Faithful to Pray for Parents

Pray for your parents. — pray for those in authority over you.  1 Timothy 2:1-3


Having settled the authority issue, there is now room to address the issue of prayer for our parents. In the second chapter of 1 Timothy, Paul offers and exhortation to pray. He first commands prayer for all men and then he adds a few categories to explain his application. The phrase, “All men” includes those in authority over you. It is important to understand the context of this chapter. The authorities were persecuting Christians. Every time there was a change of leadership in Rome, there was a change in how the Christians were treated. Many would not have wanted to pray for those in authority. Paul makes it clear, the one who is walking with Jesus will pray for those in authority.

Paul gives two primary reasons for this prayer. The first is that Christians might live a life of social peace. That is, that they might be able to practice their faith quietly, without persecution, and with dignity. This prescription is particularly important for the believer who has unbelieving parents. It also recognizes that parents are not immune from the temptations of this world and from their position of authority. They could interfere with the spiritual life of their children.

The second reason to pray for those in authority over you is because it pleases God. As some of my buddies might say, nuff said. It is pleasing to God for His servants to pray for those in authority over you. This behavior gains favor from God resulting in blessings. Remember to obey the Lord for this is good. If you read further in the chapter, you see another concern; the salvation of others. Verse 4 is a continuation of the sentence in verse 3. There is a connection between submission to authority, subsequent prayers for those in authority, and the salvation of others. It seems evident that this application could be made toward unbelieving parents, siblings, cousins, and family friends. The salvation of these people groups correlates to the prayers offered for the parents. This is heavy responsibility.

How do you pray for your parents? There are many was of course, but the model offered in our previous studies regarding praying for you children might be a good start.

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Faithful to Respect Parental Authority

Respect the authority of your Parents Hebrews 13:17

Although the context of Hebrews 13:17 is one of reference to governments and other leaders, it is not a faulty application to ascribe it to the child-parent relationship. Parents are to be leaders and they are to be in authority. Respecting authority is a key value of any modern civilization and it is an essential foundation of the Christian faith. Authority is ascribed to a parent by the one who has an ultimate authority; Jesus Christ.

The basis for the authority of a parent rests upon the foundation of the authority of God. He is the creator and therefore ultimately responsible for his creation. His authority is linked to his responsibility. He also knows more than is known by the created, consequently, his authority is deserved. When God created man and gave him the ability to reproduce, he also assigned responsibility and therefore authority over the children. There is not a more difficult position to fulfill in all the world than a position that demands a person to be responsible yet fails to give them authority to complete the task at hand.

One of the reasons that respecting the authority of parents is so critical is because it usually reflects respecting the authority of God. If God is truly delegating authority to parents over children, then to fail to respect that authority is to fail to respect the authority of God at a most basic level. The one who does not respect the authority of the parent is likely to balk at the authority of school teachers and then law enforcement officers. Such an attitude leads to the breakdown of the very social structures that God has given us to maintain order. The family structure is weakened, the legal structure is weakened, and the spiritual structure of the individual is destroyed all because of a breakdown in respect of authority granted by the Lord. Respecting the authority of parents is a big deal.

When a person has become an adult, the situation is altered. The adult is now responsible for themselves. If they are well prepared for adulthood with a healthy respect for the authority of their parents and a healthy respect for the authority of God, they should have no issues in sorting out how to stand firm in their own responsibilities while respecting the authority of their parents even when they disagree with their parents on some issues. Of course, the key here is that they are living in a right relationship with God under his authority.


This lesson demands introspection into our respect for the authority of our parents.


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Faithful to Honor Parents

Honor your Parents – Exodus 20:12

The literal definition of the Hebrew word translated honor is to “make weighty (Strongs 2010).” To make weighty infers that we are to make our parents important in our lives. The word used by Paul as he quoted this verse in Ephesians 6:2 is the Greek word “timeous” meaning “give value to (Strongs 2010).” The inference here is that the one who assigns value to their parents will treat them well. In fact, it is those things that humans assign value too that are treated the best.

One of the interesting things about commands in Scripture is that we seem to be given a choice. We can assign value to our parents or we can choose not to assign value. A godly choice is to assign value to our parents. The logical conclusion of this line of thinking is that if we have hate or harbor bitterness in our hearts toward our parents, this also is a choice. Many who read these words honor their parents because their parents were especially good to them. Their parents supported them well, taught them well, loved them dearly, and sacrificed regularly. In these cases, assigning value to them is easy and done as positive retribution. Others who read these words did not have such a happy childhood. One or more of their parents may have not been present. Some may have been abandoned. Others reading these lines may have been abused.  You may have good reason to do quite the opposite of assigning value to your parents. However, to do so is to choose bitterness, anger, and hatred. Such decision is not healthy or spiritually wise. It is possible and godly to forgive their trespasses without approving their actions.

On the surface, you may have every right to be bitter and angry with your parents. But the Lord said in these passages that we are to give them honor. First you must realize that we live in a sin fallen world and if your parents did not treat you as the Bible says we are to treat a child, it is because they were given to the flesh and the temptations of the enemy. They were enslaved to the bondage of sin. That does not mean they are not responsible, it means they are sinful.  To continue to be angry is not in your best interest. Do they deserve forgiveness? Probably not. But then, none of us deserve forgiveness. It is a gift of God and forgiving will set you free. They did give you life and for that they are deserving of your honor.

