Seeking God As A Family
By Kim Butts
When I met Dave, who became my husband, I wanted to spend as much time with him as possible. I wanted to know everything about him, because he had captured my heart. Yet, there is One who has captured our hearts in a way no human relationship can begin to imitate. The Lord Jesus has made us a part of His forever family. He has saved us from the penalty of sin and death and given us eternal life – something a relationship with another person can never come close to doing. He is to be our first love, our primary relationship above all others. We should long to spend time with Him and to know everything about Him. In the morning, our first thoughts should be of Him. During the day we should continually be in touch with Him, and at night, we should fall asleep with His name upon our lips.
How well do you know your Lord and Savior? How much time do you spend daily seeking to know Him in the deepest, most intimate way possible? Do you long to be with Him, to know the depths of His heart? Most of us have a long way to go in order to put our desire to know Christ above the other relationships and things that compete for our time and attention.
I would like to encourage you today to seek Christ individually and as a family. He knows everything about us, and wishes to be known by us in return. Knowing Jesus requires effort on our part. It requires reading, studying and meditating on His Word. It calls us to put His Word into practice. It necessitates seeking His face in prayer and listening to His still, quiet voice as He speaks into our lives.
Psalm 24:3-6 gives us a wonderful description of those who seek Him: "Who may ascend the hill of the LORD? Who may stand in His holy place? He who has clean hands and a pure heart, who does not lift up his soul to an idol or swear by what is false. He will receive blessing from the LORD and vindication from God his Savior. Such is the generation of those who seek Him, who seek Your face, O God of Jacob."
David gives us probably the best Biblical example of one who desired to seek after the Lord: "O God, You are my God, earnestly I seek You; my soul thirsts for You, my body longs for You, in a dry and weary land where there is no water. I have seen You in the sanctuary and beheld Your power and Your glory. Because Your love is better than life, my lips will glorify You. I will praise You as long as I live, and in Your name I will lift up my hands. My soul will be satisfied as with the richest of foods; with singing lips my mouth will praise You. On my bed I remember You; I think of You through the watches of the night. Because You are my help, I sing in the shadow of Your wings. My soul clings to You; Your right hand upholds me" (Psalm 63:1-8).
Do you want to seek Christ as David did? I do! I want the Lord to say of me, "Here is a woman after My own heart." David connected with God on an intimate level. The Lord was his primary relationship. Our Father has promised in His Word that when we seek Him with all of our hearts, we will be found by Him – what an amazing promise!
God’s Word has much to say about seeking Him. When we seek Him with all of our hearts, we will find Him: "But if from there you seek the LORD your God, you will find Him if you look for Him with all your heart and with all your soul" (Deuteronomy 4:29). When we seek Him, we may rejoice and be glad in Him: "But may all who seek You rejoice and be glad in You…" (Psalm 70:4).
Let’s look at some practical ways to engage in seeking God as a family:
• Seeking God in Your Prayer Closets – Help each member of your family to find their own personal "prayer closet." Be creative. Each person should have his or her very own place to seek God’s face. It doesn’t have to be an actual closet – just a place that is private and away from distractions. You may need to be creative. Perhaps a corner of a room with a room divider…or put a small chair underneath the stairs. If you live in an area with a warm climate most of the year, an outdoor prayer closet might be a good idea. John Wesley’s mother sat on a kitchen stool with her apron pulled over her head. As a family, "set apart" each person’s prayer closet by praying that he or she will meet God there in a special way each day. Make an agreement that you will all respect the space around one another’s prayer closets whenever they are in use.
• Seeking God Anywhere – Although having a private prayer closet set apart to seek God is very important, there are no limits on where we can seek His face. The Lord can hear our prayers no matter where we are. Jesus sought the Lord in solitary places: "Very early in the morning, while it was still dark, Jesus got up, left the house and went off to a solitary place, where He prayed" (Mark 1:35). Jonah discovered that the Lord could hear his prayer from the belly of a big fish. Even in the highest heights or the deepest depths, the Lord may be found by us. "If I go up to the heavens, You are there; if I make my bed in the depths, You are there" (Psalm 139:8). It doesn’t matter where you are…you can still pray, listen, and worship the Father. You can pray on the playground, or in the car. You can pray while shopping for groceries, or while waiting in a line. Seeking God can be done anywhere!
• Seeking God Any Time – God tells us to pray continually (1 Thessalonians 5:17). We can pray any time of the day or night. "…In the morning my prayer comes before You" (Psalm 88:13b). "On my bed I remember You; I think of You through the watches of the night" (Psalm 63:6). "…and continues night and day to pray and to ask God for help" (1 Timothy 5:5). "Night and day we pray…" (1 Thessalonians 3:10). Perhaps as a family you could seek the Lord at different times of the day. Perhaps you could train your family to pray while waiting in a line, or waiting for dinner to finish cooking.
