Pray First? Sadly We Forget Sometimes

Pray first pixabay pray-664786_1920My husband Steve and I have been married for well over four decades. We have been dedicated Bible-believing, Bible-living Christians for most of it. So you would think that we wouldn’t “forget” to pray when we should. But sadly, sometimes we do. When a problem comes up, sometimes we forget to pray first and then react.

Oh, we usually remember to pray in the morning together before we set off for the day. It’s something we started doing years ago. And it has definitely helped us. But we need added prayer times together, when we’re entering into situations where we’re tempted to argue in ways that we shouldn’t.

Pray First, React Afterward

Last week, we had one of those times. We had an event where we live, that Steve and I planned to benefit from, and enjoy. It was a semi-annual subdivision garage sale. This is where people within a several mile radius of where we live, sell used things they no longer need. These are things that other people may want to purchase. We had a short list of things we were looking for and hoped to purchase. We enjoy the discounts and we enjoy the time together.

But sometimes when we go out on this type of outing, we find ourselves squabbling over petty, little things. It doesn’t make sense as to why this happens. But it does. Maybe I think Steve is driving too fast or too slow, or whatever. And maybe he is displeased because he doesn’t want to go into a certain neighborhood that I want him to go… On and on it goes. Petty? Yes. The way we should act? No.

I’m thinking that perhaps you and your spouse may get into these types of situations. If you do, I’m writing this to suggest that you try to pray together first before you do something that can bring tension between you. (And if your spouse won’t pray with you, then you can petition God for both of you.)

Pray first Before Going into a Tense Place

Thankfully, we did pray together last week beforehand. And I have to tell you that it’s amazing how well we did together. Before we left, Steve took my hand and suggested we pray that God would make us to be peaceable with each other. What a novel idea!

It wasn’t until later in the day, after we had been home for a while that I realized how great we did together. I stood there amazed. I thought, “why didn’t we think of doing that at other times when we would be tempted to pick away at each other?”

So, I decided to write this blog to bring this to your attention. Prayer works, when we remember.

Prayer Works When We Go There

But there is another turn that I didn’t expect to happen before I wrote this. Steve and I spent some time this morning, working together on projects around the yard. And I have to confess; we argued about stupid little things. Our work styles are definitely different. And sometimes being “different” leads to tensions rising up, so we are tempted to squabble about petty things.

Sadly, we did. And you know what? We even prayed beforehand that God would help us NOT to go in this direction. Grrr!!! So why did this happen today and yet it didn’t happen last time?

I’m thinking that we didn’t pay attention to God’s promptings. I’m also thinking that it goes to show us all, that even under the best of situations and intentions, we sometimes fall and fail.

Two Lessons

There are two lessons that come to mind. The first is the importance of praying first. That in itself, with God leading the way, can help us to “fall” less than we might have otherwise.

But the second lesson is, that it’s also important what we do next, if we DO fall. Upon recognizing that we aren’t doing what we should have done, we don’t nurse, rehearse, and continue to grab onto feelings and behaviors that we shouldn’t. Instead, we stop and pray. We confess our own failures (even if our spouse won’t confess his or hers), and work to reconcile our differences the best we can.

We all stumble and sin. But it’s important that WHEN we do, we don’t keep perpetuating our sinful ways, and instead stop, drop to our knees (or our hearts), and pray.  We are to reconcile our differences with God and with each other. Confession, expressing sorrow to God and to each other, and repenting (intending NOT to repeat the offense, if we can), truly does work. “Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective.(James 5:16)

I can tell you that it works. Prayer works, as we look to God to help us. In between typing, I’m looking at my husband right now as he sits across the room. Right now we’re doing just fine. Squabbles? What squabbles? How I love this man… and how I love our God! Thank you Jesus for helping us to remember to pray!

— ALSO —

On a related thought, something that Fawn Weaver (from the “Happy Wives Club”) wrote, caught my attention. I’m thinking it might catch yours too. She talks about arguments in marriage where the “Law of Acceleration” takes over. This is where “we go from being hurt to angry, from disappointed to frustrated, and from sad to mad.” It’s something I believe we all need to recognize and consider. You might think about even posting a sign or two up somewhere that says, “BEWARE OF THE LAW OF ACCELERATION WHEN YOU’RE UPSET.”

