Skip to main content

Praying in FAITH Not Fear

Dirt Road with Maple Trees in Winter Sunrise

Many of you know that I used to pray up to 4 hours per day on my days off earlier in our marriage (before we had children, of course!). Most of that time, I spent praying for God to change my husband. I thought I was engaging in something very godly and spiritual back then. But – now – I understand why my prayers went unanswered.

MY ATTITUDE:

My primary motivation when I prayed was FEAR. I was terrified of all the things I worried about possibly coming true. I wanted to try to keep bad things from ever happening. So, I tried to dictate to God what He needed to do in my life, Greg’s lives and other people’s lives.

My faith was not actually in God. My trust was really in myself. I didn’t actually trust God with things. I was terrified to leave them in His hands. I didn’t believe He would do what was best for me. I thought I knew what was best.

So, my prayers were actually just long worry sessions where I tried to control God and make Him do what I wanted Him to do. I was not praying in the strength of faith in Him. I was not resting in His sovereignty. I was trying to carry the weight of the sovereignty of God on my own shoulders. I was full of fear, doubt, worry, anxiety and frustration. I did not have the fruit of God’s Spirit: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.

WHAT DOES GOD SAY?

  • And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him. Hebrews 11:6
  • Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you. But when you ask, you must believe and not doubt, because the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind. That person should not expect to receive anything from the Lord. Such a person is double-minded and unstable in all they do. James 1:2-8
  • Endure hardship as discipline; God is treating you as his children. For what children are not disciplined by their father? If you are not disciplined—and everyone undergoes discipline—then you are not legitimate, not true sons and daughters at all. Moreover, we have all had human fathers who disciplined us and we respected them for it. How much more should we submit to the Father of spirits and live! They disciplined us for a little while as they thought best; but God disciplines us for our good, in order that we may share in his holiness. No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it. Hebrews 12:7-11
  • There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love. I John 4:18

PRACTICAL APPLICATIONS FOR ME

I MUST have faith in God, or He does not hear my prayers.

I certainly cannot have self as an idol in my heart, and pride thinking I know better than God and my wisdom is superior to God’s and a heart full of doubt and think that God will answer my prayers. First, I must genuinely repent of all the sin in my heart and allow the blood of Jesus to cleanse me from all sin (I John 1:9). It is when I am in right standing with God through Christ that I may approach God in the power of the Holy Spirit and great faith. I am committed to consecrating my life to Him and willing to obey Him no matter what the personal cost to me – seeking His will far above my own will – then I can approach the throne of God with boldness.

Bad things/suffering are tools in the hands of our loving God to chisel us and make us more and more like Christ. My greatest goal used to be to avoid suffering. “God, please don’t let Greg die! Please don’t let us get cancer! Please don’t let anything bad ever happen to our family!”

Now, I still don’t desire bad things to happen. I don’t pray for bad things to happen. But I rest in God’s sovereignty and love – knowing that everything that touches my life is permitted by God’s loving, sovereign hands for my ultimate good to be made more like Jesus Christ. I don’t want to suffer, but if I do go through suffering, I trust that God will be with me through the suffering – so I don’t have to be afraid. And, not only will He be with me – but He promises to use the suffering for my spiritual good and for His glory (Romans 8:28).

So, now, instead of praying like I used to:

  • God, make Greg love me more
  • Make Greg pray with me
  • Make Greg talk with me more
  • I HAVE to have X!!!!!!! You MUST give it to me!
  • Make Greg be more affectionate and romantic the way I want him to be
  • Greg needs to do better at making me feel happy
  • Make Greg stop watching TV. Make the TV break.
  • Don’t let Greg die on his way home from work!!!  I could never be ok if something ever happened to him!
  • I can’t trust you with this or this – I need to hold on to those things, they are really important to me.
  • Let us always have good health and have smooth sailing in every area of life
  • Make Greg be a godly man and godly leader (the way I want him to be and on my timetable)
  • Don’t let anything bad happen to us!!!!!!!!!

