Have you ever prayed and fasted for a family vacation?
Last week our family which includes a single daughter, four married children, their spouses and thirteen grandchildren vacationed at a beach house on the Outer Banks of North Carolina. That’s 24 people under one roof, including nine teenagers and four little ones five and under, besides the 11 adults.
In preparation for the week, my wife and I decided that we needed to pray for all who would be present, seeking God’s presence, blessing, peace, love and protection, which we reinforced with fasting.
The blessings were amazing! While the potential for chaos was possible, there was no fussing or bickering among teens or adults. The teens, both siblings and cousins, hung out together on the beach, jumping waves, using the paddle board, building sand castles for the little ones, sunning themselves, taking walks, cooling off in the pool, or relaxing in the hot tub, walking into town for an ice cream cone, and videoing themselves for a video trailer commemorating their week.
The married children also enjoyed hanging out with one another, catching up and sharing their lives. My wife and I just enjoyed taking it all in, engaging with adult children, spouses and grand- children alike.
Each family took responsibility for an evening meal with the teens preparing the last dinner on Friday night. Each evening meal was preceded by 24 people standing in a circle holding hands to say grace, led by the father of the family preparing the meal and one of the teens on their night.
Fathers and sons went deep sea fishing one day, while one mother organized an in-house spa day for the daughters. The men felt like the disciples when Jesus asked them to cast their nets on the other side of the boat. The catch included fifty-seven mahi-mahi, two mackerel and one 47 pound tuna.
All returned safely home, with no injuries, mishaps or accidents. We were spared the presence of sharks which had attacked swimmers on Carolina beaches in prior weeks. The weather included sunny skies during the days and showers only at night.
St. Paul says, “In everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.” We know that Jesus encouraged prayer and fasting because he gave us instructions on both in Matthew 6:5-18. Jesus encouraged us to ask and seek God’s presence and blessings. He said, “If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him.” (Mt. 7:11)
We asked, and God answered beyond all our expectations.
In this day when God’s institution of marriage and the family seem to be under attack, we were blessed to experience and celebrate marriage and family the way we believe the creator of all things intended them to be.