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Prayer Day – Relationships Take Time

1199119_22354163

36 “Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?”

37 Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’[a] 38 This is the first and greatest commandment. 39 And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’[b] 40 All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.”

Our two primary purposes in life given to us by God involve relationships: our relationships with God and our relationships with people. We have to have our relationship with God straight in order for us to be able to properly love others. And to do that, we have to be willing to sacrifice the TIME it takes to have deep intimacy, oneness, communion and fellowship with God.

I believe one of Satan’s greatest tools against us in Western culture today is to keep us BUSY. If we are so busy working, commuting, shopping, spending time online, doing chores, watching TV,etc… that we don’t have any time left over for God or for our husbands and children and other people – our relationships will be a mess.

I have been enjoying Rev. E.M. Bounds compilation of 5 books about prayer the past month or two. Reverend Bounds was a pastor during the Civil War period in US history. He spend 3-4 hours per day in prayer every day. Most people who were/are greatly used by God spent that kind of time with Him. Jesus often went off by Himself to pray privately. If Jesus needed time alone with God – and He WAS God – how much more do WE need that time in communion and fellowship with Him!?! A wife asked me once,  “How much time do I have to spend with God?” I answered,”How close to you want to be to Him?”

If you spend only 5 minutes per day talking with your husband, you know that you are not going to have a very deep relationship. Most wives would love to spend about an hour per day talking with their husbands and emotionally/spiritually connecting. It takes real investment and sacrifice of our time to have a deep relationship with anyone. God wants our time, too.

I pray that we might all clear off our schedules, find the things that are not eternally significant in the grand scheme of things, and devote SERIOUS time alone to God in prayer and Bible study. That is the only way we can grow! We need private times of prayer and Bible reading like we need air to breathe and food to eat! I pray we will develop a deep hunger for the things of God, the priorities of God, the Word of God, the presence of God and then Spirit of God in our lives. I pray we will see how wretchedly poor, blind and sick we are apart from Him and how desperately we need His Spirit every single moment.

Lord,

Our society values us being “busy” and rushing around. Our society lauds people for being chronically sleep deprived,working extra, and grinding themselves to the bone trying to make money or be “successful” in business. We are destroying ourselves spiritually and physically with all this flurry of activity, Lord!

Help us to be still.

Help us to stop.

Help us to slow down and just sit in awe, trembling and reverence before You.

Help us to see that so much of what we do with our time is not ultimately that important. Help us to break free from “the tyranny of the urgent.” And let us focus on the things that are priorities in Your sight. Help us to reserve large chunks of time for You. Help us to devote ourselves to prayer, Bible study, fasting and obedience  to Your Word. Let us long for You with all our hearts. Let us desire You far above everything else on earth! Make us a people of fervent prayer. Let Your Spirit move mightily among us. Draw us to Yourself. Help us to see that we must choose between friendship with the world and friendship with You. We cannot have both!  Help us to let go of any idols – anything, ideas or people that we have put above You in our hearts. Let us tear them all out by the roots! Let us forsake every sin we have been cherishing in our hearts: pride, self-righteousness, idolatry, bitterness, resentment, gossip, rebellion against Your Word, disrespect towards You, disrespect towards our husbands, envy, lust, malice, rage, unforgiveness, adultery, murder, apathy towards You, lukewarmness towards the things of God, etc… Show us every sin. Let us fall to our knees and earnestly repent and seek You with all our hearts!

