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Praying Scripture Over Your Child’s Life (Part 1 of 2)

Praying Scripture Over Your Child’s Life (Part 1 of 2)

Jodie Berndt, best-selling author of the Praying the Scriptures book series, offers parents guidance for how they can more frequently and effectively pray for their children's faith, wisdom, self-discipline, character, life purpose, and more. (Part 1 of 2)
Original Air Date: April 14, 2021

John Fuller: In the Bible, there is the book of James, and he wrote, the prayer of a righteous person has great power as it’s working, and that includes the prayers of many faithful parents who are asking God to intercede to help their children. That’s our topic today on Focus on the Family as we continue with our Best of 2021 series of broadcasts. Thanks for joining us. I’m John Fuller and your host is Focus President and author Jim Daly.

Jim Daly: John, a lot of moms and dads feel ill equipped or inadequate in praying for their kids. But man, I want to encourage you to do that. Jean and I did that just this morning for Trent and Troy. We were praying for a lot of different things for them, for their walk, for their futures, for their spouses whom they don’t know yet. When we aired this program earlier this year, one woman told us it was so encouraging because she had struggled to know where to start in praying for her kids. And don’t feel guilty about that, that’s common. She said I’ve often believed the enemy’s lies that have told me I am powerless to affect my own children. Well, we want you to know that God is right there through your doubts and concerns for your children, and we want to encourage you in those prayers with some great insights today.

John: Indeed. And Jodie Berndt is a prayer warrior. She’s an author, speaker and Bible teacher. She’s written a number of books about the topic of prayer, and recently she updated a very popular title. It’s called Praying the Scriptures for your Children: Discover How to Pray God’s Purpose for Their Lives. And we have copies of that here at the ministry. Just give us a call 800, the letter A, and the word FAMILY. Or stop by focusonthefamily.com/broadcast. All right let’s go ahead and listen to the conversation with Jodie Berndt on this Best of 2021 episode of Focus on the Family.

Jim: Jodie, welcome to Focus on the Family. Welcome back, really.

Jodie Berndt: Thank you, thank you, Jim, thank you John. Just a big treat to be back.

Jim: It’s good to have you. Um, you are passionate about prayer. You’ve written several books about it over the past couple of decades. Um, you- I think I defined you well as a prayer warrior. Let me go right to it. How does your husband, Robbie, feel about this? (Laughs).

Jodie: (Laughs).

Jim: I mean really, you probably have taught him, like Jean, uh, how to pray.

Jodie: I think that is a very kind label that I’m not sure I deserve. If you mean, do I pray, uh, do I have to pray a lot, yes. I’m very aware of my own failings and inadequacies, and I think any parent will tell you we want God’s best for our kids. And so, I might say almost any parent has the makings of a prayer warrior just because we want to bring our kids before the Lord. But you asked me about Robbie. What did you ask me? (Laughs).

Jim: (Laughs). Sometimes men in- in marriage, we can be intimidated by prayer warrior wives. Like, maybe I’m not doing enough, you know, as the man of the home.

Jodie: Yeah. You know, that’s a- that’s a- a- a- that’s a deep question to kind of start off with-

Jim: Yeah.

Jodie: … because it really is. I think a lot of times men say, okay, well this is mom’s job. You know, she’s the more sensitive one, the more in-touch emotionally, the spiritual stuff is on her. And while God may have wired us that way, um, I would just encourage any man who’s listening to take up that mantle, um-

Jim: Jump in.

Jodie: … and jump on in.

Jim: Yeah.

Jodie: And don’t be intimidated. But I’ll tell you, one of the reasons that we updated this book was because I heard from parents, both moms and dads, who would tell me that, you know, I didn’t grow up in a home where people prayed. You know, at least not outside of church. It seemed like something you leave to the clergy, the varsity Christians.

Jim: (Laughs).

Jodie: Uh, it feels a little awkward, a little unfamiliar. But folks would say, “I don’t want it to be that way for my kids.” You know? “I want to take the mystery out of prayer. I want them to feel free and available to approach God. What do I do? You know, how do I teach them?” So, whether it’s a husband saying, “Hey, honey, I want to catch up to you,” or whether it’s a mom looking at her child and thinking, “I don’t want it to feel as awkward or unfamiliar as it did for me growing up.” Um, we updated the book and included a lot of material, a lot of bonus material in the back, that really takes, um, all the concepts and- and brings them down to a kids’ level. Like, you can pray verses Hebrews 3:13, “Encourage one another daily.” Such an easy one that a little child can learn, and- and just pray, “Lord, help me encourage people daily.”

Jim: Yeah, and that is good. Uh, let me ask you, though. You weren’t always in this place where prayer was a good, strong discipline for you.

Jodie: Right.

Jim: Speak back to the struggles that you had, and- and why this became kind of a light bulb opportunity to say I need to learn how to pray better. Because there’s many- many people listening that don’t have a robust prayer life.

Jodie: Yeah.

Jim: Um, what are those struggles that people have- that you had?

Jodie: Well, I think we all, (laughs), are- are painfully aware, right, of our shortcomings. Um …

Jim: Yeah. We don’t like to tell other people about it. (Laughs).

Jodie: (Laughs). Yeah. Right, right. Um, we all have this sort of, uh, innate understanding that we need help from outside ourselves, and I did grow up in a home where people prayed, but I will tell you that when our children were young and I was praying for them, my prayers were kind of dull. Uh, I- I hate to say that. I mean, I’m sure God wasn’t saying that I was boring him, but maybe I was, because it was a lot of, um, “Bless them, help them on their spelling test. Help them feel better when they’re sick.” All legit prayers. Good prayers.

Jim: Yeah.

