Family and Marriage – January 2019
“The human body includes right from the beginning… the capacity of expressing love, that love in which the person becomes a gift – and by means of this gift – fulfills the meaning of his being and existence.” John Paul II
What is the Biblical Definition of Family?
It is the union between one man and one woman in marriage for life, it is the first and only institution God established before the fall. Marriage is the most fundamental unit of a family, the church, and a nation [Gen 1:27-28, 2:21-24] Family is the leading influence in shaping a person, since it will determine for an individual the spiritual, emotional, social, and physical life. A healthy family background fosters greater productivity and personal well-being. The transformation of the family will transform communities, cities and nations. Therefore we covenant to promote, teach, and demonstrate the wholesome family under God as described in scripture [Ephesians 5:22-6:4]
Throughout the ages, God’s plan and desire has always been for parents to raise up their children to know and love Him and walk in His ways. God told the Israelites [Deuteronomy 6:6] to keep His commands in their hearts and to teach them diligently unto their children, talking of them throughout the day in every circumstance of life.
Yet today we ask…
- Did we fail to protect our children?
- Did our Government fail to protect us?
- Did our church fail to look after her sheep?
- Did our parents fail to give us the right discipline and the word of God to lean on?
- What happened to our society and where did the challenges come from that that we are facing today?
Challenges are growing by the day to destroy the definition of the family and holy marriage.
Our enemy is the devil, the serpent, the great dragon (Rev 12:9, 20:2), the ruler of this world, the prince of the power of the air (Eph 2:2), the evil one, and the adversary (1 Pet 5:8). He is Satan; he hates you and he is after you like a roaring lion, prowling about seeking to destroy you, trying to destroy your marriage, your family, your inheritance.
- How can you stand firm and resist the devil so that he will flee from you (Jam 4:7)? How can we fight him and stand against him from destroying the meaning of family?
- He may slander God to you in order to cast doubt on God’s goodness and shipwreck your faith (Gen 3:4-5).
- He may tempt you to deceive others in order to create, or maintain, the impression of being more spiritual (Acts 5:3; Jn 8:44).
- He may corrupt your mind and steer you away from the simplicity of Christ and His gospel (2 Cor 11:3).
- He may hinder [cut in on, as in a race] your gospel witness and steal it from unsuspecting hearts (1 Thess 2:18; Matt 13:19).
- He may wrestle against you, fighting against your progress in Christ (Eph 6:12).
- He may tempt you to commit sexual immorality against your spouse as a result of neglecting the intimacy of the marriage bed (1 Cor 7:5).
- He may harass you with some form of fleshly affliction (2 Cor 12:7).
- He may blind the spiritual eyes of your unsaved family, friends, and neighbors so that they may not see the glory of Jesus in the gospel (2 Cor 4:4).
- He may keep your unsaved acquaintances in bondage to sins that hinder them from coming to God (Gal 4:8).
- He may persecute you for your godliness (Rev 2:10).
- He may tempt you to do evil (Matt 4:1; 1 Thess 3:5).
- He is – at this moment – prowling about seeking to capture and destroy you, chiefly through pride (1 Pet 5:6-8).
- He will most assuredly slander you before God in heaven (Rev 12:10).
- He may ask God for permission to sift you out for concentrated attack and temptation (Luke 22:31).
- He may use the power of suggestion to move you away from the will of God (Matt 16:21-23).
- He may try to cripple your effectiveness through confusion, discouragement, and despair (2 Cor 4:8-9).
As Christians we believe that God instituted traditional Marriage; that’s why God brought Adam and Eve together (Gen 2:21-24) and established the basis for the family. Even though Adam and Eve did not have parents, God instituted the principle that a man and woman would depart from their parents and begin a new family unit. Without a man and a woman coming together in marriage, there is no family.
The Family in God’s Eyes
The family is the original cell of social life. It is the natural society in which husband and wife are called to give themselves in love and in the gift of life. Authority, stability, and a life of relationships within the family constitute the foundations for freedom, security, and fraternity within society.
How can we have good stewardship in the sphere of Family and Marriage?