I pray things like:

    • God, change me! Empower me to be faithful to You!
    • Show me MY sin. I want to repent and turn from every single trace of sin that offends Your holiness.
    • I am fully Yours. I give you EVERYTHING. I trust You with every part of my life, my husband, my family, our marriage, our careers, our health, our money, our future… I want only Your will. I want your FULL and perfect will.
    • Not my will, but Yours be done!
    • I know that You know the dates of my death, Greg’s death, our children’s deaths. I know that You know every disease or major injury we will experience. I trust You with those things. I know that Your grace will be sufficient and that You will accomplish Your good purposes even in our suffering. I rest in Your great love for us.
    • You have wisdom, I do not. I trust Your wisdom, not my own. I humble myself before You and exalt You as God. You are my Lord! I give you all that I have.
    • Thank You that You will never leave me or forsake me!
    • Make me more and more like Jesus. Prune me. Cleanse me. Refine me. Purify me.
    • I want to obey You and please You more than anything!
    • I want to know You more.
    • Use me to bless my husband, family and others for Your glory no matter how they respond or act.
    • I want to be able to absorb all I possibly can from Your Word! Teach me Your ways!
    • I pray for Your will and Your greatest glory in my life no matter what the cost to me.
    • Only let me have Your Spirit, Your presence, Your power, Your Word. You are all I need!
    • I trust You with the affairs of the nations and the world, the economy, our government and everything. I know You are in control and I praise You and thank You that You will use all of the events in the world for Your glory. Even if our nation collapses or some tragedy or disaster strikes, I will trust You. My trust is not in my bank account, or in having electricity, or in our president, or the economy or my job. I put my trust only in You. If we suffer, I know it will be for Your good purposes. If we suffer, I pray for Your glory to result. I will not fear for You will be with me.
    • Draw my husband to Yourself – not to make my life better or easier, not for my selfish purposes, not to make me feel more loved – but to bless him. Glorify Yourself in his life. Empower him to be faithful to You, to be a man of God,  a bright light, in a dark and desperate world.
    • I would love to adopt children, but if that is Your will, I know You will give Greg the desire to adopt children as well, and I lay this dream in Your sovereign hands. I will be content either way.
    • Use me to teach and train our children to know You, to love You, to love what You love and hate what You hate, to trust You and to build their lives on Christ and on the Word of God.
    • Protect my family from evil and temptation. Let us avoid the snares of the evil one. Let our only addiction be Jesus Christ.
    • Set me, my husband and my children apart for Your use. Make us holy as You are holy. Use us for Your kingdom’s work. We are fully Yours.
    • This life is so short. Let me use my time wisely. Let me be faithful to You. I want to hear You say to me, “Well done, My good and faithful servant.”  I can’t be faithful to You on my own. Fill me with Your Spirit and empower me to be the woman You desire me to be.
    • Let me have the full presence of Christ and power of Christ in my life, Lord! I am hungry and desperate for You!

 

RELATED:

Praying for Our Husbands So That God Will Hear

Praying Scripture

Praying with Humility

Praying from an Obedient Life

Praying for a Consecrated Life

41 thoughts on “Praying in FAITH Not Fear

  1. I do not pray for God to change my husband, but I do pray that he bring him peace. Is that ok?

    We are going through a REALLY tough trial right now….something that is out of our hands. It has shook my husband to the core, me too in a way. I am praying for God’s will in the situation, for him to be glorified. But right now all I see is it destroying the man that I love so much. And like Job, none of it is his fault!!!! I continue to bless God. I continue to praise Him publicly. But I so want this pain to end.. Is it ok to pray that? It feels like I have a weight on my chest all of the time..

    1. Elizabeth,
      If you are able to pray with selfless motives for good things for your husband- go for it! 🙂

      You can pray for his pain to end – but even more than that – I pray that God might use the pain to accomplish His purposes in your husband’s life and that all of this might work for your husband’s ultimate good and God’s glory. But of course you can pray for his pain to end. 🙂

  2. Ouch! so painfully true. ‘Self’ gets placed on the throne instead of God! Sigh. ‘Thanks, my spirit needed that!

  3. OUCH!!
    So, I know it is said that “nothing is wasted”, but all of those prayers I’ve sent up when I was praying “wrong”…where are they? What a hard, but valuable lesson to learn…honestly, its depressing in a way of all the time I spent praying, like you described. GUILTY!! It feels like I wasted months.

