A few years ago I picked up a book which altered the course of my marriage. My marriage had been in a stable season, and we weren’t feeling the weight of crisis or anything. But we hadn’t been able to make the “sweet seasons” of marriage last as long as we wanted, and we weren’t sure how we had entered or left those seasons to begin with.
However, when I started to read, Power of a Praying Wife, a light switch flipped. As a wife, I hold extensive power over the course of my marriage. I can drive the direction of our union. I hold power, and I don’t need to wield it with my husband…..I need to wield it with my Savior.
For years I prayed for my husband, but I prayed about the things I wanted God to change in him for my benefit. I wanted more attention, I wanted his affection, I wanted him to be more thoughtful or considerate, etc. Everything I prayed about concerning my husband was ultimately aimed at benefiting me. I wanted God to change things in my husband because I was more concerned about his actions towards me than his heart toward Jesus. My actions were right, but my heart wasn’t!
God deeply longed for me to have a healthy, thriving marriage, but I couldn’t manipulate God through prayer to achieve it. God isn’t a genie. I can’t say a “magic prayer” and fix things in my marriage instantly, or get my desires met simply by asking God to sprinkle happy fairy dust over my husband.
I learned how to pray for my husband, not about my husband. Rather than pray for God to fix my husband in areas I feel he’s lacking, I pray for God to strengthen me in areas my husband is weak in. I pray for God to make me a better wife for my husband. It feels so backwards at first, but I promise you, it works! Remember, God’s math is a little backwards from the world’s math. In God’s economy, changing my heart as the wife, totally transformed my husband’s heart toward me. Which was exactly what I had wanted originally! But when I did it God’s way, not only was my husband’s heart changed toward me, my heart was changed toward God. And this my friends, is the beauty of the power of prayer!
Through this season of learning to pray for my husband, myself and my marriage I learned:
Prayer keeps me on the offense in my marriage.
For years I went to God in prayer out of necessity. I was on the defense. Fielding attacks from the enemy, and when my resources ran out, I ran to God in prayer. I spent a lot of time playing defense and not enough time playing offense. When I became intentional about praying over different areas of my husband’s life, I began to shift the game and control the playing field. I stopped being blindsided by the enemy, and I began to see his tactics at work in my life. Once I began to see Satan’s schemes, I learned how to counter act them, avoid them, and out play him.
We live in a fallen world, and we are fallen people. Yet we have this romanticized notion of marriage (and relationships in general) where we’ll never be wounded and sinned against. So when we do find ourselves heart broken we wonder how the relationship fell apart. It’s craziness.
When I prayed offensively for my marriage, it wasn’t that I wanted problems or struggles, but I was no longer taken aback by them. I knew trials would come my way, but when they came my heart was already shielded by Jesus to absorb them.
Prayer keeps my heart humble toward my husband.
As I started to read through and study the different areas of my husband’s life and all the ways in which I could cover him in prayer, I realized just how great a responsibility and burden he carries as the leader of our home. In the eyes of God my husband is responsible for my life and well being as well of our children. That alone is a great burden to bear, but when I consider all the people my husband is responsible for at work, his roles and responsibilities in ministry, leadership, family obligations…..the list goes on and on. My perspective on his stress level, his priorities, and his desires began to shift. I began to pray for the different areas of his life specifically, and with each area of his life I prayed over, from his work, to his sexuality, finances, relationships, etc. my heart softened to the needs of each area of his life. My heart turned from pride to compassion toward him as I brought forth his burdens to the Lord in prayer each day.
Prayer for my husband builds intimacy in our marriage.
Whether we acknowledge it or not, our marriage is a covenant relationship we enter into when we say our vows. We covenant with our spouse and the Lord. My marriage is really a party of three. While praying for my husband, I built a deep spiritual intimacy with the Lord. The stronger my relationship with the Lord became, the stronger my relationship with my husband became. The spiritual connection grew between us and every area of our marriage benefited.
I wish I had spent more years covering my husband in the shield of protection prayer offers, rather than complaining to the Lord about things I found obnoxious or needs I hadn’t learned how to communicate effectively. I wasted precious time in prayer griping rather than giving thanks. I want so much more for you friends.
Whether married or not, these same principles of prayer can be applied to any relationship we find ourselves in. When we take the needs of the person to the Lord in prayer we find ourselves and our relationships changed. It may take time, and there may be healing and work that needs to take place, but we can be confident in life change happening when we pray for it!
Don’t be surprised though, when God starts with changing your heart first!!!
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