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Priscilla Shirer: How to Pray for Your Family

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Priscilla Shirer - How to Pray for Your Family
Priscilla Shirer - How to Pray for Your Family

If I were your enemy, I’d seek to disintegrate your family and destroy every member of it. 

I’d want to tear away at your trust and unity and turn everyone’s love inward on themselves. I would make sure your family didn’t look anything like it’s supposed to. Because then people would look at your Christian marriage, your Christian kids and see you’re no different, no stronger than anybody else—that God, underneath it all, really doesn’t change anything.

My husband, Jerry, and I recently faced this enemy challenge head-on. With my family’s blessing I had accepted, much to even my own surprise, a part in a major faith-based film. I was shocked to be invited to participate and shocked even more, after the directors saw my acting abilities, that they still wanted me to take the role.

Took me about as far out of my comfort zone as this girl had been in a long, long time, maybe ever. The movie (War Room), is about prayer—the power of strategic prayer, the kind of prayer power that God can activate in His people, and specifically the kind of prayer that can rescue a family before it careens off a cliff of near certain destruction.

The directors of the film wrote me a long e-mail before shooting began, filling me in on details to help me prepare for what was ahead. And among their many notes was a warning. They wanted to make me aware of Satan’s penchant for targeting the people who’d been involved in their previous films and how he’d taken aim at the areas of their personal lives that were connected to the message of that movie. Since this particular project was on the theme of prayer and family, they encouraged me to be vigilant about praying for my own family.

When the Enemy Attacked My Family

Finally, summer arrived and I was on set. Even having been forewarned, I didn’t fully realize how that summer of on-site shooting would affect some of the dynamics in my family.

We were just having fun in our new surroundings, soaking up the fresh adventure of it, not really thinking about the unique set of stressors placed on all of us—being away from home, out of our element, out of our usual rhythms. But pretty soon the slightest things would set off a disagreement. Hot feelings. Short fuses. By the time we made it through our final wrap on the film set, we were exhausted, not just physically but relationally.

Just as we’d been told to expect, the enemy attacked. But since we knew who was behind the tension, we made the deliberate choice to stop fighting with each other and to fight instead with the enemy. We vigilantly asked God to make our marriage and family bulletproof against these incessant attacks. Too much was at stake. It was a big deal.

But you know what? All of our marriages and families are a big deal . . . because each one is a billboard for the eternal, unchangeable love story between God and humankind. Each of their successes or failures is of great importance, both in God’s eyes and, therefore, in our enemy’s eyes.

 

So what do we do? How do we pray?

According to Scripture, the number-one purpose of marriage is how it represents the mystery of the gospel in active, living form. A man chooses a bride, loves her, makes a covenant with her and gives himself completely to her. The woman responds by receiving his love, surrendering to him, entering into this covenant bond with him and becoming one flesh with him.

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