Hello 5Q Travelers! This week, Jon Ritner, Pastor of Ecclesia Hollywood and L.A. Forge Trainer, helps us navigate 5Q through some important waters. One common issue with engaging new paradigms is simply how to move beyond the theory and put it into practice. Today, Jon shares with us how he is using 5Q to create an APEST culture in his home. Read on to find out how you can begin discipling your children tonight. If you don't have kids, or they're all grown up, or whatever your situation, take Jon's example and apply it to your prayer life, your dinner conversation, your cubicle, your baking blog, your classroom, committee meeting, your whatever. Last week, Jessie challenged us to find ways to exercise different gifts at different times. This week, Jon flips the concept to help us discover each gift in every situation.
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Like most parents, I struggle with my kids’ nightly bedtime routine. It is the perfect nexus of parental fatigue and childhood rambunctiousness. Yet, my wife and I are committed to spending those last moments of our children’s days with them knowing that they often yield our best spiritual conversations. Over the years I have tried many strategies to pray for my kids as I put them to bed: different character traits for each day of the month, soliciting personal prayer request from them, even asking them to pray for me at times.
After reading 5Q this summer, I wondered if the APEST acronym would make a meaningful prayer guide. I asked a friend to create a graphic summary of the 5 gifts using all the synonyms and titles I found in 5Q. Then I printed one and put it in my kids’ room by their beds. At night, I pray through each of the 5 modes of Christ’s presence in my kids’ lives and in the life of our family. I try to filter the events and opportunities of the week through the 5 functions. I am amazed how each night the Spirit leads me to specific behaviors, character qualities, and habitual practices that I want to see become evident in our life as a family. As these prayers begin to bear fruit, I believe we will become a more effective example of Jesus and the Kingdom of God to the world around us.
Here is the summary sheet created by my designer friend, Kevin Miller, as well as some examples of how I have been praying.
- Give our family the courage to take risks rooted in the Spirit’s leading. Help us to step out into adventure and liminality where real growth most often occurs.
- Thank you for my daughter’s bravery to try new things and may she not lose that innovative and creative passion as she enters Middle School.
- Help our family to see systems that need reforming in Hollywood so that we can advocate for those with less influence than us.
- Grow in my son a heart that is willing to tell the truth when confronted about his behavior.
- Give us a deep love for those living around us in our apartment complex and provide space and opportunity for us to be Jesus to our neighbors through hospitality and friendship.
- Help my kids to always see those on the margins, the left out, and the looked over and let them be leaders at including them at school.
- Thank you for my son’s tenderheartedness and empathy for others. Help him to know how to use that gift to serve others but also protect him from those who seek to harm him because of his generosity.
- Deepen within my kids a heart to help and serve each other and their friends first before they seek their own interests.
- Create a passion for your Word in our life. Help us to learn and live out your truth, especially our memory verses.
- Help my kids to retain their French language skills that they learned in Brussels.
If you are looking to refresh your nightly routine, try printing out the guide, putting it in your home and using it for the next 30 days. Read Ephesians 4 together as a family the first night and as the kids become familiar with the 5 gifts, invite them to pray along as you move through each letter of APEST. Even one sentence or two for each of the 5 gifts will help reinforce them in your spirit and invite God’s full work in your family’s life.
Follow the instructions Jon gave us above if you want to begin to work through APEST with your leadership team, committee, bible study or small group.
Begin the first week with a commitment for each member to read Ephesians 4 once through each day leading up to your first meeting. When you gather. Read Ephesians 4 together. See what the Spirit stirs up in the group.
For week two, Read through Ephesians 4 when you gather. Become familiar with the 5 gifts and invite prayer for your mission, vision, purpose to align with 5Q
For weeks thereafter, begin to introduce a recurring rhythm of praying through APEST as Pastor Jon has described.
We believe that doing this will ignite vision, align focus and energize hearts to move forward with Apostolic Imagination, Intelligence and Clarity.