    1. PLM,

      I wasted my prayers, too. My motives were so sinful, my heart was so far from God. I’m so thankful that He opened my eyes and didn’t allow me to continue. My righteousness on my own is truly as valuable as “bloody, filthy, menstrual rags” like God’s Word says – Isaiah 64:6.

      Thankfully, our God is able to turn waste into something beautiful for His glory!

  4. Matthew 6:7 (NIV)

    “And when you pray, do not keep on babbling like pagans, for they think they will be heard because of their many words. Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask him.”

    1. I Always wondered about those things too. How do you pray without ceasing AND without “babbling” and asking multiple times fr something? The persistent widow never gave up and neither shoul we, but HOW? There are only so many words for a circumstance. :/

    2. WooHoo! I love your description of your quality time with our Lord! Many of my days have these elements as well. They are all valuable ways to connect and wise ways to spend our time.

      I apologize for making the assumption that “prayer time” is for prayer. You are right that this will look different for all of us. We all need to be very attuned to our own relationship with The Father and how He speaks to us. That’s also part of how we pray without ceasing. April described that very well.

      April has frequently mentioned her habit of praying for 4 hours a day and those prayers not being answered. I have seen many women try to hold themselves to a standard of long duration prayer time that I don’t necessarily believe is biblical. And can, in fact, be counterproductive to our relationship with The Father. I guess I was speaking to that with the scripture reference from Matthew.

      Sometimes when we think something is good and righteous it is not, or our motives are all messed up, or we still can’t see our plank. . . . In any event, it is not fruitful. No matter how much time we put into it.

      It’s nice to converse with you, and I’m very excited for the growth you’ve eluded to in other posts 🙂 Way to go, sister 🙂

      1. woops – Meant to say: I apologize for making the assumption that “prayer time” is for prayer ONLY.

      2. Fallen short,

        Yes, before God opened my eyes, I did pray sometimes for 4 hours per day. But my motives were very impure, prideful and selfish.

        Now, I love to spend an hour or two praying and reading God’s Word and being still, listening, praying for many people and the church around the world, praising God, thanking God, learning, reading E.M. Bounds book about prayer.

        Motives are extremely important! God looks at our motives and our hearts. Now, I see God answer many prayers. And I lay my heart fully before Him daily, holding nothing back, asking Him to teach me, change me, grow me, refine and prune me and make me more like Jesus.

        🙂

  5. Thank you for this post and the comments. I have a feeling this is exactly what I have been dealing with since my husband first told me he wanted a divorce, back in September. By the grace of God, we are still together and I have been working really hard to be more Christ-like, as I believe God told me to stay in the marriage and CHANGE my heart, so that my husband could see Christ’s love in me and be drawn to him. I have been praying every day for God’s healing in his heart & mind, as well as our marriage. I have also been praying for my husband’s salvation. These are all good things to pray for, but now I am wondering if God has allowed my husband’s heart to remain hardened because I was praying with selfish motives. I want him healed and serving God, so that we can have a happy marriage and life. If anyone has any tips on how to pray for these things, but with the RIGHT motives, please share what has worked for you. I also have this gnawing fear that as long as our marriage is rocky, he will be tempted to cheat on me (even though I have absolutely no evidence that he ever has or is planning to). I keep trying to give that to God, but the tormenting thoughts and “what ifs” keep coming back and cause me to get clingy and suspicious of everything he does. It’s a prison I NEED to be set free from. If anyone has gone through this and come out victorious, please share how you really truly surrendered it to God and let Him set you free. Thank you!!!

  6. That is so wonderful to hear!! Praise the Lord for small steps in the right direction! Thank you Jesus!!

  7. April,

    Your transparency is so enlightening and refreshing. Thanks for this. 🙂

    It is so easy to misinterpret the Bible quotes and mean it in a selfish, totally not godly way. Like

    Matthew 7:7 “Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you.