Jodie: You know, but I just felt like I wanted something that felt fresher and more empowered. And when I began looking at the Bible as sort of a launching pad for my prayers, when I would see verses in there and think, “That’s what I want for my kids.” Let me wrap my prayers in that language. You know, and- and I tell the story a lot of times that our- our children used to get in the car, and they would just put their feet in each other’s face, and they’d call-

Jim: (Laughs).

Jodie: … “I want to sit in the front seat. I want to sit in the … ” You know, this is the best seat. And it got to where in fact our in-laws came to babysit one time, Robbie and I were … I was gonna go with him on a business trip, and my in-laws came, and the kids were getting in the car, and they broke out in this normal daily morning fight of who got to sit where, and whose feet were in whose face. And Pop-pop says, you know, “If grandma and I were staying, uh, longer than a week, we would solve this. You wouldn’t- you wouldn’t be talking like this every morning when we say get in the car.” And our daughter … I forget how old she was at the time, elementary school. She said, “Well Pop-pop, it’s a good thing you aren’t staying any longer.” (Laughs).

Jim: (Laughs).

Jodie: And you know, really, that’s not what you want for your in-law to hear.

Jim: Now I think I know the answer to why you started praying.

Jim: (Laughs).

Jodie: Thank you. Thank you. Every parent out there, you know, it’s a struggle. But I remember around that time, going through my Bible, and I saw Ephesians 4 verse 29, and it says, “Let no unwholesome talk come out of your mouth.”

Jim: Mm-hmm.

Jodie: “But only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it would benefit those who listen.” And I’ll tell you, I read, (laughs), that verse and I thought, number one, God’s been spying on my family, you know.

Jim: (Laughs).

Jodie: And number two, that’s exactly what I want. So instead of praying, “God help my kids talk nice,” I could pray, “Lord, you know, let no unwholesome talk come out of their … Let no unwholesome talk come out of my mouth.”

Jim: Yeah.

Jodie: I mean, I wasn’t much better as a mom and a driver. “Don’t make me pull over.” You know that whole line. Um, but let it be, uh, beneficial, that it would build others up. What a great prayer. So … Yeah.

Jim: Yeah, it is. It’s so true. Now in those early days, you also had a- a- what looks like a really good experience with a group called Moms in Prayer-

Jodie: Absolutely.

Jim: … that taught you some things. Um, what did they do? Are they still around? And- and-

Jodie: One of- yeah- there’s MomsinPrayer.org …

Jim: … and what did you glean from it?

Jodie: I’ll tell you, um, it- I love Moms in Prayer. They meet once a week, uh, for an hour to pray, and their groups are based around school communities, so you don’t have to know the other women in your group, you just have to be at the same school, and- and there’s your prayer group. They meet for an hour, and the thing that I love about their strategy is that they really do ground their prayers in scripture. So, one of my favorite stories in the book, um, is about our prayer group, our Moms in Prayer group, and we had prayed just kind of as a routine prayer that week, out of Ephesians 5, um, verses 15 and 16, that our kids would be wise in the way they act toward outsiders. That they would make the most of every opportunity. We didn’t know what that looked like. We didn’t know how God would answer. But that very week, one of the children in the group, their teacher gave them an assignment to write a persuasive essay. And you know, most of the kids in the class are writing a persuasive little s- second grade essay about why my mom should get me a new bike or something. But this one child wrote a letter to a classmate saying, “Here’s why you should believe in Jesus. Here’s why you need to give your life to Christ.”

Jim: Second grader.

Jodie: A second grader.

Jim: Wow.

Jodie: And this was a kid that nobody was friends with. He was a real troublemaker. He- he got left out on the playground, all that. And to have this child write this, and then he asked the teacher about … The child couldn’t read the letter very well, he was, um, struggling in school. And the teacher said, “Yeah, you know, you can read it to your friend.” And so out on the playground that day he reads this persuasive letter with ten reasons …

Jim: Wow.

Jodie: And again, you can r- you know, number one, I will be waiting for you in Heaven. Number two-

Jim: Oh wow.

Jodie: … you can have anything you want in Heaven. Number three, God loves you. You know, these different reasons this little second grader laid out. And he led this child into the Kingdom of Heaven. And that was, I believe, God’s answer to our prayer-

Jim: Yeah.

Jodie: … that our children could make the most of every opportunity.

Jim: Well, I wonder where that young man is today. Very seriously.

Jodie: Well, I don’t- I don’t know where the new believer is, but I do know the young man has grown up and he’s gone off and served in the Naval Academy, and he’s just still loving the Lord, and, uh …

Jim: Now that’s fantastic.

Jodie: Yeah. Yeah.

Jim: Um, Jodie, let me ask you, though, that- that intimidation factor.

Jodie: Mm-hmm. Yeah.

Jim: Um, speak to that hurdle. Not everybody has that as the obstacle, but y- you know, just the intimidation, you know, does God really hear me?

Jodie: Yeah. Yeah.

Jim: Should I really do it? Um, am I saying it correctly? I mean …

Jodie: Right. We all think we need to sound good.

Jim: Yeah.

Jodie: We feel like we have to convince God. And like I said earlier, maybe we didn’t grow up in a home where it was done or modeled for us. But you know, at the end of the day, God commands us to pray, right? And He does it because He wants relationship with us.

Jim: Right.

Jodie: He wants us … In the same way, like, I look at things like being in a marriage, for example. Imagine you’re married to somebody, and you say I love you, but you never talk about your day, you never tell your spouse what you need, you never thank them for what they might provide. Or a parent-child relationship. You know, say a child just- a parent can just give you your food, buy your schoolbooks, get your clothes, but if the child is never asked for anything or ever thanked you for anything, there’s not that connection and that relationship. So, I think God wants us to pray because He’s saying not only is that the way I invented to dispense blessing in your life, but it’s also the way I invented for our lives to connect.