- The duties of Children toward their parents. Deut 21:18-21
- The duties of parents toward their children. Col 3:21
- Through the grace of the sacrament of marriage. Matt 19:6
- Education in the faith by the parents should begin in the child’s earliest years. Prov 22:6
- Parents have the mission of teaching their children to pray and to discover their vocation as children of God. Psalm 127:3
- Becoming a disciple of Jesus means accepting the invitation to belong to God’s family, to live in conformity with His way of life. Isaiah 54:13
- Holiness and Transformation within the Christian Family. Proverbs 22:15
- The need to apply our Christians values within our family’s life and outside our homes. Paul commends Timothy’s family. 2 Tim. 1:4-5
- Spiritual devotion puts the members of the family in touch with God who is the source of beauty, goodness, and truth. 1 Sam12:24
- Allow your children to communication with God which will ultimately leads to better communication among family members and results in more loving relationships. Changing the culture is one of the toughest tasks we will face in this journey. Prov 3:16
- God intend each Christian family to work wholeheartedly for the advancement of his kingdom, and this purpose is accomplished by a oneness between husband and wife, through having and raising Children as Christians. Gen 1:27- 28
- God designed the beautiful blessing and spiritual union of sexual relations to be reserved exclusively for a man and for a woman within holy matrimony Heb 13:4
- A Christian man as head of his family, nurtures its members spiritually and morally that he should protect his family, pray diligently for their protection and seek regularly the Lord’s blessing for them. 1 Tim 2:8
- Parents mirror the righteousness, justice, mercy, and love of God in discipline, training, and nurturing their minor children. Prov 22:6
- Train on establishing leadership at home. This includes teachings about roles and responsibilities of husbands, wives and other adult in the home as well as the formulation of mission, vision, core values, and plans for the home under God’s guidance. Eph 5:21 – 24
- Establish daily prayer and intercession at home with your family. 1 Thess 5:16-18
- Participate in family equipping programmes. Family members are equipped by the church in various family life areas to live the Family Challenge lifestyle. Psalm 100:4
Dr John Yates writes (Marriage at Work – 3. Jesus and the Church):
John the Baptist was the first to proclaim Jesus as the Bridegroom who had come to claim his Bride; “The one who has the bride is the bridegroom. The friend of the bridegroom, who stands and hears him, rejoices greatly at the bridegroom’s voice. Therefore this joy of mine is now complete.” (John 3:29 cf. Matt 9:14-15). Christ alone was able to secure the marital fidelity of the covenant people by intimately and indestructibly binding them to God through his own flesh. The declaration ““This cup that is poured out for you is the new covenant in my blood.”” (Luke 22:20) proclaims that the marriage between Jesus and the Church is sealed with the blood of the cross.
We as Christians have total responsibility to honor God and the way He instituted marriage. Marriage is a sacrament , the grace of Christ also enables men and women to overcome their mutual conflict and live together in marriage in the exercise of “mutual submission out of reverence for Christ” [Ephesians 5:21] they need to understand that Jesus is in the midst of their sacred union. This transforming grace enables the body in its maleness and femaleness to be offered as the expression of the “sincere gift of self” which is in a way reflective of the Trinity.
Daily Prayers for You and Your Family
People tend to ignore the reality of evil. It is not just a relative and imaginary power; evil does exist, in many ways, and ignoring it or disapproving of it will never make it disappear. Read Ephesians 6:12-13:
12 For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.
13 Therefore put on the full Armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand.
Let us pray:
Almighty and Everlasting God: you alone are God, there is no other.
You have revealed yourself to us in many ways, through your creation, scripture and the prophets, and through your Son Jesus Christ.
You have also revealed yourself to us by name, so that we can call out to you in faith, hope, and love.
Help us to always remember that you are with us. Into your hands we commend ourselves all for whom we pray, trusting in your goodness and mercy, through your Son Jesus Christ, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit; one God now and forever.
“For the unbelieving husband is made holy because of his wife, and the unbelieving wife is made holy because of her husband. Otherwise your children would be unclean, but as it is, they are holy.” [1 Cor 7:14]
Pray for yourselves and others:
- Pray for family unity
- Pray for the protection over your family and over all families in your street
- Pray for your friends’ families and their relatives
- Pray for the lost in your family, that they come to Christ
- Prayer for troubled family relationships
- Pray for people who are sick in your family
- Pray for people who are addicted to drugs or alcohol in your family
- Pray for people who are affected by terminal illnesses in your family
- Pray for couple who are in the midst of divorce so that God can restore their marriage
- Pray for children of divorced parents, that they will not be adversely affected and still feel loved by their parents
- Pray for women who are going through tough times with work and family issues
- Pray for men who are suffering being distant from their kids due to divorce and court legal issues
- Pray for reconciliation in families
- Pray for the salvation of all families
- Pray for the truth to enlighten the path of all families
- Pray that the Holy Spirit dwells in all homes
- Pray that the love of Jesus conquers all misunderstandings within couples
- Pray for all children, grand-children and great grand children
- Pray for families’ strength
- Pray for families’ support
- Pray for families in financial difficulties
- Pray for families who lost their homes
- Pray for families who are homeless
- Pray for Christian families who are persecuted by rebels or religious groups
- Pray for humility, forgiveness and obedience among family members
- Pray for healing among family members who have dispute or anger
- Pray for men, women, young adults, seniors, and the aged in nursing homes
- Pray for those trapped in Cults and Secret Societies and their families who are suffering because of this situation
- Pray for those confused about their identity and ask God to help their parents to deal with the issue from a Godly perspective
- Pray for parents who are dealing with their young ones who are in prison, or families where a parent is in prison
- Pray for parents who are dealing with children who has down syndrome or other debilitating deformities or illnesses; ask God to give them patience and strength
- Pray for young people and especially young women who choose to abort their babies. Pray that God rescue the unborn and give the young mothers passion to have their babies.