Please do keep this in mind. Forgiveness does not equate to unearned trust. If your parents abused you and they have not been transformed, you are not obligated to put your children, their grandchildren, in a place where the abuse can go to another generation. Trust and honor are not synonymous. You can ascribe value to your parent even if you do not trust your parent.

Why not take a few minutes to examine your relationship with your parents? On a scale of 1-10 with one being no value assigned to your parents and 10 being the highest honor, where does you honor for your parents fall on the scale? Is that positioning pleasing in the sight of the Lord?

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Faithful to Obey Parents

Obey your Parents – Colossians 3:17-25

Obedience means to do what you are told. Paul was adamant about the responsibility of children belonging to believers to do what they are told by their parents. In the context, Paul is speaking to children who are living under the roof of their parents. Also in the context, Paul is addressing a healthy relationship within a family. In a parallel passage found in Ephesians, he substitutes the words “in the Lord’ for the words used in Colossians, “in all things.” Context is important. Perhaps there was something different about the Ephesian church in comparison to the Corinthian church that caused Paul to substitute the language. Perhaps his earlier words in Col. 3:17 puts this verse into context in such a way as to nullify the need of using the words, “in the Lord.” If the parents are doing everything in the name of the Lord, the children should obey the parents in everything. With wives submitting to husbands and husbands loving wives, an environment is created where children can easily, obey their parents.

A disobedient child serves to disrupt an entire household. It robs precious energy from other children in the home. It sometimes creates a financial hardship when parents must cope with the consequences of disobedience. It causes distrust and destroys otherwise healthy relationships. It can be costly. Instructing a child to look both ways before crossing the street is extremely important. In fact, it is a life and death situation. Parents often give instruction to children to prevent their harm. Failing to obey can be costly to the family and those around the family. The responsibility of the parent is to gain the respect and trust of the child and to then teach them to obey. Teaching them to obey is part of the process of gaining their trust.

The child who refuses to obey his parents is a rebellious child. In the Levitical law, it was considered to be so serious the child could be stoned by the elders of the community. 1 Samuel 15:23 equates rebellion to the sin of witchcraft. It is demonic in nature and causes much strife. Rebelliousness in this area often leads to rebellion in other areas. The connection between disobedient children and adults with turmoil in life is clear. The one who grows up rebellious to parents is often a rebellious adult getting into all kinds of trouble. They are rebellious to all kinds of authority including supervisors in the work place and law enforcement officers on the street. They will likely be rebellious to God’s authority as well.

Is this command applicable to the adult? The key to teaching a child to be obedient to the Lord is teaching them to obey their parents. However, ultimate allegiance must be given to God. If the parent is diligently seeking to be obedient to the Lord, it is a very natural transition for a child to transfer his obedience from a parent to the Lord as they become an adult. In fact, it is appropriate for a parent to teach a child that they are ultimately accountable to the Lord. This can be carried out even to the place of telling the maturing child, “if I have told you to do things that are disobedient to God, choose to be obedient to God first.”

How is your obedience to your parents? Have you been a submissive child or a rebellious child? You are never to old for repentance and to seek the forgiveness of your parents. You are never to old to obey.

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Faithful to Work Without Complaint

Day 5 –Work without complaining – Philippians 2:14-18

When Paul taught the Philippians to do all things without grumbling, he meant all things, including work. The reason he gives is powerful. If a believer complains or grumbles, they destroy their witness by surrendering their innocence and demonstrating their offenses worthy of blame. These strong accusations by the Apostle raise the question, “How does complaining about work put the blame on the complainer and surrender innocence?” It is all a matter of faith. In verses 12-13, Paul shows how the Spirit of God is working within the life of a believer. God is sovereignly ruling over His Kingdom. Believers are Kingdom citizens. As we have already considered in the study material for this week, work is a privilege and there are three good reasons why we should be faithful in our work. The fourth here is because it protects our testimony.

Someone coined the phrase, “attitude is everything.” While that may be an oversimplification of many issues of life, there is a lesson to be learned from the cliché. If it is not everything, it is certainly significant. If the worker has a thankful attitude accepting their vocation as a gift from God it changes many perceptions. If in that thankfulness the worker finds joy, he is a testimony of thankfulness to his co-workers and others that may observe his attitude. At that time, he can then be well prepared to give an account for the joy of the Lord’s salvation that rests in his heart. Not only will his witness to his co-workers be secured, his attitude will be contagious and his entire workplace is likely to become more productive.

The root of a complaining heart is pride. When a person complains about their job, they are actually communicating that the expectations placed upon them are below their social status and consequently demeaning. In light of the earlier verses of this chapter, that attitude is rather amusing. After all, it was Jesus, King of Kings and Lord of Lords, who took on the lowliest of all jobs in order to bring salvation to men. The King who knew no sin became sin and was humiliated on the cross. There was not a hint of complaining on his lips. He knew who he was and what he had come to do. There was no need to complain. This discussion has led to a rather remarkable conclusion. The reason Jesus did not complain is because he knew who he was.

