I believe that there are few things that excite God more than seeing an entire household come to follow Him. Some of the most difficult people to minister to and share our faith with are the people closest to us. There is a reason why people will fly across the globe to go on a mission trip before inviting their neighbor to church. One of God’s biggest desires is unity. He longs to see entire households saved.
The good news is that there are a few powerful things we can begin doing when we feel stuck. One of the most difficult things to live with is watching the people you love the most miss out on everything that God has for them. We want our family to experience the love, joy, and peace that comes from our relationship with the Creator.
James writes explaining to us that there is effective prayer, which concludes that there is also ineffective prayer. The effective prayer is powerful and accomplishes much (see James 5:16). There are different aspect to prayer, which is why we should aim to build a prayer life rather than a prayer habit. For the topic of families I want to focus on intercession and how to ensure your intercession for family is effective and powerful. Intercession or interceding is spending time praying for other people, we can stand in the gap for anyone. Paul would often pray for the church members when he wasn’t with them.
One of my favorite examples of an effective, powerful, intercessor is Jacob. In Genesis 32 Jacob find himself in a peculiar situation. He is alone and wrestles with a man all night. Jacob is persistent and decides that he won’t let the man go until he blesses him. Eventually the man Jacob is wrestling blesses Jacob and changes his name to Israel, which means Prince with God. We can’t truly intercede unless we spend time alone with God. When what were interceding for is a burden it will probably feel like a wrestling match. You will have the opportunity to give up, or to not let go until you receive what you’re asking for. God is looking intently for people to intercede, and to do so with persistence. God is looking for people that won;t give up when they experience some pain and disappointment. He is looking for people that are desperate to see change.
In Isaiah 59:16 God is amazed and shocked that there is no one to intercede. God’s desire is to see everyone saved and redeemed, we don’t need to convince Him of that. It is our responsibility and privilege to bring Heaven to Earth. One of the first things God gave us was the authority and dominion over the Earth to subdue it. God did not put the devil on the Earth to rule over us, but rather that we would rule over him. I think that God is still shocked when He sees no one interceding, or when we beg God to do something that He gave us the power and authority to do. Since Satan is the one who is blinding unbelievers (see 2 Corinthians 4:4), I would say that we need to spend more time exercising our authority over him and less time asking God to do something He already longs to do. We don’t need to convince God that our family, children, or spouse should be saved, God wants that more than we do. We need to command the devil to get out of their life and break his power and grip over their mind.
Promises for your children: Here are a few things to remember when your children aren’t walking with God. I’m not a parent, but I can imagine the anguish some parents feel when they see their kids walking down the wrong path. Proverbs 22:6 says that we should raise up a child in the way they should go and they won’t depart from it. That means there is a way they should go, and a way they shouldn’t go. It is the parents responsibility to show their kids the right path, not to let them choose their own path. But if children do end up on the wrong path God is more than able to bring them back. Isaiah 43:6 says that God will bring back sons and daughter from a far. It doesn’t matter how far your children have wandered off, God sees them and says He will bring them back, it’s up to us to intercede and believe that promise. Jeremiah 31:16-17 is another promise we can stand on. God tells us not to worry, that our work will be rewarded and our children will be brought back. God will reward our persistence, giving up easily is not likely to result in what we want.
The last thing I want to mention is about spouses. When a husband, father, and leader of a household is saved it’s likely that the rest of the family will follow his decision. I welcome people at church and see more women bringing their children without their spouse compared to men. Both spouses have influence on each other, I just think men in general tend have a stronger influence in decision making. 1 Corinthians 7:14 says that an unbelieving spouse is sanctified through their believing spouse. This is good news! Even though we can’t get anyone else saved, it needs to be a personal choice, there is an advantage. The unbelieving spouse is sanctified, they are set-apart for God, He is just waiting for them to respond. Belief keeps an unbelieving spouse from the snares of the enemy and gives a strong advantage to the believing spouse. Since they are sanctified the believing spouse can remind the devil that he has no power over them, that he has no power to blind their mind.
As I mentioned before, we don’t need to convince God that our family needs an encounter with Him, He already agrees. God is eagerly waiting for someone that would intercede and see a household come into relationship with Him.