Fervent Prayer: Your Family

This is The next level series on Fervent Prayer. We are using the book Fervent by Priscilla Shirer, and I highly recommend you purchase it as a resource. You’re probably going to want a paper copy, because it’s one you will pull out again and again if you’re like me. We are going through the 10 most common strategies the enemy uses in our lives, and we are going to learn how to strategically pray so that we can combat those dealings in our lives. This is a deeper series that the previous one we went through. It’s spiritual warfare. Are you ready to go to war on this?

Lifeway has a Blue, Leatheresque Copy of this book that will be on sale for $5 this Friday & Saturday for their post-Thanksgiving sale. It will be available on Lifeway.com or at your nearest Lifeway store.
Thanks for sharing that with us, Mrs. Holly. 😉

If I were your enemy, I’d seek to disintegrate your family and destroy every member of it. I’d want to tear away at your trust and unity and turn everyone’s love inward on themselves. I would make sure your family didn’t look anything like it’s supposed to. Because then people would look at your Christian marriage, your Christian kids, and see you’re no different, no stronger, than anyone else- that God, underneath it all, really doesn’t change anything.

Your Family. Fortifying The Lives Of Those You Love.

He wants to disintegrate your family, dividing your home, rendering it chaotic, restless, and unfruitful. Genesis 3:1-7

It is a big deal. Our families are a billboard for the eternal, unchangeable love story between God and humankind. Each of their successes or failures is of great importance, both in God’s eyes, and therefore, in our enemy’s eyes. So Satan loves to target families. He targets our role as wives, targets our husbands, and targets our children. He brings dissension, infuses tension, unravels our sense of peace with diunity. Because ultimately he wants to destroy our families – all of our families – so that the billboard message they’re designed to project to the world is a picture that is, at best, laughable.

Marriage was instituted by God to be an object lesson to the world of the relationship of a believer to Himself. Each of you who is married or will be will play a significant role in living our this lesson. A man chooses a bride, loves her, makes a covenant with her, and gives himself completely to her. The woman responds by receiving his love, surrendering to him, entering into this covenant bond with him, and becoming one flesh with him. It’s not a perfect representation, of course, because even the best marriage on earth involves a pair of fallen, broken people. But in it’s deepest level, this primary human relationship between husband and wife is meant to be a living witness to others of the love of Christ for His church. (Epehsians 5:22-33).

Marriage stands for the creation of unity among two people who were one separated in every way before love reached out and found the other – the way God reached out and found us, and covenanted with us, and loved us, and despite who we are, despite what we’re like, still loves us. This image, more than almost anything, is exactly what the enemy wants to denigrate.

Husbands are to love their wives “just as Christ loved the church and gave Himself up for her” (Epehsians 5:25). Wives are to submit to their husbands “as the church submits to Christ.” (vs. 24 NLT). Again, big deal. All around. Much bigger deal than we thought.

So when you and I begin feeling pressure and tension and splintering and conflict at home, when little trifling things start bunching together to become this one big thing- when the nitpicking turns into bickering; the bickering into outbursts; the outburts into rude, below-the-belt unkindness and bitterness; the bitterness into slow, seething pullbacks of silence and isolation – is it just your husband or wife being terrible? Acting awful? Is it just you being overly sensitve, slow to relinguish a foothold of cherished, hard-fought ground? Is it just your child pulling away into isolation or overt rebellion? Is it just all of you going to your own rooms -disconnected, disjointed, fragmented?

No, it bears all the marks of an outside enemy – one who hangs around your family but isn’t part of your family. He’s the one who wants your marriage to suffer. He’s the one who wants your home to be a dueling battleground. He’s the one most likely who’s pulled the wool over your eyes, fooling you with a crafty bait and switch, leading you to focus all your indignation on your man or your kid instead. He wants you misreable and exhausted and joyless and undone. He wants that picture of the gospel – the one you call your marriage and your family – he wants it tarnished. Ripped up. Smeared in the mud of failure. Turning you against each other and tearing everybody in half. As much as the Father loves and embodies unity, your enemy loves and embodies division. Wherever dicord is present, he’s never too far away. And as much of us sadly know from far too much personal experience, no wounds cut as deep or cleave us at the core of our existence more than the wounds we receive at the hands of our family. You’d better believe he wants a piece of that action.

