Leah's Prayer Plan for Samuel

Posted by  | Monday, January 21, 2008  at 7:51 PM  
The books that I recommended a few weeks ago are the inspiration for how I pray for my son, Samuel. The wisdom from those books has really helped me direct how I approach Samuel's spiritual condition and my place in molding that.

The basic idea is that every six months you and your husband should take time out to discuss each child's strengths and weaknesses. Then you commit to praying through each of those and working with your child to embrace his strengths and have victory over his weaknesses.

At one year of age, Ed and I talked about Samuel's strengths and weaknesses for the first time. Now mind you, a one year old doesn't generate that long of list of strengths and weaknesses. But they are there and easy to recognize. Here is his 12 month list:

Areas to Praise-
Friendly with others
Relatively obedient

Areas to Work On-
Doesn't sit still through Sunday meetings

For the past five months, I've been praying for Samuel in these areas. I also pray for ways to work with Samuel on a day to day basis to encourage him and help him improve.

Ed and I will again sit down in about a month to pray over these things and update our list. I love this approach because it gives me practical ways to pray for Samuel. And there are so many triggers throughout the day to remind me to pray for him. As I see him exhibit something from the list, I can stop and pray.

**In case anyone is wondering about the area of "sitting still through Sunday meetings", please read two different sources that I really like on this topic: John & Noel Piper and Raising Godly Tomatoes.

Also, when I was pregnant with Samuel, I chose a verse from Jeremiah that I wanted to pray over him. I painted this onto a mural that hangs in his room. Here is his verse:

Blessed is the man who trusts in the Lord, whose trust is the Lord.
He is like a tree planted by water, that sends out its roots by the stream, and does not fear when heat comes, for its leaves remain green, and is not anxious in the year of drought, for it does not cease to bear fruit. - Jer. 17:7-8

I am working on picking a verse for the new baby, due to arrive in two months.


Mallory & Amy Gabriel said...

Ladies, thank you so much for this week's postings. It has encouraged me to be on my knees more for John Mark. Thanks for being so vulnerable and willing to share your ideas on raising Godly children.

Sorry to interject another topic, but I am returning to work soon-- just 2 days/week at the hospital, but it will be 12 hour shifts. I am very determined to continue breastfeeding, and need some advice on pumping. I have a great pump (Medela Pump in Style) but need some help on the best storage bags, ways to clean your pump, general pumping tips, and brands of bottles. I would greatly appreciate any wisdom you ladies have.

Thanks again for a great blog- I recommend it to every pregnant woman/new mom I know.


Christina said...

I pumped at work for about 9 months. I would check out kellymom.com for some great tips on pumping. The biggest thing is to be sure you're pumping regularly and OFTEN! Many women make the mistake of thinking they can go longer between pumping sessions yet still produce enough milk. It might work the first few times, but over time your body will adjust to this schedule and you're milk supply may go down. So...it's important to pump regularly! Now that I've realized that doesn't really answer your questions...

In my experience, the storage bags are all created equal. I used whatever I had or purchased whatever was on sale.

Cleaning the pump parts (the worst part of pumping in my opinion :) - Medela makes these great wipes for cleaning the parts. I sometimes used those between pumpings if I didn't have enough parts. For example, I only carried 2 sets of parts with me to work. If I had to pump more than twice while at work (staying late, etc.) then I would use the wipes to clean one set for the third pumping session. Otherwise, when I got home, I would wash all parts again for the next day.

Bottles are so personal preference. I assume you mean bottles to feed your son with....Every Mom has a different opinion and it really depends on which your child prefers.

There is one thing to consider in choosing a bottle made with safe plastics. We personally used Avent and Playtex VentAire's with my son. He did well with these and I had no problems with them. Now that I have learned a little about safe plastics (versus possibly unsafe ones made with BPA) - I might make a different decision for baby #2. You can easily do some quick internet search to learn more about BPA. Here is one quick link that might get you started.


Also www.zrecs.blogspot.com - search for BPA - is a good source for some easy to understand info on sippy cups and bottles. Just a thought, but definitely something to consider! (As if we don't have enough decisions to "consider" as Moms, right?)

Let me know if you have more pumping questions!

Anonymous said...

I have just one question: how in the world can you get a 1-year-old to sit still through a church service??? That seems very extreme to even expect that out of a young toddler. I agree that kids--after a certain age--shouldn't go to nursery or "children's church." It seems like it would be difficult to worship or for others around you to worship if you're trying to control a restless toddler the whole time. Curious as to what you are doing to encourage your son to sit still for an hour or more at a time.

