It was December when I had the inspiration to call for a family fast. Like many other cowardly lions, I didn’t follow it up right away. But the same prompting from the Lord occurred a few more times. I finally acted when I noted a number of pressing issues among my children and grandchildren. Five out of my six children had lost their jobs, or had seen a decline in business, or were in a major financial crisis. Important college and career choices were coming up for the grandchildren. In addition, there were health issues for extended family members: prostate cancer, alcohol struggles, mental health concerns, and interpersonal relationship issues.
I proposed to each of my children and their spouses that we have a week of prayer and fasting to seek the Lord’s mercy and provision for each other. They all agreed to participate!
The format was this. Each person would fast in some way that would work for him or her. Each day the whole family, grandchildren included would pray together for that day’s specific fast intention. (I made a schedule of the intentions and sent it to everyone.)
We started the week of fasting and prayer at 2pm on Sunday, January 16. Most of the family in our home town met at my daughter’s home. We went over the schedule and committed with each other to the family fast. During the week I communicated with each family to get a report on how it was going and to give encouragement. Then, on Sunday afternoon, January 23, the families based in Jackson all came to my home where I had prepared a standing rib roast dinner to celebrate the end of the fast together. Now it was time to see if anything happened.
One reported 12 new clients that week. We were encouraged to have such a quick and marvelous answer.
After three weeks another had a new job starting later that month with $22,000 in medical benefits alone. Then another family saw an unusually rapid recovery from surgery on their seven-year-old son. Then the family member struggling with alcohol quit drinking.
Those answered prayers were great but more important to me were two other results. First, our family unity was strengthened substantially – a joy for any grandparent. Second each of us grew in our faith in God especially the grandchildren. They saw God answer their specific prayers for specific people.
1) What was most clever, appealing, or effective about what this grandfather did?
2) His family was in a place to respond, but grandpa still took a risk. Discuss briefly where your children and grandchildren are at spiritually. Then think about what the next spiritual step up might look like.
1) Talk to at least some of your children and grandchildren. Identify what needs they have that might be answered by prayer or fasting.
2) Identify something you can do at the next family gathering.
Bill Navarre has 13 grandchildren and lives in Clark Lake, Michigan.
Copyright © 2016 Grandly – The Strategic Grandparents Club.