How to Pray for Families
When Sanballat heard that Nehemiah was building the walls of Jerusalem, he was filled with great wrath and conspired to fight against him. Today when we seek to build godly homes, the enemy continually seeks to hinder. Our only hope is to follow Nehemiah’s example: “Nevertheless we made our prayer unto our God and set a watch against them day and night” (Nehemiah 4:9). The determined Israelites held in one hand a tool with which to build and in the other hand a weapon to fight the enemy. Only vigilant, intercessory prayer and spiritual warfare will lead us to victory for our families. Let us take courage from Nehemiah’s advice: Be not ye afraid of them: remember the Lord, which is great . . . and fight for your brethren, your sons, and your daughters, your wives, and your houses . . . . our God shall fight for us” (Nehemiah 4:14, 20).
Pray for husbands to:
1. Be spiritual leaders in their homes (Deuteronomy 6:6-7). It is difficult for a woman and children to find their proper place in the divine scheme for the family when the father is out of his place. He is designed to be the spiritual head of the family. When he fails to be the spiritual leader, his wife is unfairly forced to assume this role. Pray that the husband’s love and devotion to God and his steadfast faithfulness will set the example for his family to follow.
2. Love their wives as Christ loved the church (Ephesians 5:25). Love is not a gushy feeling of the moment. Love is commitment—through the good times and bad. Pray that the husband’s love for his wife would be as pure and eternal as Christ’s love for the church. Raise their children in the nurture and admonition of the Lord (Ephesians 6:4). Fathers teach children how to bait hooks and how to drive the family automobile. However, the greatest lesson they can teach their children is to fear the Lord and to walk humbly before Him. Pray that fathers would teach Christian principles to their children by precept and example.
Pray for wives to:
1. Seek God and love His word supremely (Matthew 6:33). Just as diet helps to determine our physical health, what we read, watch, and listen help to determine our mental, emotional, and spiritual health. Pray that the wife’s love for the Word would keep her thoughts pure and holy.
2. Be subject to their husbands as unto the Lord (Ephesians 5:24). Eve was created to be a helper suitable for Adam. Although she was not inferior to him, she was to follow his leadership. Pray that the wife would have a godly respect for her husband.
3. Teach their children to have faith in God (II Timothy 1:5). The mother is a child’s first teacher. She instills many of her values subjectively through her priorities and actions. Pray that the mother’s example of holiness and dedication would transmit her faith in God to her child.
4. Be content and not given to covetousness (Hebrews 13:5). Modern advertising and the values of a new generation have made what once was luxuries now seem necessities. In such an environment it is easy for the wife to want what the family cannot afford and put undue pressure on her husband and family. Pray that she would be thankful for the bounty that God has already provided.
Pray for children to:
1. Become sensitive and responsive to God at an early age (I Samuel 3:1-14). Samuel’s childhood and youth show that children can be sensitive and responsive to God at an early age. Pray that they would keep their hearts attuned to God. Pray that parents would have the wisdom to recognize their children’s sensitivity and guide them.
2. Be obedient to parents (Epesians 6:1). The fifth commandment is the only one with a promise. Pray that the parents would have the wisdom to discipline their children properly (Ephesians 6:4). Pray that the children would receive the discipline as an act of love (Hebrews 12:5-8).
3. Heed their parents’ godly teaching and example (Proverbs 1:8). Although parents are still the greatest influence in a child’s life, school, media, and friends are also sources of influence. Pray that children would be more swayed by the example of their godly parents and the teachings of the Word of God than by peer pressure or worldly environment.
4. Follow Christ’s example and grow in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and man (Luke 2:52). Luke wrote that Jesus was subject to Mary and Joseph and that He grew mentally (wisdom), physically (stature), spiritually (God), and socially (man). It is God’s will that our children be well-rounded individuals. Pray that they would develop in each of these areas as they grow. Families are the building blocks of society and the church. We cannot afford to sit idly by and allow Satan to destroy our families. We must be vigilant and pray for our families to be protected from evil and to be a place of safety. As Nehemiah built the walls of Jerusalem, so can we build walls of prayer and faith around our families. We must do it for Jesus’ sake and our own.