Your personal Creator
Each person, regardless of their worldview, began as a child conceived by a mother and father. Families matter to everyone. This is celebrated in Psalm 139. Use it to prepare your heart by offering thanks and praise for all the good things about your creator. Conclude your worship by making vv. 23-24 your own personal prayer of cleansing.
Praying for the values of God’s Kingdom
There is little doubt that the sphere of life with the greatest impact on all of the others is The Family. Two leaders wisely said, “As the family goes, so goes the nation and so goes the whole world in which we live,” (John Paul II) and “The family is the nucleus of civilization.” (Will Durant)
July is the most popular family vacation month of them all, and so this is a perfect time to reflect on and pray about some ways the family both influences and is affected by all of those other spheres. Let the suggestions below guide you as you intercede for our little corner of the world.
“For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world and forfeits his soul?” (Matt. 16:26) In recent months countless workers have spent extra hours and costly mental distractions keeping their businesses afloat, at the expense of their marriages and families. Some worked FROM home while ignoring THE home. Pray that these summer weeks will be well spent rebuilding trust, restoring relationships, and redeeming lost time with spouses and children.
Hours upon hours of “online education” have instilled bad habits in so many families. Too much unsupervised screen time for kids, and resentments and irritability of parents towards their children are often the result. Pray that mothers and fathers will find ways to reconnect with their children. And pray that the new freedoms to “get them out of the house” will lead them to plug their children into the ministry of a Biblically anchored, family affirming church.
Around the country Christ following parents have become more visibly involved in stemming the erosion of parental authority and the promotion of unbiblical philosophies. While some of these battles seem far away, how they are portrayed can influence the perceptions and reputations of sincere believers here at home. Ask God to give boldness, courage, graciousness, and a good witness to Christian parents as they interact with their own elected officials.
Healthcare \ Social Service
Depression; worry over postponed foreclosures and evictions; anger mismanagement; and “medical mistrust”. These are just some of the rebound effects of the pandemic families have faced. These afflictions are endured in homes even as they are added to the challenging workloads of medical and social service professionals. Pray that both weary family members and their caregivers turn to God as never before and find hope in Jesus.
“Quarrels and fights all over the place!” (Habakkuk 1:3 – MSG) Our media are in the midst of a pandemic of polarized, politicized, distorted, and hate-filled bickering, and this has seeped into many families who feel pushed into taking sides, turning differences of opinion into personal slights. Only the Prince of Peace can calm these waters. Ask God to send a revival of kindness, balance, and neighborly mutual respect into each home.
Public Safety\Security (Military)
Calls to the police related to domestic violence have surged during the pandemic. These incidents pose the greatest physical danger to law enforcement and reveal the tragic and growing breakdown of family stability. Those who “maintain the right of the afflicted and the destitute” (Ps. 82:3) are doing God’s work. Pray for their protection and wisdom, and for the victims of violence to turn to the one who Himself suffered to set them free.
The summer of 2020 supposedly launched a “racial reckoning” (“A time when the consequences of a course of mistakes or misdeeds are felt.” – Merriam-Webster). Instead, the result has often been increased divisions and rancorous debates in society and in churches over such issues as Critical Race Theory, defunding the police, and claims of systemic racism. But racially biased attitudes, perspectives, and prejudices begin at home. Pray that true mistakes and misdeeds will be faced with honesty, humility, and repentance, and that a new quest for the grace of God in Christ will begin in families around us.
The pandemic and racial strife have exposed emerging divisions within local churches and whole denominations. Pray in the spirit of Paul’s exhortation: “That all of (the churches of our region) agree, and that there be no divisions among (them).” Meanwhile, each local church is a family OF families and FOR families. Pray that their rejuvenated ministries to parents and children will be equipped to receive new families in the coming months.