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About ten years ago, God sent me a present, and I have no doubt it was a gift straight from heaven. Let me explain.
Years ago when my three children were little, my husband and I were going through a really rough time. The stress of two full time jobs, small kids, finances, and relationship problems had become overwhelming and emotionally taxing.
After yet another heated argument, I found myself feeling so discouraged, that I hardly knew what to do. Strange as it may sound, I decided to go to the car wash to pass the time.
As I drove towards the car wash, I could no longer hold back the tears. I thought I had tried everything possible to improve our marriage and felt emotionally worn out from worrying about our relationship. I was tired of the arguments, and tired of feeling exhausted over worrying about my marriage.
I arrived to my destination, wiped away my tears, handed over my dirty car, and proceeded to take a seat in the empty waiting room.
I sat there, all alone, feeling low in spirit and clueless about how to fix my marriage. I wanted to be a good wife, and I wanted to feel loved by my husband. I wanted the marriage I had always longed for, and I longed to do whatever needed to be done to make things better. Yet, I had run out of energy, and hope. I was at the end of my rope. The tears began to flow once again, and I hung my head in despair. For lack of not knowing what else to do, I began to pray.
I pleaded with God, asking Him to show me a sign; to give me a definitive answer to my concerns; to give me a solution. I needed to know that God saw my pain, and that He hadn’t forgotten me.
As I sat there trying not to fall apart in this public place while being consumed with my worries, I breathed in a heavy sigh and for the first time, glanced down at the rickety, beaten up old table beside me……and laying on the table was the book called “The Power Of A Praying Wife”, by Stormie Omartian.
My heart not only skipped a beat, I think it skipped a few beats. My spirits soared and I had a lump in my throat as I immediately thought “Wow! God sent me a book!”
I burst into tears in gratitude and thankfulness, praising God for sending me the “sign” that I had asked for. I believe with all my heart that God had divinely ordained for someone to leave that exact book, in that exact car wash waiting room, on the exact day that I would choose to get my car washed for the first time in many, many months. He arranged for me to find that book, just moments after I had surrendered my marriage to Him and pleaded for intervention from Him.
One book. One holy answer. No explanation for it – except God’s attempt at giving me a message I so needed to hear.
I eagerly drove home in my unusually clean car, plopped myself onto the couch, and opened the pages of the book, only to have my breath taken away again – to my surprise, Stormie’s husband’s name was Michael – my husband’s name was Michael! Almost a bit creepy huh? But a wonderful supernatural-surprise-which-gives-you-chill-bumps kind of creepy!
God had sent me a tangible answer to a tear stained silent prayer with the gift of that book. An answered prayer that I could hold in my hand and gain wisdom and strength from. An answer that I knew only He could have ordained. An answer that I could tuck safely away, and pull out to hold each time I needed some reassurance of His love and concern for my husband and I.
God made it crystal clear, that the one vital thing my marriage had been missing, was prayer FOR my husband, not about him.
As I read through the first few pages of the book, I was acutely aware that the words on the pages could have easily been written by me. The raw feelings the author expressed were so close to my own thoughts and feelings, that I hardly knew how to process them all, and with each page, God spoke truth and healing into my wounded heart.
From that day forward, I made a commitment to pray FOR my husband, even when I didn’t feel like it, even when I didn’t want to, even if I didn’t think he deserved those prayers. To pray FOR him when things were going great between us, and to pray FOR him when things were not so great. To pray FOR his work, financial decisions, sexuality, affection, temptations, fears, purpose, choices, health, protection, trials, integrity, reputation, priorities, relationships, fatherhood, attitude, emotions, deliverance, and faith (many of the chapters reviewed in the book).
I also made a commitment to stop asking God to fix my husband’s flaws, and start asking Him to open my eyes to what I could fix about myself that would improve our relationship. Yes, that was hard, and took some humility to admit that I was not without fault too, and to be honest, it is a prayer I find myself continually praying even to this day. Humility can be hard, but sometimes the things that bring the most blessings, can be the some of the hardest things that God calls us to do. And one important thing I have learned is that there is a big difference between praying FOR someone, and praying ABOUT them.
