prayer Saturated Kids...
On the first page, one of the authors mentioned visiting a prayer center in Colorado Springs and it brought up some old memories.  

I lived in Denver, Colorado, for five years.  There was a prayer center in Colorado Springs where a lot of people from my church spent time.  The more time the church leaders spent there, the more charismatic our church became.  Along with that change came more and more divisions and hurt feelings.  I'm not sure if it was the same center or not, but I was reminded of those memories and they were a caution of sorts to my heart.

When I read the mention of the prayer center, I set the book down and pondered how I would feel if this book came from a charismatic, pentecostal perspective.  One friend said to me that she didn't understand why it would make a difference.  I couldn't answer her since I hadn't read the book, but now I can.  Please note that this webpage defines charismatic believers as people who believe that the Baptism of the Holy Spirit is the second work of grace by God in a believer's life and that the evidence of that baptism is speaking in tongues.

Indeed this book is written from a charismatic perspective.  The authors of this book set out to write a book about how you can pray for and with your children.  It includes chapters on how to teach your children to prayer and what the role of the church is in the prayer lives of children.

Now, let me explain why it is significant that it is written from a charismatic perspective.

There are three distinct examples that I can share.

1) After talking first about how children are made and praying for your children to become who God created them to be and then talking about the times of days when we pray, the authors write about blessing our children in the third chapter.  The authors say that these prayers are asking God's blessing for our children, but the wording and examples they give are in line with the idea of "Name it and Claim it".  The chapter is mostly filled with examples of parents and grandparents speaking over their children and grandchildren.
Specifically, here is an example:
"In Jesus name I bless Nicole with peace and joy that springs up like a bubbling fountain.  I bless her with faith, hope, and love--with good health.  I bless Nicole with protection--may your guardian angels defend and watch over her.  I bless her with healthy friendships and in the future with Your perfect choice of mate..." p. 48

I know many people are comfortable with praying for people that way, but I'm not.  I don't want to speak for God.  When I pray for my children, I ask "Lord, may you..."  or I thank the Lord for who they are and ask "please Lord if it is your will..."  I know that we are to ask God for things in faith, but it is the Holy Spirit that intercedes for us in line with the Lord's will.  I know that I do not fully understand what that means, but I don't believe that I can just pray for what I want--claim it to be true--and then it will come true.  Hank Hanegraaf talks about the dangers of this belief in his book Christianity in Crisis.

2) There is a great emphasis on spiritual warfare.  At the church I attended in Denver, this become more and more of an area of concern for the church and the youth group.  I do fully acknowledge the reality of spiritual warfare, but it is something that I have noticed is of more concern to charismatic churches than churches which are not charismatic.  This is not a negative about the book, but more of an acknowledgement about how this book is different from books that are not written from a charismatic perspective.

3) It was very interesting to me to see how the children were given as great a responsibility to pray as the adults.  Many of the stories I do not doubt in any way to be true, but I don't understand them.  

Here is the crux of my struggle.  I believe that the Bible is the inerrant and infallible Word of God.  Some people might say that the Experience of God and the Word of God combine to make up the Truth of God.  My heart does not find peace in that.  It makes me uneasy.  Any experience of God should be supported by the Truth in the Word of God.  Any revelation should come back to the Word--not new revelation.  The Word is not to be added to.

Proverbs 30:5-6 “Every word of God proves true;
   he is(B) a shield to those who take refuge in him.6(C) Do not add to his words,
   lest he rebuke you and you be found a liar.

Would I recommend this book to you?  If you are charismatic, then you would like this book.  It will support what you believe about prayer.  If you aren't, then I wouldn't recommend it.  This book puts more emphasis on the experience of faith and prayer than on the Word of God.

My hope and prayer is that I have not maligned the Word of God in any way.  I do not want to aggrandize any division within the body of Christ.  There are some things that are difficult to talk about and discuss.  For me, this is one of those issues.  I fully believe that the women who wrote this book love the Lord.  I do not know how to reconcile that I feel so differently about some things than they do--only that I must leave that to the Lord and live by the convictions that I have and seek the Lord in His Word.

Please note that I was given a complimentary copy of this book for review.


becky.onelittle said...

That was a very thoughtful and thought-provoking review. Thanks for your sincerity and balanced opinions. You expressed so well a discomfort that I've often wondered at feeling in myself.

Suz said...

Thanks Becky, I was uncertain about how express how I feel. I really hoped it was written okay.

By the way, I appreciated your comment on my other post the other day. I pulled the post because I still felt unsettled about it the day after. I don't think I'm going to be able to leave these issues and books alone and walk away from them--God has placed these concerns on my heart.

It was actually the question of the Truth that is also what concerns me about the Emerging Church Movement. Often more emphasis is put on community and fellowship--again experience just of a different type--than the Word of God and that is concerning to me.