P r a y e r
“But you are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, His own special people that you may proclaim the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvellous light”. – 1st Peter 2:9.
Never has the family unit been more at risk than it is today. When the family is weakened in any way, all of society is diminished.
One of my favourite Old Testament stories is of Nehemiah and the rebuilding of the wall around Jerusalem. Nehemiah was a man of prayer, and he didn’t do anything without talking to God about it. He knew that God is always present, and Nehemiah prayed even while talking to others or taking part in other activities. As individuals and as families we must always ask the Lord for vision and direction before doing anything. James 4:2 says, “You want something but don’t get it. You kill and covet, but you cannot have what you want. You quarrel and fight. You do not have, because you do not ask God.” Through prayer God guides us.
Psalm 139:15-16 says, “My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in the secret place. When I was woven together in the depths of the earth, your eyes saw my unformed body. All the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be.”
The way we are conceived, the way we are made, the families we belong to – none of this is accidental. God always knew it would be that way.
Unity is so important in a family, whether it is our own family or the family of God. We need to be a team where all the players are important. Nehemiah knew that. The wall around Jerusalem had been destroyed for more than a hundred years. It was so daunting a task that no one before Nehemiah had even attempted to rebuild it. Nehemiah knew it would take the effort of all the citizens of Jerusalem to rebuild that wall. It is likewise true that for our families and the church to live in harmony and be effective, all of us need to do our part.
Before one stone was moved on that wall around Jerusalem, the enemy began ridiculing and threatening the people. But the work began. Bit by bit, stone by stone, family by family, that wall began to go up.
Every family was responsible for the part of the wall behind their respective house. As that wall went up, the enemies got angrier. They plotted to lead an army against the city. The people of the city were afraid. They also were tired, for they worked hard. What did Nehemiah do? “But we prayed to our God and posted a guard day and night to meet this threat” – Nehemiah 4:9.
First, He prayed; second, He acted. The people developed a plan to protect themselves. Half the men worked while the other half stood guard behind them. They worked from sunrise to sunset and carried their weapons with them at all times. As leaders in our families, we learn a great lesson from Nehemiah. Prayer and action go hand in hand.
Even as those families were responsible for their part of the wall, so we are responsible for raising up a godly standard in our own homes. There are many ways of doing that – having devotions, praying for and with one another, giving blessings, recounting God’s goodness.
We have worked hard at establishing traditions of togetherness with our children. We lay hands on our children and give them a blessing before they leave for school in the morning. We cook together and have family night as often as possible. We play games together, read together, and pray for one another’s needs.
As often as possible, we verbalize how important and special our children are to us. We are the sons and daughters of the living God, His handiwork, created in His image and likeness, the ones for whom He paid a great price. We are His treasure. We are family. Never forget it and thank the Lord for making us a part of His family. Give us wisdom as we establish our own families. When we’re tired or afraid, the Lord reminds us that He specializes in the impossible. He calls us to prayer and action and make us a forever family.
IN PRAYER LET US CONSIDER THESE VERSES
“In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groans that words cannot express .” -Romans 8:26. “Call to me and I will answer you and tell you great and unsearchable things you do not know.” – Jeremiah 33:3 “Then Jesus told his disciples a parable to show them that they should always pray and not give up.” - Luke 18:1 (NIV)
“Again, I tell you that if two of you on earth agree about anything you ask for, it will be done for you by the Father in heaven. For where two or three come together in my name, there am I with them.” - Matthew 18:19-20. “But when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you. – Matthew 6:6. “Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours.” - Mark 11:24.
“The Lord is near to all who call on him, to all who call on him in truth. He fulfils the desires of those who fear him; he hears their cry and saves them.” – Psalm 145:18-19 “Delight yourself in the Lord and he will give you the desires of your heart” – Psalm 37:4 “The Lord is far from the wicked but he hears the payer of the righteous.” – Proverbs 15:29.
Therefore, since we have a great high priest who has gone through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold firmly to the faith we profess. For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathise with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are – yet was without sin. Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need. – Hebrew 4:14-16
“He prays to God and finds favour with him, he sees God’s face and shouts for joy; he is restored by God to his righteous state.” – Job 33:26 “What other nation is so great as to have their gods near them the way the Lord our God is near us whenever we pray to him?” Deuteronomy 4:7 “In the day of my trouble I will call to you, for you will answer me.” - Psalm 86:7 “Come near to God and he will come near to you. Wash your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded.” – James 4:8
“Evening, morning and noon I cry out in distress, and he hears my voice.” – Psalm 55:17 “Pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” – 1 Thessalonians 5:17-18 “And I will do whatever you ask in my name, so that the Son may bring glory to the Father. You may ask me for anything in my name, and I will do it. – John 14:13-14 “And receive from Him anything we ask, because we obey His commands and do what pleases Him. – 1 John 3:22. “If you believe, you will receive whatever you ask for in prayer.” – Matthew 21:22. “If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be given you.” – John 15:7)
And the prayer offered in faith will make the sick person well; the Lord will raise him up. If he has sinned, he will be forgiven. Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective. – James 5:15-16.
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