    OR

    Matthew 17:20 part “….Truly I tell you, if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you.”

    OR

    1 Thessalonians 5:17

    “pray without ceasing;”

    … and explain it to be that whatever we pray for, as long as we pray unceasingly (nag God!) we will get it. So much like “The Secret” (the New Age Book of Rhonda Byrnes), as though just by “thinking it”, we “attract it”, then we “get it.” The Law of Attraction applied to Christianity. And we don’t get what we “pray for”, we get mad at God! As though He were this Holy Slot Machine from Heaven. We put coins in (prayers), we expect that He will dispose them (rewards, blessings, answered prayers.)

    What we fail to understand is that God’s Will is not just confined to prosperity, health or all the good things in life, although it is that too… but that is being “over simplistic” about it. I know because I used to “pray unceasingly” to God to change my husband or to get that dream job or whatever it was that I felt that *I* wanted. And when I did not get an answer fast, or worse yet, get a negative answer, I threw a spiritual fit! I sometimes refused to pray! How dare God NOT answer my prayers, right?!

    That was too prideful of me, in retrospect, and I am grateful God never answered me during those times that I pouted and whined. Imagine, if He gave me all that I wanted when I wanted them in the way I wanted them… I would have gotten negative reinforcement and “prayed” my way to destruction!

    God finds it easy to answer our prayers when they are aligned to His Will… and when we are in the right frame of heart and in a state of grace.

    1 John 3:22

    22 “and whatever we ask we receive from him, BECAUSE WE KEEP HIS COMMANDMENTS and do what pleases him.”

    James 5:16

    16 “Therefore, confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person has great power as it is working.”

    AND this is the complete way to pray without ceasing… Giving thanks in ALL circumstances, regardless of outcome.

    1 Thessalonians 5:16-18

    16 “Rejoice always, 17 pray without ceasing, 18 give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.”

    And in the end… just like Jesus did, after we have presented our prayers and petitions… we should with all humility say like Jesus prayed to God the Father,

    Matthew 26:42
    “My Father, if this cannot pass away unless I drink it, Your will be done.”

    May we not be bratty, spoiled children with our Father. Instead may we be more like His Son, Who all the way to His undeserved death on the Cross, seeked to only do and obey the Father’s Will.

    I still have a LOT to learn about true praying, but the Lord is teaching me new things daily. 🙂 I want to be more Christ-like and godly. I know that the Lord will patiently teach me since I am already His to use for His Greater Glory. I have died to myself in September 2013. I cannot thank God enough for opening up my spiritual eyes. The Truth has set me free. Praise be to our good Lord!!! 🙂

    Thanks for this post, April. You are always a godsend. I thank God for you daily 🙂

    Love,

    Nikka

    1. Nikka,

      I thank God for you daily, too, my precious friend!

      God does answer our prayers and those verses do apply – WHEN we are abiding in Christ, filled with His Spirit and our motives are proper.

      That is the key. When my motives are selfish and I have sin and idols in my heart, God will not hear me and will not answer me – and that is a BLESSING! Because if I got what I wanted when I am steeped in sin, I would destroy myself with it.

      When we pray for what God desires and for His will, and we are abiding in Christ, walking in the power of His Spirit and in obedience – THEN we have what we ask for. We may have to wait! But God answers our prayers when we are walking in holiness, godliness and purity of heart.

      Much love!
      April

  8. Hi friend!
    Good conversation going on here 🙂 I would offer that what you “normally” do is “old” and you should pay no mind to it. Put it off and become “NEW” in Christ!

    Praying Like Hannah is right, this is not something you will be able to do in your own strength. Pray with every breath while you are out that you will be a blessing to your man and that he will be proud to have you on his arm. Use few words – only ones that will affirm him and let him know you appreciate his gift to you. Smile alot! Enjoy that he is passionate about SOMETHING, even if it is cars 🙂 The great thing about passion is that it is easily transferable. Catch his eye and watch out !! 🙂

    I’m soooo praying for you too! Happy Birthday to you !

