Thursday, January 1, 2009

Preparing -- Pray!

Don't know if I trust scientists when it comes to the love department, but an interesting article on CNN caused me to pause anyway. They say that through brain scans they have determined that about 10 percent of couples retain their passionate love for each other more than 20 years into their relationship. Apparently through a study done at Stony Brook University in New York they have discovered scientific proof that true love can last. Their interpretation of love might be a little sketchy, but the results of the study and brain scans are still interesting. (If you want more reading material in this area, just Google "Stony Brook University in New York love brain scan.") I don't have any scientific proof, but I think genuine, God-honoring love can last far longer, and for a much higher percentage of couples.

I shared last week that one key area of focus for me right now is my marriage. Charles and I have always had a pretty amazing marriage. We both approached our vows with joy and a strong sense of commitment. God has been the focus of our home from the start and I can't say we have had many complaints over the 15 years we have been together. But, even a good thing can be better. Even an amazing thing needs attention to keep it that way. Even a beautiful gem needs polishing and care to truly shine.

I realized that this gem of a marriage God has blessed me with could be even more with some attention. So, I have committed to renew my refocus on this precious relationship in the year to come. I believe that His working in our marriage can keep us in that 10 percent, and could move others into it if not there already. I have seen God change my emotions in answer to prayer. He can restore what may have dwindled.

The passage in Joel 2 came to mind:

25 I will repay you for the years the locusts have eaten—
the great locust and the young locust,
the other locusts and the locust swarm [f]
my great army that I sent among you.

26 You will have plenty to eat, until you are full,
and you will praise the name of the LORD your God,
who has worked wonders for you;
never again will my people be shamed.

27 Then you will know that I am in Israel,
that I am the LORD your God,
and that there is no other;
never again will my people be shamed.

While this passage has specific applications for the nation of Israel it does show us the character of God. His compassion, His activity in our lives, His grace and Mercy, His desire for those He loves to not just be satisfied. He wants us to be full, free of shame, and to praise Him from our overflowing joy. I see that as a promise we can take into our homes and into our marriages.

So, for the area of focus this week . . .

Any endeavor should start where I will be starting this week -- in prayer and in His Word. I would challenge you, too, to pray and search His Word for how He could make your marriage even better. Maybe you aren't in a great place, maybe you are. Wherever you find yourself, God can work in your home to bring greater peace, joy, intimacy, unity, love, affection, and growth.

Each week in January I will begin the week with a post on my game plan for the week. This will include the focus of each day, sometimes a task, sometimes just something to think about, but always something to actually DO at some point.

This first week lays the foundation for all the ones to follow. I commit to spending time in prayer at least twice a day for myself, Charles, and our marriage.

I remember in Created to be His Helpmeet, the author talked about picking a trigger to remember to pray for your husband (red lights, car horns, billboards, a certain store, an activity, a time of day, etc.) That can be very helpful for establishing a habit of praying. Personally, it has worked well for me to find a specific time in my routine that I pray for my husband. I pray in the morning when I first get up (hopefully before the kids have gotten me off of that train of thought), and I pray before bedtime. I usually think of him and pray throughout the day as well, but I know for certain that those two times will not get missed.

Once you have found a time to pray, it is helpful to have purposeful prayer during that time. I have appreciated the prayers in the book The Power of a Praying Wife by Stormie Omartian. I'm on my second copy of this book as I wore out the first one. Each day has a specific prayer infused with Bible verses. I highly recommend this book for anyone looking to establish a firm prayer base for her husband.

The first day she says to pray for your husband's wife. :-) I love that. If I really want to lift up my husband, I need prayer, too! I love these sentences from her prayer:

Make me my husband's helpmate, companion, champion, friend, and support. Help me to create a peaceful, restful, safe place for him to come home to. Teach me how to take care of myself and stay attractive to him. Grow me into a creative and confident woman who is rich in mind, soul, and spirit. Make me the kind of woman he can be proud to say is his wife. I lay all my expectations at Your cross. I release my husband from the burden of fulfilling me in areas where I should be looking to You . . . Give my husband a new wife, and let it be me.

Here are some verses to incorporate into your prayers this week for yourself and for your spouse . . .

Praying for struggles:
I Corinthians 10:13
I Peter 5:7

Galatians 6:9

Psalm 25:21
Psalm 40:1-3

Galatians 5:22, 23
John 15:5,8,-10

When we pray through Scriptures we can pray with confidence. I also pray that God would continue to grow joy in my heart and attitude toward enriching my marriage. This should never come about out of duty or drudgery, but from joy and love. I pray that God would continue to give me a passionate joy to fall in love with my husband in a fresh way each day and be the best wife possible for him.

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