Let us become the women You desire us to be. Let us love what You love and hate what You hate. Let us be willing to obey Your Word, no matter what the personal cost to us. Let us surrender control to You and let us seek Your will, not our own. Use us to greatly bless our husbands, children, families, coworkers, neighbors, strangers and brothers and sisters in Christ. Let us ABIDE in You. Let us live in the center of Your will and draw constant nourishment from Your Spirit. Let Your Spirit flow into our lives like Niagra Falls, not like a little trickle, but full force! You give us control over that. Help us to understand how to open wide the gates and invite Your Spirit into our hearts daily. Help us to put on all the spiritual armor we need for the spiritual battle we are in. (Ephesians 6). Help us to understand that only in You can we find victory over sin, self and the enemy. Help us to know that our fight is not against flesh and blood. Our husbands are not the enemy. There are demonic forces that are the enemy. Let us be fully prepared to fight against the powers of darkness as we handle Your Word properly and keep our gaze fixed upon You. Let us meditate on Your Word day and night. Let us be people of GREAT faith in You. Let us be Spirit-filled. Let us die to self. Let us live in obedience and walk in the Light as You are in the Light that we might have fellowship with You and with one another. Use us for Your greatest glory! Bring our husbands to Yourself. Help us to obey You and get out of Your way so that they can best hear Your voice. Let us be the godly wives You command us to be. Let us take Your Word seriously and let us delight in obeying You even when it is hard and even when it hurts. Bless our husbands and children through us. Use us to build up, affirm, encourage, honor and respect our husbands. Help us to focus on thoughts about things from Philippians 4:8 and not focus on worry or bad things. Give us courage and wisdom to know what to do and what to say and how and when to say it according to Your will if there are problems that need to be addressed in our marriages.  Let us trust in You, not in ourselves, and not ultimately in our husbands. Let us put our faith 100% in Christ alone. Let us find our contentment, purpose, acceptance, identity, strength, joy and peace 100% in Christ alone! Set us apart for Your use, Lord. Make us holy as You are holy. Let us set a godly example for our children and those who come behind us. Make us faithful!!!!

In the Name and power of Christ,

Amen!

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Prayer Day – Praying with Respect

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14 thoughts on “Prayer Day – Relationships Take Time

  1. Dear April,

    I’m in awe of God in the way he is using you to build marriages!!! I love God and I love you so much!! Thank you so much for all that you do!! All Glory and Praise to God! My marriage looks so beautiful now, everything has not changed but I can sense so much of peace!! Your blog has helped me get right with God, get my perspectives in line with the Godly view of marriage! God’s saved me and I will live for His glory alone!

    Your prayers are so powerful and you are so passionate!!

    I’m praying that I may spend a lot of time in the presence of God, I still fail at this one! But I listen to some hymns and worship songs through my travel time and I keep reading and talking to God through the day, but nothing can beat quiet time.

    Do you have any practical tips to have a disciplined prayer life.. I love God, I love to be in his presence but in the mornings it gets just too difficult for me to get up and spend quality time reading His word and praying. I fail most of the time.. I get up only to realize there’s only time for cooking and I feel guilty of not spending time in his presence.

    Love
    Vinodhini

    1. Vinodhini,

      When I began this journey, I just wanted to be right with God and with Greg. I was completely overwhelmed and so ashamed of my sin. I begged God to take it all away. I wondered why I didn’t wake up sooner. But now, I see God using my sin and my lack of understanding and my pain all those years in our marriage (and Greg’s pain) to bring thousands of women to Himself and to heal many marriages. So – I just have to thank Him and give myself as fully to Him as I know how each day and ask Him to make me faithful to this calling He has given me. It is ALL about Him. It is not about me. But, He allows me to be a little pipe through which His blessings, power, wisdom and truth flow. I am forever grateful for what He has done for me and Greg and for all that He is doing in so many others’ lives.

      You are precious to me, my sister! I am thrilled about what God is doing in your heart and life.

      What has helped me the most was that my hours were cut at work. When I worked more, it was almost impossible for me to spend enough time with God. But – using your lunch break, listening to the Bible in your car as you travel, singing hymns throughout the day in your heart, keeping your thoughts constantly o Him, meditating on His Word, fully yielding yourself to Him and holding nothing back – all of these things help. Also, I love to listen to David Platt’s sermons on Youtube and to John Piper’s sermons when I do chores.

      I personally have to write down my prayers and really have total quiet to focus on God. I often do this while I eat breakfast. Then, I try to read a book like E.M. Bounds books on prayer when I have a chance during the day, too.

      Much love!
      April

  2. As a young mother, I used to read Stormie O’Martan’s books about praying for your husbands, children, etc. She also advocates long prayer sessions and would probably would agree with your statements that, “Most people who were/are greatly used by God spend(t) that kind of time with Him.” One day I noticed that in the beginning of one of her books, she thanks her housekeeper and applauds her husband and children for basically taking care of themselves while she completed the work. It appears the real story here is that we all only have 24 hours in a day.

