Our Prayer Box
When all our children were at home we used to have two prayer boxes at our Family Devotions. One was the FAMILY PRAYER BOX where I wrote on a card the name of everyone in the family, plus every person in the extended family--grandparents, aunts, uncles, and cousins. We would pass the box around and each one would take a name from the box. If they weren't very familiar with the name of the extended family member they chose, it was a good time to tell them about them. Prayer is a wonderful way to keep connected with the extended family, especially when they live in different countries as is the case in our family. I am sure you will find this a great blessing in your family too.
We also had another box called the URGENT NEEDS PRAYER BOX. In this box I wrote on cards the names of missionaries we were praying for, the names of people we knew who were facing specific trials or sickness, and the needs in our nation and the world. They would also take a card from this box. This helped the children to pray beyond their little "God bless Mommy and Daddy" prayers.
Now that our children are raising their own families and we have other people living in our home, we only use the URGENT NEEDS PRAYER BOX. (Colin and I pray for all our children and their families together before we start the day). Currently, in this box I write on the cards the greatest needs for prayer in our nation and world today. Oh what great needs there are!
Never has there been a time when there are so many Christians being persecuted and it is continually on the rise. We feel our responsibility to pray. This is not something we should do if we feel like it. We are commanded to do it, and to pray for them as though we were suffering with them. Hebrews 13:2 (NLT) says, "Remember those in prison, as if you were there yourself. Remember also those being mistreated, as if you felt their pain in your own bodies."
I often think as we pray for the persecuted Christians in different countries of the world that if I was being persecuted I would hope that someone was praying for me. I want to be faithful to pray for them. I want to teach my family to pray for them. Christians are being persecuted in over 60 countries of the world. Some of these countries where severe persecution is happening are: North Korea, Somalia, Syria, Iraq, Iran, Afghanistan, Saudi Arabia, Pakistan, Sudan, and Nigeria. You can go to http://www.worldwatchlist.us/world-watch-list-countries/ to get a full list. You may like to write a prayer card for each of these countries. Or write a card for each country and change it each week in your prayer box.
I know you are burdened, like we are, for the atrocities and brutalities taking place in Iraq and Syria with the ISIS terrorist group. It is hard for us to comprehend the suffering, beheadings, and crucifixions they are enduring. Proverbs 24:10-12 says, "If thou faint in the day of adversity, thy strength is small. If thou forebear to deliver them that are drawn unto death, and those that are ready to be slain; if thou sayest, Behold we knew it not; doth not he that pondereth the heart consider it and he that keepeth thy soul, doth not he know it? and shall not he render to every man according to his works?" Read also Psalm 82:3, 4; Amos 6:6; and Ezekiel 9:4-6.
However, although our focus is on Iraq and Syria because of all we hear in the news, we must not forget North Korea, which is the number one persecutor of Christians. Up to 70,000 Christians are in prison and brutally treated. They also use Christians as guinea pigs to test chemical and biological weapons. Make sure North Korea goes in your prayer box. We cannot turn a blind eye to the persecution of Christians across the world. I was very challenged when I read the story from Penny Lea, printed from www.repentamerica.com/.
Weeping, an older man told her of how he lived in Germany during the Nazi holocaust and as a young boy attended church. There was a railroad track behind the church and each Sunday morning they would hear the whistle from a distance and then the clacking of the wheels moving over the track. He said that people in the church became disturbed when one Sunday they heard cries coming from the train as it passed by. "We grimly realized that the train was carrying Jews. They were like cattle in those cars," he shared.
He continued, "Week after week that train whistle would blow. We dreaded hearing the sound of those old wheels because we knew that the Jews would begin to cry out to us as they passed our church. Their screams tormented us. We knew exactly at what time that whistle would blow, and we decided the only way to keep from being so disturbed by the cries was to start singing our hymns. By the time that train came rumbling past the church yard, we were singing at the top of our voices. If some of the screams reached our ears, we'd just sing a little louder until we could hear them no more.
"Years have passed and no one talks about it much anymore, but I still hear that train whistle in my sleep. I can still hear them crying out for help. God forgive all of us who called ourselves Christians, yet did nothing to intervene."
How can we continue life as normal when so many families are being tortured? Often we feel helpless to help, but if we can't do anything else, we can pray. It is the least we can do and the greatest thing we can do.
At our daily prayers, we also pray for the unreached peoples of the world (Matthew 9:37, 38; 24:14; 28:18-20). We also pray for Israel, which we are commanded to do (Psalm 122:6-9; 137:5, 6; Isaiah 62:6, 7; Ezekiel 13:5 and 22:30). Anti-Semitism is on the rise and we had better make sure we are on God's side.
Dear mothers, can I plead with you to make time to pray as a family together each day? We pray morning and evening (after breakfast and at the end of our evening meal) in our home. I think that two times each day is the least we can do, don't you? You may even like to start a once a weekly prayer meeting in your home. We have been doing this 9/11. And of course, include the children in this prayer meeting, too.
The devil will do everything in his power to stop you praying together as a family. He doesn't want you praying. He knows it is the most powerful thing you can do as a family. He doesn't want his plans brought to nothing by the power of prayer.
This world is desperate for your prayers. You may be doing lots of good things in your family, but this is the most powerful and world-changing thing you can do.
Ideas for Your Prayer Box:
Keep Informed In Order to Pray:
List of Persecuting Countries:
Articles About Prayer:
Biblical Pattern for Morning and Evening Devotions:
Download the book, "How to Have a Family Altar" by Norman V. Williams