Friday, February 11, 2011

Praying for Your Family

Praying for your family is one of the most basic and fundamental things a Christian does.  God calls us to love our neighbor, that is, to work for their good.  He also calls us to tell all the world about what He has done in human history through Jesus Christ.  And since the family itself is the building block of humanity, it makes sense that God would call us first to the foundation of the family before he calls us to other parts of the worldwide human edifice.

So, as we ask "How can I reach the world for Christ?" We also need to ask, "How can I love my family with Christ's love?  How can I minister to them?"

As I've sought to love my family with Christ's love, I have messed up in every way conceivable.   I want to love them, but I don't do it well.  For me, the beginning of loving them in action and in person has been praying for them in private, praying for their immediate good (e.g. a new job, a better relationship, help in isolation, etc.) and their greatest good (e.g. that they would know God through Jesus Christ).  

The only way I ever actually do this is if I set aside time to pray, only about 10 minutes or so at a time.  

I pray for my wife and son every day, covering different topics each day (e.g. Wednesdays I pray for their friendships and relationships.  Mondays, I pray for their callings, challenges, hurdles. etc.)  
I pray for my immediate family on Fridays and my extended family on Saturdays.  To help me in this, I have scrawled out a list on a few post-it notes in the front of my prayer book.  On my list are the names of my whole family with a quick note of what to pray for.  When I am rushed and cannot pray for them individually, I pray this prayer for them:

Almighty God, our heavenly Father, who sets the solitary in families: We commend to thy continual care the homes in which thy people dwell. Put far from them, we beseech thee , every root of bitterness, the desire of vainglory, and the pride of life. Fill them with faith, virtue, knowledge, temperance, patience, godliness. Knit together in constant affection those who, in holy wedlock, have been made one flesh. Turn the hearts of the parents to the children, and the hearts of the children to the parents; and so enkindle fervent charity among us all, that we may evermore be kindly affectioned one to another; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.  (Book of Common Prayer, p. 828)

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