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During several recent conversations with younger pastors I have recently asked, “What do you believe are the true Foursquare values?” Without hesitation the first response has been “family” or “relationships.” I agree! Family was one of the main values Gary and I were most attracted to when looking for an “adoptive home.” We picked up a brochure in a Foursquare church that listed four core values of the movement: evangelism, family, balance and consistency. Gary and I felt like we could have written the words we read in that brochure and we knew this was our tribe!

As we enter 2010, we have been called to a season of family prayer. When I put the words “family” and “prayer” together, several memories flash through my mind. I realize there is a bonding effect in relationships that happens through prayer like nothing else.

When our kids were very young we began a tradition of climbing up in the middle of our bed with all four of us in a circle, knees touching, for family prayer. Playful laughter, hurting tears, and heartfelt requests bonded us in a way no camping trip ever could! Gary and I have also found that intimacy is strengthened in marriages where the husband and wife experience transparent prayer together.

Another word often paired with “family” is “dysfunctional.” Its antithesis, “functional,” has been best described as “dealing with your difficulty in a godly way.” One of the best practices of becoming a functional family is praying together. It’s hard to stay angry or disconnected with someone you’re praying for! Something powerful happens in a relationship when we ask God to “Forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors.” (Matthew 6:12 NIV).

When the disciples asked Jesus to teach them to pray, His lesson was given in plural form: “Our Father… give us this day… forgive us our debts… lead us not into temptation” (italics added). Notice also how Jesus asked Peter, James and John to pray with Him for one hour (Mark 14:32). Prayer bonds the hearts of people together as it does the heart of man with God!

Prayer Focus: As we begin this New Year let’s focus this week on examining our own hearts:

  • Is prayer integral to the most important relationships in my life?
  • Am I being completely transparent in my time with God before others?
  • Am I harboring any resentment or any offense… is there any low-lying anger in my soul? Is my family dealing with our difficulty in a godly way?

By: Tammy Dunahoo, interim general supervisor

is the former general supervisor of The Foursquare Church. She now serves as the dean at Portland Seminary.