- Pray for God’s wisdom in families
- Pray that the Lord bless all families and exposes evil who trying to destroy families
We ask this in Jesus’ name. Amen
They replied, “Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved—you and your household.” [Acts 16:31]
“I appeal to you, brothers and sisters, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that all of you agree with one another in what you say and that there be no divisions among you, but that you be perfectly united in mind and thought.” [1 Corinthians 1:10]
“How good and pleasant it is when God’s people live together in unity!” [Psalm 133:1]
“A friend loves at all times, and a brother is born for a time of adversity.” [Proverbs 17:17]
A Family Prayer
To pray together with your children – they start, you respond:
|Praise be to God||who made us a family.|
|Praise be to God||for the love that we share.|
|Praise be to God||for sending us Jesus.|
|Praise be to God||for teaching us to care.|
|Help us, Lord Jesus||fill our lives with your Spirit.|
|Help us, Lord Jesus||teach us how to forgive.|
|Help us, Lord Jesus||grant us wisdom and patience.|
|Help us, Lord Jesus||in your grace may we live.|
|Come, Holy Spirit||fill our lives with your gifts.|
|Come, Holy Spirit||help us serve other’s needs.|
|Come, Holy Spirit||teach us faith, hope, and love.|
|Come, Holy Spirit||guide our thoughts and our deeds.|
|Hear us, Lord Jesus||watch over our family.|
|Hear us, Lord Jesus||help our faith to grow strong.|
|Hear us, Lord Jesus||come and dwell in our hearts.|
|Hear us, Lord Jesus||to you we belong.|
|Spirit, we praise you||you invite us to know you.|
|Spirit, we praise you||may we walk in your light.|
|Spirit, we praise you||may we find you in all things.|
|Spirit, we praise you||all day and all night.|
Prayers for Respectful Marriage in all Spheres
We thank Ann Outred from Marriage Week Australia for writing this daily prayer below for the preservation of Marriage.
- That society – the nation & it’s government – would understand that marriage has been the foundation of families & strong societies throughout the age & should remain so.
- For the traditional marriages of members of the Federal government.
- For the traditional marriages of members of State & Territory parliaments.
- That the Christian church teaches & understands that the primary purpose of marriage is to model God’s love & to please God.
- That the Christian church would work together to ensure that those married couples in their churches reflect the love of God, allowing God to use those marriages as a means for telling others about His love (a mission field).
- For the traditional marriages of Christian church leaders.
- That marriage enrichment programmes/courses/events would be a regular feature of every church ministry.
- That there would be financial stewardship programmes run in every church, which would include a stream for married partners.
- For the traditional marriages of those experiencing financial hardship.
- That husbands & wives would understand that they were made to complement each other mentally & physically in a way that no other relationship can equal.
- That marriage partners would be 100% concerned about the wellbeing of their spouse first & be totally committed to each other – their marriages being a place of openness, honesty, safety and trust.
- That there would be a culture of respect between married partners & they would not dishonour one another either in private or in public.
- That married partners would have an attitude of gratitude, focussing on the positives in each other, not the negatives.
- That Christian marriage partners would pray together for each other & their marriage every day, as a priority.
- That the nation’s married couples ( & everyone else) would repent & cleanse themselves of toleration of sexual immorality, pornography & materialism, & switch off that ungodly entertainment.
- For the traditional marriages of those in the sport & entertainment industries.
- For the traditional marriages of those working in the media.
- That husbands & wives would each ‘draw a line’ that protects them when they are away from each other, from having inappropriate relationships.
- For the traditional marriages of members of the Defence Force.
- For the traditional marriages of those working for NGO’s.
- That the young & yet to be marrieds in churches would be taught about the sacrament of marriage and, by both word & deed, that their gender is a precious God given gift & sexual purity is important.
- For the traditional marriages of those engaged in the field of education.
- That no unwholesome talk comes from the husband or the wife, but only what is helpful for building each other & any children up, rather than tearing them down.
- Lord, help married partners to remember when they first met and the strong love that grew between them. To work that love into practical things so nothing can divide them. May they have hearts always ready to ask forgiveness as well as to forgive. Amen. – author unknown.
- For marriages in crisis – for hearts to be softened, for healing and restoration – the rekindling of romance and renewing of relationship. May they know that ‘to love’ is a choice, & daily commit to making that choice to love their spouse.
- For protection & wisdom for all in an abusive marriage relationship.
- For the traditional marriages of those engaged in maintaining law & order.
- That married partners would have fun together often.
- That married couples would put each other first, any children next, their work next, then finally everything else.
- For the traditional marriages of those in employment – bosses & employees
Mulieris Dignitatem, no. 24