Holidays (Other), Parenting

Beautiful Motherhood: A Mother’s Day Bible Study

As we look ahead to Mother’s Day,
let’s check out what the Bible has to say about mothering.
This is lesson 12 of my topical Bible study:

Imperishable Beauty- A Study of Biblical Womanhood.

Read These Selected Scriptures

Questions to Consider

1. What are some attributes or character traits of a godly mother from Proverbs 31 that we can emulate? In today’s lesson, rather than attributes to emulate, we’ll be focusing on God’s instructions to obey for mothers. We’ll examine how we’re to regard motherhood and our children, how we’re to train our children in godliness, how we’re to discipline our children out of ungodliness, and the example we’re to set for our children. Some of these instructions can also apply to childless women in their relationships with their spiritual children (i.e. younger women or children they disciple) and others. As you read over today’s passages, explain how childless women might apply some of these Scriptures.

2. Examine the first three passages (Psalm 127-Titus 2) together. What do these passages say about how we are to regard motherhood and our children? What should the attitude of our hearts be? In what sense are children a reward? How do we know that Psalm 127:3 does not mean that if you act in a way that pleases the Lord He will reward your good behavior with children? What does this verse mean? Is loving your children (Titus 2:4) simply a feeling of affection toward them? If so, why would young women need to be trained to love their children? When you finish today’s lesson, come back to Titus 2:4 and give a fully-orbed biblical definition of what it means to love your children.

3. Examine the next five passages (Proverbs 22-Ephesians 6) together. Why does God want us to train our children in godliness? Explain the phrase “in the way he should go” (Proverbs 22:6). How does the gospel figure in to training your child? Look carefully at the three Old Testament passages. At what age should we begin training our children in godliness and the Scriptures and how long should this training continue? Is Proverbs 22:6 an iron-clad guarantee or promise from God that if we raise our children in a godly home they will definitely get saved and turn out to be godly adults? Why not? (Scroll down to the Deuteronomy 21 passage if you need help.)

To whom are the Colossians and Ephesians verses addressed? Does this mean they don’t apply to mothers or that it’s OK for mothers to provoke their children, but not fathers? If they apply to both parents, why are they addressed to fathers? How are we not to deal with our children according to these verses? What does it mean to provoke your children? Why are we not to provoke them (Colossians), and how are we to deal with them instead (Ephesians)? Compare Ephesians 6:4b to the Old Testament verses in this section. How are they similar?

3. Examine the next three passages (Proverbs 29-Deuteronomy 21) together. What is the purpose of godly discipline? What are the biblical definitions of the words “discipline” and “reproof”? Are discipline, reproof, and training the same as punishment? Why or why not? What are some of the consequences of disciplining your child? The consequences of refusing to discipline your child? According to Proverbs 13:24, what motivates someone to discipline her child? What motivates someone to refuse to discipline her child? Are “love” and “hate” simply emotional feelings in this verse or an attitude, posture, or orientation of mindset toward the child? Look closely at Deuteronomy 21:20. Is this passage most likely talking about a very young child or an older child/teenager? According to the Deuteronomy 21 passage, does godly discipline always result in an obedient son or daughter, or can there be exceptions to the rule?

Why is it important to both train your child in godly ways and discipline him out of ungodly ways? Explain how this fits into the “put off the ungodly, put on the godlymodel of biblical sanctification.

4. Examine the last five passages (Deuteronomy 21-Matthew 10) together. What do these passages teach us about the godly example we need to set for our children?

Sometimes we see implicit instructions to parents in passages that explicitly teach children how to treat and regard their parents. For example, if there were a verse that said, “Children, love your parents,” we could learn from that verse that we need to act in a way (lovable) that makes it easier for our children to obey that Scripture. Considering this concept, look at the Exodus 20 and Proverbs 1 passages. If your children are to honor you, in what manner should you behave? What should your teaching be like if your children are not to forsake it and to consider it a “graceful garland” and a “pendant”?

What is the context of Ezekiel 16? To whom is the parent/child metaphor in this  passage addressed? Explain the phrase “like mother, like daughter”. Why is it important to set a good example for our children with our own behavior, and why was this a good metaphor for God to use in addressing Israel’s unfaithfulness to Him?

Examine the Deuteronomy 21 and Matthew 10 passages together. What is to be a mother’s highest priority – her relationship with her child, even the life of her child, or her love for, obedience to, and loyalty to Christ? Do you love Christ more than your child? If you had to choose between your child and Christ, who would you choose? What message does it send to our children when we show and tell them that we love Christ more than we love them? How can you demonstrate to your child that your highest love and loyalty is reserved for Christ?


Homework

Examine each of the instructions in Deuteronomy 6:6-9. Make a list of practical ways your family could put each of these instructions into practice and discuss it with your husband. Together, pick one of these practices and implement it with your children this week.


Suggested Memory Verse

Prayer Bible Study

Sweet Hour of Prayer: Lesson 12- Wrap Up

Previous Lessons: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11

Wrap Up

As we wrap up our study today, think about the things God has taught you through His Word and how you might apply them to your prayer life.

Questions to Consider

1. Was there anything new God taught you that particularly impacted you? What was it, and why was it so significant?

2. How is your personal prayer life different after this study than it was before?

3. Has this study helped you to notice things about the way your brothers and sisters at church pray that would strengthen your own personal prayer time and/or the way you pray in public (ex: leading your children in prayer, leading prayer in your Bible study class)?

4. What have you learned about prayer that you could implement in your public prayers so that others could learn things to strengthen their own prayer lives from your example?

5. What have you learned about God and how He wants to be approached in prayer?

6. What have you learned about your heart’s motives as you approach God in prayer?


Homework

Spend some time in prayer this week asking God to show you how to put into practice one thing you learned from this study.

Recite all of your memory verses from this study. Which one is most meaningful to you right now?


Additional Resources

Additional Scriptures on prayer: Part 1  Part 2 (Be sure to study these in context.)

Basic Training: 8 Things You Need to Know about Prayer

“Can We Talk?”

Praying the ABC’s of Jesus

Priming Your Prayer Wall

The Mailbag: What is Contemplative Prayer?

The Mailbag: Help! Our ladies’ prayer meeting is a disaster!

More resources on prayer

Prayer Bible Study

Sweet Hour of Prayer: Lesson 11

Previous Lessons: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10

Additional Prayers

There are so many wonderful prayers in Scripture that we could have examined during this study. I am listing several here (I’m sure there are many more) in case you would like to continue studying the prayers of the people of Scripture.

2 Kings 19: Hezekiah’s Prayer for Deliverance

2 Kings 20:1-11: Hezekiah’s Prayer for Healing

2 Chronicles 20:1-19: Jehoshaphat’s Prayer for Deliverance

Ezra 9: Ezra Confesses Israel’s Sin of Intermarriage

Nehemiah 1: Nehemiah’s Initial Prayer

Nehemiah 9: Israel’s Confession of Sin

Daniel 9:1-19: Daniel Intercedes for the People

Jonah 2: Jonah Cries Out to the Lord

John 17: Jesus’ High Priestly Prayer

 

Questions to Consider

1. To acclimate yourself to the book containing the prayer you’ve chosen to study, choose a Bible Book Background to review.

2. Who is offering this prayer? What do you know about him? What is his position in Israel, the temple, or the Kingdom? Why is he offering this prayer?

3. Is this an individual prayer or a corporate (group) prayer? Is the person praying interceding for a certain group of people? Who? Why is he interceding for them?

4. How does this prayer address God? What does it say about God, His character and His attributes? How can you extol these attributes of God in your own prayer time?

5. How does this prayer point us to Jesus or the gospel?

6. Carefully examine the context of the prayer. Is there anything in it that does not apply to Christians today? Which parts do apply to Christians today that could inform the way you and your church pray?

7. Consider some of the main components of prayer: praise, worship, petition for God’s provision, help, or action, confession of sin, thanksgiving, recitation of God’s promises or past actions, etc. Which of these components does this prayer have, and how can they serve as an example to you in your own prayers?

8. How does this prayer reflect the relationship this person has with God? How do your prayers reflect your relationship with God?


Homework

This week, study at least one of the prayers above and apply what you’ve learned to your own prayer time.


Suggested Memory Verse

Prayer Bible Study

Sweet Hour of Prayer: Lesson 10

Previous Lessons: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9

Read Acts 4:24-31

A Prayer of the Early Believers

Questions to Consider

1. To acclimate yourself to the book of Acts, choose a Bible Book Background to review. In today’s Scripture link, the entirety of chapter 4 is provided for context. Today’s questions will mostly pertain to the Believers’ prayer in 24-31.

2. Briefly summarize the events leading up to the Believers’ prayer. (1-23)

3. Is this an individual prayer or a corporate (group) prayer? (24)

4. How does this prayer address God? (24) Which words and phrases in this prayer demonstrate God’s sovereignty? Considering the events (1-23) that inspired this prayer why do you think the Believers would focus on God’s sovereignty in their prayer?

5. Explain the connection between verses 25-26 and 27-28. How do prophecy and the fulfillment of prophecy each demonstrate God’s sovereignty? What are some prophecies you see being fulfilled today? Have you ever prayed about them in the way the Believers did in their prayer?

6. Clearly the church was already experiencing persecution at this time. Did the Believers ask God to take the persecution away? What did they ask God for? (29-30) Why? Did God answer their prayer? (31) How? What did God’s answer to their prayer enable them to do? (31)

7. Did the Believers spend more time praying about God’s sovereignty and prophecy or more time presenting their request to Him?

8. What are some ways this prayer can inform our corporate prayers at church? How does this prayer teach us to view, and pray about, persecution?


Homework

This week, declare God’s sovereignty in your prayers and present your requests to Him through the “filter” of His sovereignty.


Suggested Memory Verse

 

Prayer Bible Study

Sweet Hour of Prayer: Lesson 9

Previous Lessons: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8

Read Matthew 26:36-46

Jesus’ Prayer in Gethsemane

Questions to Consider

1. To acclimate yourself to the book of Matthew, choose a Bible Book Background to review. In today’s Scripture link, the Mark and Luke accounts of Jesus’ prayer in Gethsemane are provided for comparison, and Matthew 26:1-35 is provided for context. Today’s questions will mostly pertain to Matthew 26:36-46.

2. Briefly summarize the events leading up to Jesus’ prayer in Gethsemane. (Matthew 26:1-35) Who is “them” in verse 36?

3. Examine all three gospel accounts of Jesus’ prayer. Which words and phrases describe what His state of mind and heart were? How do Jesus’ actions demonstrate that difficult times should always drive us to prayer as a first response rather than a last resort?

4. What is the progression of fellowship to solitude in 36-39?
36a- Jesus is with all eleven disciples
36b-
37-
38-39a-

Why would Jesus have wanted to pray alone at this moment? When you are experiencing soul-rending grief or distress, why is it important to spend time alone in prayer? Conversely, how could it be helpful and encouraging to have close brothers and sisters in Christ, or your church family, physically present to pray with or over you?

5. What does the word “watch” (“watch with Me,” “watch and pray”) mean in verses 38,40,41? What did Jesus want the disciples to do? Is “watching” applicable to our prayer lives today? How?

6. Compare Jesus’ prayer in verse 39 to His instruction to the disciples to “pray like this,” followed by The Lord’s Prayer, (see lesson 8, especially the last paragraph of question 3, link above). Is Jesus contradicting Himself by not praying according to the template of The Lord’s Prayer? Why not? Explain how different situations, contexts, and states of mind can call for different kinds of prayer, which can all be pleasing to God.

7. Break down Jesus’ prayer in 39 and 42 and explain what He means (use your cross-references if you need help) in each section:

“My Father” (compare to the salutation of the Lord’s Prayer)-

“if it be possible,” (Is Jesus questioning God’s power, control, or ability? Why not, and what does He mean by this?)-

“let this cup pass from Me;”-

“nevertheless,”-

“not as I will, but as You will.”-

“if this cannot pass unless I drink it,”

“Your will be done.”

In what ways might each of these concepts apply to your prayers in times of distress? Describe the heart attitude in which Jesus approaches God in prayer here. Does this same attitude characterize your prayers?

8. How many times (39,42,44) did Jesus pray “saying the same words again” (44)? How does this not contradict Jesus’ teaching not to “heap up empty phrases” or “they think that they will be heard for their many words,” but rather is more in line with Jesus’ teaching on persistence in prayer? (it may be helpful to look back at lesson 8, link above)

9. How did God answer Jesus’ prayer? (read the remainder of the book of Matthew if you need some help) Why didn’t God give Jesus what He asked for?

A popular false teaching of the Word of Faith (prosperity gospel) and New Apostolic Reformation heresies is that, if we just have enough faith when we pray, if we just believe enough when we ask God for something, He is obligated to give it to us or do what we want. Explain how Jesus’ perfect faith, His total surrender to God’s will rather than His own, and God’s answer of “no” to Jesus’ prayer completely blows this false teaching out of the water.

10. Explain how Jesus’ prayer in Gethsemane demonstrates that prayer is not about getting God to do what we want Him to do, but about getting us to do what God wants us to do.


Homework

Do you completely surrender your will to God’s will – as Jesus did – when you pray? Are your prayers more along the lines of “My way or the highway,” or “Thy way, not my way”? Are you willing to let go of what you want God to do, what you think is best, in order to embrace what God wants to do and what God thinks is best, even if that means excruciating loss or suffering? As you pray this week, present your requests to God through the lens of “Nevertheless, not as I will, but as You will.”


Suggested Memory Verse