Not long ago I listened to this audio book that continues to linger in my thoughts and impact my prayer urgency and my perspective on familial relationships.
These clips had to be saved and shared.
When we see anger, disappointment, discouragement, or sadness creeping into our emotions . . . Or, when we see negative emotions or actions become more prevalent in family members . . . She challenges us to remember:
It bears all the marks of an outside enemy. He’s the one who wants your marriage to suffer. He’s the one who is most invested everyday in sending you out the door susceptible to temptation.
Is he the one on the receiving end of your frustration?
Is he the one you’re splattering with that juicy come back spoken with disgust against the inside glass of your windshield while you are driving down the road, rehearsing the script for your next altercation?
She doesn't stop there. These eye-opening descriptions of Satan's agenda have had me constantly repeating to myself recently that "Satan is the enemy. Not my family members" when I'm tempted to respond in anger instead of love. When my selfishness eclipses my patience.
He wants you miserable and exhausted and joyless and undone.
He wants that picture of the gospel, the one you call your marriage and your family, he wants it tarnished, ripped up, smeared in the mud of failure, held up as fresh meat from the kill.
It is so easy, in the midst of frustration to think the family member staring me in the face is attacking me, belittling me, making my life hard, being selfish, ignoring me, or whatever it might appear in the moment. But, in reality, that is all Satan's plan.
Your enemy loves and embodies division.
I can envision him, on the sidelines, our tempers flaring, and him in the cheering section egging us on. Munching his popcorn. Sipping his soda. Fully enjoying the latest splintering.
Priscilla Shirer points out what we really need at a time like this:
A steady dose of prayer.A. Steady. Dose. Not just one and done. Not just Sunday morning. Not even just before meals. How often do I badger my kids because they take medicine once and think it should cure their illness. Or when recovering from an invasive procedure they moan when the pain returns simply because they did not continue to take their pain killers. So also, prayer needs regular dosage and treatment.
The only effective way to fight in marriage is to pray.
Then, in church this week our pastor mentioned spending extended time in prayer once a week.
I need that.
My marriage needs that.
My family needs that.
My friends need that.
My future needs that.
The missionaries we support need that.
Sometimes I feel I'm not doing enough for the kingdom. I can start right here.
Finding that time, making that time for extended, serious, wrestling in prayer.