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My name is Cheryl
I will never forget the moment. I was on stage at a large church conference where we focused on “Revival and the Holy Spirit” all weekend. It was now the closing session and I was getting ready to lead the congregation in corporate prayer for God to send revival to America.
In that instant, the voice of the Lord reverberated inside me with an overpowering weight and authority: “Revival will come to America when the FAMILY ALTAR is restored!
I was startled! Not one speaker during the conference had mentioned “family” as having any connection to revival.
As I mulled over what I’d just heard, I thought of all the unrest and insurmountable problems facing our country. I wondered how something so simple as families praying and worshipping together could bring spiritual life to this nation.
“Your plan sounds rather… simplistic,” I replied to the Lord.
Just then, a young man got out of his seat and took the microphone. He began to pray the exact words I’d just heard, “Lord, RESTORE the FAMILY ALTAR in homes across America!”
“WOW,” what a confirmation!
As he was praying, the heavens seemed to open before me. Suddenly I saw a few scattered homes light up with the hearth burning brightly where families were praying together. Then simultaneously homes all across the nation lit up as families were worshipping and praying …. until the whole nation was ablaze with the power and presence of God.
It took my BREATH away!!!
Every sphere of culture is important, but I hear the Lord saying, “It’s FAMILY FIRST.” Because as the family goes, so goes the nation, and so goes the whole world.
If you are like me, you want your home to be “a little slice of heaven here on earth!” But did you know that’s exactly how God designed it to be? God’s original design for family was that our homes would be filled with the atmosphere of heaven. Remember that the first home was set in the context of a garden.
The atmosphere was filled with the presence of God. Adam and Eve walked and talked with God every day. They had everything they needed in abundance. But Adam and Eve failed to stand guard and watch over their garden home.
Satan came in through the mouthpiece of the serpent and destroyed Adam and Eve’s happy Spirit-filled home. And he has been attacking and destroying the family ever since.
The enemy wants to destroy our families — and he is moving with great fury to destroy God’s original design for family in this nation. Evil forces beyond anything we can even imagine are pulling families apart, even distorting the concept of what family is.
Except for the church, every one of the seven mountains or spheres of culture seems bent on destroying the family: Whether it be the entertainment industry, news media, government, education, and even business.
Clearly the end-goal of the culture war is THE FAMILY.
I recently read an article entitled, “Should We Dismantle the Family?” According to researchers in government, healthcare and education, the nuclear family (a married mom and dad raising their children) has a distinct advantage. These families are far less likely to experience poverty, incarceration and social or emotional problems. The authors imply that this is somehow unfair – and instead of viewing the nuclear family as the solution to society’s ills, it is seen as a threat!
This is deeply disturbing.
History has taught us that the decline of any nation always begins with the decline of the family.
But consider that the decline of the family begins when God is absent from the family culture and worship and prayer cease to be a priority in the home.
We can’t disciple a nation if we fail to disciple our own families!
Ultimately the attack on the family comes from spiritual powers of darkness, and it is futile to fight this kind of battle with natural weapons alone. The battle for our families will be won in prayer!
Many of us pray at our state capitols, county seats, in front of the Supreme Court, and we prayerwalk our schools. Yet in this pivotal moment in our nation, there is a fresh call from the Lord to pray in our homes…. and for …. and with…. our families.
This is how one generation passes on the stories of God’s faithfulness to the next generation.
“We will tell the next generation the praiseworthy deeds of the Lord, his power, and the wonders he has done….so the next generation would know them, even the children yet to born…. then they would put their trust in God and would not forget his deeds” (Psalm 78:6-7).
My friend, Teresa Tay, shares one simple thing her family did that produced miraculous results:
One day as she was praying, she heard the Lord say, Teresa, I want you to build a family altar.
“What does that mean, Lord?” she asked.
She sensed He was asking her to start a regular time of family prayer and worship. But how would this be possible, she thought, since her two sons were grown and married? She told the Lord she was willing but needed a plan. As she waited, a simple idea dropped into her heart. She called each member of her family and suggested that they fast and pray together every Tuesday. They all would miss breakfast and lunch and then gather at her home for dinner. Everyone agreed.
After the meal, they worshiped the Lord and prayed together. To guide their prayer time, she asked them a single question, “What do you want God to do for you in the coming week?”
Her daughter-in-law is a physician. She said she wanted to see healings and miracles in her practice, so they all prayed in agreement with her. Within three weeks, the Lord began to answer. Since beginning their weekly family prayer altar, her daughter-in-law has seen patients healed of tumors, women who could not previously conceive become pregnant, and many young women freed from depression and other serious problems.
Soon they could not wait until the next week to hear what God had done in everyone’s life and how He was answering their prayers!
It is powerful whenever anyone prays. “The effective prayer of a righteous person accomplishes much” (James 5:16). However, there is exponential power released when we pray together.
If two of you agree as touching anything on earth that you should ask, it will be done for them by my Father in heaven. For where two or three gather in my name there am I in the midst of them” (MATT. 18:19-20).
Whether you live alone or in a household with children, married or single, you can still light the altar of prayer and worship in your home.
You can begin taking steps now to build—or rebuild—your own family altar. Here are some suggestions:
Best-selling author Germaine Copeland’s powerful book, Prayers that Avail Much, was written from the testimonies of the prayer meeting she held in her home. Women gathered to pray for one another’s families, all day once a week. They kept a prayer journal of prayer requests and answers to prayer. The testimonies were so powerful that she had to share their stories and the scriptures they prayed for each other.
Imagine what might happen if pastors all across the nation began to call their congregations to establish a family altar. What if families regularly invited God’s presence into their homes and prayed not only for one another but for their schools, workplaces, and churches? What if every time we gathered to pray, we asked God to send another Great Awakening to our land? I believe we would see families restored, prodigals coming home and revival fires ablaze, with a multitude of people coming into God’s Kingdom.
I hear the Lord’s urgent CALL, even a PROMISE, to His church today, “If you will build an altar, I will come…. to your family …and to this nation!”
Dear Lord, our families and this nation need You as never before. We are facing problems that have no human solution. Only You can bring the healing and reconciliation that we so desperately need. We ask You to send a sweeping nationwide revival and let it begin with me…in my home, in our homes.
Ignite a fire in this nation through the family prayer in America, one that spreads to every sphere of culture – churches, schools, businesses, sports and entertainment, media and government. And, Lord, we pray that this would not end with us, but that our children and our children’s children would keep the fire on the family altar burning— that the generations to come would put their trust in You and not forget Your faithfulness.
Cheryl Sacks is the best-selling author of The Prayer Saturated book series: The Prayer Saturated Church, Prayer-Saturated Kids, and The Prayer Saturated Family—How to Change the Atmosphere in Your Home through Prayer. Her newest book, Reclaim a Generation, 21 Days of Prayer for Schools, will be available soon at ReclaimAGeneration.com
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