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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

90 thoughts on “Praying in FAITH Not Fear

  1. Thanks for sharing your prayers. Good to read someone’s heart and see which parts we can grab onto also.

      1. Thanks
        I’m going better this week. I’ve tried harder to keep a check on my words and respect in my heart. I’ve been more attentive and praising him big time for any little thing I can praise him for.
        We are even going on a date for my birthday this weekend.

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

        2. Godlywifetobe,

          Those are wonderful steps!!! I am so proud of you, my precious sister and thankful for what God is beginning to do in your heart. Happy birthday!!!! I hope you are able to relax and enjoy your husband and see the way he shows his love for you in his own way. 🙂

          1. Thank you 🙂
            Yes I’m trying to not expect too much and just look at whatever he does for what it is, him trying and learning.

        3. Oh goodness! That is so nice to hear. See Godlywifetobe, as I told you there is some good there! Oh, I hope you will have a nice birthday dinner. I am so happy that you and your husband will be going on a date… just enjoy it.

          1. Thank you.

            Normally when we go on a date we either sit there in basic silence or I’m getting annoyed at his comments. He doesn’t really have thoughts on social/political/historical/cultural topics. The main thing he likes to discuss is bikes and cars. This frustrates me. So I need to work hard on my heart reaction to him in this area.

          2. Godlywifetobe: Remember what I said in a post a few days ago, I wish I was in your position! 🙂 Of course, I am not advocating comparing ourselves with others – there will always be better and worse situations than ours; and we don’t want to become vain or bitter. However, I simply say it, to point out that, right where YOU are, is a good enough place to start. Instead of focusing on his limited conversation skills, praise God he brought you to dinner, bless him by showing an interest in what he has to say about bikes and cars, be proud that he knows about cars, so he is not clueless if you have a car problem. Forget about how he can be interesting to you……try to find ways in which you can be interesting to him. I believe in doing so, you will end up having a nice birthday.

          3. Lol. I will try!!!
            It just goes against everything I think and feel. I can feel myself tensing thinking of it. I will try. God will need to help me because I CANNOT do this in my flesh.

          4. You really cannot.. but why rely on yourself, when you have a God? So spend time in prayer and ask God to give you the strength to be what HE wants you to be? Oh, nothing I do nowadays as it relates to my husband is done based on my strength. This is bigger than your hubby though, it is about being what God wants you to be.

          5. Thanks for the pep talk 🙂
            I’ll update when I can on how it all went. He’s going to be gone all day on my actual birthday doing things he wants to do instead of with me so I need God to help me there too. Normally I get very hurt and upset he chooses his hobby over my birthday. I need to try to remain godly…

          6. 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 !

          7. He is taking you to dinner – For Your Birthday. It does not matter if he does it ON your birthday. The fact that he is celebrating your birthday at all, is something to be grateful for. Allow him to enjoy his hobby, though the activity falls on your birthday. He has still set aside time to celebrate you. I like what Fallenshort said – “smile a lot.” Oh, how sweet….

          8. This hobby falls on my birthday nearly every year. I guess that’s why it upsets me. This hobby takes him away from us most weekends too and nights during the week.

          9. Godlywifetobe,

            He IS taking you out for your birthday, right? PRAISE GOD!!!!!!!!!!!

            Maybe you can plan to do something special for yourself on your birthday instead of wallowing in bitterness. You actually have so much power here. You can choose to be miserable and to refuse to be thankful. You can choose to look at your husband as if he is a jerk. Or, you can choose to be grateful, to focus on Philippians 4:8 thoughts and kick the negative thoughts out of your mind as soon as you begin to think about them, replacing them with thankfulness. You have the ability to change your perception of your husband and to enjoy what he is generously giving to you – himself, his time, a night out at a wonderful restaurant. These are HUGE GIFTS! Not every wife gets to have such attention and gifts. You are blessed!

            Check out

            My Husband Forgot Our Anniversary

            My Husband Didn’t Get Me Anything for Our Anniversary – and I Am So Happy to Be Married to Him!

