By Ken Whitten
They say if you can live for Jesus Christ in your home you can live for Him anywhere. Why? Because it is your family that knows the worst and the best about your life. And when you receive Christ, who are the first people you become burdened for and desire to see saved? Of course, it’s your family.
In Luke 16, when the rich man died and went to hell, he was burdened for his family. When Paul led the Philippian jailer to Christ, who were the first people he wanted to share the good news with? Yes, his family. And it was in that context that Paul said, “You shall be saved and your household.”
As I was reading Romans 9 recently, I discovered in the first five verses three wonderful truths that have helped me in seeing the hardest people in our lives won to the Lord Jesus Christ. If you have a burden to see your Dad, your Mom, your siblings, your children or your grandchildren come to faith in Christ, think with me about these three connected truths to see the reality of that hope.
First of all, there has to be Intercession.
In the next chapter, the apostle Paul tells us in Romans 10:1, “Brethren, my heart’s desire and prayer to God for them is that they may be saved.” Of course, the “them” he is referring to is his family whom he talks about in Romans 9:1-5. When I say “intercession,” I’m not just talking about prayer. All through God’s Word you find that intercession for the lost is much more than just praying for them. We need to distinguish between praying for our family and interceding for our family. Prayer is a form of intercession, but it’s not intercession. Intercession is not petition–it is position.
Prayer is the ultimate expression of intercession, but not necessarily intercession. It’s the voice of intercession. In fact, if intercession were a person, prayer would be his voice.
So what exactly is it? Do you recall in Ezekiel 22:30-31 when God said, “I looked for one man to stand in the gap and to make up the hedge”? He did not say “pray”–He said “stand.” Then God said, “… but I found none.” Was no one talking to God? Of course they were, but they weren’t “standing in the gap.” They were not interceding. Intercession is not something we say or do. It’s who we are. It’s a life that prays. Sometimes we pray for others with a sense of detachment. But intercession involves our life. George Mueller said, “The most important part of my prayer is the first 15 minutes after I say, ‘Amen.’”
It’s not just praying for our family. It’s living in front of our family.
A few Sundays ago, a woman came to me and told me she had been praying for her husband for nine years and that day he had received Jesus Christ as his Savior. She had not just been praying. She had been living and interceding … with her life. Every act of submission, every act of love and every attitude like Christ was a position. She was standing in the gap for her husband. She had been interceding.
The second truth is Involvement.
Paul said, “I have great sorrow and unceasing anguish in my heart.” May I ask you a question? Has your family ever seen you weep over them? Paul was involved with his family emotionally, physically and spiritually.
You can’t give birth to a baby without pain. You can’t save a drowning man without getting wet. And you can’t pull a person from a fire without getting burned.
Involvement is identity, humility and authority. Jesus was made in the “likeness of man.” That’s why He could say, “Father, forgive them.” He was identified with us and involved with us, therefore, He could intercede for us. Get involved with your family.
The last word is Integrity.
Paul said in Romans 9:1, “I say the truth in Christ, I lie not.” It is impossible to win someone in your family to Christ without having a life of integrity. Do you know why? Because they already know if you’re the real deal or not. They know if you walk your walk and talk your talk. So make sure the tongue in your shoe and the tongue in your mouth are going in the same direction. Make sure your witness with words is backed up with actions of integrity.
Intercession – Involvement – Integrity. Try these truths and see if just maybe God gives favor to your life, fruit to your prayers and forgiveness to your loved ones. May it be so for His name’s sake.
Ken Whitten, a NAMB National Evangelism Mobilizer, is the pastor of Idlewild Baptist Church in Lutz, Florida. He has pastored this church for more than 23 years. In that time the church has held over 9,000 baptisms.
Published May 30, 2018