Leah said...

Dear Anonymous,
In anticipation of questions about a one-year-old sitting through a meeting, I put the links to the two websites in my post - please check them out for some really great info. From five days old, Samuel sat through meetings with us or someone else holding him. As he's gotten older, we have kept him with us for a portion of the meeting, and then taken him out after awhile. But this is temporary - we are working on building him up to sitting through the entire 1 1/2 hours. To do this, we work on sitting quietly in my lap at home. We build up in time increments. This is completely feasible. Our church family in Wake Forest has children of all ages sitting with their parents or another family through the entire Sunday morning meeting. Our church family here in Northern Chicago also encourages children to stay with their parents through the entire meeting. This is of great benefit to everyone - children participate with the church in singing and hearing the Word, and the church family is brought closer as we learn to bear with one another and help one another out. It also provides great opportunity for fathers to model worship for their children and be active in discipleship. If anyone else has experience with "family integrated" meetings, please feel free to share. (I promise I'm not the only one out there! ha, ha).

Anonymous said...

I was just reading your blog and wanted to respond to Anomyous that was asking about getting a one year old to sit through a morning service. When I read the post I was thinking the exact same thing!! Sooo I checked out the links you provided.. and saw, that the first one in particular is specifically speaking of children between the ages of four and six. The article specifies many times these ages.... The author of this article DOES NOT expect your one or two or three for that matter year old to sit still and quietly for an hour (sometimes longer) and you are right.. it is very disruptive to others around you. As a matter of fact in the article it talks about worship being a reverent time... It is impossible to be concentated on the service, and worship, if you are trying to "dicipline" or hush, or whatever your trying to do, and also if you happen to be the one that has to listen to that!!!

Leah said...

That verse is the same one I used with Georgia! Though I do not have it painted on her wall, the main feature of her room is a beautiful watercolor of a tree "planted by the water." Thank you for sharing how you pray for Samuel.

Shannon said...

Thanks for a great post. I LOVED the article by Noel Piper (followed your link.) I like her idea of working up to having your child sit in regular service. Note that she started BEFORE her children were 4. By the time they were 4 years old, they expected to be in regular services with Mom and Dad. But it took a lot of work, planning, and practicing to get to that point - very encouraging and informative.

I really am enjoying the topic this week; it is inspiring both me and my husband, who read the blog last night.

I have the same pump you have, and my little one does well with the Medela bottles. I believe they are made with safe plastics, and of course easy to use with the Medela pump.

Thanks again, Ladies!!

Leah said...

Hi ladies. I wanted to say first that I would like everyone to be a little more thoughtful in the way you comment on this blog. I know sometimes the way we write something down doesn't always come across in quite the spirit we intend it, but I don't want there to be hostility in our posts. If you would like to disagree, please do so in a gracious manner. And please be kind enough to include your name on anonymous posts so we can know who you are.

That being said, I want to address the question of children in service. This is something that people will have varying opinions on. Historically, families have always been together in church meetings. Even today, many denominations have families together in meetings. To repeat what I said in an early comment, having children in meetings brings the church family closer as we learn to bear with one another and help one another out (both directives from Scripture). If some of you are uncomfortable with this idea, that's fine with me - I hadn't been introduced to the idea myself until about 2 years ago. But you really learn to love one another as you gather together as whole families. It is a real blessing to me to have Samuel with us in meetings, as well as have other brothers and sisters take him to sit with them for a time. I have seen this work with my own eyes and I can tell you that it is a joyful experience, not an annoyance.

Christina said...

Shannon and Amy,
I was reading up more on the safe sippys and bottles tonight (trying to come to a decision about what we want to use...but having a hard time because safe ones are SO EXPENSIVE!) and YES - Medela is on the safe list. My son wouldn't take the Medela nipple - although it would have been SO EASY if he had! I think it was because he started with a totally different shaped nipple when he was bottlefed in the NICU. Anyways - thanks for the idea of using Medela Shannon. I hadn't thought of that yet and I already have those and that might be a GREAT option for us and #2!!!!

Renata said...

Leah, I really think you hit it on the nail when it comes to praying for Samuel about these things. Often we are trying to do whatever we think we should for that to happen, but we are not taking it to God. That's when we struggle the most.

