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Praying for Discernment 3: Discernment in the Family Unit

Praying for Discernment Day 3: Discernment in the Family Unit

My son, if you receive my words treasure up my commandments with you, making your ear attentive to wisdom and inclining your heart to understanding; yes, if you call out for insight and raise your voice for understanding, if you seek it like silver and search for it as for hidden treasures, then you will understand the fear of the LORD and find the knowledge of God. (Proverbs 2:1-5, ESV)

When I was about five years old, I remember getting sent to my room with no dinner for something I didn’t do. A child down the street was hit by my sister, but when the mother came to report the incident to our mother, she didn’t know which one of us was the offender. My sister cleverly had gone inside after the incident and I was innocently sitting on the porch when the woman came to complain, making it seem like it must have been me—which it was not. My beloved sister did not own up to it and allowed me to take the fall. I paid the price for her crime—which I remember to this day (even while I laugh about it now).

Now I’m not selling my mother out here. Discernment is hard at times with our children, and usually she didn’t miss the mark when one of us crossed a line. She had an uncanny ability to tell when we were lying, hurt, or in trouble. Moms are usually pretty good at being discerners of their children, but sometimes we get hoodwinked. I know this because as a mom it’s certainly happened to me!

My own kids would also say I have an uncanny ability to tell when something is wrong with them. Whether it’s a look in their eyes, the way they react to something, or their general mood, it’s kind of our specialty to notice (can I get an amen from the mothers out there?). But sometimes, our hearts get tangled up in the information and we don’t always make the wisest decisions for our kids. We allow them to manipulate the outcome, and we end up making more of a mess than helping them in the long run. And so, even within our homes, discernment is certainly needed.

A discerning spouse is especially helpful. My husband is a great resource for me when I need help with a problem. He’s very good at taking all the variables and proposing a helpful solution when I’m not really sure what to do myself. Together, we can usually come up with a plan of action. But first, we have to be willing to state that there is an issue. If we want wise counsel, we will have to let someone know about our need. This requires vulnerability, which can be hard for some of us who wrestle with pride. 

Many issues will develop within the walls of our homes. There will be times of crises and times when we will have to do some additional digging for the truth. It’s easy to make assumptions without all the facts, and this oftentimes results in unfair judgments. We have to understand that none of us is perfect and we make mistakes, even in the discernment of issues right under our own noses. If you find that you’re often off base, pray that God will give you discernment in the issues your home is facing. 

Sometimes, the closer we are to the situation, the more our hearts get involved and we refuse to see the facts. We want certain outcomes and so we give a pass time after time without any accountability or repercussions. This isn’t helpful when solving the issues that face the family, so praying for discernment—the ability to clearly see what’s going on and a plan of action that lines up with Scripture and brings about positive change or a helpful solution—is exactly what is needed.

Our families don’t need sugar-coaters; we need at least one family member who has a discerning mind. We will never get to the point that our family is past the need for solutions to problems. Family problems will continue to surface, even when the kids leave home, and even when your kids become parents. It’s a truly valuable prayer to ask for a discerning spirit. When you think of your own family, I hope someone immediately comes to mind as one you can go to for solid advice. And if your home is a Christian home, I hope that person gives solid scriptural advice. And if that person is not you, consider praying for the ability to discern the matters your family faces, and then listen to the prompting of the Spirit and look to God’s Word for direction. This is where true wisdom is gained as we connect our surroundings to His Word.

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