Stop! Stop Praying?

Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. — 1 Corinthians 13:4-7

Thought for the Day: God isn’t looking for me to be a “fix-him” wife. God is looking for me to be a “love-him” wife.

Irritated. Frustrated. Hurt.

Those were the words bumping around in my mind as I grabbed my Bible and sat down for some sort of quiet time. I felt like such a fake, mindlessly scanning these holy words on thin pages. My heart wasn’t connecting. My mind wasn’t tuned in. All I could think about was the argument I’d had with my husband.

Why couldn’t he see my point? Why didn’t he understand? Why was he being so stubborn?

I closed my Bible and decided a much more productive thing to do with this situation was to pray. That’s what godly women do. And oh, how spiritually sound I felt listing all the many things the Lord could do to fix my man — all that was wrong with him. Sounds spiritual. However, it was anything but.

Suddenly, in the middle of my prayer, I could sense God saying, “Stop!”

Stop? Stop praying? Well, that certainly couldn’t be from the Lord… so I kept going.

But the word stop was pulsing through my mind with each beat of my heart. And deep in my heart, I started to sense why.

God wasn’t looking for me to be a “fix-him” wife. God was looking for me to be a “love-him” wife.

I needed to stop praying. At least, I needed to stop praying the way I had been. Yes, there were things my husband needed to work on. But nothing good was happening when all I did was complain about him.

I needed to be a wife daring enough to ask God to reveal to me how to love my husband. And I needed to ask God where I was going wrong, where I was being selfish, where I needed to work.

When I shifted my focus to letting God change me, that’s when I started to see real progress.

In this season of struggling through all of this, God taught me powerful lessons through three questions:

1. Is this an irritation or an issue?

There is a big difference between an irritation and an issue. Identifying the difference helps me pick my battles. If this is just an irritation, maybe I need to practice being more flexible, patient, or willing to extend grace.

2. Am I praying about my husband or for my husband?

If I do sense something that needs to change, I need to pray for my husband, not about him. Praying about him is just ranting. Praying for him means digging into God’s Word and praying Scriptures specific to his struggles. That’s powerful! When we pray the Word of God, we pray the will of God.

3. Where is my focus?

I’ll never be able to control how another person acts and reacts, but I certainly can control how I act and react. My focus shouldn’t be on having the right partner. My focus should be on being the right partner.

Slowly, as I shifted my heart in these areas, I saw great progress in our marriage. Do I still get irritated, frustrated, and hurt? Of course. But when I stopped trying to fix my husband, I was freed up to just love him. And that’s a much more fun and realistic job for me.

Dear Lord, help me to stop focusing on being a “fix-him” wife and instead focus on being a “love-him” wife. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

Excerpted with permission from Unglued Devotional by Lysa TerKeurst, copyright Lysa TerKeurst.

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Your Turn

What a beautiful prayer for us to pray both as husbands and as wives! Help us, Lord, to stop focusing on fixing our spouse and instead to focus on loving them! Come share your thoughts with us on our blog. We want to hear from you about shifting our hearts in prayer!

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Lysa TerKeurst

Lysa TerKeurst is president of Proverbs 31 Ministries and the New York Times best-selling author of Uninvited, The Best Yes, Unglued, Made to Crave, and 16 other books. Lysa was recently awarded the Champions of Faith Author Award and has been published in multiple publications such as Focus on the Family and CNN online. Additionally, she has appeared on the Today Show as one of the leading voices in the Christian community. Each year, Lysa is a featured keynote presenter at more than 40 events across North America, including the Women of Joy Conferences and the Catalyst Leadership Conference. She writes from her sticky farm table and lives with her family in North Carolina. Connect with her at www.LysaTerKeurst.com or on social media @LysaTerKeurst.

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