A few months ago I was visiting a church where a testimony was shared that changed my perspective on prayer. An older couple was getting baptized that morning. The woman, named Evelyn, began explaining that she actually grew up Seventh-Day Adventist. In fact, her father was a Seventh-Day Adventist pastor. She said that she never experienced a personal relationship with Jesus though she grew up in a very religious household. When she was 18 years old she married a man who was not religious at all and she decided to leave the church. Her parents were heartbroken by her decision but they accepted it. However, they spent the next 30 years praying that their daughter would return to the church and come to know Jesus for herself. Eventually, Evelyn’s parents passed away never knowing what their diligent prayer would result in. Finally, at the age of 71, Evelyn was driving down the road and a thought came to her mind that she had not considered in 53 years. “You should go to church, Evelyn.” Evelyn asked her husband to take her to church and he easily complied. The next Sabbath Evelyn and her husband walked through the doors of the church and the greeter immediately spotted them and made friends, she even signed them up for Bible studies. Six months later I got to witness Evelyn and her husband be baptized. Evelyn said that she truly believed that it was her parents’ faithful intercession that opened the door for the Holy Spirit to speak to her.
This testimony really touched me because most of my family are not in the church or religious at all. Often times, family can feel like the hardest to reach; you can’t always give your extended family Bible studies or pray with them. However, you can always pray for your family. I have seen God do miraculous things in my family because He loves to answer prayer.
Here are a few things I have found to be helpful when praying for family:
Be patient with God’s timing, He knows what He’s doing. Sometimes we won’t see the answers to the prayers that we pray, but God hears them and He does answer. I like to keep a list of prayer requests and then put a check mark on each of the requests as they are answered. The key with this is writing down specific requests, it helps you see how much God is really doing in your family’s life as you’re praying for them. This way, you will not overlook the progress and your patience will be increased.
Have consistency in your prayer. In the past, I have been inconsistent about praying for my relatives usually stopping at busier times. One way I have tried to combat that is by giving myself visual prompts to pray for them. Write down the people you want to pray for on a note card/sticky note or set it as a reminder on your phone. I have also hung pictures around my house as a reminder of who I am wanting to pray for.
- Claim some promises
I think one of the most encouraging things is to see the promises God has for us when we ask for His help. Here are a few of my favorite promises to claim when I am praying for family:
Then you will call upon Me and go and pray to Me, and I will listen to you. – Jeremiah 29:12
Therefore I say to you, whatever things you ask when you pray, believe that you receive them, and you will have them. – Mark 11:24
Likewise the Spirit also helps in our weaknesses. For we do not know what we should pray for as we ought, but the Spirit Himself makes intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered. – Romans 8:26