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Character Traits

While They Were Sleeping   is a book which was written in 1996 by Anne Arkins and Gary Harrell.  It is filled with a wealth of wisdom suggesting 12 character traits to pray over your children. As we do this, we should ask for the same traits to be evident in our own lives. I've highlighted each chapter for you and hope you can find the book.

Kindness...is giving up something for the benefit of another.
Kindness...is having a sensitive spirit toward others.
Kindness...is treating others the way we would like to be treated.
Kindness...is controlling our negative thoughts toward others.

"Father, may this child be willing to give of himself/herself to help a person in need. May this child not only see the needs of others but act upon these needs in a sacrificial way. Deliver this child from holding too tightly to his/her own possessions. Give this child a willingness to share with others."

This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers and sisters. If anyone has material possessions and sees a brother or sister in need but has no pity on them, how can the love of God be in that person? Dear children, let us not love with words or speech but with actions and in truth. 1 John 3:16-18

"Gentle Father, cause this child to learn to respond to the anger of another with a gentle answer. Open the eyes of this child to see that the gentleness and kindness of speech can do far more than an unkind word to stop another person's anger."

A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger. Proverbs 15:1

"Loving, gracious Father, help this child to resolve his/her conflicts instead of harboring bitterness or anger in his/her heart. May this child never shout angrily or say things to hurt other. I pray that this child will not do evil things but will be kind and loving. Give this child the desire to forgive just as You have forgiven each of us in Christ."

Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you. Ephesians 4:31-32

Humility...is thinking more highly of others than you do of yourself.
Humility...is developing spiritual greatness through servitude.
Humility...puts our children in a position to receive the refreshing grace of God.
Humility...is having a correct evaluation of ourselves.

"O Lord, develop in this child a real willingness to become devoted to others in brotherly love. Liberate this child to see the importance of putting others before self in life."

Be devoted to one another in brotherly love. Honor one another above yourselves
Romans 12:10

"Father, thank you that You free us to enjoy people of every status. I ask that You give this child the gift of humility. Supply this child with a correct evaluation of self regarding those with whom he/she will work and play. May this child not have a "know it all" attitude."

Young children are easily taught. It has been such a blessing to have our grandchildren here this week and be able to pray these prayers of character directly to them.
Teachability...is developing a heart-attitude that seeks God's guidance for living to honor Him each day.
Teachability...helps our children prepare their hearts to be faithful to God.
Teachability...is having a mind that seeks truth and having ears that are sensitive and willing to hear knowledge and rebuke.
Teachability...is allowing ourselves to be instructed by the Lord.

"God and Savior, You alone are able to guide my child in the right path. I place this child in Your loving care. I ask that You would instruct him/her in Your truth and teach this child Your way. May this child's hope be in You each and every day of his/her life."

...guide me in your truth and teach me, for you are God my Savior, and my hope is in you all day long. Psalm 25:5b

"Father, it is Your own Spirit that teaches us through Your Word. I pray this child will yield to Your instruction. Please protect this child from developing a stubborn or rebellious spirt. May he be a spiritual sponge, soaking up Your truth."

Then they would put their trust in God and would not forget his deeds but would keep his commands. They would not be like their forefathers-a stubborn and rebellious generation, whose hearts were not loyal to God, whose spirits were not faithful to him. Psalm 78:7-8

Forgiveness...is God's gift to us through the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ.  It allows us to have new life and eternal fellowship with God.
Forgiveness...frees from a judgmental and critical spirit.
Forgiveness...is responding to evil by doing good.
Forgiveness...is the gift we must receive in order to forgive others.