    I absolutely agree with you, April, that we live in a culture that is way too fast paced and many of the activiites we fill our days with have very little importance in the big picture and do not bring us closer to our Lord. BUT I think we need to be very careful here not to place unreasonable expectations on each other. Many of us do not have children/spouses who leave during the day. Many of us do not have a “lunch break” or “commute”. Many of us are caring for very needy community/family members. Many babies like to rise early with their mommas and many teenagers do their best communicating very late in the evening. Meaning many many of us have very little or no alone (or even quiet) time daily. I say this a bit in jest, but seriously, Jesus was a single man! Of course he could take hours a day (or 40 days) to be alone and/or communicate with The Father. . .

    Yes we should all be in Scripture frequently. We should sing songs of praise throughtout our days. We all need to discern the voice of Yahweh in our lives. And we need to actively seek it. Joyce Meyer gives this example as when you have made important plans that are fair weather dependant. As the day approaches, you may be frequently checking The Weather Channel or an app on your phone and may have it constantly playing in the background while you go about your days, turning the volume up (sometimes WAY up to hear over the noise) when pertinent information comes on. That kind of attentiveness is how we should be if we are truly focused on hearing Yahweh’s voice in our lives. That is what “praying without ceasing” looks like in the life of many of us. And sometimes it is quiet and sometimes it is not.

    1. Fallenshort,

      There are absolutely seasons and times and circumstances that prevent us from spending hours in prayer. Young babies, full time jobs, aging parents, sick husbands, many things can keep us from being able to spend the time we want with God.

      I believe we can yield ourselves fully to God and tell Him we want to spend as much time as we can with Him and ask Him to give us wisdom to manage our time and priorities. No, everyone can’t spend that many hours in prayer. But, we can all look for things that can go in our schedules and purposely carve out the time we can for God. We will not all have the same amount of time. And there will be different amounts of time we can spend at different stages of our lives. I think the most important thing is our motive and our desire to submit fully to Christ and to abide in Him. 🙂

      Great point!

    2. One thing I did when my children were young was to try to have time with God when they were napping, or, I would put on Thomas the train when they were older and say mama needs time with God for the next 15 minutes, and set them up with toys and a show and then go to the kitchen in the next room and pray and study. At that age, they are old enough to understand not to interrupt me. Or I would sit them at the table with me to color or play with play doh while I read and studied. We do have to be more creative at some times!

  3. Hi April and all the peaceful wives here. 🙂

    When I was busiest, I used to tell God that I would just “supernaturalize” my life since I felt that I had no time to pray. I was just going to “do ordinary things with extraordinary love” like my favorite Catholic saint (St. Therese) and in effect “pray” by doing good and by loving much. But after my recent conversion, I have found joy and peace in spending time daily, reading on His Word.:) I am so hungry for God’s Word! God drew me to Himself. I have felt closer to Him more than ever since I started allotting 2 hours a day to prayer time daily on weekdays (in the school chapel while waiting for my kids to get dismissed from school) — reading the Bible, being quiet, lifting up prayers… 🙂

    I would like to share this from the book “Bringing The Imitation of Christ into the 21st Century”:

    “God speaks to me:

    “My child, if you really wish to be close to me, you must take the necessary means. There are times when you will know I am near you in the midst of your dutiful occupations. You will see Me and feel Me in and with your loved ones. I will reveal Myself in laughter, in companionship, and in the good things of my creation. I will also be present in crosses and sometimes I will be closest to you when I seem to be farthest away.

    Try to realize also that there are times, when you need to be with ME alone. You must arrange for those times each day or at the very least, several times a week. Yes, you love ME when you love others and even yourself, but you must also love ME in and for Myself. I speak to you through other people and through the events, happy or sad, of your life, but often I will speak to you most intimately when you are alone with Me and when you cannot run to distracting relationships or occupations. You need to hear Me in silence and in leisure, in thoughtful reflections, lectio divina and face-to-face confrontation.

