Simple Way for Your Family to Pray for a Lot of People

Date

May 16, 2016

Categories

Prayer

“Will you pray for me?”

Yikes! How many times have you said, “Yes, of course!” but doubted that you’d ever remember to do it?

I’d like to share a simple way to live up to those prayer commitments that also provides an opportunity to involve your family in the ministry of prayer. All you need is a deck of 3×5 cards, a 3×5 card box, and a pen.

Step 1. Personalize the card.
Write the name of the person on one side of the card and the prayer request (if needed) on the back.

You may want to go ahead and make cards for the people you normally pray for…and those who have not asked for prayer but you pray for anyway.

Included in our deck is each member of our family, one card for each extended family unit, the elders of our church, the President of the U.S., state and federal legislatures, neighbors, missionaries, friends, and ministry supporters.

Step 2. At breakfast or dinner have a child randomly pick one of the cards and pray for the person named.

Our 4 year old absolutely loves picking the card each morning which provides a simple way for him to participate in our family worship time. It’s very clearly—HIS JOB—if you know what I mean. Usually, I will have one of the other children pray for the request. If the prayer request is of a particularly sensitive nature, I usually limit the information and pray myself.

Step 3. Put the date that you prayed for the person on the back of the card.
Writing the date on the back of the card allows you to know how long you’ve been praying for that particular person. You may also want to write updates on the back of the card.

Step 4. After praying, put the card in a section of the card box that is separate from the other cards so that everyone is prayed for once per cycle.

Step 5. Add/Remove cards as needed.
We rarely remove cards but simply change how we pray for that person.
Other comments: We often pray for people with exigent requests, regardless. As in one case, we were praying for a young father who was deployed in the Middle East for about 4 months. We prayed for him almost every day.

To get through the deck faster, pick a card at breakfast and one at dinner or simply pray for more than one person at a time.

Individuals and couples without children can benefit from this system. I actually have a separate deck of cards that I use for my personal devotional time.

Remain faithful to your prayer commitments! Lord willing, this simple tool will encourage you to that end.

To receive more encouragement in your prayer life, I suggest attending a Prayer Life Seminar by Paul Miller’s See Jesus Ministries. Three years ago, I took my two teenage daughters to one. It was a great experience as well as an influence for this idea.

Seven Ways to Pray with Your Wife

Seven Ways to Pray with Your Wife

Date

May 16, 2016

Categories

Marriage

Why don’t we pray more with our wives?

“Good question! I haven’t really thought about that.”

“Ah, we’re too busy.”

“It feels a bit strange suggesting and then leading my wife in prayer when we’re not at the dinner table or having devotions.”

Prayer is one very important ways we demonstrate—as a couple—our dependence upon God…for help in specific situations…and for the joy that each of us needs every day.

Here are 7.5 quick thoughts to encourage you in praying with your wife.

1. “Just do it!”

When you feel the urge, don’t put it off. Just do it. If the struggle is great simply confess this attitude to God at the beginning of your prayer. You’ll probably notice that God does some of his greatest work through these impromptu, weak, and sometimes, awkward prayer times.

2. Pray as part of your date night.

(You DO have one, right?) Leslee and I have a special place where we park the car and pray together on our way home from dates.

3. Pray before you discuss plans for the week.

We pray on Sunday nights before we plan the week simply asking God to help us make wise planning decisions.

4. Pray before you go to sleep.

Praying in bed may seem awkward, but it is a relaxing and usually uninterrupted place—unless you have 8 kids.

5. Pray specifically, “God, we are joyfully dependent upon you!”

This brings Him great glory. If this is not true, ask God to make it so. This also brings him glory!

6. Pray in thanksgiving

Specifically mentioning the glorious riches of our inheritance in Christ which includes: our adoption, forgiveness, blamelessness, holiness, redemption, and sealing in the Holy Spirit.

7. Don’t try to pray about everything at one prayer time.

Sometimes the prayer can be just a few sentences.

7.5 Pray with the assurance that God will bring you and your wife into greater unity as you pray together.

Unless the Lord builds the house, its builders labor in vain. Unless the Lord watches over the city, the watchmen stand guard in vain. -Psalm 127:1

Second Most Important Thing a Father Can Prayer

Second Most Important Thing a Father Can Prayer

Date

May 1, 2020

Categories

Prayer

May I suggest that after our children’s salvation in Jesus Christ, the second-most important prayer we can pray for our children is actually… a prayer for ourselves: “God, please turn my heart toward my children.”

We need to pray this prayer for at least four reasons.

#1. Our identity is one of being ambassadors of Jesus Christ to our children(Deut. 6, Eph. 6:1-4, 2 Cor. 5:20). God’s clearly revealed will is to use us as the primary evangelizers and disciplers of “our” children. To do this well, our hearts need to embrace what is already true about us: that we have been given this calling. God’s callings are His enablings.

#2. We are easily distracted by everything going on around us.Technology has made our attention spans like that of gnats on espresso. Instant gratification is just milliseconds away. Consequently, we’d rather lick the icing than make the cake. Priorities? What are those? Everything seems equal in importance. We complain about the tyranny of the urgent but in our worst moments we use it is a convenient excuse for why we rarely engage our children on a deeper, spiritual level. What do we really value most? Our hearts must change.
#3. We would rather pursue things that bring us glory.Let’s be honest. Discipling children, even with its joys, is still what sometimes feels like an odyssey into the paranormal that does more to humble us than shower us with accolades of success. We find it easier to give our time to pursuits that we find much more affirming, immediately rewarding and fun. Our hearts must change.