Jim: Sure.

Jodie: So that you can acknowledge me as the source of all these blessings, um, and that we can have that- that relationship.

Jim: Yeah.

Jodie: You- you’re dependent on me, and that’s great, because I want to provide for you.

Jim: You know, I would imagine, because it’s true in Jean and I’s life, um, we pray for our kids’ salvation obviously-

Jodie: Sure.

Jim: … we did that when they were younger, that they would come to embrace the faith. That’s probably the most common prayer for parents.

Jodie: Yeah.

Jim: What are some of the other things that parents- that you’ve learned, coaching parents …

Jodie: Yeah. That’s a good question. And in fact, before I wrote the book, um, I knew what I was praying, again, that my kids would be nice to each other.

Jim: (Laughs).

Jodie: Um, but I wondered what other parents were praying, and I did these surveys. And this was before Facebook, before SurveyMonkey, before really even email. So, I did them the old-fashioned way, where I wrote them on pieces of paper, and they had one question, and it was, “If you could ask God to do anything for your family, what would it be?”

Jim: Mmm.

Jodie: And so, I would carry them around in my purse and give them to you if I saw you in the carpool line, or at the grocery store. We tucked them into our Christmas cards that year. And I got more than a hundred of these things back, and you can imagine, to your question, what parents wanted. You know, parents wanted that faith.

Jim: Right.

Jodie: They wanted kids who loved God and His word. But they also wanted character traits: wisdom, compassion, kindness. They wanted kids to be kept safe. We- that’s a big one for parents. I want my child to be protected and be safe. And even there were people … Um, relationships, friendships, sibling relationships, relationships with teachers, coaches. And there were a lot of parents who were taking kind of a long view and saying, “You know, I actually am praying for my three-year old’s marriage partner.”

Jim: Yeah. Sure.

Jodie: “Or for their management of money or time.” You know? So, all of these things … I kind of took the top 20 needs or requests that I saw come in, and shaped them into, um, the table of contents. And then I started digging around in the Bible to be like, okay, does God say anything about this? Does she say anything? And you know, you know it as well as I do, and I know your listeners know it, that there’s not a need we’re gonna face, or a concern we’ll have, that God hasn’t already provided for and addressed in scripture.

Jim: Yeah. It’s so true. And I think, you know, when you- you- you mentioned wisdom, that one resonated with me.

Jodie: Mm-hmm.

Jim: Because I think that’s probably … Outside of, you know, knowing the Lord-

Jodie: Right. Right.

Jim: … walking with the Lord, that’s probably the next, uh, most often prayer that I’ve offered-

Jodie: Sure.

Jim: … for my boys, that they would have wisdom.

Jodie: Copying from Solomon, right? I mean that’s …

Jim: Because I think … Yeah, everything foll- follows from there, right?

Jodie: Everything follows from that, yeah. It equips us to receive all God’s other good gifts.

Jim: It’s a good one. Uh, you have a cute story about your daughter, Virginia, waving leaves while telling a Bible story. What happened?

Jodie: Yeah. Well, uh, you know, they weren’t … It was around the Easter time, and we- we knew the Hosanna story, um, and they weren’t palm branch leaves. I think they were aucuba leaves or something in our garden, but she picked them up, and they were out there … She- Virginia and our younger son, Robbie, and we were all just messing around in the yard, and I overheard her telling the biblical narrative of Jesus riding on the donkey and coming in. And she went through the whole thing, even to the point she said, “Robbie, you know, and they put nails in his hands. Nails.” And she had so much passion just as about a four-year-old telling this story. And she finished, and she handed Robbie the leaves, and she said, “Now you tell the story, Robbie.” And I thought to myself, that’s- that’s what we want. We want our kids to know God’s word, to know God’s stories, to know God’s history, because they’re not getting it. You know, our culture is not teaching them scripture.

Jim: Oh, no.

Jodie: And even, um, today’s churches a lot of times are not teaching the Bible. And so, I pray that my kids will know and love scripture. Because back to your point about wisdom, choices are gonna be all abounding, and to know which way to go … Uh, Philippians 1, “We pray that you may have, uh, wisdom and depth of insight so you can discern what is best.”

Jim: Yeah.

Jodie: Our kids are gonna be coming up against these choices, whether they’re four years old, 14 years old, or 40 years old, and they’re gonna need to know what to do, and scripture is what will equip them to do that.

Jim: Yeah, that’s good.

John: We’re hearing, uh, the heart of Jodie Berndt today on Focus on the Family, and we’re gonna encourage you to look for a copy of her book, Praying the Scriptures for Your Children: Discover How to Pray God’s Purpose for Their Lives. We’ve got copies of that, uh, at focusonthefamily.com/broadcast, or 1-800, the letter “A”, and the word “FAMILY.”

Jim: Jodie, um, this next question really comes out of, um, the heart from being a believer. I came to know the Lord at 15 years old, and my football buddy on the high school football teams’ parents gave me my first soft-cover Bible.

Jodie: Wow. That’s wonderful.

Jim: And they wrote in there John 10:10, and I always joke because-

Jodie: Mm-hmm, that is so good for a football player. (Laughs).

Jim: … there’s a lot of- there are a lot of John in the Bible, (laughs), and you know-

Jodie: Yep. Yeah.

Jim: … I didn’t- I wasn’t raised in a Christian home, so I’m looking through 1 John, 2 John, 3 John …

Jodie: Yeah. (Laughs).