Never pay back evil for evil.  Do things in such a way that everyone can see you are honest clear through.  Don't quarrel with anyone.  Be at peace with everyone, as much as possible.  Dear friends, never avenge yourselves.  Leave that to God, for he has siad that he will repay those who deserve it.
Romans 12:17-19

"Dear God, I pray that this child  will be willing to learn not to repay evil for evil.  Help this child to learn what true love is-the love that Christ has for us.  Teach this child to not try to get even, but leave that up to You.  Lord, help this child see that forgiveness can break the "getting back at others" cycle and bring healing to relationships. And may this child discover how right actions can lead to right attitudes."
But when you are praying first forgive anyone you are holding a grudge against, so that your Father in heaven will forgive you your sins too.  Mark 11:25

"Lord, I know Your desire is to forgive this child when he/she is separated from You by sin in his/her life.  I truly pray that this child will not be a person who holds grudges but will quickly and joyfully forgive others."

Obedience puts children in proper relation to their parents-God's representative authorities.
Obedience puts children in proper relation to the outside authorities in their lives-teachers, church leaders, police, etc.
Obedience is a heart attitude that should characterize the spirit of my child; it is not just an outward act.
Obedience puts material things into proper perspective, and shields our children from the dangers of peer pressure.

Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is just and right. Honor your mother and father. Ephesian 6:1-2

"Lord, I ask that this child willingly and eagerly obeys his/her parents. Allow this child to recognize and accept joyfully the fact that we are Your representatives to guide and direct us-and Father, please give us as this child's parents, wisdom. May they/we be valued as precious by this child.

But if you are unwilling to obey the Lord, then decide today whom you will obey...But for me and my family, we will serve the Lord. Joshua 24:15

"Lord, cause this child to see that although many people choose not to obey You, he/she must make his/her own commitment. Give this child the strength to uphold his/her commitment to You even when it gets tough. Father, may this child's own resolve to obey You be a shield and protection from the forces that would desire to press him/her into the world's mold.

Discernment is a reward of persistent search for wisdom and insight.
Discernment is using good judgment in our speech and thoughts.
Discernment leads to making wise choices.
Discernment is seeing, understanding, and avoiding a potential evil and its consequences.

A wise man is cautious and turns away from evil, but a fool is arrogant and careless. Proverbs 14:16

Merciful heavenly Father, I ask You to give my dear child discernment and wisdom. In this world full of subtle evils, may this child be sensitive and cautious about decisions and directions in life!

Wisdom and good judgment live together, for wisdom knows where to discover knowledge and understanding. If anyone respects and fears God, he will hate evil. For wisdom hates pride, arrogance, corruption and deceit of every kind. Proverbs 8:12-13

Loving Father, teach this child ways to demonstrate "wisdom and good judgement living together" in his/her life. Please help this child to know where to discover knowledge and understanding. Lord, I ask that this child will always respect and fear You and hate what is evil. Also, help this child learn to hate the sins of pride and arrogance and corruption.

Purity is avoiding activities and companions that stir up evil thoughts.
Purity is yielding to God by withholding our bodies from unbiblical sexual involvement.
Purity of heart is a gift from God.
Purity is the mark of a true Christian.

What I am eager for is that all the Christians there will be filled with love that comes from pure hearts, and that their minds will be clean and their faith strong.  1 Timothy 1:5

Lord, I pray that this child will be filled with the love that comes from a pure heart and that this child's mind will be clean and this child's faith will be strong.

That is why I say to run from sex sin. No other sin affects the body as this one does.  When you sin this sin it is against your own body.  1 Corinthians 6:18

Lord, You tell us that the impact sexual sin has on a person's mind and body is severe.  Please protect this child from ever having to experience the effects of sexual sin.  Strengthen this child's spirit so that he/she can flee from any situation for potential sexual immorality.

Responsibility is putting aside personal feelings to help meet the needs of another.
Responsibility is determination to fulfill one's obligations.
Responsibility is choosing for oneself between right and wrong.
Responsibility is the obligation to use the gifts and abilities god has given us.

Even if we believe that it makes no difference to the Lord whether we do these things, still we cannot go ahead and do them to please ourselves; for we must bear the "burden" of being considerate of the doubts and fears of others-of those who fell these things are wrong.  Let's please the other fellow, not ourselves, and do what is for his good and thus build him up in the Lord.  Romans 15:1-2

Dear God, I know there will be times when it will be hard for this child to think of others instead of his/herself.  Please give this child a willingness to be considerate of the needs of others.  Lord, I pray that this child would become sensitive and would desire to build others up in the Lord-and as a result be truly responsible.

