Thursday, December 29, 2011

Praying for Families

Praying for Families

            Included in the lists of those I pray for every day, are at least thirty families.  However, I do not pray for every member of every family each day.  Sometimes, I pray for one member of the family each day in a rotation, so if a family has three members each person is prayed for every fourth day.  However, if a family has nine members, it will be a longer time between when each individual is remembered in my prayers.  Nevertheless, each family member will be prayed for by name at regular intervals. 
            A variety of situations have brought these families to my attention evoking a sense of my need to pray for them.  Some families have needs that revolve around illnesses of various kinds, both physical and emotional.  When one member of the family suffers, the pain affects all others.  Illnesses, accidents or age and infirmity can lead to death and here again a family needs the support of prayer as they take that particular journey of grief.  Other complex family situations that are addressed by my prayers include marital discord and other relationship challenges.  My prayers are for the healing of broken relationships and the necessary wisdom and discernment to address courageously complicated and longstanding issues.
            Let me give you some specific examples of families with prayer concerns who have requested my intercession.  One request came to my husband, Glen when he ran into some friends when he was in Europe on business.  Their adult daughter was suffering from severe clinical depression that debilitated her so much; she was unable to care for her own family.  Her desperate parents asked Glen to pray for her and for the whole family and to ask me to pray for them as well. 
            Another example of a need is that of my friend whose is the mother of a young man who has developed a gambling addiction.  She asked my prayers for him and for his wife as the addiction has placed their marriage in jeopardy and the innocent victims will be their young children.  The whole family is caught in the midst of a maelstrom that threatens to overwhelm them.  Prayer seems to be their only hope right now. 
            An elderly woman who decided a few years ago that she wanted to become a church member labours under the weight of guilt and a sense of failure.  Having raised her children as a single parent, she fears that it is her fault that she is unable to build a meaningful relationship with her adult daughter.  She is heart-broken about this and asked my prayers that somehow they might learn to love one another.  
               One family that has been a part of my prayers for many years includes a daughter who in her rebellious teen years alienated herself from her family by choosing to have an illegitimate child.  Eventually this young woman returned to the faith, married and had her own family.  When her children were in their teens, she again wandered and pursued an affair that destroyed her own family as well as another one.  It was tragic.  The devastation of the choices she made is extensive and I include all members of all the families involved in my prayers.  My focus is on the healing of relationships, forgiveness, reconciliation and the dawning realization of the unconditional love of God for each person concerned.  Only God can bring these about, and so to Him we make our requests.
            Other parents ask me to pray for the children who have made bad choices and now must live with the consequences of those choices.  Parents are aware of the danger that their children may make the wrong choices.  Their request is that I pray for the protection of their children.  These parents are aware of the choices bombarding their children and fear they have not adequately prepared them to choose wisely.  We know only too well that we are all susceptible to influences from others and vulnerable to temptations.  Prayer can help us hold steady.
            The Bible talks of the power of a father’s love and a mother’s compassion.  Images of family help us to understand the nature of God. 
           One of my greatest joys is to see the gratitude of family members as they see God answering prayers in the lives of their loved ones.  In my book More Questions than Answers, Sharing Faith by Listening, I tell the story of a young man who came to faith and prayed for his father for ten years.  The father then embraced the faith and today the father rejoices in the little grandson who he prays will one day also come to faith.
            God created families and He works to strengthen them as we pray.   

More Questions than Answers,
Sharing Faith by Listening
Winner of 2011 Word Guild Award  

"Living  Outside our Comfort Zones"
Hot  Apple Cider                                                      
Award of Merit  2009          

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