Jim: Finally got to John 10:10. But, uh, the- the scripture is straight forward, and- and the reason I’m mentioning this is it- it’s to me one of the most applicable scriptures in the world we live in today. And it says, “The thief – Satan – the thief comes to steal, kill, and destroy, but I’ve come that you might have life and life more abundantly.” So, when you’re looking at that context for our children, um, how do we as parents resist the devil as a good model, and then how do we pray something positive for our children, that they too may have that kind of wisdom?

Jodie: Yeah, I love that verse, John 10:10. Um, you know, different translations, some say, “I’ve come to give you a rich and satisfying life.”

Jim: Yeah, I like that.

Jodie: Some say an abundant life. Um, it’s a good one for our family. Our daughter, Virginia, uh, lives big and she loves that verse.

Jim: (Laughs).

Jodie: Um, one time she was traveling abroad, and my husband had given her, you know, read her the riot act about being safe and- and what to do, and what not to do, and she’s with a bunch of friends … And we got a picture she sent us of herself strapped to a guy whose name was Ali – we didn’t know any more than that – jumping out of an airplane.

Jim: (Laughs).

Jodie: And on her palm, um, she’d written John 10:10.

Jim: (Laughs).

John: (Laughs).

Jodie: She wrote- she wrote, “Sorry dad.” (Laughs). She was just like, “I’m living big.” But I- I love that one, and I love … I feel like for our kids, they need to know that Jesus is fun, that when they put their trust in him that they are gonna have a rich and satisfying life. Not saying a life without problems, he obviously never promises us that. In fact, those of us who followed him a long time sometimes know you hit more hard knocks in following him than it feels like. Um, but I’m all about making, um, scripture, um, making a faith, uh, doable and fun for our kids.

Jim: Yeah.

Jodie: Uh, at the back of the book I share, um, a lot of strategies for that one. And my favorites is we call it … And I- and you growing up in a home where you didn’t know the Lord, would love this. We call it the happy hope game, and it’s just after dinner, and it’s really a spin on sharing a praise report or a prayer request. But you know, for kids they hear, what’s your praise report, or what’s your prayer request, you know, that can be a little intimidating, and a little like, “Oh, great, there goes Mom on her church platform again.” Or if you have a friend at the dinner table, like say your football buddy had invited you to his home, you might have been a little intimidated if his mom had said, “Well, what’s your prayer request?” You know.

Jim: Oh, yeah.

Jodie: And, um, so we play the happy hope game, and it’s just simply, um, “Hey, tell me one thing that happened this week you’re happy about.” That’s a praise report. You know? “And tell me something that you hope is gonna happen.” Well, that’s a prayer request. And whether the kids know it or not, as the parent I can take those things back to my prayer journal later-

Jim: Yeah.

Jodie: … and remember to pray for them. And I love, um … There’s an author, Pete Greig, he wrote a book called How to Pray, and he made the point that God sometimes listens to our casual conversations and receives them as prayers.

Jim: Mm-hmm.

Jodie: And, uh, he takes that out of Malachi 3:16 where scripture says that “Those who fear the Lord talked among themselves, and God listened and heard.” And I love the idea that God is listening to our dinner table conversations.

Jim: Yeah.

Jodie: And so, when we’re playing the happy hope game, he knows that as a mom I’m listening to you say, “I’m really happy that we won the football game,” and he knows that I’m saying, “Thank you, Lord, for giving him that time of fellowship, and that win.”

Jim: Yeah.

Jodie: And it- you know, so …

Jim: I- I also want to ask, Jodie, though, the, uh, that parent who’s listening right now-

Jodie: Yeah. Yeah.

Jim: … who is struggling with their teenager that’s moving in a really bad direction.

Jodie: Yeah.

Jim: I mean, it may be, you know, drugs are in the home-

Jodie: Right, right.

Jim: … or something like that. And that, to me, is evidence of John 10:10 as well, the steal, kill, and destroy part.

Jodie: Yes. Right.

Jim: This is the destructive path a child can choose. And it- it’s gonna occur sometime in that- that- those teen years.

Jodie: Sure.

Jim: How do they pray-

Jodie: Yeah.

Jim: … with any confidence?

Jodie: Yeah.

Jim: Because right now in the moment it looks hopeless.

Jodie: It does look hopeless. And I- I was that parent. Um, we had four kids and I think probably anybody who has more than one kid, even if you have one kid you know they make-

Jim: These things are always possible.

Jodie: … things- it’s- it happens. You know, it doesn’t … Just because you have a Christian home doesn’t mean that you’re gonna have these guaranteed straight and narrow kids. And I would say to that parent, first of all, you’re not alone. God knows exactly how you feel. He’s watched us make the dumbest decisions, walk the wildest paths. Um, and He loves your child more than you do. You might think they’re out of your reach, either, uh, physically because they’re not home, or even just emotionally, they’re sitting across the table, but they don’t want to listen to you, you know? But they’re never out of God’s reach.

Jim: Yeah.

Jodie: And so, I would just encourage that parent to just keep lifting their child before the Lord, bringing his name, her name, their needs, um, and trusting that your heavenly Father who loves them more than you do and has more power than you do, you know … Our prayers, they lay down the tracks for God’s power to come through. We don’t do the fixing, the providing. We wish we could. But I love- my favorite parenting prayer when I had teenagers was out of Philippians 2:13. That’s where Paul says, “It is God who works in you to will and to act according to His good purpose.” And as a mom, I so felt like it was on me. Like, I need to work on my kids so that they would will and act, they would desire and do, good things. But you know, we can’t, right?

Jim: Yeah.

Jodie: You know, none of us can. But God can. So, I would just say, God, work in Virginia’s heart to will and to act, to line up with your good purposes.

