Heavenly Father,

The most challenging, heart-breaking and fulfilling job I’ve ever had is being a parent. In the days my children were still living at home, it was a 24-hour-per-day job. No matter how you are feeling, you have a huge responsibility. There are few breaks; when you do take a break, you are continually concerned about your kids. The cost is great with many sacrifices along the way. Now, with the pandemic, parents are put even more into the position of teaching their children.

 

It might seem a bad thing, but in many ways—it is bringing more responsibility back to parents. Many times, through my years as a mom, I have thought You made us parents so we would understand You more fully. You truly are our Father. You are so smart. You knit our children together, then hand them to us when they are cute and adorable so we fall in love with them before some of the hardest stuff starts. How else would I understand pure unconditional love, or patience as my child tries to grasp a lesson or impatience as they should have learned it by now. Being a parent means pouring out your life and soul without any guarantees of gratitude. I’m sure You feel this way often, Lord. You have taught me so much about You just by making me a parent.

 

Parents have their children longer than any other teacher. They have the larger responsibility of teaching their children how to be respectful and kind to others, how to share, how to meet life’s obstacles, how to persevere, how to have courage even when afraid, when to speak up and when to be quiet… Father, I pray for all the parents still on active duty, to take their job as their child’s first-string teacher seriously. There will be many mistakes, distractions, losses and victories. It is worth all the investment and sacrifices. That’s how You teach us. When we ask, You instruct us each step of the way as we teach our children.

 

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“Only be careful, and watch yourselves closely so that you do not forget the things your eyes have seen or let them fade from your heart as long as you live. Teach them to your children and to their children after them. Remember the day you stood before the Lord your God at Horeb, when he said to me, ‘Assemble the people before me to hear my words so that they may learn to revere me as long as they live in the land and may teach them to their children.’”       Deuteronomy 4:9-10

 

“Fix these words of mine in your hearts and minds; tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. Teach them to your children, talking about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up.”   Deuteronomy 11;18-19

“Come, my children, listen to me; I will teach you the fear of the Lord.”    Psalm 34:11

 

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Your prayer prompt-

Father, thank You for teaching me. Now, help me teach  the children You’ve given me….

Most Glorious Heavenly Father,
Your love is outlandish! How incredible that the Lord God, Maker of all the earth and everything in it and all the galaxies should love me so tenderly?! You are always with me, meeting my every need, satisfying my desires, singing over me, protecting me, guiding me, watching me when I am asleep and when I am awake! I try to love You back in a way that honors a love that was willing to send Your own Son Jesus to be born as one of us, to live and die for the penalty I deserved for my sin- so I could be with you for all eternity. I try to set aside time just to be with You alone and enjoy Your presence…and yet I am so easily distracted by the most ridiculous things. I have this chance, this opportunity, this honor to come to You at any time. It was paid for at the highest price ever paid. And yet I neglect or take this gift for granted. You, Lord, loved me first. I can never out-love You. I would have no comprehension of what love really is- if not for You loving me first. But I truly want to make You my first love…

Not the amazing kind of first love I encountered with my parents loving me as a tiny baby…not the first love of that little boy (forgot his name!) in kindergarten who professed his love for me and mine for him…not the unconditional love from or for my brothers…not the true love from my high school sweetheart Steve, who I went on to marry(I didn’t forget his name!)… not the even the breath-taking love I’ve known holding each one of my newly born children or grandchildren or the love that continues to grow…not the surprising love I thought was not possible—to love another husband after the death of my first (his name is Tex, I mean Dwight!)…not the love for so many friends and even strangers. There are so many experiences of love both received and given that I am eternally grateful for, Lord. And they all flow from You! Yet I want You to be my first love..

Lord, it seems the only way we can know true love is to first experience it and receive it from You through Your eternal gift of Jesus Christ. I’m glad to know that You realize how frail our love is compared to Yours, yet You give us the capacity to give and receive it like You do. I long to love You more, Lord. I desire to keep You as my first love; for when I do, I am capable of loving others so much more. I love because You love me first!

 

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“We love because he first loved us.” 1 John 4:19

 

“Jesus replied: ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’” Matthew 22:37-38

 

“Yet I hold this against you: You have forsaken the love you had at first.” Revelation 2:4

 

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Your Prayer Prompt-
Father, am I loving You as You deserve?…

Heavenly Father,
On the last day of 1999, when most people thought the world might end when it turned midnight and started a new century, my family filled a time capsule. It was actually a large empty popcorn tin. My husband and I and four of our children from ages 9-14 filled out a questionnaire and placed a memento in that capsule that we all agreed to open in twenty years. We actually opened it on Christmas day this year since that was when we were all together at the same timer. What a fun and enlightening experience we had opening that time capsule for the first time in two decades.