• Seeking God As Those in the Bible Did – Many of us pray the way we were taught when we were children…we bow our heads and place our hands in our laps. There is absolutely nothing wrong with this…and it is a good way to seek God. However, it might be fun for your family to explore some of the other ways that people in the Bible prayed. What we do with our bodies when we pray is not important; however, sometimes our "posture of prayer" is a wonderful expression of the feelings in our hearts and spirits. If you wish to humble yourself before the Lord, you may want to kneel or lie flat on the floor. If you wish to confess sin or to express your repentance, you may want to bow your head. If you are expressing deep need or great joy – you may wish to stand and raise your hands. Do you see? God is not concerned with your position as much as He is in the condition of your heart. What we do with our bodies when we pray is a way to express how we feel about our spiritual condition and how we feel about God.
Spend some time searching God’s Word for ways that people used their bodies in prayer as they sought God. Here are some Scriptures to get you going:
Bowing heads or bodies shows reverence and submission to God – Genesis 24:26-27; Exodus 34:8-9. Have each family member give one or two prayer requests. Bow your heads or bow to the ground and pray over those requests together.
Kneeling has always been a universal sign of submission and obedience – Daniel 6:10, Luke 22:39-44; Matthew 15:25; 2 Chronicles 6:12-14. Pray for your unsaved family and friends as you kneel together before the Lord. If you feel led to, spread your hands toward heaven, as King Solomon did.
Raising or spreading out our hands as a sign of both praise and petition – The Hebrews used their hands to show their dependence upon God and their respect for Him. Lifting up holy hands was the common prayer posture among the Jews and the early Christians. Lifting their hands symbolized an expectant attitude and trust in God – that He would fill their empty hands with His blessings – Exodus 9:29; Exodus 17:10-13; 1 Kings 8:54-55; Psalm 63:4; Psalm 141:2; 1 Timothy 2:8. Pray for the leaders of your nation, your state, and your community. Lift up holy hands together as you do. Pray that God will give them wisdom and discernment. Pray for their health and protection. Pray for their families.
Standing is a sign of reverence and respect – 1 Chronicles 23:28-31; 2 Chronicles 20:2-9; Luke 18:9-14. Stand together and give praise to God. Take turns thanking Him for all of the blessings He has brought into your lives. If you want, say short sentence prayers like this: "Lord, I praise You for_____."
Lying prostrate before the Lord – This was a position taken in times of deep, intense, emotional prayer. There is no more humble position than this one – Deuteronomy 9:18-20, 25-27; 1 Chronicles 21:16-17; Matthew 26:39. Think of some deeply important needs – your own or someone else’s. Perhaps someone is struggling with a life-threatening disease or some kind of life crisis. Perhaps sin has been weighing you down – this would be an appropriate position in which to confess and ask the Lord for forgiveness. Or maybe you need to ask God something very important. Come before the Lord together on behalf of these requests, lying facedown before the Lord. You can pray quietly by yourself or pray out loud together.
Looking up – Mark 6:39-44. As you give thanks for a meal, look up to heaven as you do. Spend time as a family thanking the Lord for the way He has provided everything you need – your food, your clothing, your housing. Look toward heaven when you pray.
Spend some time together praying quietly as Hannah did – 1 Samuel 1:9-18. God is perfectly capable of hearing our thoughts when we pray silently. There are times when praying in this way is very appropriate. We need to learn as a family to be comfortable with silence, for out of silence the Lord often speaks very clearly. Spend some time together in silent prayer. Ask the Father to speak to your hearts. If you have trouble concentrating, picture Jesus in your mind and concentrate on Him.
Shout your praise to the Lord – Psalm 66:1-4; 71:23; 95:1; 98:4-6. It is certainly appropriate to cry out to the Lord in times of desperate prayer. It is also appropriate to raise our voices in praise! Try praising God in a loud voice, saying Acts 4:24: "Sovereign Lord…You made the heaven and the earth and the sea, and everything in them."
It is important for your family to learn that if we seek the Lord, He will be found by us (1 Chronicles 28:9). It is also important to know that our Heavenly Father rewards those who seek Him in faith: "And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to Him must believe that He exists and that He rewards those who earnestly seek Him" (Hebrews 11:6). Always keep this passage before your family: "Glory in His holy name; let the hearts of those who seek the LORD rejoice. Look to the LORD and His strength; seek His face always" (1 Chronicles 16:10-11).