Back to School: 10 Things to Pray Over Your Students

Today is a monumental day for our home. We have two beginning their freshman year. My daughter begins her college career, my son begins high school.

My tradition of praying over them every morning has continued since the day I dropped them off at preschool. The obvious differences today is, first, I’m not holding their hand to the front door of their class and stopping there to pray. Second, they’re now leaving for school before I’m out of the shower. So more often than not, my prayers over them may have greater distance by proximity but are not less effective because of the authority of Christ. I believe a prayer in the name of Jesus, in accordance with His Word, brings change.

At Kfirst, we are in a series on Elijah called “Whirlwind.” And James reminds us about Elijah and about prayer.

“…The earnest prayer of a righteous person has great power and produces wonderful results. 17 Elijah was as human as we are, and yet when he prayed earnestly that no rain would fall, none fell for three and a half years! 18 Then, when he prayed again, the sky sent down rain and the earth began to yield its crops. “ James 5:16b-18

James seems to want us to know how powerful prayer can be while encouraging us that we don’t have to have the “credentials” someone else has (in our minds) to pray powerful and effective prayers. Elijah performed great acts and had powerful prayers. Yet it was “human as we are.” I don’t know about you, that builds my faith and encourages me to get my butt in the Word and step out in prayer.

So where your kids have already started school or today is “day 1,” let me give you a daily prayer list over your kids.

  1. Help our children to draw their identity from Jesus.
  2. Give them fearlessness with new opportunities and humility with familiar experiences.
  3. Help them to make good connections/reconnections with peers and faculty.
  4. Let there be no limit to their love for the people around them. Help them to love people like Jesus does.
  5. Develop deeper disciplines and capacity for learning.
  6. Let them see and step into opportunities to exercise generosity without reciprocation.
  7. Guide them to look for lonely people.
  8. Let their lives shine with the hope they have in Christ.
  9. Help their attitudes to rise above the flow of negativity and criticism.
  10. When they face disappointment or hurt, guard their hearts and bring them back to their identity in Jesus.


Love you all. Praying over your kids today.


Thanks for letting me ramble…

What my parents didn’t teach me about marriage – Part 2

Last week, we started this new blog series that focused upon the things my parents didn’t teach me based upon some of the issues we see today.  Again, please don’t take any of the following blogs as a guilt trip to those who have struggled or have made mistakes.  I do not elevate anyone above Christ. But I do obey scripture to “give honor to whom honor is due.”

To catch up, read Part 1 of the series here.

Part 2…what didn’t my parents teach me?  They didn’t teach me to operate separate from my spouse.  They showed a unified front

When I think of the definition of “oneness”, I think of my parents.  As stated in Part 1, I don’t think they’re perfect in the least bit, but I’m grateful for them NOT teaching me certain things.

One of things they NEVER taught me was “disunity.”

When I saw them make decisions, I heard discussions.  They both gave input.  Sometimes they asked us kids what we thought (even thought our opinions probably had no baring on a decision). But nevertheless, we (Rach and I) felt a part of things.  When dad and mom made the decision to go into ministry, tons of changes were coming to our lives.  They told me of the news together.

To take this unity thing further, never once did I feel they vied for the position of “favorite parent.”  I never heard language or saw actions in which one was trying to be the “nice parent” and the other would be the “disciplinarian.”  It wasn’t about “wait till ___________ gets home.”  When it came to encouragement AND discipline, both parents shared the roles and walked in unity with those roles.   If they disagreed on how the other one parented (which probably happened as I know it happens to me and Anne), I, as their child, never saw it and assumed it happened out of earshot of us kids.

Let’s go another step deeper: When dad and mom had disagreements, we (Rach and I) were not pawns in the midst of conflict.  Our heads were not filled with parents wanting us to take sides.  We were not in the awkward position of hearing information that kids should hear.  Our young minds didn’t go through the agonizing conflict that so many parents put their kids through pressuring them to “side with mom/dad”.  We were spared from being a part of the conflict. They kept it between them.

One of my favorite scriptures to quote when talking marriage is Psalm 133.  For where there is unity,

“…there the Lord commands His blessing.”

There wasn’t perfection in our home.  There wasn’t a world with rose-colored glasses (idealism). We lived modestly.  We lived real.  There was laughter and tears;  excitement and disappointment. It was just a real home, with real issues, but approached by a marriage in a unified manner.

And for that reason, I believe the blessing of God was on us.

For that reason, I thank you mom and dad for “one”.

Till next week when we look at Part 3.

Thanks for letting me ramble…

What my parents didn’t teach me about marriage – Part 1

From the beginning of this new blog series, I need to let you know something: 

My parents are amazing. 

Nope…you won’t need to wait for the “other” shoe to drop.  There is no “but” as if I was going to use the blog-osphere to blast Hal and Linda (my parents) and my criticism of their job at raising me and my sister.  

Please don’t take any of the following blogs as a guilt trip to those who have struggled or have made mistakes.  I do not elevate anyone above Christ. But I do obey scripture to “give honor to whom honor is due.” 

But I found myself in a mode a few weeks ago.  I had been doing some pre-marital counseling, received phone calls from other pastors about marriage issues, and had been reading some marriage blogs.   As I read the blogs and thought though my phone calls, I realized something about some of the unhealthy marital situations I was a privy to: 

I didn’t see many of those issues growing up.  

Don’t get me wrong.  Hal and Linda Barringer have their issues.  How do I know that? I have issues and I’m told I have a lot of them (especially my father) in me.  So they are not perfect in the least.  

But…it began with a small list. And with that small list, I want to pour out in a series of blogs the things my parents didn’t teach me.  