Jim: Let me ask you. In that context as a mom-

Jodie: Yeah.

Jim: … and I think moms, this is close to their heart.

Jodie: Mm-hmm.

Jim: And I’m sure some dads, too, but I’m just saying, the moms I’ve talked to, my own observation-

Jodie: Yeah. We feel it deeply.

Jim: … Jean, the same thing … And, you know, so often that fear and control can take a hold of you.

Jodie: Mm-hmm.

Jim: And it’s very hard to say, “Lord, okay. I’m gonna give my child over to you right now.” And that then is followed up by certain behavior changes, right? Y- you- you reduce your controlling nature.

Jodie: Right.

Jim: You trust God in certain ways. You become more faithful-

Jodie: Yeah.

Jim: … uh, toward your parenting of that child, and that is a process, isn’t it? Speak to that mom who is struggling in that battle between fear and control and trusting God for the outcome.

Jodie: Yeah, that- that’s such a good question, and one that I wish I could say I had learned once and for all. Wouldn’t it be great if we could say, “God, I trust you.”? And then, you know, we’ve screwed that courage to the sticking place, and it’s never left. But for me, each new …

Jim: Well, it’s probably all- all different degrees, too, right?

Jodie: Different degrees. New- new degrees, new problems crop up. God’s faithful one- in one situation, and then another child or another event happens and you’ve gotta take it right back to the drawing board. But I’ll tell you, God really, um, did a gentle but hard work in me as I said to him, Lord … When our- things were not going, (laughs), like I thought they would in my kids’ lives for a season. Um, they were making some bad choices, and they were just some bad things happening-

Jim: Yeah.

Jodie: … that maybe weren’t a result of a choice. But- and I remember saying, “Lord, I trusted you. You know, you’re a good God, I know you love my kids. What’s going on?” And He looked at me and He just said, “You know, Jodie, you- you didn’t trust me. You trusted in an outcome.”

Jim: Mm-hmm.

Jodie: “You trusted in your agenda. How you think- thought things should work, and in your timing.” And He said, “Yeah, this is painful, but trust me, because I see the big picture and I am shepherding and leading, and as Romans 8:28 reminds us, working in all things for the good of those who love me.”

Jim: Yeah.

Jodie: And so …

Jim: And Jodie, in that regard, we’re right at the end here-

Jodie: Yeah.

Jim: … and I think, uh, a good take away for the parents listening right now would be, um, suffering plays a role in God’s economy. It- it accomplishes something deep in people.

Jodie: Yeah.

Jim: And it’s not that we run from it. We shouldn’t run from it.

Jodie: Right.

Jim: Um, but how to equip our children to abide in it.

Jodie: Yeah.

Jim: So how- yeah, wow. It’s a big one.

Jodie: It is such a big one, and I think, um, we can trick ourselves into thinking God doesn’t want us to suffer. But like I was just reading this morning in Philippians 1, and Paul says to all the believers, he’s like, “You’ve been counted worthy to share in His glory and in His suffering.” And I’m like, what do you mean I- I should be thankful that I get to count, you know, be happy to be in His suffering? But- but he does use it to refine us, to shape us, um, and it’s no fun. And it’s- for a parent, I think it’s really hard to watch your child suffer.

Jim: Yeah.

Jodie: There’s nothing harder.

Jim: Yeah.

Jodie: Um, but we just can be confident that God will use all of that-

Jim: Yeah.

Jodie: … the good and the bad to work His good purposes.

Jim: And I think in doing that, when you can get to that place-

Jodie: Mm-hmm.

Jim: … then the scripture that says my burden is light, my yoke is easy-

Jodie: Yeah.

Jim: … that’s evidence of that, when you can really abide in that difficult circumstance, trusting God, praying for your child.

Jodie: Yeah.

Jim: Believing in the future of that child-

Jodie: Right.

Jim: … even if they’re in the valley in that moment.

Jodie: Yeah. And it’s not easy. I don’t- it- it- you know, you-

Jim: Right.

Jodie: … A listener might listen and go, “Oh, she says just trust me and … ” I would encourage someone, too, if they’re in that valley and that dark place to reach out to a friend. I really believe in the power of, uh, multiplied prayer.

Jim: Yeah.

Jodie: You know, Jesus says where two or more come together, I’m in the midst. And there were times in our kids’ growing up years when there- I tell this story in the book, when our son was in kindergarten and he struggled so much with self-control, that I just wanted to buy him a pack of cigarettes and put him out of the street corner, because I’m like, “He’s gonna wind up there anyway, so why bother trying to parent him or raise him to be Godly? Because I give up.” And I had some girlfriends who came alongside of me, people in my mom’s own prayer group, and others, who said, “You know, I- you don’t have the faith right now to believe for this. You can’t even see the needle moving. But we’ll pray for you. We’ll lift up your son, we’ll carry that burden for you-”

Jim: Wow.

Jodie: … “And with you.” And I’ll tell you, they did that for me for over a year, and- and God moved. He moved. And I will say, if you met my son now, he’s 25, you would never know that he’d struggled with self-control, self-discipline, with anger issues, with all of that.

Jim: He’s changed, yeah.

Jodie: And it wasn’t this instant answer, you know? He- he was a high school athlete, a college athlete, and I think sometimes … That’s the other thing, you know, the- the passion that’s in there that can come out as anger can also be a passion that, in the hands of God, can allow for victory on a sports field. Y- you know it’s- it’s-

Jim: Oh, without a doubt.

Jodie: … it’s the two different sides to the coin. So, I would just say hang in there, but get yourself some friends who’ll carry that with you.

Jim: Well, that’s a beautiful approach, and we need to be that friend.

Jodie: Yes.

Jim: If we’re not the one in the valley with our kids-

Jodie: Yeah, yeah.

Jim: … we need to be the one that’s, uh, you know, helping.

Jodie: Yeah, we rejoice with those who rejoice, and mourn with those who mourn.

John: Well, we have just skimmed the surface of our conversation with Jodie Berndt today on this best of 2021 Focus on the Family, and we’ll be back next time with more help in praying for your children, as well as overcoming all the technology and media that’s invaded our homes and building a legacy of prayer.

Jim: John, this has been terrific, and we’ve been reminded of how easy it is to get distracted from praying in our busy lives. And we’ll get into more of that tomorrow. I want to encourage you to contact us here at Focus on the Family, if you need counseling, help as a parent. We’ll get your information and call you back. And also, we’ll send you a copy of Jodie’s great book Praying the Scriptures for Your Children. And if you can help us do ministry together for a gift of any amount will send you the book as our way of saying thank you for being a partner of Focus on the Family and on behalf of all those families that you’ll touch through the ministry here at Focus. When you donate, you give families hope. And I’ll add that right now, when you support us, your gift will be doubled because friends of the ministry care enough to invest in the lives of others. And I just want to say thank you for partnering with us in that way.

John: And we’re a phone call away. Our number again 800, the letter A, and the word FAMILY or stop by focusonthefamily.com/broadcast. On behalf of Jim Daly and the entire team here, thanks for joining us today for Focus on the Family. I’m John Fuller inviting you back as we continue the conversation with Jodie and once again help you and your family thrive in Christ.

Today's Guests

Cover image of Jodie Berndt's book "Praying the Scriptures for Your Children"

Praying the Scriptures for Your Children: Discover How to Pray God's Purpose for Their Lives

Receive Jodie Berndt's book Praying the Scriptures for Your Children for your donation of any amount! And when you give today, your support will be DOUBLED to Give Families Hope!

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Headshot of Focus on the Family broadcast guest Jodie Berndt

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Simple Habits for Effective Parenting

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Tim and Noreen Muehlhoff Cropped

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Headshot photo of author Kim Meeder

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Reigniting Your Passion for Jesus - Part 2

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Headshot photo of author Kim Meeder

Kim Meeder

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Revival Rising

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Headshot of Rhonda Stoppe

Rhonda Stoppe

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Cover image of Rhonda Stoppe's book "Moms Raising Sons to be Men"

Moms Raising Sons to Be Men

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Mr. and Mrs. Guy and Amber Lia and Mrs. Jean Daly

Amber Lia is a work-at-home mom, blogger, public speaker, and co-author of two best-selling books. Her husband, Guy, is a former TV, feature film, and VFX development and production executive who has worked on popular TV shows and films. Guy and Amber own Storehouse Media Group, a faith- and family-friendly TV and film production company based in Los Angeles,

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Author Debra Fileta in the Focus on the Family broadcast studio

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Pastor Kevin Thompson

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Cover image of Kevin Thompson's book "Friends, Partners & Lovers"

Friends, Partners, and Lovers: What It Takes to Make Your Marriage Work

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Greg Koukl is a writer, public speaker and talk show host who’s spent 30 years advocating for and defending the Christian worldview. Greg has written or contributed to 15 books, including The Story of RealityTactics, and Precious Unborn Human Persons. Greg has published nearly 230 articles and has spoken on 80 college and university campuses in the U.S. and abroad.

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Headshot image of Focus on the Family broadcast guest Dr. Patti Giebink

Mrs. Patti Giebink

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Cover image of the book "Unexpected Choice: An Abortion Doctor’s Journey to Pro-Life"

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Author Wendy Speake smiling as she holds up her book "The 40-Day Social Media Fast"

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With a background in Hollywood as a trained actress, Wendy Speake ministers to women as a bible teacher by applying the power of drama, poetry and comedy to the study of Scripture and real-life application of biblical truths. She has co-authored two books with Amber Lia titled Triggers: Exchanging Parents’ Angry Reactions for Gentle Biblical Responses and their latest, Parenting Scripts: When What You’re Saying Isn’t Working, Say Something New. Wendy is also the co-author (with Kelli Stuart) of Life Creative: Inspiration for Today’s Renaissance Mom.

Cover image of the book "The 40-Day Sugar Fast"

The 40-Day Sugar Fast: Where Physical Detox Meets Spiritual Transformation

Welcome to the 40-Day Sugar Fast, a fast that begins with us giving Jesus our sugar and ends with Jesus giving us himself–the only thing that can ever truly satisfy our soul’s deep hunger. On this 40-day journey you’ll learn how to stop fixating on food and other things you use to fill the voids in life and instead fix your eyes on Christ. Anyone who runs to sugar for comfort or a reward, who eats mindlessly or out of boredom, who feels physically and spiritually lethargic, or who struggles with self-control will discover here not only freedom from their cravings but an entirely new appetite for the good things God has for us.

Understanding the Root of Your Child's Misbehavior - Part 1

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Dr. Kevin Leman

Dr. Kevin Leman

Dr. Kevin Leman is an internationally known family psychologist and an award-winning, New York Times best-selling author. He is also a popular public speaker and media personality who has made countless guest appearances on numerous radio and TV programs. Dr. Leman has written more than 50 books including The Birth Order BookHave a New Kid by Friday and Making Children Mind Without Losing Yours.

Bundle of Why Your Kids Misbehave

Why Your Kids Misbehave and What to Do about It

Tantrums. Talking back. Throwing toys or food. Meltdowns. Slamming doors. Kids know just how to push your buttons. You’ve tried all sorts of methods, but nothing seems to work. In this book, Dr. Kevin Leman reveals exactly why kids misbehave and how you can turn that behavior around with practical, no-nonsense strategies that really work . . . and are a long-term win for both of you.

