When you’re getting ready for that long-awaited family vacation, the last thing some of us think to do—or think we have time to do—is pray! We’re way too busy packing suitcases, perhaps our camping gear, and of course food supplies and treats for the trip. Don’t let the frantic buildup to the trip, however, distract you from the real purpose for the occasion! God knows you need rest, and wants you to get it, but we can honor him by submitting our plans to him so he can direct our steps—even in our vacation!
The key to praying for a family vacation is knowing the reason for it in the first place. Think about it: Why do we take time out to vacate the premises and travel with the family somewhere for a week or two once or twice a year? There are many reasons a family might travel, but no matter what our destination, we shouldn’t take a vacation from honoring and glorifying God! As we allow the experiences of our lives to flow from a living and vibrant relationship with God, even our vacations will reach new spiritual heights.
Pray for Genuine Rest
To rest is to allow our minds, bodies, and spirits to be rejuvenated and strengthened after hard work and busy, or even stressful, circumstances. Pray for genuine rest in God (Ps. 46:10), for sleep (Ps. 127:2), and to be able to trust God. And pray for lots of this! With this as with the other prayers, we won’t write out specific prayers; God knows your heart, and the Spirit will teach you how to pray.
Pray for Refreshment
To be refreshed—after rejuvenation and strengthening through rest—is to become enlivened, energized, and excited about the life we have been given, and all that is yet to come before us. Pray that your family will be refreshed in God’s love by his Spirit and be aligned in their very beings with God. Remember: we all grow weary and tired at times, but God can give us new strength (Isa. 40:28–31; Gal. 6:9).
Pray for Relationships and (If Needed) Reconciliation
Family friendships are the platform for much personal growth and ministry to occur. Plan and pray that your vacation will allow for quality time toward enduring friendship. Pray also for relational honesty needed for healing to be fostered within the family. The day-to-day life of today’s family may not always permit the leisure and focused time necessary for authentic relating. The God-honoring family is not the conflict-free family but the forgiving and reconciled family (Matt. 5:21–26).
God knows you need rest, and wants you to get it, but we can honor him by submitting our plans to him so he can direct our steps.
Pray for Reorientation
Taking time to rest and refresh allows us then to be ready to receive from God what he has in store. Pray for mental and spiritual reorientation, that your family can put behind them the confusion and stress of the past, and plan for a new and better future. Pray that each member of your family can set their mind on God and be ready for action (1 Peter 1:13)!
Pray for Renewal
Pray to return from your trip with a new and spiritual perspective (Rom. 12:1–2). Finish your holiday with a staycation to take advantage of the renewal wrought from time away. Take time to remove any obvious clutter and unnecessary excess that burdens your life: physically dispose of gathered junk (simplify!), emotionally commit to key wholesome relationships, and spiritually reset your compass for the foreseeable future. Praying for the family vacation according to the purposes of God is a truly effective and fruitful way to pray. We hope you and your family enjoy vacationing and spending time together this summer!
From our family to yours,
Andreas and Marny Köstenberger
Note: This article first appeared on Crossway’s blog on June 21, 2019. You can find the original blog post here.