First, what didn’t my parents teach me?  They didn’t teach me that the children were priority over the marriage

I knew dad loved mom.  I knew mom loved dad.  I knew that when the nest was empty, what I had seen before me would last because their marriage didn’t stop because of 3 children born.  Even when tragedy hit our home and my younger brother went to be with Jesus, what I saw before me was a strong marriage (not perfect) founded in a faith in One who has the strength, mercy, grace, and peace to get our family through ANYTHING!  They will forever be living testimonies of that. 

Why are so many marriages failing in the mid-years of life? There are numbers of things I could list.  At the top of the list, there are those that put their marriage on hold because of children.  Hal and Linda did not.  They didn’t teach me that.  In fact they taught me the contrary. 

In my years of being at home, not once if I expressed I needed them, did my parents ever fail at stepping up.  We were not spoiled (even though I think my little sister was more spoiled than me…but that’s an older brother speaking).  There wasn’t a single football game that was parentless. Every major event in my life, was always guarded in their prayers, involvement, and wisdom.  I know they have regrets…but who amongst us can’t look back with 20/20 and want to change things to make things better?  

What Rachael and I viewed was strong.  They would hang out with friends.  They served together in ministry.  They prayed together.  They laughed together.  To the chagrin of me and Rach, they kissed and hugged in front of us (which still disturbs me).  

But know this: I, as a child/teen, NEEDED them to place their marriage as priority.  I need to see a father defend his wife.  I needed a parent structure that had a unified front. For my life as child and teen, I need to view two people who stuck together, through the power of Christ, traverse through life-events that have the power to cripple marriages.  I didn’t need a best friend(s).  I needed parents.  School and church provided me with the friendships to fill those needs.  I needed mom to love dad and dad to love mom.  I needed my parents, together,  put their marriage as a priority.  Because of that, I benefited with the structure and example I needed to know what a healthy Christ-centered marriage looks like.  And for that, I am eternally grateful. 

Mom and dad, you didn’t teach me that your marriage was secondary to anybody or anything.  When I think of you, I think of 1 Corinthians 11:1

Follow my example, as I follow the example of Christ.

That’s what I’ve done.  I’ve followed you.  Like you, I’ve got some regrets with my 20/20 hindsight (hey, we’re human).  But me, Anne, and my children are very grateful that they have you to follow. 

See ya in part 2 of the series.

Thanks for letting me ramble…

What I learned from my parent’s 40 years of marriage: Weekly Marriage Blog

Dave and Anne diagonal

This past August 25, my parents celebrated their 40th anniversary.  It got me thinking about a marriage blog that would honor them as well as be a great challenge to marriage. Proverbs 13:22 says, “A good man leaves an inheritance to his children’s children, but the sinner’s wealth is laid up for the righteous.”  I feel both me and my children have been given a phenomenal inheritance from them.  Even though I’m only 37, these are the 40 Things I learned from my parents 40 years of marriage:

Mom and Dad Marriage

  1. A walk with Christ goes beyond Sundays and Wednesdays.
  2. White t-shirt, retro shorts, black socks, and dress shoes are an okay outfit to BBQ in.
  3. It’s okay to kiss in front of your children.
  4. Prayer is a first response.
  5. Discipline is founded in love and followed up with love.
  6. There’s nothing wrong apologizing to your kids if you’ve wronged them.
  7. Chores and responsibilities are a good thing for kids.
  8. Encouragement isn’t reserved for moments.  It’s a lifestyle.
  9. Don’t wear a watch with an elastic band while spanking your son (3 broken watch bands).
  10. Lying cannot be tolerated.
  11. Praise the effort of your children and not the result.
  12. Let your kids hear you say “I love you”.
  13. Let your kids hear you say to your spouse “I love you”.
  14. Trust is like fine china; it can be broken and takes effort to put back together.
  15. Attending church is a priority.
  16. Cheering for Ohio State is not tolerated and will result in me being homeless.
  17. Being in the stands to watch my team is a greater priority than being in meetings.
  18. It’s okay to apologize to your spouse in front of the kids. (it’s one heck of an example to see)
  19. Serving in ministry is not optional.
  20. Don’t talk during the Michigan game.
  21. There are no favorite children.
  22. Promises are always kept.
  23. Stop praying for others to change. Pray for God to change you and pray that God would bless others.
  24. Naps are encouraged.
  25. Do not plan events (births, marriage, etc) during hunting season.
  26. Don’t hide behind the front door to scare mom when she comes home from work.
  27. There are no subjects that are off-limits to be talked about. The kids can ask anything.
  28. Being the only dad in the neighborhood to play with football with the neighborhood kids is iconic.
  29. Mom is easier to shop with.
  30. Homemade Chop Suey is the best.
  31. Diagonal lines are preferred when mowing the lawn.
  32. When using the electric lawn mower, don’t run over the cord.
  33. Be thankful for everything and to everyone.
  34. Our kids are as capable to make mistakes just as other kids are.  In other words, they were not so defensive of us that they were blind to mistakes we made or were capable of.
  35. When dad uses the bathroom during a commercial break, don’t drink his entire glass of Coke.
  36. Instead of saving up to give us an inheritance, live it out with the kids.
  37. Pockets seem to be deeper with grandchildren than it was with us.
  38. Trying to steal a piece of turkey while it’s being carved will get your hand stabbed with a fork.
  39. Kindness can kill adversity.
  40. Only God gets the glory.

Happy Anniversary Mom and Dad

Thanks for letting me ramble…

2 Minute Devo: “Open up your mouth” Deut. 6:4-7

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August is our journey through the 2 minute series called “Watch Your Mouth”.  I want to invite you to join me as we. It’s as simple as viewing  the vlog and reading the passage for the day.  Today’s passage is Deuteronomy 6:4-7:

Deuteronomy 6:4-7

“Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might. And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise.