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Never has the family unit been more at risk than it is today. When the family is weakened in any way, all of society is diminished.
One of my favorite Old Testament stories is of Nehemiah and the rebuilding of the wall around Jerusalem. Nehemiah was a man of prayer, and he didn’t do anything without talking to God about it. As individuals and as families we must always ask the Lord for vision and direction before doing anything. Through prayer God guides us.
I pray with my children each night before they go to sleep and ask God to give them vision for who they are in Him. I pray that their identity will not come from their origin of birth or from Andy and me, but from their spiritual heritage in the Lord.
Unity is so important in a family, whether it's our own family or the family of God. We need to be a team where all the players are important. Nehemiah knew that. The wall around Jerusalem had been destroyed for more than a hundred years. It was so daunting a task that no one before Nehemiah had even attempted to rebuild it. Nehemiah knew it would take the effort of all the citizens of Jerusalem to rebuild that wall. It is likewise true that for our families and the church to live in harmony and be effective, all members need to do their part.
Before one stone was moved on that wall around Jerusalem, the enemy began ridiculing and threatening the people. But the work began. Bit by bit, stone by stone, family by family, that wall began to go up.
Every family was responsible for the part of the wall behind their respective house. As that wall went up, the enemies got angrier. They plotted to lead an army against the city. The people of the city were afraid. They also were tired, for they worked hard. What did Nehemiah do?
"We made our prayer to our God, and because of them we set a watch against them day and night" ( ">).
First, he prayed; second, he acted. The people developed a plan to protect themselves. Half the men worked while the other half stood guard behind them. They worked from sunrise to sunset and carried their weapons with them at all times. As leaders in our families, we learn a great lesson from Nehemiah. Prayer and action go hand in hand.
Even as those families were responsible for their part of the wall, so we are responsible for raising up a godly standard in our own homes. There are many ways of doing that -- having Devotions, praying for and with one another, giving blessings, recounting God's goodness.
Lord, thank You for making us a part of Your family. Give us wisdom as we establish our own families. When we’re tired or afraid, remind us that You specialize in the impossible. Call us to prayer and action. Make us a forever family.
Excerpted with permission from The God Adventure, by Terry Meeuwsen © 2005
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