Wednesday, March 4, 2009

pray big for your marriage

I have recommended the book Pray Big for your Marriage before but thought I'd give it some more free ad space. I am moving ever so slowly through it and tailoring the prayer suggestions for my marriage. And...I am already seeing answers to my prayers. I am humbled by God's goodness and by the joy of committing to praying more than just "bless us, God."

Some examples of suggested intercessions in the book include praying that
- you and your spouse won't settle for mediocrity in your marriage,
- your marriage would mirror God's everlasting love and lovingkindness,
- God will expose and remove any barriers that keep you from knowing all the joy He intends for your marriage, and
- you will love Jesus MORE than you love your spouse, etc.

I'd like to be transparent here...not because I think my words are going to be super exciting or profound, but because I know how incredibly helpful the honest sharing of others is to me.

I've mentioned before that I am not the prayer warrior I long to be. I know that God is our Abba (Romans 8:15) and some people converse with Him easily throughout the day just as they would their earthly Dad. However, for some reason I always think of Isaiah's encounter with the Lord (Isaiah 6) and feel like I need to be locked in my closet, face on the ground, and going through the ACTS steps in order to pray. Not for ritual but for reverence! Think Wayne and Garth, "I'm not worthy, I'm not worthy."

BUT...I know that God meets me where I am, and He's been using this book to encourage me in prayer.

I have been praying the intercession listed above asking God to "expose barriers." Let me just say that the first day I prayed this, I did so with the acknowledgement that I am so often a barrier...THE barrier. God must have agreed and started revealing very specific ways that a change in me would lead to more joyful intimacy in my marriage.

Keep this in mind: If you read the account of Adam and Eve in the garden, God gives the instruction about the "forbidden fruit" BEFORE He makes Eve. There is no mention of God reiterating His words to Eve. Perhaps He did, or perhaps Adam shared the news and she was expected to trust him...we don't know. But we do know that Eve was deceived by satan and then gave the fruit to Adam, who ate of it in direct transgression (1 Tim 2:14). However, after they BOTH ate of the fruit, God addressed Adam. Nevermind that Eve ate first. Nevermind that she gave the fruit to her man. God addressed Adam.

I am a girl led by emotions and sometimes volatile ones at that! If up to me we would probably have started an orphanage in our guest room, given our entire savings to combat human trafficking, and be trekking to Mexico every weekend to build homes for those need. All good stuff, right? But is it God's will for our family?

Now because I believe that God designed the husband to lead the family (1 Cor 11:3), I pray often for Scott to have wisdom in guiding our family and our business. Yet, even when not meaning to, I often try to impress my ideas and my timing on him rather than trusting that He is surrendered to and being led by God. I mean, why haven't we sold all of our belongings yet? There is a baby in africa who needs milk!

I think most husbands, like mine, really want to make their wives happy...and perhaps sometimes men can succumb to the desires (or nagging, whatever the situation may be) of their wives in order to achieve this. Is this what Adam did? Did he disobey God in an attempt to make Eve happy? I don't know but I do know that, by Divine design, Scott is responsible to God for our family. Remember how God addressed Adam?

My guess is that we can expect to see more joy in our marriages when we fully commit to praying for our husbands to be surrendered to and led by God and then trusting that it is actually happening. May we be more conscious of what we ask of our husbands...praying that their desire to obey God will supercede their desire to make us happy. When God calls the name of your husband, may it be to say, "Well done, good and faithful servant..."


Rebecca said...

Tish, this was such an encouragement to me today... I've been terrible about praying for my marriage lately, even though it NEEDS it. I can relate so much when you say, "I am so often a barrier... THE barrier." So easy to make excuses, like "I'm so busy", "the kids won't nap", and "I'm not a morning person" to justify our lack of communion with God... when really it's about our own hearts.

I find it easier to pray for Andy to be a good leader, than to actually TRUST his leadership. That is where the rubber meets the road and where it involves letting go. I know that displays a lack of faith on my part, when my actions don't follow my prayers! I have been asking God for more faith, but finding that He is asking me to practice with the little I have (and I'm not passing the test with flying colors... that is for sure!)

I appreciate your honesty my friend - as always!!

Love you,

Stefanie said...

Amen. I am SO with you on this... God has firmly gotten a hold of my heart in regards to my husband being the leader of the family. And what a blessing it is to be married to a godly man!
I am reminded of how God curses Adam and Eve after the fall. He tells Adam he will work hard all his life. He tells Eve she will suffer the pain of childbirth and that she will ALSO suffer from the desire to CONTROL her husband. I have found this to be SO true of myself... the desire to control him, our family, our path. But God intended for us wives to REST in the knowledge that our husbands are the spiritual leader of the home. And when we give that control up (or our idea of control, because we never really have control!) it is such a blessing! God has worked in my heart in such a way that I truly am grateful I can defer to Chris now. And because he knows I defer to him, he takes his job much more seriously... his energy isn't expended on emotional outpourings on my part of trying to manipulate our future!
Like you, I have been seeking God's leading in our marriage. I have found my prayers also focused on THANKING God for my husband. And thanking Him for His plan of joining a man and a woman in a truly blessed union.
I want to also encourage you, if you're not already, to pray WITH your husband. This was hard for us at first to commit to, but now it is such a special time of our day. We pray at night right before we go to sleep... I pray for him, he prays for me... it's brought us so much closer.
I gotta get that book!!

The Family K. said...

As always, your posts bring hit me where I need it most. Thanks for sharing what's on your heart.

Tish said...

@rebecca...rubber meets the road...good way to put it!

@stefanie...yes, that part about "desire to control" has always made me laugh and cringe at the same time! there is a Divine purpose in the fact that God made men and women so differently!

@judy...unfortunately i have so much to write about because i struggle so much!

Jenna said...

Tish, this really was so applicable for me this week. And, I had never even THOUGHT about the fact that God won't ask ME to answer for my family- that he'll only ask Scot. (Show's you how self-absorbed I am!) That hit me hard. I'm printing this post out as a reminder to me- I know I'm THE barrier for sure.

And, funny, I'm the opposite of you when it comes to prayer. I'm no prayer warrior for sure, but instead of locking myself into the closet and falling face first, I pray short one-three line prayers throughout the day- sort of stream of thought. I'm B.A.D. and the formal sit and have a long conversation prayers, on your face really focusing prayers. And, I need to do more of that. The day-long-consciousness prayers have their place, and they have worked wonders in me, but really, I need to spend more focused and quality time in prayer.

Thanks again for always sharing your heart. You clearly listen to prompting from God when posting from your heart, because we all seem to need to hear it right when you post it! :)

Tish said...

@jenna...i need to print it out, too! because i can easily type it up, hit publish, and forget God wants me to APPLY it!

Jenna said...

Ah, yes....I often do that too when God teaches me something! :)

And, by the way, if you all need rain down there in the desert, I'm HAPPY to ship you a nice big box of snow free of charge!

Don and Lisa Osborn said...

Tish~God is using you to be an instrument of His word and you are impacting so many people as a result. Thank you for your powerful words.


Mark, Rebecca and Sophia said...

OK, so whamm-o. God has used this post as a final, "When can I get through your thick skull?" sign.

I have really started to be convicted about this lately. I realized a couple of weeks ago that now that Mark is back from Iraq, that my prayer for him is basically "Be with Mark". What does that even mean? I then asked Mark what I should pray for him, and he just said to make an impact.

I do pray now for Mark to make an impact, but praying for our marriage and his leadership (Which I am so with you on, despite the world screaming, "So 1930s!). I'll look into this book.

I am with Jenna on the prayer warrior thing. I am a short, choppy prayer. I stink out at long, thoughtful prayer. I miss so much that I intend and want to pray for.

Thank you for sharing your heart! You've got big guts, girl.

kari said...

yes, yes, yes!

Andrea said...

So...I'm I like the ONLY one who lets my Man call ALL the shots around here??????


Just seein' if you were payin' attention..

I find myself praying for God to make Stacy to see things like I DO ooooorrrrr
while Stacy is trying to explain HIS point of view I am thinking to myself" SO WHAT? Suddenly I have NO brain...and I need you to tell me what to do???"

Worse part of the whole thing is that he is usually right. Fortunately for me -he WILL pull rank...Which is probably why we do not have a donut shoppe next door to Sherry's Place in Guangzhou selling eclairs, coffee ,hamburgers, & grits(That's for you Becca) to stressed out American parents...Cause that was actually a plan of mine....
THAT is why God gave me Stacy.
Poor Sweet Man.

OK ...where's the visa..I'm buyin' the book.