As each one has received a special gift, employ it in serving one another, as good stewards of the manifold grace of God.  1 Peter 4:10

Father,  You are the Giver of every good and perfect gift.  Give me eyes to see how You have gifted my child, and give this child the sense of responsibility to use his/her gifts to glorify You and serve others.

Courage is the strength of heart and mind to confront an opponent with the confidence that I will ultimately succeed.
Courage is the strength of mind which helps us to face danger without panic.
Courage is standing firm when facing adverse circumstances.
Courage is putting confidence in God ahead of loyalty to others.

Have I not commanded you?  Be strong and courageous!  Do not tremble or be dismayed for the Lord your God is with  you wherever you go.  Joshua 1:9

Mighty God who stands strong above every other power in heaven and earth, I pray that You would give this child a tenacious courage.  May this child be able to face the dangers of this world (people, places, things) without panic and fear but with strong confidence in You.

(Read verses 5-9) Now when Daniel learned that the decree had been published, he went home to the upstairs room where the windows opened toward Jerusalem.  Three times a day he got down on his knees and prayed, giving thanks to his God, just as he had done before.  Then these men went as a group and found Daniel praying and asking God for help.
Daniel 6:10-11

Lord God, my child will face many situations that will test his/her faith in You.  Give this child the courage to keep his eyes fixed on You.  I pray that this child's commitment to You becomes stronger than any other loyalty in his/her life.  God, develop in this child the character of Daniel-a loyal friend whose loyalty to You was unsurpassed. 

Servanthood is sacrificing one's own privileges and liberties for the good of another.
Servanthood is a cure for selfishness.
Servanthood keeps us aware of another's needs.
Servanthood is spiritual greatness through humility and servitude.

Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves.  Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others.  Philippians 2:3-4

Lord God, I pray that You would work in this child's life.  I don't want selfishness or pride to control this child.  Teach this child to be humble and honor others more.  Lord, give this child an interest in being involved in the lives of other people.

For though I am free from all men, I  have made myself a slave to all, that I might win the more.  1 Corinthians 9:19

Almighty God, I ask that You lead this child to be a servant of all men, that this child might draw them to You.  I pray this child willingly undertakes this humble service, and by doing so, he will experience true spiritual greatness.

Contentment is realizing that God can provide an inner peace and tranquility regardless of circumstances.
Contentment finds its foundation in a quiet trust in the Lord.
Contentment comes in understanding that it is God who supplies our needs.
Contentment is the result of responding to Christ in joyful obedience.

And my God will meet all your needs according to His glorious riches in Christ Jesus.
Philippians 4:19
Loving God, comfort this child when he/she is hurting. Sustain this child with Your grace, so he/she remembers that You will meet all our needs.  As this child learns to depend on You in this way, help him/her to experience true contentment.

Rest in the Lord and wait patiently for Him; Do not fret because of him who prospers in his way, because of the man who carries out wicked schemes.  Psalm 37:7

Father, give this child victory over any spirit of covetousness.  Keep this child rom becoming greedy or envious of those whose goal in life is to acquire position or possessions.

Endurance requires a lifestyle built on trusting God and being obedient to Him.
Endurance is the capacity to bear up under difficult, unpleasant, painful, stressful-circumstances in a Christ-like manner.
Endurance is essential to faith.
Endurance is the patient committed pursuit of those things pleasing to God.

And let us not get tired of doing what is right, for after a while we will reap a harvest of blessing if we don't get discouraged and give up.  Galatians 6:9

Father, I pray that You gently build endurance into this child's life.  Give this child a heart that helps him/her to keep on pressing on.

No temptation has overtaken you but such as is common to man; and God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will provide the way of escape also, that you may be able to endure it.  1 Corinthians 10:13

Lord, give this child the endurance to stand against every temptation.  Deliver this child from ever giving up on looking to You for strength, wisdom and encouragement.

In Jesus' Name, AMEN!