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Relationships

3 Encouraging Ways To Keep Praying For Family

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:

  1. Patience

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.

  1. Consistency

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.

  1. 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

Devotions

This Is Not What I Wanted To Write

I’ve been praying a prayer since January. One that I knew that God could answer if He chose to.  So I prayed, “Lord, if you are willing bring her file to us.”

I saw her picture back in January and have been waiting for her file to come to our agency.  Praying that other people ahead of us would be matched so that when her file came, that we would be able to review her file and be able to be matched with her.  I’ve called about once a month since January and last Monday when I called they had her file.  I send text messages and emails and messages out to our prayer warriors.  Asking them to pray for us to receive her file.

I was even thinking of this blog.  And what I would write when God brought her file to us.  I could see the story He was writing and could see how His glory would be revealed in this.

On Thursday Matthew called to see how many people were in front of us to review her file.  (We were anxiously impatient!)  The lady he spoke to said that someone was reviewing her file very seriously and that still about half-a dozen more were in front of us.  Our hearts tried to absorb the shock but I wouldn’t give up praying.  After all–God is the God of impossible things, isn’t He?  Again, I reached out to our prayer warriors.  And they continued to rally around us and this precious little girl.

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Friday, I got a voice message.  I couldn’t believe I hadn’t heard my phone.  I’d had it glued to me since Monday, praying for a call.  The kind lady’s voicemail said that the little girl had been matched with a family.

It was a little like a void of time and sound and space.  Very briefly.  I took a deep breath and told Matthew, “They called.  She was matched.”

We prayed, thanking God for blessing and guiding us on this process. Knowing and believing that He was sovereign and He gave us a measure of His peace in that moment that was very difficult.  It might seem impossible to you to love a little child you have never met and know virtually nothing about.  But she had grown in our hearts and we prayed for her dearly.

Again I reached out to our prayer warriors.   I told them that she had been matched.  You know who you are.  Your prayers and love and support are incredible.  I know that God’s peace in that moment was because of you and your prayers.  The main peace remained but there were times I would just have that void again.  That space.  It wasn’t really a question or doubt but just void.

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In reaching out to my prayer warriors I had reached out to another adoptive mama.  And she wrote me these words:

“It is really hard. I understand that. Praying for more peace and absolute trust that before the foundations of the earth He knew who would be in your family…before we were matched with [our daughter] we were matched with a little boy.  We carried his picture around for several weeks before learning that we would not be able to proceed.  There was one night in particular that I couldn’t sleep.  I was up in the night, praying for this boy.  It hurt and was so confusing when we lost his referral.  But I am confident God has purpose. I think [he] needed a prayer warrior that night and God chose me. It’s a hard, long, twisting, turning, confusing road.  But God has called you to it and He is faithful. Love you friend.”

When I read those words peace flooded my soul.  All my prayers for this little girl were for her.  I could love her and pray for her because God had placed her on our hearts.  I could pray for her health, emotions, etc. for months because God had shown her to us back in January.  And I could ask others to pray for her and we could all be her prayer warriors.  And now she has a family.  One that I pray will share with her the love of Jesus so that one day in heaven we can all gather together and I can tell her how I prayed for her and how God answered my prayers in a way I didn’t know was the answer.

God didn’t bring her to us without a purpose  We were to pray and be her prayer warriors until she could be matched with her forever family.  And we did pray, fervently, and eagerly.  And He was faithful.

I don’t know what you are praying and maybe it isn’t turning out how you thought it would or should or could.  But He is faithful, even when we can’t see it.

And this void I have.  It is growing, I think.  It’s the void for our daughter.

Little Girl, I don’t know who you are, but God does and He is drawing us together in His perfect timing.  I am praying that it is soon.  Very soon.