To better understand what I mean by this, please read:

The Day I Almost Yelled at My Husband
(How the Law of Acceleration in Marriage helps to keep your emotions in check)

Cindy Wright of Marriage Missions International wrote this blog.

If you have additional tips you can share to help others , please “Join the Discussion” by adding your comments below.

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4 responses to “Pray First? Sadly We Forget Sometimes

  1. Hello, Thank you for this article. I had to show my husband of 27 years this. When we have debates or disagreements, most of the time I’m the one who goes into quiet time to go read my Bible, which calms me. I feel so much better and find it easier to tell him I’m sorry if I said something that may have hurt you.

    1. Thank you Maria, for sharing this. I’m so glad that you are able to recognize the importance of getting off the “crazy cycle” (as Pastor/author and well-known speaker, Emerson Eggerichs calls it), when “debates or disagreements” start to go in bad directions. I have to do the same thing as you do sometimes. I’ll finding myself getting so heated over certain situations that arise that it’s like a warning goes off in my head, telling me to stop the madness for a bit. I find that often I can recognize that the discussion will eventually turn into a full-fledged fight, with each of us NOT listening to the other (which can cause sinful words and attitudes to come out), if I don’t take a break to pray, read God’s word, and talk it over with God first. When I do this, it gives each of us a chance to cool down, and with God’s guidance, we’re able to re-approach the issue again.

      It would be nice if your husband did this too, but even if it’s just you, God honors that. What matters the most is that at least one of you stops the crazy cycle of arguing, and goes to God to get your bearings again so the matter can be approached in a more agreeable manner. Maria, I really applaud you for doing this. Just make sure that pride doesn’t creep in, or resentment that you’re the one who has to do this. Ask God to check your spirit. Apply Psalm 139:23-24 and Psalm 51:10 to such matters, asking God to search you to bring up anything that you need to know about yourself, your spouse, and the situation that you may not know… and then to create a “clean heart” within you. Afterward, God can better help you to listen, as well as speak the truth “in love” (rather than in vindictiveness), when you re-visit the hot spot issue you are dealing with. If you do, you will do SO much better. Thank you, my sister, for sharing what you did. I’m sure it will bless many.

  2. Dear Cindy, Thank you so much for the article above. Like the many others that have visited this website, I too have been hurt by finding out about an affair that my husband has been carrying on. While we have tried to talk things over and find a way forward amid this chaos, I find that I often lash out in anger, as I accelarate from being hurt to being angry and certainly from being SAD to being MAD. I do get so mad at times, and I know that it hampers our communication. It is my prayer that while i have been hurt, and have the right to express my emotions, that I will be sensitive to the Holy Spirit, and not let my emotions run with me.

    Thank you so much for this website that has carried me through the darkest of days. I pray for everyone that has been hurt in their marriage. I pray that the Father of all mercy and grace will sustain us and keep us standing no matter what the devil unleashes upon us and our marriages.

    1. I’m so very sorry that you have found yourself in such a horrible place, to have your husband emotionally stab you in the heart as he has with his unfaithfulness. I grieve with you as a sister that your husband would do this to you. NO ONE ever deserves or should ever be put in that type of situation. When we make our vows together, we trust that we will never have to endure our partner doing that to us. For the loss of your innocent trust, the deep, deep hurt you are experiencing, and the “hope deferred” I cry with you and pray for you.

      I’m glad that this web site has helped you during “the darkest of days.” God has definitely been the one who has carried you and ministered to you. We just feel so honored that the Lord allowed us to participate with Him in helping, to some degree.

      I don’t know if it’s too soon to recommend this to you, but here’s something else that might help you in some way, as you watch something that Dutch Sheets spoke about on the issue of “hope deferred” (posted on YouTube):

      This is my prayer for you: “May the Lord direct your heart into God’s love and Christ’s perseverance.” (2 Thessalonians 3:5) Please always keep in mind, even in your darkest moments that “The LORD is near to all who call on Him, to all who call on Him in truth.” (Psalm 145:18) “May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in Him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit!” (Romans 15:13)