  9. I love this article. I love that you write so raw and honest which helps people like myself more than you can imagine. It’s knowing I’m not alone in what I struggle with sometimes and the victory in seeing someone coming through it. I’m so thankful for people and Godly wives like you April to guide us along the way. Thank you so much!

    1. Tammy,

      It is really hard to understand what it means to be a godly woman and wife if you have never seen real life examples. And, it is even more helpful to watch how other women have worked through their inner thought processes to learn to give up fear and doubt and to learn to trust God.

      I’m so thankful that this blessed you. I pray God will continue to work powerfully in you for His glory, my precious sister!

  10. Oh!!!!!

    And – like I need to pile on any more for you to read – but… God commands us not to argue or complain as believers (Philippians 2:14-16a) I have a post about that called

    A Challenge for You Ladies

    Take your time – you don’t have to read all of this at once. 🙂

  11. Fallenshort,

    That is what happens when I am trying to get ready or do something else and try to answer comments! I keep thinking of more things that may be helpful and have to keep adding on. 🙂 Ha!

    This is such an important truth for us as women to learn, that we have the choice to stay in the pit or to take the ladder Jesus gives us and climb out with Him. It is totally up to us.

  12. I can hear the frustration in your comments 🙁 I’m so sorry you guys are not communicating on the same level. I don’t mean to beat a dead horse, but You have to die to self, sister. DAILY. Over and over and over. I have a dear friend who is going through what you are going through and it’s been 5 long years and she is still where you are. Counselors are giving them drug upon drug to stabilize all of their emotions. It is so sad. All they have to do is die. It takes an absolute change in thinking. It is not at all human nature. It goes against everything we’ve been taught by this world. Let go of any and all expectations and take comfort in the One who does know us and does communicate with us (and does care about social issues:) Rest in Him and expect that ALL OTHERS are inadequate to meet your needs. Everything you do for your husband, do it as if you are serving Christ himself. I know it’s hard. I know what it’s like when it seems the foundation is shaking. But Christ is a SOLID ROCK. Your husband may have chosen to step off into the nearby sand of instability. You do not have to follow him there. Just keep standing on the promises You know from God. And let Yahweh handle what is his.

    We are all here with you 🙂

  13. Kelly,

    This is awesome!!! I know it will be such a blessing to many ladies. These can be tricky issues – but I love what God is showing you here!

    Would you mind if I share it on my PW FB page, please?

  14. Godly wife to be,

    I deeply sympathize. One thing that helped me to “let go of expectations” regarding my deceased husband in this area was to share my interests with others. I joined a writing group and began going to college in my forties. In this way I received the intellectual stimulation and creative nurturing I needed, and he was very proud of me–and relieved I didn’t expect him to be just like me. He was gifted in other areas that I could respect; he took care of all our vehicles and property maintenance issues.

    Even if your husband doesn’t share the things that you find meaningful, love yourself enough to nurture yourself, and stop expecting him to meet the the needs in you that he can’t. This will remove an enormous amount of pressure and unhappiness! You will find that you can “bloom and grow” in many ways on your own, even as you remain a respectful, godly wife. Much love to you!

    1. Elizabeth,

      This is a great idea, to find groups of women that share your interest and get some of your social needs and emotional needs met in a healthy way this way. Thank you so much for sharing your ideas. 🙂

    1. Just A Little Infertile,

      I am thrilled to hear that you want to begin to trust God! WOOOHOOO!!!!! Trusting God doesn’t come naturally to any of us. It is much “easier” to trust ourselves – but – trusting ourselves is actually the most dangerous place in the world to be. As we get to know God and study His sovereignty, we realize that trusting Him is the best place in the universe to be. I can’t wait to see what God has in store for you!! 🙂

  15. I am praising the Lord for your beautiful time with your hubby!!! So proud of you for choosing the way you know is right!!

    Way to go, sister! So excited for you (AND HUBBY) for whatever is next 🙂

    Just awesome!

Comments are closed.

%d bloggers like this: