Ephesians 5:1-2 - Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children. And walk in love, as Christ loved us and gave Himself up for us, a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.
"The family that prays together stays together" was a popular saying that has been used so often it has almost become a cliché.
Now no Christian would argue with the assertion that it's important for a Christian household with friends and extended family members to share a prayer life together; however, true Christian living requires more of a godly influence on the family than a few minutes spent together in prayer.
In the Christian family, in the Christian household, the personal faith of each member will be evident in the dealings with all members of the family with one another. Family members will communicate to one another by word and deed the love and forgiveness that is theirs in Jesus Christ. When discipline is necessary, it will be of a kind that reflects the family members' relationship to the Lord. And together as a family or as a household they will strive in all things to bear witness to their faith.
The Christian family finds its motivation and rationale for its life together in Jesus Christ. What St. Paul says about husband-wife relationships in Ephesians 5 and about parent-child relationships in Ephesians 6 is all said under the banner proclamation he gives about all Christian relationships in Ephesians 5:1-2.
Take a few minutes now to read these passages from Ephesians 5 and 6. Think about what Paul says here and how it should influence your family's relationships, your household's relationships, with friends and extended family members.
Also relevant to the relationship of Christian family members to one another are the apostle's words in Ephesians 5:21. How will "submitting to one another out of reverence for Christ" affect the words family members speak to one another and how they act toward one other? In Ephesians 6:4, Paul talks about the relationship between Christian parents and their children. Read this section and consider how one's experience of the love of God in Jesus impacts children's obedience to their parents and the parents disciplining of their children.
The key to a Christian family living out His love—the mutual love we can only know because God first loved us—is Jesus. In the Christian household where friends, extended family members, and neighbors come together, we love one another and forgive one another. We do this because God loves and forgives us through the life, death, and resurrection of His beloved Son Jesus.
When discipline and correction are called for in the Christian family, it is always administered in love, given for the express purpose of benefitting the family as a whole—the household as a whole. By this the family is strengthened to better witness to the life they share by faith in Jesus. For by the grace of God and in the power of His Holy Spirit, the Christian family at work or worship, prayer, or play, bears witness to the faith that is in them throughout their Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
THE PRAYER: Heavenly Father, Your Son has brought us together as a family, as a household. Let us love one another as He has taught us to do. In His Name we pray. Amen.
From The Lutheran Layman, January 1979 issue, "The Family That Prays Together" by Ron Schlegel
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