"The prayer of a righteous [wo]man is powerful and effective."--James 5:16b This past Friday, I had the opportunity to share at the MOPS group that meets at our church. One of the things that I shared about was the power of praying for our husbands instead of utilizing the other forms of "helping" that often like to employ: nagging, complaining and comparing.
Now if you do these things, rest assured you are not the only one! In some form or other, I too have tried these methods, but I probably don't have to tell you how well they work. =) In fact, in my personal experience, I have found that they usually bring about the opposite effect! Instead of inspiring my husband to see my perspective, I only seem to strengthen his resolve to do otherwise. If I do manage to succeed, I can hear the grumbling and the negativity while he tries to make me happy.
Why is that? What I realized is that when I use these other methods, I have in essence taken the ball into my own court and am trying to do what only God can do. It is another method of control---taking over for God in my marriage. By nagging, I was hoping that I could shorten the timeline needed to see the change I wanted in my husband.
What makes prayer so challenging is that it requires us to relinquish control, to acknowledge our complete inability to change the hearts of our husbands. When I pray for him, I am asking God to graciously intervene and move my husband towards change.
A few years ago, one of the things that came up in our marriage was the issue of leadership in the home. I was very discouraged and desired my husband to step up and lead our family---not just bringing in the paycheck, but spiritually guiding our children and taking steps to nurture our marriage. I felt like I was doing it all myself, and somehow it seemed wrong to me, like I was doing a job that I wasn't quite sure I should be doing.
Looking back, I realized that God was working in my husband. It has taken a long time, but I can say that my husband is becoming the godly leader in the home that I long for. This weekend, we went away for a 24-hour getaway to discuss revisit our vision statement as a family as well as to talk over any decisions that we needed to make concerning the upcoming adoption. It was a very special time together...and he orchestrated the whole weekend! I came home feeling very blessed...and amazed at what God had done in my husband.
I wish I could say that I have always been faithfully praying for my husband, but I will have to admit that I didn't start regularly praying until this year. I think the main thing I have learned about praying is that God changes me and my perspective just as much as He changes those I pray for. When I bring my requests before Him, He does something in me as I learn to humble myself to ask.
This week, I am going to start developing this area of this blog with posts on how we can pray for our husbands. Using Scripture to guide us, I hope that you will join me in this adventure of seeking God on behalf of our husbands, so that they may grow to be the man God desires them to be. I hope you'll join me! May our prayers help build up our husbands so they may have the confidence to be the men God designed them to be.