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  November 2011: Praying for your Family ... pdf version

Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God

Philippians 4: 6 ESV

Welcome to our November 2011 First Friday Call to Prayer. Our aim is to provide you with teaching that we trust will enhance your prayer experience and will be an encouragement to you. We will also provide you with praise items and prayer requests coming from within ANiC and the Anglican Communion worldwide.

We encourage you to set aside the first Friday, November 4th, as a day of prayer and fasting for the Church in these critical days, ideally gathering with other believers in your parish or region for corporate prayer at some point in the day.

Prayer Quotes
“Prayer is the easiest and hardest of all things; the simplest and the sublimest; the weakest and the most powerful; its results lie outside the range of human possibilities - they are limited only by the omnipotence of God”.
E.M. Bounds 1835-1913

Praying for your Family

On October 15th, our younger son, Bryan, was married in a jubilant and worshipful ceremony at a country club near Burlington, ON. Despite the rain and gale-force winds, the Lord blessed us with a remarkable peace and a shared sense of intimacy that we might not have experienced had we been outside in a tent as originally planned. Bryan’s delightful young bride, Emily, looked absolutely radiant as she and Bryan made covenant vows before God and those gathered in attendance. It was the first day; the beginning of what we pray will be a wonderfully blessed life together.

But it was also the end of something. As I prepared my father-of-the-groom speech, I calculated that there were exactly 10,600 days between Bryan’s birth and his wedding. On many of those days, my wife, Margaret, and I have prayed for Emily, even though we didn’t know who she was. We simply prayed that, if it was indeed His will, the Lord would be preparing the young lady that He would bring to Bryan from the moment of her birth. It was odd to reflect that we might be praying for a child that was not even conceived yet! Certainly, we shall continue to pray for them as a couple, but the preparation time is now completed for both of them.

This experience caused me to reflect again on the vital importance of praying for the members of our family on a consistent basis. There is the thought that runs through us (at least, it does through me!) that wonders whether this kind of personal petition is perhaps self-serving and too subjective. I should be praying for the enormous needs of a broken and hurting world or the spread of the Gospel through ANiC and other Bible-believing churches. Even though I know better theologically, I sometimes hesitate in bringing the specific needs of my family to the Lord lest I be presumptuous or selfish in prayer.

The truth, of course, is that we should be praying for all of those things – the hurting world, revival, and the very unique needs of our family members. Nothing is too large, too small or beyond the scope of God’s love and tender care for us. Peter exhorts us that we should be “… casting all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you.” (1 Peter 5:7). The critical words here are “all” and “cares”. It is out of our Father’s tender heart that loving care flows towards us no matter how large or small the issues may be. Peter is echoing the promise from the Psalms: - “Cast your cares on the LORD and he will sustain you; he will never let the righteous fall.” (Psalm 55:22).

It’s important to remember that God invented family – it was his idea. He loves every member of your family more than you do – even the difficult ones – and he is eager for us to bring them and their struggles to him in prayer. Our monthly banner scripture should be an encouragement to us to unburden our family problems on the Lord: -

Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.
Philippians 4: 6 ESV

So what kind of things should we be praying for our family members? Here are a few suggestions:

1. Their Relationship with God. Perhaps this is obvious, but our prayers should start here. If there are family members who do not know the saving grace of Jesus, then this should be our first priority because eternity is at stake. Pray for your young children and grandchildren that at their tender age they may come to clearly know Jesus as their Saviour. If older family members have once had a relationship with the Lord, but are not walking in it, we need to be praying for repentance and renewal in their hearts and lives. Like in the prodigal son parable, sometimes things have to get worse before they get better – before they “come to their senses”. During this process, pray for protection for them from the enemy and sometimes from themselves until the Spirit is able to penetrate the pride, deception or bondage that holds them in its grip. Even if they are active, mature Christians, pray for a deeper intimacy with the Lord and an ever-increasing Christ-likeness that is reflected in their character, home-life and ministry.

2. Their Relationship with Other People. Many of our family members have experienced great pain in their lives caused by their own sins and the sins of others. Even in Christian families, fractured relationships and divorce are prevalent. Without the Lord’s intervention, there can be no lasting healing or restoration. Pray for your wounded family members that they will turn to the Lord for the critical grace needed to forgive those who have injured them. Pray also that they might have the grace to forgive themselves for their mistakes and failures – sometimes this is even more difficult than forgiving others.

Pray for freedom from the burden of ongoing financial anxieties which cause many relational difficulties. Pray for an atmosphere of peace and freedom from stress in the family units. As the apostle Paul urged the Colossian church, pray that they will “Put on then, as God's chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience.(Colossians 3:12 ESV). May these qualities rule in their lives and family circles.

Pray for God’s healing and peace in intergenerational relationships: parents and children, in-laws, grandparents and adult children, especially in multi-generational households. May the Lord’s love flow freely through you to each family member.

We’ve barely scratched the surface here, but let’s always keep before us the truth that, whatever their circumstances may be, persistence in prayer is what will ultimately make the difference. Don’t lose patience, get discouraged or give up. No matter the length or depth of our troubles, let these familiar words of our Lord Jesus be an endless source of encouragement and inspiration to us:

Keep on asking, and you will receive what you ask for. Keep on seeking, and you will find. Keep on knocking, and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks, receives. Everyone who seeks, finds. And to everyone who knocks, the door will be opened.”
Matthew 7: 7-8 NLT

Garth V. Hunt

Praise God …
For our families.

That He loves and cherishes our family members far more than we possibly could… and He knows the plans He has for them; plans to give them a future and a hope.

For the work God is doing in our lives and the lives of our family members – cleansing, restoring, transforming, healing and equipping.

That we can depend fully and unreservedly on our loving Father for every aspect of our lives.

That the Creator and Sustainer of the universe loves us unconditionally and walks with us through the hard times – and the happy times.

For the reformation God is working out in global Anglicanism – and the entire Christian Church. In the midst of chaos, He is building His Kingdom and refining His bride, the Church.

For our churches, for ANiC, and for the Anglican Church in North America (ACNA). For His blessing on us, for how He has led, and for the future He has planned for us.

For the many ANiC “projects” and church plants – the small, but growing congregations of faithful Anglicans that He is adding to our number.

For faithful Anglican Primates, bishops, clergy and laity – throughout the Communion – who are standing for truth even when their stand for Christ and His Word makes them targets of attack.

Confess if needed…
For failing to bring our family members and our family’s needs to our Father in prayer.

The Pride that leads to slipping into a self-dependency rather than a God-dependency.

Not having grateful hearts overflowing with thanksgiving to our God.

Not encouraging and regularly praying for our church, pastors, government leaders and all those in positions of authority and influence.

Please pray…
For each family member.

That our churches would be places that support, strengthen and intentionally minister to marriages and families.

That each of us would recognize our desperate need to be dependent on God for all things.

That even in times of prosperity and plenty we would not forget our Lord God.

That we would demonstrate our faith in God’s goodness and sovereignty by cultivating thankfulness and expressing praise in the midst of loss, adversity or injustice.

That we would have a passion for souls – for those around us who need our Lord.

For the ministries of our churches; that we would become intentional in reaching our communities.

For Bishops Donald Harvey, Stephen Leung, Charlie Masters, Trevor Walters, Malcolm Harding and Ronald Ferris – and their families. Pray for spiritual and physical protection and renewal, for wisdom, and for a daily closer walk with God.

For our Archdeacons: the Venerables Ron Corcoran (Vancouver Island), Dan Gifford (BC), Paul Charbonneau (Ontario), Paul Crossland (Prairies), Michael McKinnon (New England, USA), and Darrell Critch (Atlantic Region & Quebec).

For ANiC clergy and their families, especially those experiencing spiritual and physical attack. May the joy of the Lord be their strength.

For those suffering under the attack of the enemy in our congregations and families. Pray for victory in Christ and healing where needed.

For new and forming ANiC congregations as they attend to the many details of organizing and launching a parish – and for other congregations considering joining ANiC.

For the ANiC congregations that have lost and are losing their places of worship. May God comfort and pour our His blessing on them. May they be filled with the joy of the Lord.

For parishes involved in legal disputes.
For wisdom for the people and leaders of St Aidan’s Windsor as they seek God’s leading.
For St George’s (Burlington, ON), Good Shepherd (St Catharines, ON) and St Hilda’s (Oakville, ON) in dealings with the Diocese of Niagara.
For a change of heart on the part of the leaders of dioceses pursuing ANiC parishes. May they genuinely seek to work with parishes to reach amicable, mutually beneficial settlements.

For Anglican orphans – Biblically-faithful Anglicans in Canada who feel isolated in liberal churches and dioceses – as well as for those who feel they can no longer remain in the Anglican Church of Canada. May they find Christian support and spiritual nourishment through the newly launched “virtual” fellowship.

For repentance and the recovery of a lively orthodoxy in the Anglican Church of Canada (ACoC); for those who believe they are called to remain in the ACoC to pray and work for reformation and a renewed commitment to Jesus Christ and His inspired Word.

For the leaders of the Anglican Communion Alliance (formerly Anglican Essentials Federation), Anglican Essentials Network, and Anglican Essentials Canada as they provide support for orthodox Anglicans still within the Anglican Church of Canada.

For those in the Zacchaeus Fellowship who are giving testimony to the liberation God offers those held captive in sexual sin; for the Anglican Church of Canada to listen to their testimony.

For strength and wisdom for the Presiding Bishop of the Southern Cone, the Most Reverend Tito Zavala and for God’s blessing on the Province of the Southern Cone.

That God would continue His work in and through the Anglican Church in North America
For Archbishop Bob Duncan (and wife, Nara), especially as his diocese deals with the ramifications of recent court decisions.
For the other ACNA dioceses.

For Anglican1000 and those engaged in church planting in Canada and throughout ACNA.

For orthodox Primates and bishops – especially those in the Global South – who are courageously standing for Truth. Pray for spiritual and physical protection and for discernment, grace and strength as they lead in a torn Communion.

For the orthodox Primates in the Anglican Communion – especially the GAFCon primates – as they prepare for upcoming FCA/GAFCon gatherings of orthodox global Anglicans in 2012 & 2013.

For growing support of the Anglican Relief and Development Fund Canada (ARDFC). For the ARDFC’s new project in the Diocese of Kindu, Congo, focused on peace-building and restoring lives and reestablishing livelihoods devastated by years of war.

For the Covenant process and the realignment underway in the Anglican Communion. May the Lord clearly lead and may His will be done.

For the Archbishop of Canterbury. May he pursue God wholeheartedly and seek the wisdom and discernment he needs to fulfill his responsibilities to the glory of God.

For suffering Christians around the world in conditions of persecution, war and poverty – especially those in Muslim and communist countries who face injustice and violence.

For those in areas suffering from famine and natural disasters – especially in East Africa.

For God’s protection of Israel as it is surrounded by those who seek its destruction.

For peace in Sudan and in South Sudan.

That God would revive us, our church and, ultimately, our nation.

For those in authority over us and who serve our country. Pray for wise decisions that honour the Lord and promote the welfare of our nation. Pray specifically:
For those in government – both for our elected leaders creating laws and for civil servants in positions of responsibility – that they would uphold righteousness.
For judges in our court system who are charged with interpreting and applying laws;
For officers of the law & emergency response personnel who risk their lives for us.
For those who selflessly serve our country in the military as well as their families at home.

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