As for my experience with having my kids sit through a service, the church we were with when we had our first child simply didn't have a nursery. There were hardly any infants and neither was there space to have one. It just wasn't necessary. There were stages when I or my husband really didn't hear much of the sermon because of our kids. I often felt that my kids were the only loud ones there. But, God was already working in my heart about worshipping in spirit and truth (John 4:23-24). In summary, I have learned that although we worship during a Sunday morning service, we worship continuously during the week. And if I am starving for some time with no distractions, that I can have that during the week. If I am starving spiritually (and yes, I've been there), then I need to feed myself in the word during the week.

At one point I was getting together with some moms during the week to discuss the passage that would be preached on the following Sunday. While our kids played together, it gave us an opportunity to dwell on the word more, and when Sunday morning came around, we were able to follow the teaching much better. Not to mention that we had a sweet time encouraging one another.

markandmeg said...

Just wanted to say that we are also teaching our baby to sit in church with us. She's only 8 months and can definitely be a distraction sometimes because she smiles and laughs and coos at everyone around her, but we just take her to the back of the room til she calms down, and then bring her back to our seat. But I think that doing it every Sunday is getting her used to the idea of sitting still and there are times when I am amazed that she does so well! I love the ideas and encouragement in those articles, Leah! Thanks for the links! I know she is young, but she already understands "no" so I think she is ready begin the process of learning to sit still when I ask her to. I am excited to have some practical ways to help her learn to sit still. I agree that it is such a blessing when the church family is so eager to bear with us as we teach our children to sit with us and even help us out!

Mallory & Amy Gabriel said...

Does Medela make bottles in a larger size? The only ones I have are the 5 oz that came with the pump, but John Mark is taking around 8 oz now. Any ideas on where to buy them?

Melissa Pearce said...

Hi Leah-
I am encouraged to really seek the Lord on a verse to pray for my baby-- I had thought of this before, and I let it slip my mind.
As far as babies in church- training babies to sit in church is exactly that- training. I don't think any of us actually expect the 1 year old to sit still and quiet and obey 100% of every sunday meeting but in training him, by the time he's 4 will be able to! My little twinners seemed so rowdy for so long, but now they sit quietly. And for when they get antsy, they color. During church, they don't run around and squeal or try to distract as they do normally.
As a member of a family-integrated church, I don't even notice most babies crying, etc. even when I am at other functions, as I am used to that background noise in my life.
Anyway- I love this blog. Thanks for keeping it up b/c it's so helpful!

Christina said...

Great article by Noel Piper. I just love her wisdom and this article really addressed something we've been talking about for a while now. Deciding when we will take Will with us to worship and how to get to that point where we can expect him to sit through it. I loved her idea of using other church gatherings as a training ground. I also would like to point out where she says,

"We don't claim that our way of worshiping is the only valid way. Not all our ideas may fit with the way another church does it."

We go to a huge church with a huge children's ministry. However, there are many families that bring their children to worship at all ages. So my point is - that families within our church certainly differ on how they view this issue. And that is ok!

We certainly use informal church gatherings as places to bring Will to and teach him how to sit with us in our laps, but currently do not bring him regularly on Sunday mornings. We have on occasion due to illness or other factors...

Christina said...

I just went and tried to find Medela bottles that are larger than 5oz and I can't find them! I really thought I had seen some at Target that were sold in single packs and were more like 8-9oz looking, but cannot find these on medela's website or target's. I did get confirmation on medela's site that they are definitely BPA free though!

Let me know if you find any that are larger than 5oz - I'm interested too!!

Alan Knox said...


Thank you for bringing up these topics. We started praying for Jeremy and Miranda before they were born. We still pray for them and with them.

As far as children remaining in a church meeting, I think it helps to recognize the church as a family. Similarly it helps to recognize that the purpose of the meeting is to build up the church. So, my worship may be helping a mother with a young child instead of listening to a teacher. The child may not be a distraction, but an opportunity to worship.


Hollie said...

