Let Us Pray!
Let us Pray!
I love those three words! When I hear these words and then obey, I am confident that answers, peace and comfort are only moments away! Prayer is the foundation of faith. I am always amazed how many Christians don’t understand prayer’s purpose, don’t value its importance and simply don’t like to pray. I’d like to spend the next few weeks on prayer and the dramatic effect it can have in your marriage!
WHAT IS PRAYER?
Prayer is simply communion with God. If you can think, you can pray. Prayer can be silent or spoken out loud. Praying can be communal like when we pray at church, or all alone like when we pray in the prayer closet. You can pray standing (2 Chronicles 20:5), kneeling (Daniel 6:10), or prostrate (lying face down) as Jesus did in the Garden of Gethsemane (Matthew 26:39). You can pray with hands folded and eyes closed, or with hands in the air eyes gazing into heaven (Psalms 134:2). You can pray according to a list, or by God’s very Spirit if you cannot formulate the prayer when your heart is troubled (1 Corinthians 14:15). Praying is a basic spiritual discipline – it is a fundamental part of the Christian faith. Before Jesus came to earth, communion with God was more difficult. Early followers of God prayed to the heavens and to an unnamed God. Then there were long periods of time when God was silent (Isaiah 42:14). Everything changed with Jesus! He entered the picture and rescued us from sin and death because of our inability to keep the law. Jesus simplified it all. Jesus gave us a face for God. And, He encouraged us to consider prayer as a dialogue with God. Jesus even taught us how to pray (Luke 11:2-4). In this passage, the disciples walk up on Jesus praying. This is a post in of itself! But I digress. Jesus taught us to pray with the basic truths of the Lord’s Prayer. Jesus also taught us how to address God with dignity, how to rejoice in His creation and in His goodness, how to receive His mercy, how to make a request, and how to repent. These things were new to His disciples, and are still relevant today, 2,000 years later, for us Christ followers.
SIDE BAR: Growing up, we called it the, “Our Father Prayer.” As a child, I thought the line, “deliver us from evil,” was actually, “deliver us from Eagle.” Eagle was a great big scary dog in our neighborhood - long before leash laws. 😊 So, this prayer worked – I was never eaten by Eagle!
Before Jesus gave His life for us, He promised us a Comforter, the Holy Spirit, who would remain with us until His return. The Holy Spirit lives inside each believer. The Spirit helps us, among many other things, to pray. Today, Jesus is sitting on the right hand of God the Father petitioning for you and I (Ephesians 1:20-23). So, prayer is a critical part of how we are to live our daily life and fulfill what God has called us to do, including living out the Gospel in our marriages and in our families. This is not a futile waste of time. It is a powerful and meaningful connection to our Heavenly Father!
Over the years, and given the restraints of time, my prayers have become more efficient. Every morning, and before leaving for work, I would pray in my study - my own personal prayer closet. I’d pray for exactly 10 minutes, then run and hop in the shower. There I would finish praying and blow-dry my hair. And during my morning commute, I would wrap things up with God. I have kept a prayer journal for years. Not to write down my prayers, but to write down prayer needs. Some prayer needs are given to me by friends, family and co-workers. Other prayer needs come from what I notice. On the last day of each month, I review the requests and mark “Hallelujah” by those met by God. I call it JUBILEE DAY! It is a boost to this sister’s heart to watch God work in the lives around me. Some requests stay on my list for years. When God answers them, I respond with a Holy booty shake! 😊
Most of the above prayer time happens alone. Just me, chatting with my Heavenly Father. But, I also love praying with Jody (Matthew 18:20). This is a powerful avenue of my prayer life. Keep reading.
WHAT HAPPENS WHEN YOU PRAY WITH YOUR HUSBAND?
When we first married, praying together was weird. Not gonna lie – it was uncomfortable. I was never sure if Jody, my husband, was finished and if it was time for me to chime in or not. Sometimes talked over each other. Then we would wait for the other to say something. If a long time went by with nothing said, I would open an eye to make sure Jody was still there. Awkward. Prayer is an intimate activity, and as our relationship was young and immature, it naturally followed that our prayer life would be too! In our first few years, we only prayed at meal times and occasionally before going to bed. Because my husband is a “slow talker,” I’m sure that on more than one occasion I nodded off during his part of our bedtime prayer. We loved each other, but because there was still a part of us that wanted to impress the other, we couldn’t allow ourselves to be vulnerable. Our prayers often sounded like we were a couple of Latin scholars. Laugh like you have no idea what I am talking about, but I know you do. Every time I would use the word, “doeth,” or “hath,” I was merely imitating what I thought smart, spiritual people should sound like. I know that God got a good snicker! 😊 It took years for our married couple prayers to become natural. And, I would go so far as to say that it took 20 years for us to be completely naked in our prayers. I am thankful that we didn’t retreat to reading written prayers, or stop praying with each other altogether. Instead, we kept “forging through the weird!” Our family motto is, “Creekmore’s Never Quit!” For my husband’s and my prayer life, our motto was important. So don’t lose hope, my younger sister. Keep praying for and with your spouse. It will get better! And during the whole awkward, weird journey, God will be glorified.