    It is in this sense that you must be detached from every created thing, even yourself. Detachment, even from good things, is real freedom. Without real freedom you cannot hear me or follow me without straying. No victory is greater than to triumph over oneself. When you do this, there is nothing left to hold you back from ME. This is a true union of wills, the highest pinnacle of love…. Do not worry. I will help you but you must give Me the needed time and attention.” “

    1. Veronica,
      Thank you for sharing this!

      For the record, I usually try to get at least 30 minutes with God alone in prayer and intense Bible study – but when I can, I try to get 1 hour or more on some days.

      There is no set time that God requires. I am sure God realizes that we have different circumstances, some of which we cannot change at certain times. But as we seek to connect with Him as much as we can, I believe He can help us find ways to make more time for Him. 🙂

  4. April,

    Thank you so much for sharing this post! I needed to be reminded today to take time out to spend with the Lord. Isn’t it amazing that when we set aside time for Him he always has a powerful message to bless us with?

    This reminds me of a metaphor I heard in church once. If our lives are a jar and God is a rock and everything else is sand you can’t fill the jar up with sand first and then expect the rock to fit in the jar. It won’t. You have to put the rock in first and then let the sand fill in around it.

    You’re in my prayers while you’re writing this book! I can’t wait to read it and see how the Lord uses it to bless me and others.

    1. Taylor,

      Our youth leaders talked about that illustration this past summer with our middle and high school students. I love that!

      I am going to take some extra time just to soak in God’s presence myself today. I have to have that time! Or I am totally worthless to God, myself and everyone else. 🙂

      Much love!

  5. I wake at 4:30 a.m. every week day to read my Bible (I’m going through a one-year plan right now) but I find I just get so distracted. I’m not sure how to combat that! I will find myself reading the words but not soaking them in at all, as my mind wanders to other things. Sometimes I will actually forget to pray! And when I do pray, the same thing happens, halfway through I realize I’m not actually praying anymore; instead, I’ve gone off on a tangent about tasks to get done, or something that happened at work, or a situation with my husband. I have prayed for focus and can’t seem to grasp it.

    It isn’t just with prayer and Bible study, it happens in other areas as well, but other areas don’t matter! I really need to get a handle on this and would welcome any suggestions.

    1. Melissa,

      When that happens to me – and it does happen at times – I do better if I write things down in my prayer journal. And, I will force myself to re-read a passage until I am concentrating and really focusing on it. I also drink coffee while I study and pray!

      We have to train ourselves to focus and be still and concentrate on God and shove the distractions to the sides of our minds. I personally have to have total silence when I have my quiet time.

      Much love to you!

  6. Thank you so much, April, for his post. I’m realizing if I spend the time with God I normally do on what isn’t going right in my world (control!), I actually have quite a few conversations with Him! Also, I heard a teaching recently that gave a great answer on how much time to spend in quiet with the Lord. If you find yourself doing life more in the flesh than in the Spirit, then you’ll probably want to spend more time with God. This allows for different seasons, different issues, etc. As someone who likes a 5-point simple plan to deal with life that doesn’t provide any flexibility, this is helping me let go of my perfectionism in this area. Also, the person said that time with God can look different each day depending on your needs. Right now I need God’s truth in me, so I am reading a specific chapter of the Bible for 1 week & really praying through it as well as reading commentaries & journaling about how God is speaking to me through it. This has helped a lot & I actually feel like I accomplish more this way.

    1. Sally,
      Thanks for sharing this! I know it will be very helpful for many other wives.

      This past week I needed more time with God, so I stopped emails and turned off the computer and just soaked in God’s presence for hours – asking Him to reveal every trace of pride and any sin in my heart and any wrong priorities and to fill me, cleanse me and teach me. I needed a BIG WHOPPING dose of God. That was the only thing that would make things right. I need Him every day. But sometimes, I need to just steal away extra long and be with Him. It’s pointless for me to try to minister to others unless I am filled with Him. When I find myself exhausted, discouraged, overwhelmed or getting upset or feeling discontent, I have to just stop as soon as I can and get on my knees or on my face before God. I need Him SO VERY DESPERATELY every moment.

My grandmother is on hospice and won't be with us much longer (11-30-16). I will get to comments when I am able to but I need to be with family right now. Thanks for understanding.

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