March 22, 2012
Advice to Wives: Stop Praying
"Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love." Ephesians 4:2 (NIV)
Irritated. Frustrated. Hurt.
Those were the words bumping around in my mind as I grabbed my Bible and sat down to do some sort of quiet time.
I felt like such a fake mindlessly scanning these words on thin pages. My heart wasn't connecting. My mind wasn't tuned in. All I could think about was the argument I'd had with my husband.
Why couldn't he see my point? Why didn't he understand? Why was he being so stubborn?
I closed my Bible and decided a much more productive thing to do with this situation would be to pray. That's what godly women do. And oh how spiritually sound I felt listing all the many things the Lord could do to fix my man- all that was wrong with him.
Sounds spiritual. However, it was anything but.
Suddenly in the middle of my prayer, all I could sense God saying was, "Stop."
Stop? Stop praying? Well, that certainly couldn't be from the Lord ... so I kept going.
But the word "stop" was pulsing through my mind with each beat of my heart. And deep down, I started to sense why.
God wasn't looking for me to be a "fix him" wife.
God was looking for me to be a "love him" wife.
I needed to stop praying. At least, I needed to stop praying the way I had been. Yes, there were things my husband needed to work on. But nothing good was happening when all I did was complain about him.
I needed to be a wife daring enough to ask God to reveal to me how to love him. And I needed to ask God where I was going wrong—where I was being selfish—where I needed to work.
When I shifted my focus on letting God change me, that's when I started to see real progress.
In this season of struggling through all of this, God taught me three powerful lessons:
1. Is this an irritation or an issue?
There is a big difference between an irritation and an issue. Identifying the difference helps me pick my battles. If this is just an irritation, maybe I need to practice being more flexible, patient or willing to extend grace?
2. Am I praying about or for my husband?
If I do sense something that needs to change, I need to pray for my husband—not about him. Praying about him is just ranting. Praying for him means digging into God's Word and praying scriptures specific to his struggles. That's powerful! When we pray the WORD of God, we pray the WILL of God.
3. Where is my focus?
I'll never be able to control how another person acts and reacts, but I certainly can control how I act and react. My focus shouldn't be on having the right partner. My focus should be onbeing the right partner.
Slowly, as I shifted my heart in these areas, I saw such progress in our marriage. Do I still get irritated, frustrated and hurt? Of course.
But when I stopped trying to fix him, I was freed up to just love him. And love him more completely like Ephesians 4:2 reminds, "Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love." And loving him is so much more fun and realistic than fixing him!
Dear Lord, help me to focus on being the right partner. Shift my heart to reflect Yours Lord. Help me to put aside my pride so I can hear You whisper to my heart those things I can do to improve my marriage. In Jesus' Name, Amen.
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Reflect and Respond:
If you do sense something that needs to change, pray for your husband—not about him. Praying about him is just ranting. Praying for him means digging into God's Word and praying scriptures specific to his struggles.
Ephesians 1:4, "For he chose us in him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight. " (NIV)
© 2012 by Lysa TerKeurst. All rights reserved.
Proverbs 31 Ministries
616-G Matthews-Mint Hill Road
Matthews, NC 28105
Originally published Thursday, 22 March 2012.