I am thankful for where we are now in our prayer life in our marriage, because it is precious thing! Our times together thanking and petitioning the Father are some of the best times we spend together. Let that sink in. That is truth; not a platitude! I love to pray with Jody. He is my favorite prayer partner. Because it is in prayer that I fully know my husband’s heart, his concerns, his burdens, and his victories. In prayer, I see the areas in which I need to help Jody, and vice versa. It is in the midst of his heartfelt pleas to His creator that I see the beauty of the story God is weaving though his life, and through ours. In these moments my whole spirit rejoices as we truly stand, walk, lay, or kneel in unity (Matthew 18:19-20)! Through joint prayer with Jody, my prayers for him back in my prayer closet are much more specific and, I believe, more powerful.
WHAT HAPPENS WHEN WE PRAY FOR OUR SPOUSE?
A few years ago, Jody and I committed to pray for each other everyday in a more disciplined and structured way. I thought that I had been doing ok. Each morning in the shower or on the commute into work, I would petition the Father with Jody’s needs. I would pray for God to give my husband favor, to equip him to serve the military well and for others to become increasingly aware of his differences so that God would be glorified by the light shining in my husband. I prayed, but I didn’t always do it whole heartedly. It kind of became a list item on a spiritual “to do” list. You know, smile at grumpy neighbor on the morning walk, recycle to take care of this beautiful planet God created, and pray for the hubby. But in January of this year, I decided that my prayer life needed revamping, a make over so to speak. I downloaded two sweet books on prayer: “A Praying Life” by Paul Miller, and “Intercessory Prayer” by Andrew Murray. These were exactly what I needed. Game Changers!
I began to pray for Jody in a very specific way. I was convicted of the routine nature of my prayers. And, this exposed my lack of faith. I was, in some respects, going through the motions. I wasn’t trusting God with the real issues. I guess I thought that I could “10-step Jody to a better place.” 😊 But starting in January (3 Godly Goals https://wordwashedwife.com/blog/2017/12/31/3-godly-goals-for-2018) I too began to wait on God while praying, instead of rushing about my busy day. I like to describe this process as the “tarry” - the two-way communication prayer that was meant to be! Now, logistically speaking, retirement has given me the freedom to pursue a less anemic prayer life. But, I could have been doing this all along, as could you. As we get close to June, I encourage you to re-look your prayer life. Make sure your time with God has “pregnant pauses” built in for you to wait for God to reply – He may do this by bringing-up a scripture in your heart, or by giving you a peace-filled impression.
In a nutshell, I pray specifically for each area of my husband’s life. I pray expecting God to show up and fill Jody to overflowing with His spirit. I have seen a huge improvement in his joy, his patience, his thoughtfulness, his generosity with his time and resources, and in his willingness to serve others, including me! Jody knows that I am always praying for him, and he says he can feel the difference. When I hand him his travel coffee mug in the morning as he leaves for work, he shares with me specific things for which I can pray. And, I share the same with him. I can always feel the effects of his prayers!
Ecclesiastes 4:12 states that a cord of three - God, husband and wife, can not be broken. What better way to bind our wondering hearts together than through prayer! Keep it all washed in the Word, sisters! More about prayer next week - What Happens When God Is Silent. In June, we start our month of praying for our husbands. Yippee! Each day I will post a prompt on my Word Washed Wife facebook page (open group - just ‘LIKE” it to follow along) suggesting what we should pray for our husbands that day. I’ll include a scripture for your own prayerful meditation too! And, I will periodically go LIVE and encourage you all to keep praying!
I expect God to show up and do great things in the heart of our husbands hearts, and in ours through the month-long process! If you are discouraged in your marriage, tired of dealing with the same sin, tired of your husband’s lack of spiritual leadership or love for your family, then this series is meant for you! As we obediently pursue God in prayer, He will answer!
I also have some guest bloggers lined up for June. I’ve asked my daughters, Maddy, Sarah and Becky, and my Mom, Polly, to write a post about their experiences praying for their husbands! You are in for a treat! Keep reading, friends!
Keep it washed in the Word, friends!
“This, then, is how you should pray:
“‘Our Father in heaven,
hallowed be your name,
your kingdom come,
your will be done,
on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us today our daily bread.
And forgive us our debts,
as we also have forgiven our debtors.
And lead us not into temptation,
but deliver us from the evil one.’