Understanding the Root of Your Child's Misbehavior - Part 2

Often, children act out because they are used to getting attention through bad behavior. Dr. Kevin Leman offers advice to help parents transform their child’s behavior. He discusses the benefits of allowing your kids to learn from real-life consequences and describes the importance of understanding your child’s temperament based on his birth order.

Dr. Kevin Leman

Dr. Kevin Leman

Dr. Kevin Leman is an internationally known family psychologist and an award-winning, New York Times best-selling author. He is also a popular public speaker and media personality who has made countless guest appearances on numerous radio and TV programs. Dr. Leman has written more than 50 books including The Birth Order BookHave a New Kid by Friday and Making Children Mind Without Losing Yours.

Bundle of Why Your Kids Misbehave

Why Your Kids Misbehave and What to Do about It

Tantrums. Talking back. Throwing toys or food. Meltdowns. Slamming doors. Kids know just how to push your buttons. You’ve tried all sorts of methods, but nothing seems to work. In this book, Dr. Kevin Leman reveals exactly why kids misbehave and how you can turn that behavior around with practical, no-nonsense strategies that really work . . . and are a long-term win for both of you.

Loving Your Spouse Through the Seasons of Marriage - Part 2

Debra Fileta has identified the four seasons of marriage that correspond with our natural seasons – spring (new life and new love), summer (things get hot!), fall (showing our true colors), and winter (long days ahead). In this interview, she will help couples better understand the four seasons of healthy relationships, what to expect during each one, and how to carefully navigate them for a stronger marriage.

Author Debra Fileta in the Focus on the Family broadcast studio

Debra Fileta

Debra Fileta is a licensed professional counselor specializing in relationship and marital issues. She is also a public speaker and the author of multiple books, including Married SexChoosing Marriage: Why It Has to Start With We > Me, Love in Every Season, and Are You Really OK: Getting Real About Who You Are, How You’re Doing, and Why It Matters. Debra’s popular relationship advice blog, TrueLoveDates.com, and her Love + Relationships podcast reach millions of people each year offering guidance on topics including love, sex, and marriage.

Love in Every Season: Understanding the Four Stages of a Healthy Relationship

Every relationship goes through four life-changing seasons: Spring. Summer. Fall. Winter. Each season plays an important role in taking your relationship to the next level. And depending on how you navigate each season, your relationship will either flourish and grow, or it will slowly die. Whether you’re single, dating, engaged or married, join licensed professional counselor and relationship expert, Debra Fileta as she takes you on an eye-opening psychological and spiritual journey through the four seasons that she has observed in every healthy relationship.

Reconciling Faith and Science in a Medical Crisis

Dr. Lee Warren is a neurosurgeon who has faced many heavy challenges in his life – from serving in the Iraq War to removing deadly brain tumors to experiencing the loss of a teenage son. He’ll share about his difficult quest to find answers to some of life’s toughest questions, while holding onto his faith in God and the sure hope of heaven

Headshot of Focus on the Family broadcast guest Dr. W. Lee Warren

Dr. Lee Warren

W. Lee Warren, M.D., is a brain surgeon , inventor, Iraq War veteran, and author of I’ve Seen the End of You: A Neurosurgeon’s Look at Faith, Doubt, and the Things We Think We Know, winner of the Christian Book Award®. His previous book, No Place to Hide, was included on the 2015 U.S. Air Force Chief of Staff’s Recommended Reading List. Dr. Warren has appeared on The 700 Club and the CBS Evening News, and his writings have been featured in Guideposts magazine. His Dr. Lee Warren Podcast, which is heard in more than 60 countries, helps listeners use the power of neuroscience, faith, and common sense to change their lives.

Cover image of Dr. Lee Warren's book "I've Seen the End of You"

I've Seen the End of You: A Neurosurgeon's Look at Faith, Doubt, and the Things We Think We Know

This gripping inspirational memoir grapples with the tension between faith and science—and between death and hope—as a seasoned neurosurgeon faces insurmountable odds and grief both in the office and at home.

Praying Scripture Over Your Child’s Life - Part 1

Jodie Berndt loves to pray for her children. She’s been doing that for the past thirty years. Now she helps other parents to talk to God, asking for the salvation of their kids, and for wisdom, self-discipline, purpose, a future and much more. She offers fun and practical encouragement that moms and dads can put to work immediately in their daily lives as they prepare their children for a life in Christ.

Headshot of Focus on the Family broadcast guest Jodie Berndt

Jodie Berndt

Jodie Berndt is a public speaker, a Bible teacher, and the the author of 10 books. Find out more about Jodie and get some free resources (including printable prayer cards and calendars) at her website, jodieberndt.com.

Cover image of Jodie Berndt's book "Praying the Scriptures for Your Children"

Praying the Scriptures Over Your Children

You will discover how using the Bible to shape your desires and requests opens the door to God’s provision—and frees us from things like worry and fear in our parenting! This expanded edition of the bestseller features updated content on issues like technology and identity, and comes with new material designed to invite children into the family prayer circle. Purchase now and receive 10% off your product.

Mothers and Sons: Being a Godly Influence - Part 1

Rhonda Stoppe describes her early motherhood challenges of raising a son, which was intimidating to her. She found help through group of older women mentors. She urges moms to see their role as ministry in shaping sons to be good and godly men. Rhonda outlines several practical suggestions to moms about spiritual training, how to communicate with boys, and supporting the father-son relationship as a wife.

Headshot of Rhonda Stoppe

Rhonda Stoppe

Drawing upon 35 years of experience as a mentor, pastor’s wife, and homeschool mom, Rhonda Stoppe offers encouragement and guidance to women as an author and public speaker. She is popularly known as the “No Regrets Woman,” as she is especially passionate about helping women live life without regrets. Rhonda’s books include Moms Raising Sons to Be MenReal Life Romance, and The Marriage Mentor, which she co-authored with her husband, Steve.

Cover image of Rhonda Stoppe's book "Moms Raising Sons to be Men"

Moms Raising Sons to Be Men

Mothers of boys have the special calling to shape future men of God. Popular speaker Rhonda Stoppe, mom to two sons, knows this opportunity is a challenge, a joy, and probably the most important work of a woman’s life. Drawing from years of experience, this inspirational resource will revive the faithfulness and fortitude a woman needs to partner with God as they shape the character and heart of a future godly man.

Identifying Triggers in Your Marriage Part 1

They were both convinced they had married the wrong person. From almost the very beginning of their marriage, Amber and Guy Lia experienced various tensions and personality clashes related to house cleaning, backseat driving, workaholism, and intimacy. In this two-day Focus on the Family broadcast, Amber and Guy discuss how they bravely faced the triggers head-on, and committed to working on their own relationships with Jesus. As you listen to the Lia’s story, you’ll feel hope that you, too, can see real marriage transformation!

Headshot of Guy and Amber Lia

Mr. and Mrs. Guy and Amber Lia and Mrs. Jean Daly

Amber Lia is a work-at-home mom, blogger, public speaker, and co-author of two best-selling books. Her husband, Guy, is a former TV, feature film, and VFX development and production executive who has worked on popular TV shows and films. Guy and Amber own Storehouse Media Group, a faith- and family-friendly TV and film production company based in Los Angeles,

Cover image of the book "Marriage Triggers" by Guy and Amber Lia

Marriage Triggers: How You and Your Spouse Can Exchange Angry Reactions for Gentle Biblical Responses

A husband-wife team offers practical advice for married couples to end the cycle of reactionary arguments by examining the most common issues that trigger disagreements and apply God’s Word to radically transform relationships.

What to Do When You're Not Okay - Part 1

Life can be pretty stressful. Between work, relationships, and other obligations, the pressure builds, and we lose sight of who we are. Counselor Debra Fileta helps you better understand your emotions, assess your mental, physical, and spiritual health, and intentionally pursue a path to wellbeing. In dealing with anxiety, depression, and panic attacks, Debra understands the importance of self-examination as well as the benefits of seeking professional help. She offers biblically-based advice, tools, and encouragement to help you get on a path toward healing and wholeness.

Author Debra Fileta in the Focus on the Family broadcast studio

Mrs. Debra Fileta

Debra Fileta is a licensed professional counselor specializing in relationship and marital issues. She is also a public speaker and the author of multiple books, including Married SexChoosing Marriage: Why It Has to Start With We > Me, Love in Every Season, and Are You Really OK: Getting Real About Who You Are, How You’re Doing, and Why It Matters. Debra’s popular relationship advice blog, TrueLoveDates.com, and her Love + Relationships podcast reach millions of people each year offering guidance on topics including love, sex, and marriage. Debra resides in Pennsylvania with her husband, John, and their four children.

Are You Really Okay?

Are You Really OK: Getting Real About Who You Are

In Are You Really OK? author and licensed counselor Debra Fileta challenges you to get real with who you are and how you’re doing spiritually, emotionally, mentally, and physically so you can recognize where you need growth and healing.

Navigating a Toxic Culture with Your Daughter - Part 1

As a pediatrician, Dr. Meg Meeker has seen thousands of girls come through her office through the years. They struggle with eating issues, sexual identity, social media…and many other challenges in this toxic culture. Dr. Meeker will encourage parents to invest love and time in their daughters and develop their character to give them the best opportunity for a bright future, all rooted in a spiritual foundation. The discussion also includes healthy feminism vs. toxic feminism

Mrs. Meg Meeker

Dr. Meg Meeker is a pediatrician who is widely recognized as one of the country’s leading authorities on parenting, teens and children’s health. With appearances on numerous nationally syndicated radio and TV programs, her popularity as a an expert on key issues confronting families has created a strong following across America. Her work with countless families over the years served as the inspiration behind her best-selling books which include Strong Fathers, Strong DaughtersStrong Mothers, Strong Sons and The Ten Habits of Happy Mothers

Cover image of Dr. Meg Meeker's book "Raising a Strong Daughter in a Toxic Culture"

Raising a Strong Daughter in a Toxic Culture: 11 Steps to Keep Her Happy, Healthy, and Safe

Meg Meeker has been a pediatrician for more than thirty years, is a mother and a grandmother, and has seen it all. She knows what makes for strong, happy, healthy young women–and what puts our daughters at risk. Combining that experience with her famous common sense, she explains the eleven steps that will help your daughter–whether she’s a toddler or a troubled teen–to achieve her full human potential.

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Newest Release - Episode 1: The Truth About Life!

In this episode, we will tackle tough questions like, “When does life begin?” and “What does the Bible
say about Life?” You’ll discover and understand the stages of pre-born life and that babies are more than
just a clump of cells!

Yes, I Promise to Pray for the Pre-born and Their Moms!

Will you pray for the pre-born and moms that are facing unexpected pregnancies? We will send you a 7-day prayer guide that will help guide you along this journey with us!! You can even choose to receive this great resource by text!

Thank you for committing to pray for the pre-born!

Sign up below for your free seven-day prayer guide. This daily guide will help give direction to your prayers for the pro-life movement. We will be praying with you! 

Focus on the Family

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