A fortnightly column on marriage, family and relationships.
“A family that prays together stays together,” — we have all heard this saying at some point.
At other times we have said these very words to ourselves when convicted of our lack of time spent together as a family in prayer.
Is it true that families and couples that spend time together in prayer are always united? What can we conclude therefore from the increasing divorce rate among preachers of the word and Christians in general?
Should we say that we do not practice what we preach? Could there be a link between a lack of prayer and the high divorce rate in the church?
It is a sad reality that Christians are also part of the high divorce statistic that is seen all over the world. Why are children of God who are supposed to be light and who are supposed to show the way in this God idea that is marriage also having their marriages ending up in divorce court?
The answer lies in the fact that many of His children do not spend time with the Father.
Do we merely repeat words that have no meaning to us to ease our guilt? Are our prayers reduced to only praying recited prayers for the food just before we eat (if we even do this)?
Is each member of the family going about their day only to congregate to “say grace” then vanishing to their own rooms; watching their own television programmes while communicating via Whatsapp or Facebook?
Even “Dinner is ready” is posted through a social media inbox. A short “good night” is heard then doors are shut. In this fast-paced world that we live in some struggle to prioritise prayer for themselves, let alone praying together as a family.
What has become of the family that used to enjoy a meal together? What happened to family time spent in the kitchen chopping vegetables together while preparing dinner?
They will continue talking while clearing up and washing the dishes. What has happened to having healthy kitchen discussions about God and life; about school; about boys and girls and the ever changing dynamics of human life?
In our connected world we are more disconnected than we care to admit. Is it any wonder then that we have even disconnected ourselves from spending time with the Father?
If we do not have time for people in our lives that we see every day and all we hear from the them is “hi”; “bye”; “dinner is ready” how will it make sense to us to make time for the Lord who we do not see?
We are more connected to our gadgets and our smart phones than to people around us. Take a look at a restaurant on any given time of the day, whether it is breakfast; lunch or dinner, you will see that the very people who have “taken each other out” hardly ever speak to each other. While waiting for the food to arrive they are on their phones.
Someone will be laughing by themselves staring at their phone rather than at their companion across the table.
The historic prayer event led by evangelist Angus Buchan that was held in Bloemfontein recently has come and gone leaving many hopeful that things have changed in the spiritual and that physical change will soon manifest.
We found hope in the promise found in 2 Chronicles 7:14 — If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land.
A miracle was indeed witnessed that day in Bloemfontein as children of God came from all over South Africa to pray together to the Father to heal our land and to bring about change. We know that God listened and heard the prayers of His children.
In Jeremiah 29:12 the Bible says: Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you.
Can you imagine if the children of God practiced this daily in their families? Can you imagine how different our realities would be if we devoted our time in prayer?
Colossians 4:2 says: Devote yourselves to prayer, being watchful and thankful.
Spouse praying for spouse! Parent praying for child! Child praying for parent! If sisters prayed for each other and friends lifted one another in prayer!
Unfortunately though there is no devotion in prayer only anxiety when all else has failed. We leave prayer out of our daily routine and only call on God when we are faced with a critical situation.
If many were to be honest God is not at the centre of their lives. We profess to be “A child of God” and make the expected weekly appearance at church but God is not part of our family and is not an important member of the home.
God for many is an afterthought after they have run out of options and they have done all there is to do, then they think about “praying.”
Ephesians 6:18 tells us to keep on praying. It does not say stop when you feel discouraged. It does not say when people are kind to you pray for them.
The bible does not excuse us when we are sad, hurting or in pain. The word says pray on all occasions whether we are happy or sad: And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the Lord’s people! — Ephesians 6:18
James 5:13: Is anyone among you in trouble? Let them pray. Is anyone happy? Let them sing songs of praise.
God promises us in His word that He will respond to the prayers of the destitute. He did not just say I will listen but He said that He will respond.
So we need not be anxious about anything because we know that He hears us.
Philippians 4:6: Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.
It is time to reflect on what is truly important in our lives. Let us spend time with God daily. Let us prioritise time with Him and be connected to Him and we will see how He will lead us to be more connected to others in our lives.
Let us prioritise to have more face-to-face conversations instead of conversations via social media, more heart-to-heart talks instead of posts.
Make a decision to connect more with the special people in your life. One of the ways that you can spend time together is by praying for one another.
A family that stays together prays together!