But maybe he wasn’t counting on this: someone who’d had enough, enough to start taking some prayer action. For their marriage, for their children, for all their family. So here we go. This is it. Bring your family issues right up to the line here, and let’s get some stuff out in the open. Let’s get specific. Let’s put a bead on the bull’s eye where the real source of your family strife and discomfort and unmet needs are originating from, and let’s show him the kind of resistance that a steady dose of prayer is able to exact against his demolition plans.

Is it your marriage? Our job is not to change our spouse, but to love and respect and then leave the rest up to the Lord. The more you pray for your spouse, the more the Spirit will shine a spotlight on the places in your own heart and actions that need a bit of work too. The only effective way to fight in marriage is to pray. The way we see the real truth behind whatever’s happening in this whole situation of yours… is to pray. Prayer is how we isolate the real problems. And prayer is how we get up behind those problems and attack them at the roots. It’s how we isolate the real enemy.
Even if things are going pretty well for you right now, even if you don’t have a lot to complain about or feel upset over, the enemy is still there, whether in full-on attack mode or lurking in wait for the next possible opportunity to infiltrate. So pray. And pray fervently.

Is it your children? The Bible says our children are “like arrows in the hand of a warrior” (Psalm 127:4). We raise them up to shoot them out into the culture, bearing the image of Christ to the world. Sounds again, then, like a place that would qualify as a major area of concern for an enemy who doesn’t want any vestige of Christian valor and virtue running loose out there where they might take bold stands of faith and influence. Worst of all, they might marry and raise up a whole other generation of little Christ followers, keeping your family buring red hot on enemy radar long beyond your lifetime, spinning up a legacy of faith that spirals forward undaunted into the future. Your enemy can’t be having any of that, now, can he? So don’t be surprised when he starts coming after your kids. And don’t think it’s all because they’re being headstrong or peed dependent or carless or lazy. Satan knows the parts of their character – both their strengths and their weaknesses – where he can worm in and try shunting their growth, their potential, and their confidence.

Is it an issue with other family members? Maybe it’s other members of your extended family who are unsaved, feeling the brunt of enemy attack on themselves, or who are participating (intentionally or unintentionally) with the enemy’s designs on you as their daughter or son, their sister or brother, their cousin, their daughter or son-in-law, whatever. The forms that these sorts of conflict can take are as numerous as the number of people involved in them. But just as much as the devil loves stirring up trouble in churches, he loves stirring up trouble in families. He know’s it’s a Christian witness-killer, an energy zapper, a time eater, a relationship destroyer. He can do more damage with less effort by attacking us here, within those relationships, than in any other context. But if we’re wise, we can put prayer into effect in places we’re close enough to touch the very people involved. Then as God’s spirit does His work in us and in these situations, the others in our family will be standing close enough to watch it all happen in real time, to see the kinds of change and impact our prayers are able to accomplish.

The family is one of the key axis points of God’s purpose on earth. And your family, at the point of your sphere of influence, is a major component of what He is doing right here where you live. In order to make sure you’re fully cooperating with Him and with the enormous opportunity embodied in your family structure and it’s people, they need you to not be on their backs, not up in their faces, but be down on your knees. Assume a new fighting position.

Now let’s spend some concentrated effort in crafting specific, strategic, personalized prayer approaches for your family. Person by person. Name by name. The stakes are simply too high not to do it. Don’t resort to the roll-call system for covering our family in prayer. Lord, bless my husband. Bless my kids. Be with my aunt and uncle. Be with my dad and his knee replacement. Be with my brother who’s looking for work. Quick. Easy. Over and done. Better than totally ignoring them perhaps, but hardly a satisfying confidence that you’re going all out, participating mightily with God in their future, their provision, or their rescue.

“Beloved, I pray that in all respects you may prosper and be in good health, just as your soul prospers” 3 John 2.
“May He give your what your heart desires and fulfill your whole purpose” Psalm 20:4. The Scripture is full of eternal truths, made even more relevant when framed against the context of your family’s life, specific needs, and dilemmas.

There are verses and counsel related to how a wife treats, blesses, thinks about, and responds to her husband. Pray them for yourself as a wife.

