Week of Fasting and Prayer: Day 2

Ephesians 5:22-33; Genesis 2:18; Ecclesiastes 4:9-10

I’ll be honest… day one was just starting to get difficult for about the time we had prayer at the church last night. We had a sweet time with about 15 people that ministered to me personally. Being in this together is a blessing. Doing this alongside brothers and sisters is strengthening. Whatever plans you have and however you’re approaching the fasting part of this week, if you feel yourself especially challenged on any given day, I would urge you to go to prayer that evening if possible. It’s like getting reinforcements on a depleted battle field.

Our focus today is toward marriage, family and relationships. I want to emphasize that relationship part. Because of course not everyone is married or has a family. But we all have relationships. And we all have relationships which most impact us, and which are most shaping to us. We all have relationships which get strained and conflicted, and which prey on or provoke our anxiety and insecurity.

Jesus said, “if you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that your brother has something against you, leave your gift there before the altar and go. First be reconciled to your brother, and then come and offer your gift (Matt. 5:23-24).” Jesus is telling us that our relationships have massive spiritual significance. Our ability to walk intimately with God is powerfully impacted by the state of our relationships in general and especially by those relationships which are the most important.

For those who are married and have children, the state of those relationships is obviously of the utmost importance. But if you aren’t married and don’t have children, the state of your relationships are no less important. Our fasting and prayer is an exercise in seeking God. And Jesus tells us that in our worship and seeking of God, reconciliation with our brothers and sisters is a matter of profound urgency.

As it relates to marriage and children specifically, maybe there is a specific conflict that needs resolution and this is the moment God is convicting you to move toward the other. Maybe it’s as simple (even if really difficult) as you needing to humble yourself and apologize and seek forgiveness. But within these family relationships many of our conflicts and unreconciled relationships are more chronic. If that’s the case, a simple apology probably doesn’t fix things. But perhaps today is a day you stop ignoring some unhealthy dynamics that are longstanding and you start to seek the Lord about your responsibility in that dysfunctional cycle.

You likely can’t resolve prolonged tensions in a day, but what if today you got honest with your spouse or child or parent or sibling or someone close; someone with whom your relational brokenness is doing harm to you and them; maybe today you could just take the step of communicating directly your recognition of the state of things and your desire to seek the Lord diligently on behalf of the relationship; that you would like to work toward healing and reconciliation. Maybe today doesn’t settle everything, but what if today could start a needed movement in the right direction.

There are plenty of pained relationships outside of those immediate family one. You may be on the side of being betrayed or hurt. You might be on the side of the offender. You likely can identify with both sides at any given moment. That’s not trivial. Ask the Lord to search your heart today regarding coldness, distance, avoidance or resentments toward people. Ask him to show you if there are any who you know have things against you which are lingering unaddressed. Today is a day to close the gap. To move in the direction of peace. Maybe that starts in your heart. Maybe it includes communication with another. Whatever the case, let’s allow Jesus to move upon our hearts and mobilize us toward reconciliation, healing and rightly ordered relationships.

We will be diving deeply into these matters of marital oneness and relational wholeness in a series starting this Sunday. You can pray for this season at Generations to be one of deep reconciliation where needed and meaningful healing to form in our marriages, families and friendships for God's glory and our joy.

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