Each person to take a few minutes to talk about their extended family using the photographs if they have them (think inclusively of ‘children and grandchildren’, ‘brothers and sisters’ and ‘nieces and nephews’ whether blood relation or not).
One of the hardest passages in the New Testament to understand is Luke 14:25-27.
The intention in this passage is to stress that if we are a follower of Christ then we need to put him first in our lives. It helps us to get a clearer perspective when we think of the words of Jesus when he said,
Later in Matthew the disciples point out that his mother and brothers are there probably wanting to see him (Matthew 12:46-50). He replies ‘Who are my mother and brothers?’ He goes on to say we are all part of God’s family as his followers. It is a wonderful privilege that we can know God as our Father and through Christ we are welcomed into the family of God. (See
Romans 8:15) The designation ‘Abba’ would have been the normal way a child would have referred to his or her father, it would have indicated the closest of loving relationships and we, by the grace of Christ, are adopted and welcomed into his family.
My own children were adopted and before we were able to do so we had to have references, pass medicals, have our income checked, have lots of interviews etc. but God accepts us into his family just as we are! Whatever our earthly family situation we can all have the privilege of being part of God’s family. Let us value our church family and cherish our brothers and sisters in Christ! In this context praying for my family becomes extended.
Lest we perceive that Jesus was cold-hearted to his earthly family, we see at Calvary the real compassion Jesus had for his mother. On the Cross, in his dying moments Jesus says to the disciple ‘whom he loved’, ‘behold your mother’ and to Mary ‘behold your son’. In these simple words Jesus was passing on the mantle of provision for his mother to one of his most trusted
disciples. We need to somehow seek to put God first in our lives, and trust that ‘all these things will be added unto you’ meaning that our love for our family (the Greeks used the word ‘philial’) will be embraced within our love for God (agape).
With grateful thanks to Major Heather Durrant
Praying for our families provides us with opportunities that we often do not have when praying for other people because we know them, we know their needs and some of their concerns. However, it is important that we recognise that in our praying as much of what we do should be directed to the eternal rather than just the temporary.
These lovely words of Claire Coninger remind us of the absolute privilege that is ours in bringing our families into God’s holy presence and ‘pleading the blood of Jesus’ for their eternal salvation.
Somebody Prayed For Me by Robert Sterling & Claire Cloninger
When my heart was so broken
That I could not pray,
When love wasn’t easy to see.
Someone was there, somebody cared,
Somebody prayed for me.
Somebody went to the throne of heaven,
Somebody lifted my name.
Bringing me into His holy presence,
Saying what I could not say.
Somebody showed me the face of His mercy,
When darkness was all I could see.
Somebody pleaded the Blood of Jesus,
Somebody prayed for me.