The questions we each answered 20 years ago included: “What I think will happen in the next hundred years, What I hope to accomplish in the next 10 years, My greatest prayer for my family and friends, Note to my future children or spouse…” It was remarkable to see these letters written by children and read by the same people as adults! What a joy to see how many things had come true (except maybe the prediction of playing Major League Baseball and having a dream room with his three brothers still in the same room sharing bunkbeds!) It was like we all slipped back in time!

Memories are a powerful thing. They become a part of us and help make us who we are. It is good to look back at memories (even the painful ones at times) because we can see how far we’ve come and how love lives forever. Yet we are not created to live in the past. You made us to live fully in the right now- with an eye always on our final goal—our finish line—our eternal Home with You!

Father, as another year changes on the calendar, I thank You that I can see You have always been with me—through every moment of my life—that You have a Home waiting for me that goes far beyond what I can ever imagine where there will be no more time constraints…Most of all, I thank You that I know You are with me now and are always will be. I can rest in that assurance. I can count on You to not change or leave. Let this old year end and a new year begin- I LOVE living with You right now in this moment and forevermore through Jesus Christ!!

 

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“For he says, ‘In this time of My favor I heard you, and in the day of salvation I helped you.’ I tell you, now is the time of God’s favor, now is the day of salvation.” 2 Corinthians 6:2

“You are my hiding place (my time capsule); You will protect me from trouble and surround me with songs of deliverance.” Psalm 32:7

“For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life.” John 3:16

 

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Prayer Prompt-
Father, Give me eternal life through Jesus to live with You right now and forever…

photo by Emily Juliuson

Heavenly Father,
Our pastor gave an excellent message on spiritual transformation today…and I couldn’t help thinking about the three caterpillars I found in my yard on my parsley plant about six weeks ago. I carefully put them in jars and gave one to three of our families to watch transform into butterflies. I wanted them to watch the miracle of transformation take place in front of their eyes. I knew they would need to be patient because it wouldn’t happen fast like the video games they are accustomed to. I have to admit I was a little nervous, hoping they would all make it, since there was only one caterpillar in each home. It seemed extra important for my family who had just lost a baby to watch the transformation that happens when the caterpillar appears to die, and then it is transformed and flies free.

I got fairly regular reports of how they each had to add more parsley when those hungry caterpillars ate everything and were about to burst. One by one, they let me know the crawly critters stopped crawling and attached themselves to something to form a chrysalis. Apparently, every day these wild little boys each watched the non-moving bag with great interest. (That’s a miracle considering the action they crave!) Finally, I began hearing of the first—then several days later, the second—and more days later, the third all had transformed into new creatures! They watched a fuzzy worm turn into an exquisite butterfly and fly away! Who but You, Lord, can do that?!!

It wasn’t an animated or computerized car transforming into a giant robot—it was a living, breathing creature. No matter how hard we try; no matter how many self-help books we read; no matter who we listen to—we can never transform ourselves from one creation to a new creature. We can only be truly transformed by dying to ourselves and letting Jesus Christ live in us through the Holy Spirit.

Lord, I know you made the old me. You breathed life into me and knit me together in my mother’s womb and said it was good. I am incredibly grateful You didn’t stop there. I am even more grateful to be made into a new creation through Jesus Christ. You have made me brand new. You are still making me, transforming me from glory to glory! I look back to my old self and I can see how completely I’ve been changed. I can now fly free with You. Thank You, Lord, that You are continually transforming me into a new creature who glorifies You!

 

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“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!” 2 Corinthians 5:17

 

“We were therefore buried with Him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life.” Romans 6:4

 

“He who was seated on the throne said, ‘I am making all things new!’” Revelation 21:5

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Your Prayer Prompt-
Father, do I need spiritual transformation?….

This prayer was posted with permission from parents…

Heavenly Father,
You are knitting another grandchild in the womb of my sweet daughter-in-law. This precious baby is due right around the first of the year. Even before this tiny little girl was conceived, You already knew her. You knew what Your plans are for her, how she will impact Your kingdom, her parents, grandparents and her entire family. There is not one baby who is conceived who is not fully known and loved by You. Nothing that lives has life without You. You are the giver of life. So even though our son and his wife found out (on their anniversary) there could be serious problems for this precious little baby, we can rest in assurance that You love her more–and have created her for specific purposes.

