Something amazing happens to our hearts when we pray for another person. The hardness melts. We become able to get beyond the hurts, and forgive. We even end up loving the person we’re embracing in prayer. It’s miraculous! It happens because when we pray we enter into the presence of God and He fills us with His Spirit of love. (Stormie Omartian)
We want to revisit the subject of prayer once again because it’s so important. We’ve personally seen the power of prayer transform our lives in so many positive ways. One way is that the Lord has brought unity into our relationship despite the walls we created through our hardened hearts.
Embracing Through Prayer
We would like to share with you a point that Stormie Omartian makes in her wonderful book, The Power of a Praying Wife (Harvest House Publishers). She addresses the question, “I don’t even like him —how can I pray for him?” Keep in mind that even though she is addressing wives, concerning husbands, the same can be said and prayed by the husband concerning his wife. She writes:
“Have you ever been so mad at your husband [or wife] that the last thing you wanted to do was pray for him [or her]? So have I. It’s hard to pray for someone when you’re angry or he’s [she’s] hurt you. But that’s exactly what God wants us to do. If He asks us to pray for our enemies, how much more should we be praying for the person with whom we have become one and are supposed to love? But how do we get past the unforgiveness and critical attitude?
“The first thing to do is be completely honest with God. In order to break down the walls in our hearts and smash the barriers that stop communication, we have to be totally up front with the Lord about our feelings. We don’t have to ‘pretty it up’ for Him. He already knows the truth. He just wants to see if we’re willing to admit it and confess it as disobedience to His ways. If so, He then has a heart with which He can work.
Pray and Confess
“If you’re angry at your husband [or wife], tell God. Don’t let it become a cancer that grows with each passing day. Don’t say, ‘I’m going to live my life and let him [her] live his [or hers].’ There’s a price to pay when we act entirely independently of one another. “Neither is man independent of woman, nor woman independent of man, in the Lord.’ (1 Corinthians 11:11)
“Instead say: ‘Lord nothing in me wants to pray for [my spouse]. I confess my anger, hurt, unforgiveness, disappointment, resentment, and hardness of heart toward him [her]. Forgive me and create in me a clean heart and right spirit before You. Give me a new, positive, joyful, loving, forgiving attitude toward [my spouse]. Where [my marital partner] has erred, reveal it to him [her] and convict his [her] heart about it. Lead through the paths of repentance and deliverance. Help me not to hold myself apart emotionally, mentally, or physically because of unforgiveness.
“’Where either of us needs to ask forgiveness of the other, help us to do so. If there is something I’m not seeing that’s adding to this problem, reveal it to me and help me to understand it. Remove any wedge of confusion that has created misunderstanding or miscommunication. Where there is behavior that needs to change in either of us, I pray You would enable that change to happen.
Don’t Hang Onto Anger
“‘As much as I want to hang on to my anger toward him [her] because I feel it’s justified, I want to do what You want. I release all those feelings to You. Give me a renewed sense of love for [my marriage partner] and words to heal this situation.’
“If you feel you’re able, try this little experiment and see what happens. Pray for your husband [or wife] every day for a month. Ask God to pour out His blessings on him [or her] and fill you both with His love. See if your heart doesn’t soften toward him [or her]. Notice if his [or her] attitude toward you doesn’t change as well. Observe whether your relationship isn’t running smoother.
“If you have trouble making that kind of prayer commitment, think of it from the Lord’s perspective. Seeing your [spouse] through God’s eyes —not just as your [spouse], but as God’s child, whom the Lord loves —can be a great revelation. If someone called and asked you to pray for his or her son, you would do it, wouldn’t you? Well, God is asking.”
Embracing Through Praying
I (Cindy) pray the Lord ministers to your heart through these thoughts. I know that nothing draws me closer to a right attitude about my husband than praying for him. As Stormie also said:
“I’ve seen women with no feelings of love for their husbands find that as they prayed, over time, those feelings came. Sometimes they felt differently even after the first heartfelt prayer.”
I know this to be true in my own life. There was a time when I didn’t think I had any love for Steve. But as I began to pray that God would “renew a right spirit in me,” and I laid my dead feelings at the feet of Christ and prayed for Steve, God resurrected that, which was dead. God helped me to love Steve for who he really is instead of who I thought he needed to be.
As I (Steve) re-visit the subject of praying, I’m drawing again from the book, The Power Of A Praying Husband by Stormie Omartian (Harvest House Publishers). As Cindy said, it’s sometimes difficult for our wives to pray for us because there are times they don’t even “like us.”
As I reflect on her statement I can’t help but think that those times usually happened when I was either apathetic or too controlling in our relationship. Neither of those behaviors modeled Christ like behavior. I found Stormie’s book enlightening in a number of different ways regarding having the proper “prayer attitude” when praying for Cindy.
Let me cite an example. In The Power Of A Praying Husband Stormie wrote:
“Whatever you don’t pray about in your life you leave up to chance. And that’s not good enough when it comes to your marriage. The problem with chance in marriage is chances are there will be difficult times. Chances are there will be disagreements. Chances are there will be misunderstandings and hurts. And chances are there will be selfishness and hardness of heart. That’s because we are, after all, human. But if we leave the outcome of these things up to chance, we’ll wind up in trouble down the line.”
Stormie maintains that all of these things can be turned around through prayer.
“If busyness, work-aholism, unforgiveness, strife, childrearing, careers, separate interests, boredom, miscommunication has crept between you and your wife, God can work through your prayers to bring down the wall that separates you, and mold you together in unity. Praying for your wife will not only soften her heart, it will soften yours as well.”
Embracing Hope Through Prayer
Doesn’t that give you hope? No matter what’s happened in your marriage, God can bring healing. You have Him on your side. And if God is on your side, you become a winner in the end!
We encourage you to pray for one another and love each other as God loves you. Please know our prayers are with you as together, we strive to make our marriages the best they can be because of the love of Christ,
Steve and Cindy Wright
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