There is an immense onslaught on family life world-wide. Marriages and family life are under much strain. Purposeful, systematic, focussed and persevering prayer is critical and necessary for Christian families.
Prayer at the family altar
- It is important that families pray together on a regular basis. Husbands and wives should pray together regularly, but there should be definite times every day or at least a few times a week when the family come together for Bible study and prayer.
- Create an atmosphere for Bible study and prayer in the home. It should be natural to pray for any matter in the home, be it a crisis or thanking the Lord for an answer to prayer.
- There should preferably be a specific time and place for family prayer, to meet and have fellowship with God.
- Use a book in which the family can write down their prayer requests and the answers to their prayer. It builds faith and teaches us to thank God for His answers. It also teaches children a lifestyle of prayer.
- In addition to specific prayers concerning the family, it is also meaningful to have a prayer schedule according to which you as a family can pray. For instance, you can pray for the authorities on a Monday. On Tuesdays you can pray for your minister/pastor and a missionary (one whom the family can “adopt” in prayer). On Wednesdays you can pray for unsaved people, etc. Each family can draw up their own schedule.
- Each member of the family must participate in prayer. Do not force anyone to pray, but find creative ways to encourage everyone to pray. For some it may be helpful if they can just write their prayers down.
- Practise continued prayer. Each person prays for one item at a time and the others join him/her in silent prayer. Also, each member of the family can choose an item he/she wants to pray about.
- Share answers to prayer at the family meetings. It builds faith and gives more confidence to each one to ask God for specific things. Share stories about prayers that other people prayed and how God answered them.
- Teach your family members to ask specific things of the Lord. When we pray for specific things, we expect specific answers.
- The family altar is not a substitute for your personal quiet time.
- The following elements are important for family prayer:
- Praise and worship
- Personal requests from different members of the family
- Praying Scripture
- Intercession for the outside world
- The following issues can be included in praying for the outside world:
- Your local church and the church leaders
- The media
- Sick people and the poor
- Unsaved and unreached people
- Your workplace and the children’s school
- For the government
- The ministry in your local church in which you are involved
- The salvation of people of other religions
What to pray for in families
Pray for the father
- Pray that he will love his wife as Christ loved the church. That he will love his wife to the point where he is willing to lay down his life for her. Husbands, love your wives just as Christ loved the church and gave Himself up for her … husbands ought to love their wives as their own bodies… he feeds and cares for it, just as Christ does the church (Eph.5:25-32). Husbands love your wives and do not be harsh with them(Col.3:19). Husbands in the same way be considerate as you live with your wives and treat them with respect as the weaker partner and as heirs with you of the gracious gift of life so that nothing will hinder your prayers (1Pe.3:7).
- Pray that the father will be the priest in the home by giving guidance and praying for his family.
- Pray that the father will take responsibility for family devotions and that he will not leave it to his wife.
- Pray that the husband will be reasonable towards his wife. Pray for the husband for patience with his wife and for self-control with regard to his family.
- Pray that he will be aware of his wife’s need for love, safety and security, as well as all her other needs and that he will pay attention to them.
- Pray that he will exercise leadership (spiritually as well as socially) at home and that he will be able to provide for his family.
- Pray that fathers will model the character of God the Father towards his wife and children.
Pray for the mother
- Pray that she will submit to her husband in everything as the church is submissive to Christ (Eph.5:22-24). Wives in the same way be submissive to your husbands so that if any of them do not believe the Word they may be won over without words by the behaviour of their wives when they see the purity and reverence of your lives. Your beauty should not come from outward adornment such as braided hair and the wearing of gold jewellery and fine clothes (1Pe.3:1-3). …the wife must respect her husband (Eph.5:33).
- Pray for a quiet and gentle spirit and that when she speaks, that she will speak with love and wisdom.
- Pray for the wife to have patience with her husband.
- Pray that she will respect her husband and that she will not try to dominate or prescribe to him.
- Pray that she will not complain about her husband, but will respect him and try to meet his needs.
- Pray that the wife will accept her husband’s leadership.
- Pray that the wife will realise that her husband is a fellow sinner, that she will have patience with his faults and that she will allow him the freedom to be himself.
- Specifically pray against a domineering attitude in the wife (especially in cases where she is spiritually stronger than her husband), because this can cause untold harm to the children.
- Also pray against any form of manipulation on the part of the wife. Manipulation is always negative.
What to pray for the children
- Pray for obedience and submissiveness to their parents.
- Pray for their salvation and for the spiritual growth of those already saved.
- Pray for their physical growth, health and good eating habits.
- Pray for their education and sports/recreation activities.
- Pray for their intellectual development and for them to grow in wisdom and knowledge.
- Pray for the authority figures with whom they come into contact every day: teachers, sports coaches, parents, grandfathers, grandmothers, etc.
- Pray for their social development and for a pure walk in life, so that they may discern between right and wrong; that they will be able to resist temptation and that they will choose the right friends.
- Pray that they will resist the evil one who will try to destroy their lives.
- Begin to pray – even while they are still young – for the right choice of career and marriage partner.
- Pray that they will love God and His Word. Also pray for joy in their life.
- Pray for the right friends for them.
What to pray for families and children in general
- Pray against the spirit of divorce, lust and impurity.
- Pray especially against the following sins: co-habitation, adultery, child molesting, alcohol and drug abuse.
- Pray against the involvement of a third party in the marriage.
- Pray for openness and good communication in marriages.
- Pray for deep conviction of sin, and that husbands and wives will walk together in peace and in the presence of God.
- Pray for a better understanding of one another’s needs, as well as for the ability and willingness to meet those needs.
- Pray against every form of selfishness and self-indulgence in marriages.
- Pray that there will be no misunderstandings and confusion. The single biggest problem in marriages is misunderstanding.
- Pray for parents for unity in raising and disciplining their children.
- Pray for forgiveness; that marriage partners will forget the past and forgive one another for what happened in the past.
- Pray for couples who are unable to have children.
- Pray for the single and lonely people who long for the security of a family.
- Pray for runaway children and for those whose friends have a bad influence on them.
Article source: jwipn.com