It was the question my young adult daughter said at the end of last year, after attending John 'Chappo' Chapman’s funeral and memorial service ... “Who’s going to pray for me now?”.
Chappo was a close family friend of the Lewers, and shared many meals with us and our children over the past 20 years. One of the many gifts that Chappo bestowed on our family were regular prayers. I know that we weren’t the only family to benefit from regular prayer to our great God from Chappo. However, his example and the example of many other faithful saints has been a wonderful model to me of faithful, persistent prayer for families.
As a family, we have been blessed by the prayers of those in our church family and further afield. It is incredibly humbling to be prayed for every day. The example of these godly friends has spurred me on to intercede for others and particularly their children.
The best defence is a prayerful offence
Families today are under attack on many fronts - within the family through marriage breakdown and infidelity, and from outside the family through media bombardment of children. Satan is hard at work to destroy families.
What is the answer? It can only be God working through the prayers of His people to bring about His purposes for His glory. In 2 Corinthians 1:9 – 11, Paul says,
"For we do not want you to be unaware, brothers, of the affliction we experienced in Asia. For we were so utterly burdened beyond our strength that we despaired of life itself. Indeed, we felt that we had received the sentence of death. But that was to make us rely not on ourselves, but on God who raises the dead. He delivered us from such a deadly peril, and he will deliver us. On him we have set our hope that he will deliver us again. You also must help us by prayer, so that many will give thanks on our behalf for the blessing granted us through the prayers of many".
Paul says he and Timothy were delivered by God from a great peril, "through the prayers of many".
So, what is the best thing parents can do to help our families endure through our perils? Pray! Pray! Pray!
Tips for a strong prayer life
- Be organised & pray regularly: Have a list - it helps you to be systematic, and can stop your mind from wandering. You might like to get photos of the families you pray for. Chappo would hassle us to update our photo, he also used to pray for our son when his watch beeped (Jacob had played with the watch and Chappo didn't know how to get rid of the beep!). There are also apps for iPads and phones – my husband uses Prayer Partner which he finds very helpful.
- Get informed – know what is going on in people’s lives.
- Model a prayerful life - be an example to your kids in how you pray for others connected to you - family, friends, missionaries etc.
- Use scripture – when you don’t know specifics about people, use words from the Bible to pray for them.
- Just do it!
As John Bunyan said,
You can do more than pray, after you have prayed
But you cannot do more than pray, until you have prayed
I'm praying for you, as you work hard at praying for others!