Abraham was praying for Lot and Sodom when they were not praying for themselves (Genesis 18:23-33). Jesus was praying for Peter when did not know to pray for himself (Luke 22:32). Who do you know who could use some prayer? Does he recognize it enough to spend any time on his knees? Is she even in a praying relationship with God? Do you have time and inclination to do some interceding? Paul exhorted that first of all, supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks, be made for all men; for kings, and for all that are in authority; that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and honesty (1 Timothy 2:1,2).
A parent-teacher discussion group wondered what students could do after dismissal each day. Playgrounds, youth huts, bicycle trails, canteens, and even a student center with a paid supervisor were all suggested. Finally, a practical grandmother quietly said, Couldn’t they just go home? Something is wrong when children don’t want to go home. Something is wrong when they don’t really have a home (most have houses – perhaps very fancy ones – but that is not the same as having a home).
The local church is only as strong as the families that compose it. It cannot have qualified leaders without strong families (1 Timothy 3:1-10; Titus 1). Its works of hospitality (1 Peter 4:9), education of children (2 Timothy 2:2), care of the aged (1 Timothy 5), evangelism (Acts 18:26), and benevolence (James 1:27) are all carried out easier when strong homes are present. If a family suffers, the Family suffers (1 Corinthians 12:26).
If a marriage breaks apart, it strains the union of the Bride of Christ (Ephesians 4:2-6). If a non-Christian husband discourages his wife, the spiritual temperature of the entire congregation goes down a few degrees (Romans 14:7; Revelation 3:15-17). If children make mistakes and let evil win their hearts, it reflects badly upon their Father’s household (Luke 15:13; 1 Timothy 3:15). Conversely, if husbands and wives are happy, they will likely support more church activities and bring a happy disposition with them. If children feel secure because of constant parental love and discipline, they will cause few problems for their Bible teachers. If parents ask students about what they learned in class, and reinforce lessons with daily devotionals and good example, then teachers will enjoy seeing the fruits of their labors each Sunday morning.
If your congregation has none of the former situations, and all of the latter, then your time might be better spent in something besides inter-cession. But if there are divorcees among the members; if some parents stoop under the burden of rebellious or unfaithful children (Proverbs 10:1; 17:25); if a few mates seem to tolerate each other instead of rejoice with each other (Proverbs 5:18); if some children miss more classes than they attend (Ecclesiastes 12:1; Hebrews 10:25), and terrorize their teachers when they do, then you could do a service by going to God in prayer.
The Widows and Widowers of the Congregation Need Your Prayers.
The loss of a spouse of many years may be the most difficult event in the lives of about half of us. A part of pure religion and doing good unto all men, especially unto them who are of the household of faith includes care for those in such situations (James 1:27; Galatians 6:10). The God who claims for Himself the title of,a father of the fatherless, and a judge of the widows, (Psalm 68:5) will certainly honor those who prayed for the fatherless and widows. Those who are to plead for the widow (Isaiah 1:17) in earth’s courts, should also do plead for them in heaven’s courts. It is appropriate to pray for good health – for ourselves and for others. Samson prayed for strength (Judges 16:28) and John prayed that Gaius would mayest prosper and be in health even as his soul prospered (3 John 2).
It would be worth the time to use the church directory to list all those who have lost mates. Call or go see each one when you have an opportunity and ask them what they would like for you to mention in prayer; or, just probe in conversation to ascertain what is on their minds and then write down ideas when you leave (before you forget). One might then use that list once a week as a memory tool to help in both family and closet prayers. When we finish praying, we should do our part to answer the prayer, too. John wrote, My little children, let us not love in word, neither in tongue; but in deed and in truth (1 John 3:18). A simple card, call, or cake can mean a great deal. A visit leaves a lingering memory that breaks a day’s monotony. Remember, it is always a good idea to pray with fellow Christians before parting company.