            Valentine’s Day Expectations

            A Real Life Example of Respect and Biblical Submission (check out the comments on this one, too, please!)

            Much love!

          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. Godlywifetobe,

            Becoming a godly woman requires that we die to our old sinful nature, nail that nasty thing to the cross and lay down all of our desires, dreams, goals, our identity, plans, priorities, “rights,” and all that we have – and lay it before Jesus. Then, we pick up His strength, His power, His holiness, His desires, His priorities, His plans, His will, His goals, His dreams, His identity and we seek His will and His glory alone. We are willing to lose everything to have Him. And when we do that, He gives us ALL of Himself! It is really not a fair trade for Him. But we get a WONDERFUL deal out of the exchange!

            These things that seem hard to do now – are impossible to do in the power of our sinful nature. But in God’s power, He is able to empower us to do this – and as He does, we become the women He wants us to be and the women we have always longed to be and we become a blessing to everyone around us, most of all to Jesus!!!!!!

            It is PAINFUL and SCARY at first – maybe even terrifying.

            But it is SO WORTH IT!

          12. Godlywifetobe,

            If he likes to talk about bikes and cars – you can actually bond with him and bless him by learning to take some interest in what he is interested in.

            I’d love to see you focus on Christ and abiding in Him, asking Him to change you and to bless your husband – and then ask God to show you how you can bless your husband.

            When you go out, here are a few things to consider:

            – SMILE at him. Not to get any certain response or to be fake, but just to genuinely bless this man God has given to you as a gift.
            – Listen to what he wants to talk about, ask questions, enjoy his passion about his interest and realize that this is a gift you can give to him, to listen to him about the things that are important to him, just like you would appreciate him listening about the things that are important to you, or just like you would listen to your child talk about things that are important to him even if you are not actually interested in that topic yourself.
            – Think of 2-3 (maybe more) things, REAL THINGS, that you can praise him/appreciate him about that night. And tell him something like, “I have been thinking about some things I really admire about you lately.” He will probably ask you what you have been thinking about – then you can share what you admire about him.
            – Breathe. Relax. ENJOY being together. Enjoy his generosity.
            – Realize that this life will be over soon. One thing that helps me is to realize, I will probably be a widow. It is very likely that I will outlive my husband. What would I give the day after Greg is gone to have one more night out with him? What if today is my last day with him? How can I use this time wisely and to bring a blessing to him and to honor God?

            Much love!
            April

          13. Godlywifetobe,
            What does he say that annoys you?

            If you would like to share, we can talk about some alternative ways to handle those issues, if you would like. 🙂

          14. April,
            You are cracking me up with all of these And one more thing . . . posts 🙂 It is sooo true though that she can choose to arm herself with all of this good stuff you are providing or choose to stay planted in the pit.

            I came back to tell her it would be good to crash course on some of the info. that she knows would be interesting to him about cars, etc. so she can answer his questions and be good conversation. I see you’ve already offered that and more 🙂

            In college, when my husband and I were dating, I took a whole semester of golf so I could talk to him about something he loved. And I’m not saying there’s necessarily any direct correIation, but he DID choose ME! It really is worth it to put some effort into our man’s interests 🙂

            I know GodlyWifeToBe’s husband had reasons to pick her out of all the fishettes in the sea, as well! I pray she reads all you’ve provided for her here and is ABUNDANTLY BLESSED by it!! Thank you for all that you are to us 🙂

          15. 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.

          16. I do take an interest in his hobbies and ask how his bike is coming along, how the races went. We watch Top Gear together because he likes it and I ask him questions. But a whole 2 hours only talking about cars and bikes. Boring. :p

          17. GWTB,

            That is awesome. We also have a couple things that we do/watch that would not necessarily be part of my “interest lineup”. Maybe not to the degree you’re expressing, but I know what it’s like to have to work at finding things in common. We all do, it’s part of the give & take. I know he seems to be doing a lot of the taking. . .

