Have you ever wondered why, after raising your children in the ways of God, they choose to walk away from Him and go their own way?
The heaviest burden for a parent to carry is for his or her own bloodline—his or her children and grandchildren and their eternal destiny. Children are a heritage from the Lord and the greatest weight on a parent’s heart.
I have met thousands of parents whose children were raised in a local church but today are spiritually AWOL. Why?
Here are three often-undetected root causes why your family members may avoid church. There are social reasons. Some feel uncomfortable meeting new people, are not sure how to dress and feel awkward when asked to hold the hand of the stranger next to them. There are also neurological reasons. People suffer from a variety of disorders that may cause them to feel uncomfortable in a service. Some neurological disorders like Autism cause difficulty in sitting and are disturbed by loud music or noise. Some have economic reasons for not attending because they believe the church is always asking for money.
But the ultimate reason for many avoiding a Christian gathering is spiritual. First, according to John 12:40, the adversary has blinded the eyes and hardened the hearts of some, preventing them from receiving knowledge and being converted. Another reason is simply unbelief. It is impossible to receive any spiritual or, for that matter, physical and financial blessing or breakthrough if a person abides in unbelief. Their wrong thinking prevents it.
Wrong thinking creates what we call strongholds. The word stronghold was used by the Greeks when speaking of a castle or a military fortification that was built to prevent access. In Paul’s writings strongholds are mental blocks of thinking that prevented spiritual breakthroughs.
The adversary will use a person’s wrong thinking to build up a mental stronghold, hindering them from going to the very place where their mental and spiritual chains can be broken. Believers must also deal with wrong thinking and never allow human reasoning to exalt itself above the knowledge of God, but to pull down mental strongholds (2 Cor. 10:4-5).
When parents have asked me how they should pray for their prodigal son, daughter, or at times grandparents are concerned about their wayward grandchildren, I share how I pray for my own children. The first thing I do is thank God for giving me two wonderful children—a boy and a girl. I then declare that anyone who carries my DNA or my name (Stone) that is linked to my family will all be in the kingdom of God and not one will be missing. I ask God to protect them from harm, danger, and any disabling accident, and I assign a generational angel to be with them. At times when I have seen someone in my bloodline struggle and knew a demonic spirit was attacking them, my prayer became aggressive and a rebuking anointing began flowing through me as I rebuked the powers of the adversary, demanding them to “get their hands off” that person and for God to bring relief and restoration. It is also important to discover if there is a “root source” to their resistance to God—a hurt, an offense, a misunderstanding—that should be dealt with.
Parents should also pray in advance for the friends their children have, beginning at an early age, as many of their choices as teenagers will emerge out of peer pressure from those surrounding them.
At times it takes very intense and consistent intercession to initiate a life-changing breakthrough in family members. Often when a parent or any believer engages in intense intercessory prayer coupled with a prayer burden, the seeker will receive an assurance before they see the actual breakthrough. The Greek word for assurance in the New Testament means a complete and peaceful confidence in a matter (1 Thess. 1:5; Heb. 6:11, 10:22). Once this inner assurance is received, it releases a calming effect that settles your mind or spirit, as God’s still, small voice prompts your perception that everything will be all right and you can move from asking God to thanking Him in advance (see Isaiah 32:17).
When I was a teenage minister, I canned this feeling of assurance, “I know in my knower!” For example, there have been times I have prayed for individuals whose situations were so bleak that it required a supernatural intervention, or what we term a miracle to bring them back from the brink of death or destruction. However, when prayer was offered under the anointing of the Spirit, a peaceful calm erased the doubts and confusion. We left the hospital knowing that everything will be well.
Never cease to pray for your lost family members and begin thanking God when you sense an assurance. Remember, the peace of assurance will precede the actual breakthrough, often by days, weeks, and months. The best way to disrobe the assurance is in the words of Paul, when he wrote, “For we which have believed do enter into rest” (Hebrews 4:3, KJV). When faith and assurance collide, you will be at rest, even in the midst of the most severe storm … for even Christ could sleep through a storm knowing He was going over to the other side (Luke 8:22-25). God’s assurance that He is and will be moving on your behalf will bring a mental, physical, and spiritual rest to you.
Prayer Power for the Week of March 23, 2015
This week exercise your faith and seek to enter “His rest” concerning the petitions you have made. Meditate on His goodness, faithfulness and ever-present help. Allow His peace to rule your heart as you wait on Him for the answers to be evident. Thank Him for the assurance that He is and will be moving on your behalf. Turn your thanksgiving into praise and declare that the joy of the Lord is your strength. When you pray for the peace of Jerusalem and the persecuted church, remember those in authority over us and ask God to guide their steps toward wise decisions (Heb. 4:3; Luke 8:22-25).