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Jan26ThuJanuary 26, 2017 by Women of Hope Project Hannah
PRAYING FOR MARRIAGE AND FAMILY RELATIONSHIPS
Scripture provides a beautiful picture of family devotion in the book of Ruth. We read there how Naomi faithfully travelled with her husband and two sons to Moab to escape the famine in Bethlehem. Naomi’s husband died, and her two sons married Moabite women. When her sons also died ten years later, the widowed Naomi decided to return to Bethlehem.
One of her daughters-in-law, Ruth, had watched Naomi’s relationship with God and experienced a profound bond with her during their many struggles. Ruth chose to leave her family, home, and everything familiar to go to a foreign land with Naomi. A relative, Boaz, noticed Ruth’s loyalty to Naomi and treated her well, then eventually married her. God gave Boaz and Ruth a son; he was the grandfather of King David and a forefather of Jesus, who was born in Bethlehem hundreds of years later.
Family members bring much joy into our lives but also much sorrow, disappointment, and conflict. Family blessings and struggles help us develop our own strengths and weaknesses. The bitter and heart-wrenching situations Naomi and Ruth experienced helped develop their character and gave them opportunities to choose attitudes and actions that honoured God and witnessed to others that he can be trusted.
Christians need to prepare for the challenges of life and dangers of sin that can destroy marriages and family relationships. Parents need to prepare their children to live according to God’s instructions, resist temptations, make good choices, and set goals to better their futures so they can honour God through godly marriages and family relationships.
“It is God’s will that you should be sanctified: that you should avoid sexual immorality; that each of you should learn to control his own body in a way that is holy and honourable, not in passionate lust like the heathen, who do not know God” (1 Thessalonians 4:3-5).
Please pray for …
1. Christians to guard their thoughts and to carefully choose what they read, watch, and listen to. “Whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure … think about such things” (Philippians 4:8).
2. Mothers to teach their children how to make wise decisions about health, education, and relationships. Also pray that they will honour God in their daily lives.
3. God's sustaining grace and protection for the 70 Women of Hope production teams. Pray for wisdom as they teach women God’s principles concerning marriage and family relationships, especially in cultures that have never heard these principles.
4. Parents to teach their children that the choice of a spouse helps determine your future and the future of your children. This is crucial because a spouse influences many life decisions, including where you live, what kind of home you have, and how you spend your money. Also, your spouse helps shape your children’s lives and what they are taught about life and God.
5. Women who deeply crave the physical attention of men, which often results in sexual sin. Ask the Lord to reveal to them the power of his love in overcoming temptation. “My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever” (Psalm 73:26).
6. Parents and educators to teach teenagers that abstinence until marriage allows them to have healthier lives and relationships. So-called “safe sex,” widely promoted in society, leads to millions of babies born out of wedlock every year, as well as to tens of millions of abortions over time. AIDS among teenage girls is rising dramatically, and millions of young people are infected with sexually transmitted diseases, two dozen of which are incurable and one of which causes cervical cancer that kills thousands of women a year. Girls who are sexually active are more likely to experience increased depression, poor grades in school, and suicidal tendencies, according to the National Longitudinal Survey of Adolescent Health.
7. Single Christian women to have strength and wisdom to withstand the obstacles and difficulties of not being married. Pray that friends will surround them with love and encouragement as they sometimes face loneliness and need to know that others care about them (1 Thessalonians 5:11).
8. Wives who allow their husbands to abuse them verbally or physically because they neither respect themselves nor feel they deserve to be loved. Pray that they will find help from pastors, friends, or counsellors who can lead them to have strength in Christ to stop submitting to this abuse.
9. Patience and discernment for Christian young women who are trusting God to provide them with husbands. Pray that God will provide husbands who love the Lord and will love and respect their wives as they serve the Lord together. “Wait for the LORD: be strong and take heart and wait for the LORD” (Psalm 27:14).
10. Mothers-in-law and daughters-in-law to respect and love each another and to help each other follow God so that their family relationships honour him and are a witness to others of unconditional love, faithfulness, grace, and mercy.
11. Young women who are considering living with their boyfriends. Pray that they will respect themselves and wait for men who will commit to love them through life’s joys and trials. Most cohabitating couples stay together no more than 18 months, and only one in six lasts three years (CWA: The Index of Leading Cultural Indicators).
12. Young women in Albania, Central Asia, the Middle East, Ukraine and other countries to be protected from traditions that allow girls to be sold into sex slavery or allow babies of young brides to be sold by their husbands. “Speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves, for the rights of all who are destitute” (Proverbs 31:8).
13. Laws to be passed and enforced in many countries to keep parents from forcing their young daughters to marry. Many times the daughters are forced to marry men who are 10 to 30 years older and may even be infected with HIV/AIDS.
14. Christians to understand that God loves us and knows that sin and lust will destroy us. “Do not be deceived: God cannot be mocked. A man reaps what he sows. The one who sows to please his sinful nature, from that nature will reap destruction; the one who sows to please the Spirit, from the Spirit will reap eternal life. Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up” (Galatians 6:7-9).
15. Women who have been deeply hurt or abused to experience the healing power of forgiveness as they forgive those who have harmed them. Forgiveness is realized as we honestly desire God’s best for the person who has hurt us.
16. Deep and unwavering faith for Christian women who are living with non-Christian husbands. Pray that their love and patience will be used by the Holy Spirit to speak to their husbands’ hearts, persuading the men to accept God’s gift of salvation.
17. Christian husbands who have non-Christian wives. Pray that their love and tenderness toward their wives will lead the women to be open to God’s love and gift of salvation.
18. Parents and church leaders to teach young people about the dangers of pornography, which distorts how we view others, destroys the true beauty of physical relationships, and perverts our understanding of normal, healthy relationships. With more children using the Internet, they are exposed to pornography and need to know how it can destroy their lives.
19. Women who feel the deep loneliness of being abandoned by their husbands or of never having married. Pray that they would feel God’s intimate presence and reach out to others who are lonely and in despair.
20. Young women to learn that although loneliness is difficult, it is better not to marry than to live with a husband who does not respect you or your God and who may negatively influence your children. This could have eternal consequences for generations.
21. Victims of domestic violence. Pray for every man to understand that God has made woman to be his companion and that he should love, respect, and protect her.
22. Brides who cannot meet the dowry demands of the husbands’ families. Such dowry cases sometimes lead to torture, murder, or suicide.
23. Women in ministry to be encouraged and know God’s strength and presence. Many of these ladies carry a heavy load of ministry, work, and family responsibilities. Pray for TWR Women of Hope’s staff and their families.
24. Women to have opportunities to learn about sexually transmitted diseases, including AIDS, so they can better protect themselves. In many countries, women have little control over their lives and cannot resist the demands of their husbands, fathers, or other men.
25. Children witnessing their parents in abusive relationships. Many will likely become abusive husbands or timid wives who accept abuse as normal.
26. Widows who are blamed for the death of their husbands. Also pray for those who are forced to marry relatives of their dead husbands. Pray that Christians will fulfill God’s command to care for orphans and widows in their distress.
27. Single Christian women who are pressured by their families to marry nonbelievers. In many countries the majority of church members are women. It is difficult for many to find Christian life partners. Pray that more men will give their lives to Jesus Christ and faithfully follow him in all areas of their lives.
28. Christian women to know that God has a purpose and plan for them and that he is at work in their lives even when they are struggling and feel defeated. “Being confident of this, that He who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus” (Philippians 1:6).