I want to give you a pat on the back for continuing your breastfeeding experience via pumping. You can do this girlfriend! There will be many, many hard days, days where you do NOT want to pump before bed and as soon as you get up, days where your baby is crawling all over the house and you're hooked up to your good o'l BREAST-FRIEND, but it's worth it. My daughter is 13.5 months and I just finished my full-time pumping lifestyle last week. Well, actually, I'm still slowing it down and pumping only two ounces before bed. Every day gets better with less pain and by next week, I probably won't even need to pump any out for relief. The Lord has blessed me incredibly with a good supply of milk, so much so that it was VERY VERY VERY hard to quit pumping. I started to cut back on my pumping back in November and even in January, I was in so much pain. I pumped every 3-4 hours once my milk was established. I would pump every three hours on the dot, until you reach six months. I have always read that your milk supply can change easily up to six months. It's always on a supply/demand system, but once the milk is established, you'll be able to wait a little while longer inbetween pumpings. For instance, on Sundays I wouldn't pump for five to six hours and boy would I worry about my supply. I was in a TON of pain as well after waiting that long. I was very uncomfortable. But I'd pump it all out(that's key....empty each side completely EVERY TIME)..and my supply stayed up all the while. I was very surprised at how difficult it was to decrease my supply in these last few months of trying to stop. It took FOR-EVER to get to two pumpings a day, one in the morning and one in the evening, stopping when my milk fills up a medela bottle to the brim(with tons of milk left to be pumped). I stopped when the bottles got full..and even then, I still had a hard time. So, if you're in this for the long haul, once your milk is established, you "shouldn't" have to pump every three hours on the dot every single day of your pumping career. But, every woman is different and you'll know your supply by that point anyways. I'm just speaking from my experience. I want you to know that you can do this and that you will NOT regret this decision to keep providing for your little one. There's NOTHING like breastmilk. Nothing. It's so amazing to be able to provide for your baby, even through pumping. The bond is still there.

Oh, and about pumps, bottles, etc..I used Medela Pump in Style Advanced with the two phase expression. Worked great! I second Christina's advice about the wipes. I loved having the wipes in my bag when I wasn't at home. LOVED THEM. I liked using the Avent storage containers. They are Biphenol free and safe to use. The plastic is a foggy plastic with a blue screw-on lid. They stack in the freezer which is nice, and can be used up to three times. One feature that I loooved about these containers is that you can actually use the container as a bottle and screw on the avent nipple with the adapter. Hey, just email me(you have my email) if you have any more questions! :) And remember, you can do this! I'm proud of you!

bethmckenzie said...

Hi Leah! Have enjoyed reading the discussion over children in church and would like to comment....there are so many times that I have wanted my children to sit still and listen - not just a church service. I used a children's reading program at the public library as a training time for our four boys. It was a great time to train as others were not at all diastracted by whether they were completely quiet or not. Then, whether we had company for dinner and wanted to be able to talk with the adults or at a wedding or during a church service, we have been able to keep our boys with us and have rarely had to stop/break our concentration to handle unruly children. Now the year or two of training time was just that - lots of training, but it sure pays off as I can take my boys anywhere without worrying about whether they can handle the circumstances or not. And young children get more out of a church service than we give credit for. I'm encouragingly surprised how often they will say something about the Bible and when I ask where they learned that, their response is often, "In church!"

marymstraits said...

Just a thought. It seems like if you don't have a supportive church where everyone is working toward the same goal, it wouldn't work to have young children in church. At our church, a family has a 1 1/2-year-old who is OUT OF CONTROL. She literally runs up and down the aisles and yells out a lot. She's not in service every week as they take her to the nursery about half the time. It is very distracting because the parents don't seem to care about teaching her to sit and listen. SO, my personal opinion is that unless parents are actively working toward having family worship like Leah says, it just can't be. I have seen 2 year olds in our church sit quietly and color, etc. so that's not so unreasonable. I admit that I'm a little skeptical about a child younger than two because of the little girl I've seen week after week--parents are probably too permissive at home anyways, I'm sure. Also, I like Noah to have the social aspect of playing with the other babies in the nursery, as does he.

I think the family worship philosophy is neat, though. Good job, Leah, for working with Samuel to make it successful!

Jessica Tounget said...

I love seeing children in the church service. There are certainly times when I get distracted by the children when they are cooing and talking and looking around. Karis is so cute when she smiles at you that you just want to keep her attention so that she won't stop. However, when I am distracted by the children it is because my heart isn't focused on worship. Any distraction that I allow is sin on my part. Also, if the article mentions children from the age of four to six learning to sit through church then I think it is flawed. You don't start discipline at age four unless you want to have an INCREDIBLE battle for obedience. You start training young. My parents kept me in church when I was young, so I never knew anything but to stay quiet and still. Taking a child out of a nursery playroom and then expecting them to learn how to sit still would (I imagine) be much more distracting.
Honestly though, if I look at my heart the most important thing is that I allow myself to be distracted, it is my sin to deal with. If we lived in any other country there wouldn't even be the option of nursery.

