Praying for Your Foster Children
Cultivating a Heart of Gratitude With Our Foster Children
On the way to Jerusalem he was passing along between Samaria and Galilee. And as he entered a village, he was met by ten lepers, who stood at a distance and lifted up their voices, saying, “Jesus, Master, have mercy on us.” When he saw them he said to them, “Go and show yourselves to the priests.” And as they went they were cleansed.
Then one of them, when he saw that he was healed, turned back, praising God with a loud voice; and he fell on his face at Jesus’ feet, giving him thanks. Now he was a Samaritan.
Then Jesus answered, “Were not ten cleansed? Where are the nine? Was no one found to return and give praise to God except this foreigner?” And he said to him, “Rise and go your way; your faith has made you well.”
– Luke 17:11-19
The above parable is one of my favorites, because I believe it beautifully illustrates the power of gratitude. The ten men who cried out to Jesus were looking for physical healing and relief. However, only one of them was willing to thank Him for what He did, and this made all the difference.
In verse 14, it says the lepers were “cleansed.” Verse 15 says the grateful leper was “healed.” And in verse 19, Jesus says, “your faith has made you well.”
The Greek word for cleansed means to be stripped of impurities, and the word for healed means to be made whole. The word that Jesus uses in verse 19 in the phrase “made you well” is sozo, which means “to save, keep safe and sound, deliver from the penalties of the Messianic judgment.”
Being grateful brings spiritual healing, which is what we ultimately need and what our souls crave more than anything. How many of us are walking around with bodies that function just fine with hearts that are sick and in need of a touch from the Healer?
Our foster children are in need of healing in every way. We know that the ultimate healing they experience will come through Jesus Christ. But even if they are not in Christ, we can also help them to understand the benefits of being grateful. In order to help our children value gratitude, we must model it ourselves. When is the last time you thanked God in the midst of a seemingly awful situation?
Hebrews 13:15 says: “Through him then let us continually offer up a sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of lips that acknowledge his name.” This phrase was always so interesting to me; how would it be a sacrifice to thank God and praise Him? Then I lived some life and understood by experience—sometimes it is a sacrifice to thank and praise God. It seems the author of Hebrews is saying that when life is not going the way we think it should go, we are making a conscious effort that goes against our natural desires to give thanks.
Gratitude is not simply the power of positive thinking, but rather the practice of noticing the goodness of God. Our children have known deep heartache and trauma that will shape them, but we can work with them to help them understand how God has been with them all along in order to help them experience some peace and calm within the storm of uncertainty.
Father, thank You for all that You do. Thank You for Your sovereignty in the midst of very hard situations. I know that You are the Lord over all of the difficulties my children have experienced. I know that because of Your Son’s resurrection, we always have hope, and there is always something to be grateful for. Help me learn how to cultivate a grateful heart so that I can teach my children to do the same. Show me how to walk with You with a heart that has a posture of praise so that I can lead my children to do the same. Help my children learn how to give thanks with grateful hearts so that this rebellious rejoicing can help them endure whatever they face.
Scripture to Declare
“Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.”- 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18
“Bless the Lord, O my soul, and all that is within me, bless his holy name! Bless the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits, who forgives all your iniquity, who heals all your diseases, who redeems your life from the pit, who crowns you with steadfast love and mercy, who satisfies you with good so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s.”- Psalm 103:1-5
“You will say in that day: “I will give thanks to you, O Lord, for though you were angry with me, your anger turned away, that you might comfort me. “Behold, God is my salvation; I will trust, and will not be afraid; for the Lord God is my strength and my song, and he has become my salvation.” With joy you will draw water from the wells of salvation. And you will say in that day: “Give thanks to the Lord, call upon his name, make known his deeds among the peoples, proclaim that his name is exalted. “Sing praises to the Lord, for he has done gloriously; let this be made known in all the earth. Shout, and sing for joy, O inhabitant of Zion, for great in your midst is the Holy One of Israel.””- Isaiah 12:1-6
Excerpt from Praying For Your Foster Children: A 30 Day Guide by Jessica Mathisen. Copyright © 2022. Used with author’s permission.
Jessica Mathisen lives just outside of Atlanta, Georgia with her husband and three kids (two through biology and one through adoption). She is a former elementary school teacher and a lover of people. Her passion is to communicate God’s love to others through writing and relationships. Her most favorite things are hanging with her family, eating chips and salsa, and reading good books.
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