Stormie Omartian says this on page 14 of her book: “A husband can hurt your feelings, be inconsiderate, uncaring, abusive, irritating and negligent. He can say or do things that pierce your heart like a sliver. And every time you start to pray for him, you find the sliver festering. Its obvious you cant give yourself to praying the way God wants you to until you are rid of it.”
She goes on to say that sometimes our marriages get to such a point of hurt and despair that we feel emotionally paralyzed and incapable of making good decisions – which is what ultimately leads to divorce – and that when we are in the middle of an unfulfilling relationship, divorce seems almost like a “promise of pleasant relief”.
That is a powerful statement, and one that I think will resonate with many of you, based on the numerous comments that were left last week, which spoke of utter despair, frustration, hopelessness, loneliness, and the absolute exhaustion of trying to make your marriage relationship better. I understand those feelings, because I have been there…. but there is hope.
On this particular day, in a damp, smelly car wash, that hope was dropped in my lap, through this precious book that God had arranged for me to receive.
After that day, I began to pray for my marriage like I had never done before. And just like Stormie states she had to do, I also had to confess my own hardness of heart each time, and ask God for the strength to put aside my feelings, and focus on Him. I had to learn to forgive. I had to learn to pray for my husband, and admit that not praying FOR him, was getting us nowhere. I had to lay my marriage at His feet, and let go.
Slowly, but surely, I began to see changes. I began to see God work in our relationship. And, on May 26th, Michael and I will celebrate our twenty-third wedding anniversary. We still have bumps in the road, and problems that call for deeper prayer and dependence on God at times, but I truly believe that it was my commitment to begin praying for my husband that has made all the difference in the world.
Is our life a peaceful harmonic melody all the time, full of unshakable marital bliss? Absolutely not. We are just a regular couple with regular every day problems. But no matter what we are going through, I know I can take it to the Lord. I know He will hear my prayers. I know I can trust Him to help us work through any issue, big or small, because no matter how big our problems seem, God is bigger.
You see, a wife’s prayers are powerful. It may take a few weeks, months or at times years to see the full impact of our prayers, but the prayers of a wife for her husband have power and they do not fall on deaf ears. John 15:7 says, “If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be given you.”
If you desire a loving and fulfilling marriage, and you are willing to trust God to do whatever it takes to thrive in your relationship, God can help you and your husband reach that goal. It won’t happen overnight, but it can happen.
DAY 1 CHALLENGE: PRAY
To begin this 14 day challenge, I want to challenge you to PRAY FOR YOUR HUSBAND. Pray for him in a new and passionate way – today and every day. Hopefully, regardless of how hard or awkward it may feel at first, you will begin a new habit which you can continue to do every day for years to come. If you have already been praying about your marriage daily, be sure you are praying FOR your husband, instead of ABOUT him.
If your marriage is going great right now, then pray for your husband. If your marriage is on the rocks, then pray for your husband. If your marriage is all but over, then pray for your husband. If you are getting married soon, then pray for your husband-to-be. Even if the problems you are experiencing in your marriage, if any, are not your fault at all, praying is still the first step towards positive growth. And while you are praying, BELIEVE that God hears your prayers, and that He is always at work in the lives of those who love Him, even our eyes are temporarily blinded to what He is up to.
I feel confident that you will begin to see God blessing you, as you spend time in His presence every day, and eventually, you will see Him blessing your marriage as well.
Stormie ends the first chapter of her book by sharing a profound statement, that says “It’s your responsibility to pray. It’s God’s job to answer. Leave it (your marriage) in His hands.”
When we surrender our marriage to God, only then can He truly take control.
To enter to win, leave a comment stating one area of your husband’s life that you will begin praying about for him. Simply put, how can you pray FOR your husband in a new and fresh way?
Random drawing winner will be announced here on my blog on Thursday, March 14th.