Last week there was a battle between my son and myself. After the heat went down and the boiling turned to simmering, I took my son’s hand and we prayed. It felt hard to take that hand and pray in the midst of hurting hearts but it happened.
I’ve been wondering…why was it so hard? Why is it so hard. That moment to turn in front of the family or a person toward Christ in prayer?
Despite the above picture, this isn’t going to be one of those posts that tries to paint a pretty picture of my family’s prayer life. I’ll show you a battle. Because that is what it is.
The picture above…not our family’s hands.
This is a picture of a goal that I have. For us to be united in prayer.
We work toward that goal each morning during our morning devotionals. I long to turn toward the Lord together in prayer in the midst of challenging moments.
But here is the reality: many morning devotionals are hard and the turning in prayer at the height of a challenging moment is not easy.
It takes yielding.
Not going forward in frustration and anger.
Two things I find hard.
Here is another reality. If we were all totally honest, I don’t believe any Christian would say that this is an easy thing. Perhaps we do ourselves a disservice when we post pretty pictures and blog posts about praying with and for our families without admitting that this can get hard.
Surely I’m not the only one who has wondered if I’m the only one who struggles.
Let’s be honest.
It is helpful to know that this is hard to do right now as we live in this flesh.
It’s not that my kids and I don’t like learning about the Lord or praying. It’s more like…Satan doesn’t like it. Things just seem to happen during our devotions. I also live in the flesh. And even though I’m aware of the need to live by the Spirit, sometimes I’m tempted. I’m tempted to not do devotionals and prayer times. My flesh will tell me that It saves time and energy. Two things I need more of. It saves some heartache. It’s easier to self-protect.
But when I haven’t done them, I see the consequence. Over time my children change.
As much as I need to be renewed by the word, they do. As much as I need relationship with the Lord Jesus, they do.
So we keep going. The battles get fought.
But one thing I’ve had wrong. The battle isn’t with the kids or the things that happen during our times together. It is with Satan himself.
He is not pleased with this turning toward Christ. He would much rather have me believe and my kids grow up learning that the life is too hurried for devotions. That devotions and prayer are too much to deal with in the morning. That life calls…not Christ.
The battle isn’t with the family. The enemy isn’t the family. The battle is with Satan. The enemy is Satan.
The weapon is the Word and prayer.
Charles Spurgeon gave a charge once:
“O, waver not. And let not your faith stagger! When you plead the name of Christ, you plead that which shakes the gates of hell…and which the hosts in heaven obey. And God Himself feels the sacred power of that divine plea.”
I am in Christ, He has given me new desires.
I have a holy longing in my heart to pray with my kids, husband, family. I’m sure it does not come from me. Because if just left to myself in my flesh alone, I could not and would not do it.
Yet how often does this desire actually play out?
I’m not sure I’ve met a Christian yet who can truly admit they do it to the level of their desire.
Is it fear of failing?
Is it fear of being vulnerable before the people we know best?
I wonder if we know–the power of speaking Jesus’ name in prayer when done in the right manner.
I wonder what would happen if we Christians prayed at the level of our desire to pray…with our families. Just did it. Because it’s not about the fact we’re “not doing what we should be doing.” It’s about the fact that when we don’t spend regular time in prayer with our families, we’re not doing what our new creation God-given desires tell us to do.
Spurgeon also said this, “I’m afraid that we do not understand what it is that we have at our command when we are allowed to plead with God in Christ’s name. When we ask God to hear us in the name of Christ, we should mean – ‘Lord, Your dear Son deserves this of you. Do this unto me because of what HE merits.'”
When our prayers are based upon the character and objectives of Christ, we can pray with the merit of Christ.
The reason our prayers shake the gates of hell and the reason they are effectual for those in Christ is…because we are united to Christ through faith in Him. Therefore…
The Father loves us.
“ In that day you will no longer ask me anything. Very truly I tell you, my Father will give you whatever you ask in my name. Until now you have not asked for anything in my name. Ask and you will receive, and your joy will be complete. Though I have been speaking figuratively, a time is coming when I will no longer use this kind of language but will tell you plainly about my Father. In that day you will ask in my name. I am not saying that I will ask the Father on your behalf. No, the Father himself loves you because you have loved me and have believed that I came from God” (John 16: 23-27).
Praying today over the times that I hope to join with my family in prayer today and this week. For protection and help as I move more and more toward my desire to do it. I’m praying the same for all who read this.
The Father himself loves us who are in Christ. We have a direct relationship with Him that allows for prayer any time in any place and that shakes the gates of Hell.
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