Perhaps these purposes include a perfectly healthy baby despite what medical technology shows…perhaps it includes us loving a perfect baby with Your perfect love despite what the world might call defects…maybe it includes trusting You no matter what the circumstances look like…it could mean a long blessed life or a life that gets a pass on this earthly life and goes straight to You. It could mean a life of suffering for this sweet little baby.

Lord, whatever purpose You have in mind for our sweet little girl, we thank You for the honor of loving and praying for her now (even before we know what she looks like or what her life entails.) We have had miscarriages and babies who passed shortly after birth in our family. We are also blessed to have a huge family filled with healthy children. Each one is so precious and unique. There has never been or will there ever be another just like them—including this one in the womb.

Father, You know what we would like—to have a healthy baby. We are asking for that in Jesus’ name because You told us we should ask. We have no doubt You can make that happen. We also know that You have given us a love for this sweet baby no matter what. Lord, I pray for Your perfect peace to hold the parents and family of our little girl. I also ask that You help us to trust You and Your absolute goodness no matter what. We hold this baby, her parents and family up to You, and trust Your perfect care. We love You, Lord, and this little miracle You have given growing inside her mommy.

 

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“’For I know the plans I have for you,’ declares the Lord. ‘plans to prosper you and not harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.’” Jeremiah 29:11

 

“Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart…” Jeremiah 1:5

 

“God saw all that He had made, and it was very good.” Genesis 1:31

 

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Your Prayer Prompt-
Father, I need to trust You for my situation though I do not know the outcome….

Heavenly Father,
Two days ago, three of my grandkids were playing in my back yard when my six-year-old grandson come running to show me a huge emergency. A tiny baby bird had fallen from its nest a little too soon. It was chirping frantically for its mom and some food. The wings were flapping but appeared to be a ways off from being strong enough to fly. My grandson was near tears, wanting to help the fragile little baby. He has an extra tender heart towards the young and suffering since he is adopted into our family and experienced a lot of trauma in his young life. I told him we needed to leave the bird alone to see if it could get strong enough on its own. My grandson’s heart spilling out of his eyes made it extra hard to do that…

The first thing we did was to pray for the little baby. I thought it best to prepare my grandson that it might not live so we put the frail little bird in Your hands, Lord. I remembered in my prayer that not even a tiny sparrow falls without Your knowledge and if You thought best to take it home to You or help it live, we would trust Your perfect care of it. We left it alone and checked on it later. Our little friend the bird was breathing hard and not making a sound. It was no longer opening its mouth. We got a flat plastic lid and put water in front of the tiny creature and dropped in a few of the tiniest bird seeds we could find. I attempted to get water on a stick and hold it to its closed mouth, but by this time I didn’t think it would make it. My grandson spent the night and the first thing he wanted to check on the next morning was our bird. I stalled him, concerned he would find a half-eaten baby. We couldn’t find it anywhere. My grandson was convinced it flew away or that his mommy came and got it. I was pretty sure a predator got it.

My grandson went home and I went out to water that next evening. There was our baby bird, looking stronger than ever, flapping his wings and half-flying/hopping to get around. I was praising You and called my grandson to let him know! We were giddy together over Your care of this tiny bird. Lord, if You care so much for that one tiny bird out of all the galaxies You’ve made, I know You care for my grandson. Who, but You, knows the ways You will work in his life and the way You will weave even a tiny baby bird into his ever-growing faith in You. I love being surprised by the ways You are forever involved in the smallest details of our lives! I love You, Lord!

 

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“Even the sparrow has found a home, and the swallow a nest for herself, where she may have her young—a place near Your altar, O Lord Almighty, my King and my God.” Psalm 84:3

 

“Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? Yet not one of them will fall to the ground apart from the will of your Father. And even the very hairs of your head are all numbered. So don’t be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows.” Matthew 10:29-30

 

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Your Prayer Prompt-
Heavenly Father, help me to bring even the smallest things to You in prayer…

Heavenly Father,
It is interesting that the man who inspired the first Father’s Day was a two-time widower, dad, stepdad and Civil war veteran who gave everything to raise his own children—but also his stepchildren—with love. Though it was first celebrated in 1910 in the state of Washington, where the daughter of this devoted dad fought to have dads recognized like mothers were. It eventually spread throughout the nation. It didn’t become an official national holiday until 1972! (Mother’s Day and Father’s Day were NOT created to be materialistic, but meant to honor with our hearts.) Lord, a national holiday is not required to honor the men in our lives who are our fathers—either by blood or by choice. We can honor them everyday by the way we choose to live! And it starts with You, our Heavenly Father, who is above all!

