And I admit, I listened.
I thought about interrupting them but I wanted to hear what they were saying about her. Usually I am not the type of person who will listen in when someone is talking about someone else, however, I couldn’t help it because…
…every word they were saying was true.
Today as I sat in my office at church, I had my door open and a couple ladies were out in the main office chatting and I heard Krista’s name. My ears perked up, I stopped what I was doing and I eavesdropped.
What they said made me proud.
My wife is currently participating in a Bible class at church and the class participants share emails throughout the week as they process the material. The two ladies are both enrolled and were discussing what Krista had shared. I don’t know what she wrote in her email to them but apparently it was inspiring. They went on to talk about her insight and giftedness and I couldn’t help but smile from ear to ear. On this occasion, they were not complimenting her to me, rather sharing about how she had blessed their lives without knowing that their praises were blessing me. I was immediately reminded of Proverbs 31:
She always faces tomorrow with a smile.When she speaks she has something worthwhile to say,and she always says it kindly.She keeps an eye on everyone in her household,and keeps them all busy and productive.Her children respect and bless her;her husband joins in with words of praise:“Many women have done wonderful things,but you’ve outclassed them all!”Charm can mislead and beauty soon fades.The woman to be admired and praisedis the woman who lives in the Fear-of-God.Give her everything she deserves!
Prayer is one of those practices that is undeniably central to our discipleship. It’s a way we communicate with God our hopes, fears, desires and adoration. Praying reflects a connection we have with God and when we pray with others, our connection with them is strengthened as well. In a marital relationship, prayer is an activity that will not only draw a couple close to each other through the expression of their hearts but will even decrease the likelihood of divorce. While the national average for divorce is right at 50% the divorce rate for couples who pray together 3-5 times a week is 1 in 1200.  A statistic this remarkable warrants the attention of any couple that wants to guarantee the success of their marriage.
Sometimes it can be difficult to pray with our spouse. For many reasons we can feel inhibited in sharing this part of our walk with Christ in our marriage. On the next page below is a way to beginning the journey toward praying openly from your heart with your spouse. While simple in it’s approach, it may feel unnatural at first. The goal is to provide a “scripted stepping stone” that gets you as a couple talking with God in front of each other.
- Plan a short time (4-5 minutes) where you and your spouse can pray together uninterrupted.
- Choose one person to go first. This person reads only the first line of Prayer Number 1 and fills in the blank with their own words.
- Now it is the other spouse’s turn. Read the first line and fill in the blank with your own words.
- Continue through the prayer until you have read through all four lines.
The first prayer is a good place to start if you have never prayed with your spouse. As you grow more comfortable sharing this time together, move on to the second prayer. It gets a little more into the heart without being too intimidating. As this way of praying becomes more natural, venture into wording your own prayers or take turns providing prompts for each other. Below are some additional examples of prayer prompts.
Prayer for Married Couples: Number 1
God, you are so ___________ .
(share something with God that you like about him!)
God, sometimes its hard for me to ___________ .
(tell God about a struggle you have)
God, I want to thank you for ___________ .
(show God that you appreciate something he’s done)
God, one thing I ask is that you ___________ .
(tell God something you need from him)
Prayer for Married Couples: Number 2
God, when I think about you it makes me feel ___________ .
Today, I really needed your grace when I ___________ .
When I think of all the things you’ve done it makes me want to ___________ .
God, you always take care of my needs. Something I need is ___________ .
ADDITIONAL PRAYER PROMPT EXAMPLES:
- God, it was amazing today when you ___________ .
- God, I want to work harder on ___________ .
- Please give me strength to ___________ .
- As I think back on my day, I’m real proud that I ___________ .
- God I get so sad sometimes when ___________ .
- God when I read in your word about ___________ it made me feel ___________ .
My prayer for you and your spouse is that you grow to the greatest depths of intimacy in your marriage through your conversations with God.
 Gallup Poll conducted in 1989-90 entitled “Love and Marriage.” Results reported in Faithful Attraction by Andrew Greeley, 1991 St. Martins Press
This past weekend I did my first workshop for a church. I was asked to do a workshop for newly married husbands. When I arrived I found that there were only 3 (out of 11) who had been married for less than 3 years. Some had been married for nearly 60 years! It was incredibly humbling to hear the responses from the men who have been married for so long. They were so eager to learn and continue to work on their marriages.
We focused primarily on Ephesians 5 and what exactly it means to love our wives as Christ loves the church. We discussed how we are wired differently to show love and accept respect. I feel the discussion went very well. Preaching there Sunday morning was also a pleasure. The topic of faithfulness and commitment is always something I enjoy preaching about. “God is more faithful than we are.” It sounds like a no-brainer but the implications of this for our relationships seems to be far reaching and at times quite difficult. I look forward to opportunities in the future to do similar workshops.
I have my first weekend seminar lined up! Sometime in January, I will be conducting a 6 hour Saturday workshop with the Northwest Church of Christ in Abilene. The tentative plan is for the workshop to be for young (by young, I think the church means newly married) husbands! I am excited to begin this aspect of my ministry. I hope that this will only be the start of a variety of similar weekend speaking engagements I am asked to be a part of.