#4. God is conforming our children into his image, not our image.Our children were created in God’s image, not our own. Jesus’ death and resurrection ensures the transformation of his children into his image. Yet, how often do we find ourselves trying to conform them to an identity that wehave planned out for them? God has a plan for “our” children that usually looks different than our own. We have to stop the tug-of-war with God. God’s dream needs to become our dream. Our hearts need to change.

Time is short. It seems to go by ever so slowly until you wake up and realize that you’ve been at it ten years and the things you wanted to do “tomorrow” you didn’t do. Regret is hard to live with. I already regret things I should have done but didn’t because in key moments, my heart was somewhere else.

Good fathers are not perfect (as if that were even possible). Instead, good fathers are weak fathers who have hearts that are increasingly mastered not by guilt, fear, or self-righteousness but by the overwhelming, compelling love of Jesus Christ for us—in our weakness.

His love for us becomes compelling when each day we realize ALL that he has done for us in making us new creations and giving us every spiritual blessing. We have been given a new identity that is rocket fuel for us fathers.

What are you praying for as a father? Is it for God to change your heart toward your children? If so, seeing all that God has already given you in Jesus is a powerful tool he will use to answer your prayer.

Re-Energizing Prayer for Your Family

Re-Energizing Prayer for Your Family

Date

May 1, 2020

Categories

Prayer

 

Wouldn’t it be great if at the end of each year we could trade-in the unresolved challenges we faced—especially at home—and get different ones (much more to our liking, of course?) Maybe that falls into the category of, “be careful what you wish for, you might get it.”

We are strapped with diverse problems in our relationships. Often, the problems that hurt the most are the ones that drag on, drain our resolve, and even sometimes plunge us into hopelessness. It is easy to check-out emotionally and stop using the resources that God has given to overcome these problems. Prayer is one of those resources (“weapons” says Luther) that often gets shorted. Don’t let that happen!

Following are three reminders and three ideas to help reenergize your prayers for your family this year.

Reminder #1. God hears your prayers. Remembering that God hears and answers our prayers helps silence our own self-talk and the lies of the Evil One that lead us to doubt God. God is the one who has commanded us to pray. We are praying—to God!—and he promises to hear.

But I call to God, and the Lordwill save me. Evening and morning and at noon I utter my complaint and moan, and he hears my voice.

–Psalm 55:16-17

And this is the confidence that we have toward him, that if we ask anything according to his will he hears us.

–1 John 5:14

Reminder #2.Prayer is powerful.Knowing that God tells us that our prayers are powerful gives us confidence that our prayers are effective.

The prayer of a righteous person has great power as it is working.

–James 5:16

For the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh but have divine power to destroy strongholds. We destroy arguments and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God, and take every thought captive to obey Christ.

–2 Corinthians 10:4-5

God’s answers of “No” or “Not yet” do not mean that our prayers have no power. We need a third reminder.

Reminder #3.God is still good, merciful, and sovereignly working in the situation according to his will. Sometimes it is not until much later that we see how God was working through his, “no” or “not yet” answer. A dear friend recently died of brain cancer after we had prayed for 18 months for healing. God said, “no”. I remember at times having a hard time actually praying the words, “Lord, your will be done” because I didn’t want anything but for her to be healed. I think that revealed to me how often my own prayers even for good are motivated by my own will rather than God’s.

In the face of suffering none of us will ever completely fathom, Jesus serves as our example.

Abba, Father, all things are possible for you. Remove this cup from me. Yet not what I will, but what you will.

–Mark 14:36

Strong faith in God’s sovereign goodness and mercy allows us to submit to God’s will as Jesus did in the Garden. Praying this way is an acid test of our faith.

Now, several months after Nancie’s death, we are beginning to see how God had a different plan with his, “no.” He was using the ordeal to do work in other’s lives. The ripple effects have been extraordinary extending even as a witness to many unbelievers around the world in places like South Africa and Korea. At some point, we will fully know how God used her illness and death to work in many lives.

When we submit to God’s wisdom in his “no” or “not yet” answers we find the rest our souls need in order to carry on in faithful prayer and action.

Three Ideas to Energize Faithful Prayer for Your Family

Idea #1. Have your children write down two prayer requests on a 3×5 index card. One request for a specific area of spiritual growth such as “to have unconditional joy in God” and a second request for a practical matter such as “learning to complete school work on time.”

Idea #2.Write a prayer letter to your parents giving them specific prayer requests for each of your children.Include the requests in idea #1 if you want to. Grandparents are a wonderful prayer resource. Including them this way gets them involved in your children’s lives in another spiritually-meaningful way. This also provides something significant to talk about at get-togethers during the year.

Idea #3.Aim to pray with your spouse each day. Generally, my wife and I pray for one-two children each morning. Praying like this accomplishes a second benefit of keeping husband/wife communication about the children regular.

Persistence Pays Off

There is a young man from a Christian home who we know who has for several years been struggling mightily. He has been down all of the wrong roads: drugs, immorality, and crime. Even denying Christ at a few points. The tempestuous nature of his struggle and its impact on his family have been at times hellishly devastating. Yet, his parents and the families in ours and other churches have not ceased praying for this young man. It is hard to keep praying faithfully in those moments when things are going in the exact opposite direction—at ever increasing speed. The buckets of tears and anguish of betrayal were real but not the end.

It has taken years, but he has reached a more definitive point of life change that has been very hope-full and exciting! The story is still being written but there is great hope. This is the work of God’s Holy Spirit. To Him be the glory forever and ever.

Faithful prayer has been a means that God has honored not only to bring this young man back onto the right path but to keep a marriage and a family from disintegrating. I believe that there will be many redemptive ripple effects that will likely take heaven to see.

We all face challenges in our homes from last and previous years. Be encouraged that your prayers about these struggles are powerful. God hears them and is working to bring about his will for the good of all involved—even if it is taking longer than we’d like.