You are our Ultimate Father—the One who gives both physical and spiritual life; the One who provides, protects, teaches, guides, picks us up, comforts, molds, serves, forgives, disciplines, stands by, encourages us, never leaves us, lets us learn from mistakes, saves us, tucks us in, wakes us up, watches over us, never gives up on us, is patient with us, is tender or firm as needed, knows us through and through, carries us on Your shoulder, holds our hand, points out beauty and truth, shares wisdom, gives advice when asked, helps us face danger and grow from trials, teaches us by example, gets us out of troubles we got ourselves into, helps us face the consequences…You are always available at any time. You never make a mistake and know exactly what You are doing. You are closer and more perfect than the very best human father—yet in Your divine plan, You choose to use these imperfect men to father us!

Our Great Father of all, we honor You above all and yet we thank You for our dads, step-dads, grandfathers, fathers-in-law, uncles, friends, brothers, bosses, pastors, teachers, elders…the men, young and old, who You have placed in our lives, who have taken the challenge to let You live in and through them to care for Your children—the ones You have entrusted to them. Father, we pray that these beloved men turn to You to receive all they need to father us in a way that honors You.

 

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God commanded us in Exodus 20:12: ‘Honor your father and your mother, so that you may live long in the land the Lord your God is giving you.”

 

“Though my father and mother forsake me, the Lord will receive me.” Psalm 27:10

 

“A father to the fatherless, a defender of widows, is God in His holy dwelling. He sets the lonely in families…” Psalm 68:5-6

 

Jesus, the Son of God, taught us to pray: “Our Father in heaven, hallowed be Your name…” Matthew 6:9

 

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Your Prayer Prompt-
Father God, how can I better honor You and the godly men You have placed in my life?…

Heavenly Father,
Since my children were spread out in ages, there were children in our home I was actively raising for over 33 years. Parenting has been a huge part of my life. Of course, you never stop being a parent but it definitely changes when they move out to begin their own lives. I never dreamed my house would stay clean, I could enjoy quiet, and every moment was not taken up washing clothes, doing dishes, making meals, being chauffer, trying to settle sibling squabbles, and wiping noses. Now I find myself in the role of being a “parent encourager.”

I cannot count the conversations with my adult children who are now parents (and parents of the children in my work in child care) as they vent their joys, frustrations and struggle with what they think are failures. So often, they look completely exhausted, frazzled and defeated when they begin their conversations…then as they finally begin to recall the cute things their little ones did or admire the good qualities they notice in their teens, it all becomes worth it. They are once again recharged and ready to go back at it again. They don’t need my advice as much as my encouragement. They are in the trenches…they are doing what needs to be done to raise incredible adults.

Father, I look back at my active parenting years and stand amazed at what we had to endure. I look at these incredible adults who I happened to give birth to and help through their formative years. I can’t believe I had anything at all to do with the amazing people they are today. I even admire what they do as parents. Some things they have carried on from our parenting, and other things are different. Most of that is due to the fact that their children are unique individuals created by You, knowing they would need these specific parents to help form them.

Parenting is one of the hardest jobs there is. There is no guarantee they will be thanked. It takes great sacrifice. It costs more than can be calculated. You learn as you go. Parents become the expert on their particular children. It is exhausting yet their children are depending on them. Father, today I pray for and lift up parents who are actively giving it all they’ve go to parent. I pray they don’t do it alone. May they come to You, Lord, for all they need- refreshment for each day, wisdom from Your word, eyes to see progress, a heart which hears past angry outbursts, amazing grace to forgive their children’s mistakes, strength to teach them right from wrong, wisdom to know they need You and to teach their children that they need You, as well. Father, You are our Ultimate Parent who knows what it is like. I know You will encourage parents today.

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“And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds.” Hebrews 10:24

“Be imitators of God, therefor, as dearly beloved children and live a life of love, just as Christ loved us and gave Himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.” Ephesians 5:1-2 (Just as our children learn by imitating us)

“These commandments that I give you today are to be upon your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up.” Deuteronomy 6:6-7

 

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Your Prayer Prompt-
Father, which parents can I encourage today?

Heavenly Father,

My grandkids love to dig for treasure. Many times they have dug a hole large enough to sit in—in my landscaped back yard. I finally got smart enough to make a digging area. They can only dig in that area with boundaries created from big logs. I remember the time one creative grandson snuck in the house and found a few fake gems to inconspicuously drop into the hole they were digging. He thoroughly enjoyed the delightful squeals of discovery from his cousins and siblings. They still do not know how that treasure got there!

