Thursday, June 30, 2016

The Third Way to Draw Your Family Together - Pray Together

While I was in France on that summer missions experience for ten weeks, we often had outreaches in local parks. One night after we had shown a Moody Science film, a man stayed after to talk. As he was talking with the one who was going to drive us back to the house where we were staying, about 5 of us were waiting. After putting everything away and picking up any garbage lying around we gathered together. Someone suggested we use the time to pray for the man who obviously had some spiritual interest.

We bowed our heads and began praying that this man would understand the gospel and be saved. After about ten minutes of prayer, the tone of our prayers began to change and we found ourselves thanking God for hearing and answering our prayers. We went on to boldly thank Him for this man's salvation. And then we closed in prayer.

When we opened our eyes, we looked at each other in surprise. I think each one of us was wondering, "Did we just do that? Was it presumptuous? Or was it in faith?"

Soon the two men walked over to where we were sitting and our driver said, "I'd like you to meet a new brother in the Lord!"  

I wish I could say that was my experience in prayer often, but that is the only time I can remember believing that God had answered my prayer as I prayed and thanking Him before I had "proof". Because of that time in prayer, the five of us had a special bond for the rest of our time together. We had prayed earnestly together and had seen God answer!

I have come to believe that there are (at least) five ways you can draw closer to people and families can become closer to each other. I'm talking about the third in this post. Below are the links for the first two. Come back to read about one in each of the next three posts. They are 

3. Pray Together -- At our local church, I am in charge of a ministry called Titus 2 Alive! Our goal is to have women who are older in the faith, pray with, mentor, and disciple younger women. When my co-leader and I were getting this off the ground in a church where it hadn't been in practice for its 35 years of existence, we were a little fearful about reactions and how to get it going, so we decided to start last summer with "Ladies Summer Prayer Partners". 

We invited the women to sign up if they wanted a prayer partner for the summer. They could either sign up with someone they had already talked to, or we could match them up with someone. We ended up with about 11 pairs of women praying together. 

The results have been amazing! Most of them didn't end their time together at the end of the summer, but have kept going all year. They have become friends, started having lunch together, or visiting the farmer's market together, and one pair even took a flying trip together to visit a great aunt who needed care!

This all happened because they had grown closer to each other by sharing their personal concerns and taking them to God together in prayer. When we pray with someone, we will also probably pray for that person on our own because their needs are in our minds and come to be on our hearts, giving us an emotional bond. Then when we talk with that person, we don't have to fritter the time away with small talk about the weather, we can get deeper by asking about how God is working on various concerns and how the Lord has led us to pray for them.

This will work in families, too. Perhaps the family times of prayer won't be as earnest, especially when children are young. But that's when we should start praying together, modeling how we pray for our needs and for one another. As our children grew, we had them pray from the youngest one to the oldest, which meant Dad closed in prayer during our family devotions. Usually it took about six minutes or less for all six of us to pray, but some nights when someone had a concern, or we had learned about a missionary, we would go a little longer. Today when I hear my grown children pray in church, my heart swells with joy and love!

Some practical ideas:

  • Have short family devotions. A good time is when you are together around the table for a meal. No need to regather everyone, they are already there. Close that time in prayer.
  • Vary your prayer times. Maybe go around the circle and let each one pray for whatever is on their heart. Another time, have "popcorn" prayers where each one can pray two or three short prayers as something comes to mind. Have a time where you only thank or praise God for what He has done and what you have. Have each person pray for the person on their left or right. It is so wonderful to hear brothers and sisters pray for each other.
  • Read excerpts from a missionary letter and pray for them.
  • Have each one pray for the person whose birthday it is, even if it is Grandma and Grandpa who live far away.
  • Ask for prayer requests and assign who will pray for each one.
  • Keep track of prayer requests and answers in a family notebook. We did this for a while and it was an encouragement to see how God was working.
  • Stop and pray about things as needs arise throughout the day. I remember holding my 3 year old's hands praying the electricity would come back on in time to cook dinner for guests and praying with my teen and tween daughters before we went shopping for clothes.
Whatever you do, keep it interesting and length appropriate for their ages. We want to inspire them to pray, not make it a chore! And Mom and Dad, you two should be praying together, too! You will be amazed at how making the effort to pray together will draw you closer to one another.

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How does your family pray together?
Write and tell me at this link!

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  1. Amazing story. Bless you in your daily life of witness to our God.

  2. Just beautiful post. Thank you

  3. A lovely example of the power of prayer! Thanks for sharing it at the Healthy Living Link Party!
    Blessings, Leigh

    1. I have a huge request on my heart these days, and am trusting the same God I did that evening 37 years ago!



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