“Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. Bear with each other, and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity.” (Colossians 3:13-14)
Also Read: Colossians 3:1-17
Valerie and John used to attend church together when they first married, but as the years went by, he found other things to do on Sundays and preferred to stay at home while she went alone.
This led to increasing friction between them, for while John became less and less interested in spiritual issues, Valerie found that her faith was growing and God was becoming more important to her. Their problems only got worse whenever they tried to discuss issues of significance.
One day it dawned on Valerie how much she resented and even disliked John. The more she thought about it, the more she worried as to where her feelings could lead. Wisely, she decided to talk to a church counselor, who showed her that, as far possible, she needed to understand, love, and respect her husband —despite their different priorities.
The counselor reminded Valerie that one of the great strengths of Christianity is that, with God’s help, Christians can display a tolerance and acceptance of those who irritate them. Jesus’ love is such a powerful resource that we can respond with dignity and respect —as Jesus did when he was opposed.
If there is one thing that eventually may bring John to Jesus Christ, it will be Valerie’s respect and love for him —especially when he least deserves it. However, in the meantime, Valerie needs to be patient and faithful for as long as it takes.
“Although I sometimes find it hard to be tolerant, Lord, help me today to appreciate the good things about my husband, and to respect his views —even if I cannot agree with them. Help me to become more like Jesus.”
A Question to Answer:
If Jesus lived in your house, how do you think he would handle your husband’s feelings about him and the church?
The above devotional thought came from the book, Praying for Your Unbelieving Husband …120 Reflections, Prayers, and Action Steps -by Michael and Diane Fanstone. Reverend Fandstone is senior pastor of Emmanuel Baptist Church in Gravesend, England. He is the author of Unbelieving Husbands and the Wives Who Love Them and The Sheep That Got Away. Diane Fanstone is actively involved with her husband’s ministry. They have two children. This is their first book together, which unfortunately, is no longer being published.
— ALSO —
Whether you have an unbelieving husband or an unbelieving wife, you can always take the pronouns in the following posted prayers and change them to fit the needs of the spouse you are praying for. And then even add some that come to mind as you are copying these.
An article you may benefit from reading and using to help you to pray for your unbelieving spouse, is found on the Familylife.com web site:
Here is a prayer that was formerly posted on the Internet, written by an “Everyday Mom” who is praying for her unbelieving husband, that you may find inspirational as you pray for your unbelieving spouse (change the pronouns if it applies):
“Father God, once again I come to you for guidance and help. It is my desire to have a husband who fears You, who walk in Your ways.
“Help my husband to see the truth of Your Word. Open up the eyes of his heart. Remove from him a heart of stone and replace it with a heart of flesh. I pray for your Holy Spirit to work on him on his life.
“Give him a sound mind and help him to be faithful to his marriage vows. Create in him a clean heart and renew a right spirit within him.
“I pray that he will shun the very thought of evil, impurity, pornography, adultery, perversion, unfaithfulness from his mind.
“Help him to take charge of his spirit and to resist temptation. May he abhor evil and cling to what is good.
“I pray that he will choose Godly friends and Godly counsels that can influence him in positive ways. Let him not be a man who is unteachable, Father.
“Surround him with Godly friends, I pray.
“I pray he can be a good and positive example for his young children. I pray that he can learn self control and be a father that is worthy of respect from his family. As he go out to provide for his family, I pray that you surround him with favor.
“I pray that you protect him from the devise of the wicked.
“Open up doors of opportunity for him Father and increase his working skills to be better in each passing day.
“Take foolishness out of his heart and enable him to quickly recognize error and avoid it.
“Open his eyes to clearly see the consequences of any negative behavior.
“Instruct him as he is sleeping and in the morning may his path follow Your guidance instead of his flesh. The wisdom of this world is foolishness to You Lord. May he not buy into it.
“Keep him as the apple of Your eye. Hide Him under the shadow of your wings. (Psalm 17:8) Amen.”
And then here is something else that may help you in praying for your spouse:
And lastly, something we posted in an article, written to those who love prodigals. This particular advice comes from the book, Parents in Pain, written by Dr John White. Even though it deals with parenting issues, the following can be used in praying for any prodigal —a spouse, as well. [Please note that I divided the advice into bullet points for your praying convenience.]:
- We may ask with every confidence that God will open the eyes of the morally and spiritually blind.
- We may ask that the self-deceptions which sinners hide behind may be burned away in the fierce light of truth,
- that dark caverns may be rent asunder to let the sunlight pour in,
- that self-disguises may be stripped from a man or woman to reveal the horror of their nakedness in the holy light of God.
- We may ask above all that the glory of the face of Christ will shine through the spiritual blindness caused by the god of this world (2 Corinthians 4:4).
All of this we can asks with every assurance that God will not only hear but will delight to answer.
But we may not ask him to force a man, woman, or child to love and trust him.
- To deliver them from overwhelming temptation: yes.
- To give them every opportunity: yes.
- To reveal his beauty, his tenderness, his forgiveness: yes.
But to force a man against his will to bow the knee: not in this life. And to force a man to trust him: never.
Said another way, the Lord will not save a person against his will, but He has a thousand ways of making him more willing. Our prayers unleash the power of God in the life of another individual. We have been granted the privilege of entering into intercessory prayer for our loved ones and of holding their names and faces before the Father. In return, He makes the all-important choices crystal clear to that individual and brings positive influences into his or her life to maximize the probability of doing what is right. Beyond that, He will not go.
If you have additional tips you can share to help others in this area of marriage, or you want to share requests for prayer and/or ask others for advice, please “Join the Discussion” by adding your comments below.
Filed under: Spiritual Matters