Ever so often I watch a show where people have dedicated their lives to digging for treasure. Supposedly, someone hid this fortune so well that people have been searching for it and even dying in the effort to find it for years. These treasure hunters have spent millions of dollars and hours looking for a treasure that they will not be able to take with them upon their death—just like those who hid it could not.

I love to search for treasure, too. It’s just that my idea of riches might be just a little different than other treasure-hunters. There’s a song that has been going through my mind lately (thanks to my husband’s singing!) It’s got a line that goes, “I wanna dig a little deeper in His word…” Lord, Your word is so full of treasures that I am constantly finding more every time I look in the Bible. There are new treasures even in the places I already thought I had discovered all the riches.

Not only in Your word, but each time I spend quietly in Your presence, I find new spiritual wealth. I walk outside and I am blessed with beautiful gems of flowers, breath of gentle winds on my face, peaceful skies that can also transform into raging power…I am surrounded by people who are each a treasure to discover. Every single person may take a little digging but each is a rich gift from You.

Father, You just keep on blessing and blessing me with new discoveries of riches every single day. Sometimes You just drop them in front of me and delight in me finding them; other times You know I will appreciate it more if I have to dig for what You are wanting to bless me with. I am incredibly rich thanks to You. The best treasure of all is Jesus. He is with me always, showing me more of the true treasures of life—the riches I can enjoy now and the ones I will be treasuring and sharing for all eternity!

 

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“Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moth and rust do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” (Jesus’ words in Matthew 6:19-21)

 

“The kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field. When a man found it, he hid it again, and then in his joy went and sold all he had and bought that field.” (Jesus’ words again in Matthew 13:44

“Command those who are rich in this present world not to be arrogant nor to put their hope in wealth, which is so uncertain, but to put their hope in God, who richly provides us with everything for our enjoyment.” 1 Timothy 6:17

 

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Your Prayer Prompt-
Father, show me where I am digging for treasure…

Heavenly Father,
Today at my sweet granddaughter’s PreK graduation program, each child took a turn at the microphone and told what they want to be when they grow up. There were some great answers such as: a nurse, doctor, teacher, Captain America, a mom, rock star… I couldn’t wait to hear what my just-turned-five-year-old girl would say. On her turn, she shyly said she when she grew up, she wanted to be a princess. (Of course, that’s what she would say. She is obsessed with them and her daddy treats her like one!)

During the cookie and lemonade time after, I asked her what a princess does. She said, they wear their tiara and sit on a pretty chair. Her daddy reminded her that he was the king. It got me thinking…I’ve never in my life thought of myself as a princess, but it took me being a grandma to realize that I absolutely am. Just before I left for her graduation program this morning, I happened to read something about the rights and responsibilities of the members of a royal family. Then when I got home, I was reading my daily devotion, which “just happened” to be concerning our rights to use our position as Your child to ask for things for Your kingdom and trust that You will supply the best for Your children and Your kingdom. Many times, I have watched You answer my requests.

Yet being a princess is not all about simply sitting around looking pretty. There is a lot of responsibility that goes with it. It means enjoying life with my Daddy King. It also means living for Your Kingdom, Lord. It means loving goodness, righteousness and truth like You do, Lord. It means loving Your people—encouraging, praying for, sharing with, and blessing Your people with Your treasures. That doesn’t always mean worldly riches—but Your treasures of peace, hope, faith and love…and the most precious treasure of all—Jesus!
Father, I am so glad our little girl already knows she is a princess. I pray that she grows to fully realize she is a princess because she is Your child. I pray that You help us both use our rights and responsibilities as Your princesses to bless You and Your kingdom here on earth as it is in heaven.

 

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“How great is the love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are!” 1 John 3:1

“For you did not receive a spirit that makes you a slave again to fear, but you received the Spirit of Sonship. And by Him we cry, ‘Abba,’ Father. The Spirit Himself testifies with our spirit that we are God’s children. Now if we are children, then we are heirs—heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, if indeed we share in His sufferings in order that we may also share in His glory.” Romans 8:15-17

“He (Jesus) called a little child and had him stand among them. And He said, ‘I tell you the truth, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. Therefore, whoever humbles himself like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven.’” Matthew 18:2-4

 

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Your Prayer Prompt-
Father, do I fully realize my place as Your dependent child…with all the rights and responsibilities that go with that?