Word released on September 24, 2021:
The first institution God established on earth was family. It is, without question, the most important to God and the most hated by satan. For those of you who are now without a natural family due to loss, broken marriages, never marrying or other circumstances, I want to say that it is appropriate to consider your spiritual family as family. God gives us spiritual fathers, mothers, brothers and sisters, and for many of you, they truly are your family.
This post is about restoring the family altar of prayer. For some of you that will be praying with your spiritual family. It is no less effective than praying with your natural family. That being said, it is very important for natural families to pray together. With that as our context, our friend Cheryl Sacks says:
Fire on the Family Altar by Cheryl Sacks
I will never forget the moment. I was on stage at a large church conference where we'd focused on "Revival and the Holy Spirit" all weekend. It was now the closing session and I was getting ready to lead the congregation in corporate prayer for God to send revival to America.
In that instant, the Lord began speaking to me about family. The heavens seemed to open before me. I saw a vision of the nation covered almost entirely in darkness.
Looking closer, I saw a few homes light up; the hearth burning brightly where families were praying together. Then suddenly, homes everywhere across the nation lit up as families were worshiping and praying, until the whole nation was ablaze with the power and presence of God.
It took my breath away!
Every sphere of culture is important, but I hear the Lord saying, "It's FAMILY FIRST." Because as the family goes, so goes the nation and so goes the whole world.
After all, FAMILY is the first institution God established. He designed families to be the bedrock of society – the basic building blocks of nations. Is it any wonder that satan has engraved a bullseye on the family?
The devil's aim is to destroy our families, and he is moving with great fury to deconstruct God's original design for the family. Evil forces beyond anything we can even imagine are pulling families apart and distorting and redefining what family is – even denying God's creation of male and female.
History has taught us that the decline of any nation always begins with the decline of the family. But consider that the decline of the family begins when God is absent from the family culture, and worship and prayer cease to be a priority in the home.
We can't disciple a nation if we fail to disciple our own families!
Ultimately the attack on the family comes from evil spiritual powers, and it is futile to fight this kind of battle with natural weapons alone. The battle for our families will be won in prayer! It is time for the Ekklesia to pick up our weapons of warfare and defeat the enemy of darkness who is seeking to kill, steal and destroy our families, and thus this great nation. (Photo via Pixabay)
Many of us pray at our state capitols, county seats; in front of the Supreme Court and schools and neighborhoods. And so we should and so we MUST! Yet, in this pivotal moment in our nation, there is a fresh call from the Lord to pray in our homes for, and with, our natural and spiritual families.
The Family Can Save the Nation
Our nation and nations around the world are in crisis. We are seeing massive protests, riots and revolutions; widespread drought, floods, fires and hyperinflation as governments drive up their debt; increase in violent crime in major cities across America; rapid loss of personal freedoms, and retaliation against those who would confront evil in our day.
In the Bible, when the nation was on the brink of destruction and even annihilation, God had a simple, humble solution. In the darkest, most desperate times, He used righteous families to bring deliverance and save the nation:
• Miriam, Aaron, and Moses
• Joseph, Mary, and Jesus
• Esther and Mordecai
During the darkest, most depraved time in human history, during the days of Noah, God used one family to resist the evil of their day and build the ark.
And it is not only biological families that He uses, but spiritual ones as well. In the Bible, four young men lost their relatives and any hope of a future family when they were uprooted from their homeland and cruelly turned into eunuchs, depriving them of the chance to ever marry or have children.
They lost their natural families but found each other, and formed a covenant bond in Babylon that impacted the greatest empire of their day, through the power of prayer in agreement and bold, courageous action.
Joined together as an Ekklesia in hostile surroundings, the lives and prayers of Daniel, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego changed history.
No matter how bad things are, covenantal intercessors in the family of God can make all the difference, and turn the tide for a nation!
Steps to Build a Family Altar
Whether you live alone or in a household with children, are married or single, you can light the altar of prayer and worship in your home. You can begin taking steps now to build (or rebuild) the altar of prayer. Here are some suggestions:
• Call your family together and discuss the idea of devoting a special time each day or week to gather to meet with the Lord. (Explain that this is a time to invite His presence and power into your lives and family to thank Him for the great things happening and to ask His help in the challenges. Find a time you can all agree upon and make sure it is set aside for this purpose.)
• Tailor your gathering to the ages and personality of your family. (Younger kids can't sit still for long. You may need to pray with them when you put them to bed and have a longer time of prayer after they fall asleep. If you have teenagers, involve them in framing the time to make it interesting and exciting.)
• Set the tone. (Our family has found that reading Scripture or a chapter from a Christian devotional – i.e., Dutch Sheets' "Give Him 15" or "The Pleasure of His Company" – helps set the tone and inspires faith. At our house, we often turn on Pandora and start with our favorite worship music.) (Photo via Unsplash)
• Create a journal where you can record your family's requests and the date when the prayers are answered. (We also write down the blessings God has given that week, and some we didn't even ask for! He is able to do immeasurably more than we ask or imagine [Ephesians 3:20].)
• Remember, in addition to a special "set-aside" time, we can pray and worship together anytime and at any place...on our way to work, school or a sporting event – even on vacation. (You could make the next birthday or graduation a time of blessing and praying that your special family member will fulfill his or her God-given destiny.)
• Reach out to a prayer partner. (If your family is not ready to pray with you just yet, remember you can always reach out to a prayer partner or start a prayer group and pray for one another's families.)
Fire on the Family Altar
Imagine what might happen if pastors all across the nation began to call their congregations to establish prayer in homes. What if we regularly invited God's presence into our homes and prayed not only for one another, but for their schools, workplaces and churches? What if every time we gathered to pray, we asked God to send another Great Awakening to our land? I believe we would see families restored, prodigals come home, revival fires ablaze and a multitude of people coming into God's Kingdom.
I hear the Lord's urgent CALL (even a PROMISE) to His Church today: "If you will build an altar, I will come...to your family...and to this nation!"
Prayer from Dutch Sheets
Dear Lord, our families and this nation need You as never before. Only You can bring the healing and reconciliation that we so desperately need. We ask You to send a sweeping, nationwide revival, and let it begin with me...in my home...in our homes.
Even as we saw in the early days of this nation, we pray that families would return to daily prayer, worship, Bible reading and sharing stories of Your faithfulness. We know, as we invite Your holy presence and power into our homes, that we will see salvations, healing, reconciliation and restoration.
Ignite a fire in this nation through the praying families of America...one that spreads to every sphere of culture. And, Lord, we pray that this would not end with our generation, but that our children and our children's children would keep the fire on the family altar burning – that the generations to come would put their trust in You and not forget Your faithfulness (Psalm 78:6-7).
We decree, in Jesus' name, that a movement of family prayer is being ignited that will set this nation ablaze with the power and presence of Almighty God!
(Today's post was contributed by Cheryl Sacks. Cheryl is author of the Prayer Saturated book series: The Prayer Saturated Church, Prayer Saturated Kids and The Prayer Saturated Family: How to Change the Atmosphere in Your Home through Prayer. You can learn more about Cheryl and her husband Hal's work by going to bridgebuilders.net.)
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Dutch Sheets Ministries
Dutch Sheets¬†is an internationally recognized author, gifted teacher, and conference speaker. He travels extensively, challenging believers for passionate prayer and societal reformation. Seeing America experience a sweeping revival and return to its Godly heritage is Dutch’s greatest passion. Dutch has written over 23 books, many of which have been translated into over 30 languages. His international bestseller, Intercessory Prayer, has sold over 1 million copies worldwide. Dutch has pastored, taught in several colleges and seminaries, and served on the board of directors of numerous organizations. He is fondly known to many as Papa Dutch. Treasuring time spent with their family and grandchildren. Dutch and Ceci, his wife of 40 plus years, enjoy quiet walks in the woods, reading, and playing a little golf. They make their home in beautiful South Carolina.
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