I want to return to the theme of prayer today and kick off by asking a provocative question or two. Have you ever felt that you are responsible for something that happened in someone else’s life? Bringing it closer to home, are you disappointed that you have not prayed more specifically for a family member or for family members? I know we do pray for a variety of things each day as Christians … and at times we tend to add prayers that are person specific or issue specific as things tend to unfold in our daily life.
Let me explain what I mean and build up to dealing with the issue I have in mind that caused me to ask those provocative questions. Today we left home just after 7am to meet up with a mother and daughter who are friends of Roy and Angela from Naperville, USA. The mother’s father had a stroke a few months ago. He and his wife live in Krugersdorp, although at present he is in a Care Center. We prayed for our journey which turned out to be a dream drive at the tail end of peak hour. The mother’s husband’s mom also landed up in hospital with a tumor on her brain. She is okay but not doing well. They could not travel from the USA due to Covid’s lockdown and only because they have RSA passports were they able to enter the country about two weeks ago. We enjoyed breakfast and fellowship with them, handing a few things to them for Roy, Angela and family, and before parting prayed for them as a family. For the mother’s father’s recovery, her mom who had a doctor’s appointment, her husband’s mom, etc.
Then we visited some other friends. The husband had a bad stroke during the latter part of 2019. This is the first time we saw them since March (just before lockdown). Although he is so much better, he is weak and extremely emotional, which we understand. He is totally dependent upon his Care Giver for all daily necessities. The wife herself is taking strain because of his situation plus she herself is struggling with a gammy leg and narrowing of the disks in her lower back. Where it was lovely to be with them and although they have lots of help from the Care Giver, their sons and daughters-in-law, their situation is sad and reminds us that today we have all the health and tomorrow our health and environment could change drastically in seconds. Before parting we prayed for them, thanking God for the assistance they have and committing them and their health to God for His hand of mercy and grace.
Here are three examples of specific person and situation directed prayers that we pray for as they arise on a daily basis. This is great because it adds variety to our prayers from day to day. Now allow me to return to those who provocative questions I posed above … Have you ever felt that you are responsible for something that happened in someone else’s life? Bringing it closer to home, are you disappointed that you have not prayed more specifically for a family member or for family members?
What I am about to speak about is not new or brilliant prayer ideas. This is something we learnt as very new Christians many, many years ago. I’m going to start this by saying that praying for your children, even before birth, is a no brainer! You pray for their health, education and especially for their salvation. You pray for their life partners too. This does not mean to say they will turn out to be Christian and that their marriages and lives will be God honouring. You might raise them up in the ways of the Lord …
Pr 22:6 Train a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not turn from it.
… only to see them drift away from that pathway. However, you never stop praying for them. Read Luke 15:11-32. In verse 20, when this wayward son “got up and went to his father”, we read … “But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and was filled with compassion for him; he ran to his son, threw his arms around him and kissed him.” I get the impression that this father was praying daily and repetitively for this son … and he put his prayers into action by standing on the porch looking into the distance in anticipation and expectation that this son would come back home. He prayed in faith! This is how we need to pray for unconverted and spiritually lost children. In our mind’s eye we need to have a constant glimpse of heaven and of hell, driving us to pray for our children’s salvation, knowing that it might only occur once we are no longer alive … but … prayer is powerful. Although this passage relates to healing after confession of sin, without distorting application, when we pray with the right motive and for the right reason, we may believe:
Jas 5:16 The prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective.
But there is another type of prayer that we might neglect unintentionally … and that is praying for our grandchildren, especially those who are not churched and foreigners to the means of grace … the gospel of salvation. I read something beautiful in Psalm 103:
Ps 103:17 But from everlasting to everlasting the LORD’S love is with those who fear him, and his righteousness with their children’s children—18 with those who keep his covenant and remember to obey his precepts.
Did you see that? Grandchildren! How beautiful and delightful it is to see the third (and fourth) generation, following Jesus and having God’s love and righteousness dwell upon them. Surely that is a “sufficient blessing” to be able to close your eyes and awake in the Lord’s presence. Now it might well be that your children are not Christian and their children (your grandchildren or even great grandchildren) have not been raised in the way of the Lord. Well then, you (and I) need to labour in prayer for the salvation of these souls. May it please our Lord to answer our prayers, in His time, bringing our blood descendants to saving faith as He did to Abraham’s grandson Jacob (Israel). Make corrections though prayer!
O God of salvation, You who holds the keys of heaven, please open the spiritual eyes of our children, grandchildren and great grandchildren, to that they too might be born again to dwell in glory with You. O Lord, if we have sinned in not leading our children to faith forgive us … but please save the souls of our offspring. Amen.