Love is patient. Love is kind and is not jealous; love does not brag and is not arrogant, does not act unbecomingly; it does not seek it’s own, is not provoked, does not take into account a wrong suffered, does not rejoice in unrighteousness, but rejoices with the truth; bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. 1 Corinthians 13:4-7

Encourage the young women to love their husbands, to love their children, to be sensible, pure, workers at home, kind, being subject to their own husbands, so that the word of God will not be dishonored. Titus 2:4-5

You wives, be submissive to your husbands, so that even if any of them are disobedient to the word, they may be won without a word by the behavior of their wives, as they observe your chaste and respectful behavior.
1 Peter 3:1-2

Don’t you wives realize that your husbands might be unsaved because of you? 1 Corinthians 7:16

The heart of her husband trusts in her, and he will not lack anything good. Proverbs 31:11

There are verses, particularly in Proverbs, that speak to the blessings of a man’s integrity, his quest for wisdom, the leadership of his family, and God’s desire to prosper him as he commits his many responsibilities to the Lord. Pray them for your husband.

Commit your works to the Lord. And your plans will be established. Proverbs 16:3

When a man’s ways are pleasing to the Lord, He makes even his enemies be at peace with him. Proverbs 16:7

Don’t abandon wisdom, and she will watch over you; love her, and she will guard you. Wisdom is surpreme – so get wisdom. And whatever else you get, get understanding. Cherish her, and she will exalt you; if you embrace her, she will honor you. Proverbs 4:6-8

Let your eyes look directly  ahead. And let your gaze be fixed straight in front of you. Watch the path of your feet, And all your ways will be established. Proverbs 4:25-26

Wisdom will rescue you from a forbidden woman, from a stranger with her flattering talk. Proverbs 2:16

Don’t fear sudden danger or the run of the wicked when it comes, for the Lord will be your confidence and will keep your foot from a snare.
Proverbs 3:25-26

Trust in the Lord with all your heart, And do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make your paths straight. Proverbs 3:5-6

There are other verses that lead a mother, a parent, to keep her children before the Lord and their protection in His hands. Pray them for your chidren.

In the fear of the Lord there is strong confidence, And his children will have refuge. Proverbs 14:26

Behold, I and the children whom the Lord has given me are for signs and wonders in Israel from the Lord of hosts. Isaiah 8:18

They were to rise and tell their children so that they might put their confidence in God and not forget God’s works, but keep His commands. Then they would not be like their fathers, a stubborn and rebellious generation, a generation whose heart was not loyal and whose spirit was not faithful to God. Psalm 78:6-8

I have no greater joy than this, to hear of my children walking in the truth.
3 John 4

Then there are passages that caution us not to fight with old weapons but to keep ourselves under control and trusting God’s authority as we relate to one another:

Let no unwholesome word proceed from your mouth, but only such a word as is good for edification according to the need for the moment, so that it will give grace to those who hear. Ephesians 4:29

Let your speech always be with grace, as though seasoned with salt, so that you will know how you should respond to each person. Colossians 4:6

The end of all things is near; therefore, be of sound judgement and sober spirit for the purpose of prayer. Above all, keep fervent in your love for one another, because love covers a multitude of sins. Be hospitable to one another without complaint. 1 Peter 4:7-9

Pursue the things which made for peace and the building up of one another. Romans 14:19

Not paying back evil for evil or insult for insult but, on the contrary, giving a blessing, since you were called for this, so that you can inherit a blessing.
1 Peter 3:9

Homes and families, marriages and children can all too easily devolve into combat zones – which was the last thing in the world you ever foresaw when you walked down the aisle, or when you brought home that bundle of joy. You may not be able to control all the discord and unwise choices that occur in the various corners of your house or among the people you share a family with. But you can make sure that the only place you engage in combat is in the heavenlies, in prayer, in secret. Take the fight into your prayer room rather than your living room. Write down what you want to be sure your enemy hears you praying. Use the biblical promises and passages from this post as a framework to get you started. Then take your vocal pleas to God instead of making your vocal presence such a common fixture around your house. Get ready to go to war for your family. And get ready to see some changes you’ve never seen happen before.

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