Jessica Tounget

Christina said...

What a great point about no nurseries in other countries! Very interesting...

Anonymous said...

I just wanted to say thanks to everyone who keeps their children in the service at church. My husband and I are doing that same thing and it's good to hear that we aren't the only ones. When I was a baby my parents had me in "big church" from a very early age, so I think it's normal for babies and kids to be in corporate worship.


Leah said...

L-Thanks for your insights into how you pray for Samuel, and for being open in sharing his strengths and weaknesses. I have a question about your training him at home to sit still on your lap--does he sit completely still, or can he look at book, color, or play with toys? And, when you are at home, if he doesn't sit still "well", is he punished? Thanks for giving us your insights into worshipping as a family.

Leah said...

Leah - When I work with Samuel at home, I have him sit in my lap with a book or a toy. I allow him to flip through the book or play with the toy. I even allow him to verbally point things out in a book b/c he is still learning what it means to be quiet (we are working on whispering). If he squirms and wants to get down, I whisper in his ear to sit still. I try to redirect him with the book or toy. BUT, if he still wants to get down, I will spank (this is at home while we are training).

An earlier comment by Beth mentioned that she used her library reading time as a training opportunity. I do this with Samuel as well. We go to the library on Fridays for Wee Read and he sits in my lap to listen to the books and sing the songs (this lasts about 45 minutes). Another thing that gets Samuel to sit quietly with me is to feed him a snack. This actually works out well for Sunday meetings b/c it is during our snack time.

Also, I wanted to mention that although our morning meeting is 1 1/2 hours, not all of that is sitting down quiet. Like most church meetings, we have a time of singing, then of talking with others, and then about 30 minutes of sitting quietly to listen to a sermon. From there we have prayer and communion (we go to the front to receive communion, so there is a lot of activity during this time). In actuality, I'm looking for Samuel to sit quietly for about 30 to 45 minutes altogether - not unrealistic for us.

As others have pointed out, training is just that - taking time to work with your child toward an ultimate goal. These things don't happen overnight - but with love, patience, and time, these goals are achievable.

Krista said...

Thanks so much for sharing Noel Piper's link. I have really been challenged to begin training Lydia in this area! Living overseas, nurseries are not an option, nor are traditional church services (at least where we live). I have really struggled with this issue because we have a house meeting with like-minded friends once a week. It usually lasts two hours, and there's no standing and sitting to break up the meeting for a one year old. On top of that, there are 2 other little children whose parents have no expectation for them to listen so toys are brought and played with in the center of our meeting. Of course Lydia sees this and wants down immediately to play.

This is really on my heart because I do feel strongly that church integrated worship is a good thing and I don't want to return to the states when Lydia is 3 and her be unable to join us in traditional church worship services because I have failed to train her.

What I've learned from this is that training with this begins at home and I need to work with Lydia each day AT HOME. Leah, I would love to have the practical side of how you do this training. Do you do it each day or a certain number of times a week? Did you start with a certain number of minutes and then try to build up? Do you use a timer? Are there times when you teach Samuel to sit still without a book, snack, or anything else to occupy? Also, any advice you have for me helping Lydia during our actually meetings (when she sees other children playing) would be so helpful!

Kirstie H. said...

I love that you and Ed come together to pray specifically for Samuel's weakness and praise God for his strengths. Since my kids were small, I have kept a journal with prayer reqests and the date the prayer was answered. It has been a powerful reminder to me of God's faithfulness to flip through that journal and see how He works in the lives of my children.

I am so thankful for your encouragement to keep small children with the family during worship. Several years ago, I was among those that wished people would keep small children in the nursery. God has changed my heart. It is a blessing to have whole families together. Now I often don't even notice the kids in the service and would not have even known that they fussed except the mother mentioned it afterward. If I do notice, a friend taught me to view it as an opportunity to minister to the mother.

We can't wait to see you!
Love, Kirstie

NotesbyNewsome said...

I think it's wonderful that you are teaching your children about corporate worship at an early age. I think this will especially make a difference in the teenage years when many children begin to feel disconnected or not included in the church service.

Thanks again for the great blog!


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