Reflecting on the consideration of work through this week’s study should cause us to examine our attitude toward our work. Are we doing it for the glory of God? Do we find fulfillment in providing for our families, having something to give to the one in need, having something to give to the Lord, and in working without complaint? If not, we have an identity problem. If these attitudes toward work are not a present reality, then our lives are self-centered rather than God-centered. We are not faithful. We are missing the mark and not in line to receive the reward. The solutions are found in prayer, meditation, and personal worship of the living God. In regards to prayer, begin today by thanking God for your place of vocation. If you are retired, thank him for the financial provision you do enjoy. In all things give thanks. Meditate on the privileges you share and how God has provided those privileges. Finally, sing a song of praise. I am thinking of this one: “Praise God from whom all blessings flow. Praise him all creatures here below. Praise him above ye heavenly host. Praise Father, Son, and Holy Ghost. AAAAMen.”

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Faithful to Work in Order to Give to the Lord

Day 4 – So that you will have something to give to the Lord. 2 Corinthians 9:1-14

As God established the Law of Moses, He included numerous requirements for giving to those charged with conducting public worship and meeting the needs of the people. These gifts were considered to be gifts to the Lord and included the tithe as well as the giving of alms and other offerings. The New Testament church continued the tradition of receiving gifts from her fellowship for the purposes of worship, the spreading of the Gospel, and the meeting of needs. Again these gifts are considered to be giving to the Lord. The privilege of contributing to the spread of the Gospel and the meeting of needs is a third reason that believers should be faithful in their vocation.

This passage in 2 Corinthians highlights the sharing nature of the early church. Paul was instructing the Corinthian church regarding the needs of sister churches in Macedonia and their responsibility to provide assistance. Notice how he dealt with the preferred attitude of the giver. They were to give cheerfully and as directed by the Spirit. There were not to give out of duty or some prescribed rule. The ones who were prepared to give to this offering were the ones who had worked and accumulated a treasure chest with some resources in order to be able to give cheerfully.

On several occasions through the writing this week, I have reminded you of the judgment seat of Christ and the rewards to be given due to our faithfulness. This passage speaks not only of heavenly rewards for faithfulness in generosity, but also immediate rewards. In fact, Paul connects a bountiful harvest with a bountiful investment. He is suggesting an earthly reward based upon a present act. God will bless the cheerful giver.

The idea of giving a tithe, or 10% of your income to the church, has come under great scrutiny by modern-day Bible teachers and students. They tend to view it as legalism and part of the Old Testament system rather than included in the New Covenant of Christ’s blood. But the principle is key to understanding how God made man to work. One reason to work is to be able to give to God. While observing the law of the tithe in the Old Testament, the laborer had a keen sense that at least 10% of his return was going to the Lord. Regardless of where you find yourself in regard to the need for a tithe under the New Covenant, finding some way to remind yourself that part of your reason to work is to give to the Lord is a key factor in your relationship with Christ.

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Faithful to Work in Order to Share

Day 3 – So that you will have something to give to one in need Ephesians 4:25-32

Writers and speakers will sometimes use contrast to emphasize a point. That method of rhetoric is very effective. In fact, it is the contrast between light and dark that makes the night sky the most striking when there are no clouds in the sky or manmade lights nearby. The darker the night, the more vivid the moon and the greater the contrast. The more contrast in a piece of art, the more it catches the eye. In the 4th chapter of the book of Ephesians, the Apostle Paul uses the contrast of comparing the life of a believer before conversion to his life after a believer. In verse 28, he uses that contrast to exhort the thief who has been saved to demonstrate a life quite opposite of his former behavior. In that contrast, the Bible reveals another reason that a believer should work. The reason is this, to have something to share with the one in need. Consider the contrast of working to have something to share with the one in need to work in order to build the bank account.

When you rolled out of bed today starting your routine that would eventually lead you to your place of employment, working for the purpose of having something to share with someone in need may have never entered your mind. You may be thinking more about paying off the car or buying new clothes. You may have been thinking about adding to your retirement accounts or taking a vacation. Perhaps those are motivators to get us up and going. But what about the possibility of having something to share with one in need? Is that a motivator in your life? The bottom line in this passage of Scripture is that believers in Jesus should not be takers as a thief is a taker, they should be givers. One reason to work is to have something to share with the person in need.

Many believers have taken this admonition from the Lord serious. It is a great privilege to serve with a church family that practices such generosity. Has that generosity become contagious in your life? Have you considered the possibility that one reason to work is in order to have something to share with someone in need? This thought could make for an interesting conversation with those who work around you. Is this a subject that comes up in the break room where you work? On second thought, it might not be the best idea in the world to initiate a conversation on this topic. After all, if you have been living your faith there are already those who think you are mentally deranged. The question arises again. Is it possible that at the judgment seat of Christ, he will be giving our jewels for a crown based on the principle of working in order to have something to share with the one in need? The one who is a stingy Scrooge will miss out on this reward.

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