By Jennifer Waddle, Crosswalk.com
I don't know of any family on earth that doesn't have difficulty in their relationships. After all, where two or more are gathered, there are issues!
It was Peter who said, "Finally, all of you have unity of mind, sympathy, brotherly love, a tender heart, and a humble mind." His words, however, are not always easy to live by. This kind of unity takes both intentionality and divine help from the Lord. If you're wondering how to handle difficult family relationships, here are five prayers to pray.
1. A Prayer for Wisdom and Clarity
James 3:17 says, "But the wisdom that comes from heaven is first of all pure; then peace-loving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial and sincere." In this passage's New King James Version, the word submissive is replaced with "willing to yield." Imagine being willing to yield instead of stubbornly exerting our own way. Applying God's wisdom to our relationships can change everything. And the best part about the wisdom of God is that He gives it liberally to those who ask for it in faith.
Let's seek wisdom and clarity moving forward instead of continuing how things have always been. What a difference it can make when we choose wisdom from above rather than our own ideas or opinions about the way things ought to be.
Heavenly Father, in all of our relationships, we need Your wisdom. Please, Lord, give us clarity and understanding in how to relate to those we love. Help us turn our eyes heavenward to things above our earthly circumstances. Let purity and peace be at the forefront of our minds. Let the consideration of others and a willingness to yield come easy to us. Please produce good fruit in each of our relationships - even the difficult ones. Thank You for giving us Your wisdom in every situation. In the precious name of Jesus, amen.
2. A Prayer for God's Point of View
Have you ever asked God if you could borrow His glasses? To see others as He sees them? It's easy to assume things about people and let our assumptions guide our behaviors, but what if we were to set aside all presuppositions and simply ask God for His point of view?
It was David who penned the words in Psalm 139:13-14, saying, "For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother's womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well." His words remind us that every person has been created in the image of God, and even the most difficult people in our lives are part of His wondrous creation. What could happen if we began to pray for them with this in mind? Seeing others as God sees them is powerful in breaking strongholds that have kept us bound for far too long.
Gracious God, would You be willing to lend us Your glasses for a moment? We want to see our family members as You see them, and we need the lenses of Your peace and righteousness. Please forgive us for assuming things about our loved ones that aren't true. Help us drop our faulty assumptions and pick up Your truth. As we recall David's words from Psalm 139, remind us that Your loving hand has fashioned every person on earth. Every life has been fearfully and wonderfully made in Your image. Let us not dismiss some people as less-than or unworthy, but remember that, in Christ, we are all offered the free gift of salvation. Thank You for loving us so much that You sent Your Son to die for us. Help us keep this in the forefront of our minds as we try to see people as You see them. In Jesus' holy name, amen.
3. A Prayer for God's Thoughts and Ways
In Isaiah 55:8-9, we read the familiar words, "For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways," declares the Lord. "As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts."
Oh, how limited we are in the way we think. So often, we base our decisions on feelings instead of God's Word, and in doing so, we add to the difficulty of our relationships. But what could happen if we began to seek the ways of the Lord over our own opinions? Perhaps, we would…
- Think kindly instead of angrily
- Think compassionately instead of critically
- Think realistically instead of emotionally
God's thoughts are not our thoughts, nor are His ways our ways. But when we learn His way of thinking and begin to put His ways into practice, amazing things can happen even in the most difficult of relationships.
Lord God, please help us learn Your way of doing things. We get stuck in our own thought patterns and beliefs, and because of this, we don't interact with others the way we should. Please help us think differently, from a heavenly perspective, so we can offer kindness and compassion to every family member. Show us practical ways to bless them and begin living as examples of Your love. As we spend time in Your presence, help us think more and more like You. In Jesus' name, amen.
4. A Prayer for The Right Response
Wouldn't it be wonderful if all of our words were gracious and kind? Proverbs 16:24 says, "Gracious words are a honeycomb, sweet to the soul and healing to the bones." However, when tensions are running high, it's easy to react in anger instead of responding in love.
Keep in mind that the Holy Spirit will give you the right words at the right time. When you turn to Him for guidance, He will help you respond in a way that is honest and truthful yet respectful to the hearer. When you know you're going to be faced with a difficult family relationship, pray ahead of time for God's help. You can count on Him to come through for you!
Heavenly Father, please help us respond rightly to our loved ones with grace and kindness. Prevent us from getting entangled in useless arguments or controversies, and help us remain calm in Your Spirit. We want to be peacemakers according to Your Word and need Your Holy Spirit to guide us. We trust You to help us know when to speak and when to be silent. Thank You for being our help in time of need, in Jesus' holy name, amen.
5. A Prayer for Unity in Christ
Ephesians 4:2-3 says, "Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love. Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace." When Paul wrote these words to the believers in Ephesus, he was painting a picture of God's desire for His people. And though not everyone will come to the saving knowledge of Jesus Christ, we can purpose to live in unity because of Christ's love in us.
It might seem impossible to change your difficult relationships, but with God, all things are possible. Keep praying, keep trusting, and keep seeking the unity God desires. He cares about your relationships more than you know, and He is able to work everything out according to His purpose.
Holy God, please help us walk out Ephesians 4:2-3. With a spirit of humility, a heart of gentleness, and a mind of patience, help us bear with one another in love. Thank You for working all things out according to Your will. We trust You with every relationship as we make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace. In Jesus' mighty name, amen.