            Just so you know. . . I was not taken out for my birthday this year at all. I joyfully made my own cake with the kids and dropped the expectations. We had a wonderful family time! My husband is not a gift giver. I love to receive them, but he is not attuned to that. He and a neighbor organized a garage sale last year that began on our anniversary 🙂 It is what it is. I don’t think St. Peter will ask him when he gets to the pearly gates how many gifts he gave me.. . .and none of that will matter then anyway…. . .

            And I have a brother-in-law who expresses himself the same way you’re talking about with social/economic issues. My father was a lot like that as well. Some men are just wired that way. If they don’t know/care a lot about it, they just respond hatefully/ignorantly. But you do have to admit, the state of this country can be very confusing and there are many different angles to see things from that even good Christian folk do not agree on. So give him a little credit. Ask genuine questions like, “What makes you feel that way?” or “I’d love to hear more of your thoughts about that. .” . . .or pray someone who loves engines comes into his life with some strong biblical convictions about social issues!! Maybe you could find some blogs/friends that would meet your desire for deep conversation in these areas.. .

            Who knows what will move this man? Only our Lord does and so we put our trust in Him (and lean not on our own understanding) and we love him the best we know how in the meantime. That means endless amounts of grace, patience, and understanding.

            Sending you e-hugs, sister!!

          18. My counsellor suggested saying those same things or joining him by making it into a joke “just how could we sink that boat? I bet you know a way”. It just grates against my sensibility though :p
            I have tried those things but he doesn’t give much in response. I think it comes down to his heart condition-lack of God. It’s hard to engage in the deep content with him.
            I just feel that if we are meant to be partners, lovers, together that we can share things with one another. I get easily frustrated and annoyed that I’m doing the work and counselling and holding this together while he still gets to live like a single man when he wants, threaten me financially, not care about my basic needs ( I’ve fainted on the floor and he’s sworn at me to get up).

          19. So if we are talking about social justice issues-say immigrants he says “they should all go back to their country”. If there’s something on tv about people trying to arrive by boat to escape their country he says “we should just sink the boats”. All politicians should “be killed”. Drug dealers and bikie gangs are looked upon favorably “they need to leave the gangs alone. Hope the gangs give it to the police”.

          20. GWTB,

            So, he has some pretty strong and unyielding positions on those issues, it sounds like, huh?

            What do you say when he says those kinds of things? 🙂

          21. I ask why he thinks that. He says he hates police and people should do whatever they want. So for example shutting down tattoo parlors linked to bikies-he hates. He says the bikies then have no income and will have to resort to crime to feed themselves.

            I have tried make it into a joke.

            I’ve said “hmm interesting. I disagree, let’s agree to disagree”.

          22. 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 🙂

          23. 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!

          24. 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. 🙂

          25. Thanks Elizabeth. Good suggestions. I have 3 friends I meet with each week for bible study and I have a large group of friends I can converse with. I would just like that same connection with my husband 🙂

          26. I had a great date with hubby. He spoke about his bikes and I listened and asked questions. We talked about family members and our kids. Then we went to a movie and snuggled up. I thanked him a lot for spending the night with me and how much I enjoyed his company.

            This morning he and the kids surprised me with a guitar (I want to learn to play) and a gold bracelet 🙂

          27. Gwtb,

            What a wonderful day!!! I am so proud of you for enjoying everything and for being interested in what your husband is passionate about. Great job! I thank God for empowering you to be able to be so attentive and calm and to enjoy that time. That is awesome about the guitar! What an incredibly generous and thoughtful gift! And a beautiful bracelet, too??? What a blessed woman you are!
            Sounds to me like you have a pretty amazing guy there, my friend!

          28. It really was Christ in me that made the night a success. In the past I always made a point of seeing my husband as God saw him. I still did that to a degree up until recently with my depression and being weighed down from 10 years of a troubled marriage and just feeling it wasn’t fair.
            Through the Holy Spirit and things I’ve read here I realised I had lost that focus I had. So I just plugged into seeing him as a precious child of God and a man who chose me to be his wife.

            And I was proud of myself today when people commented “oh he’s out all day and night on your birthday?” With a positive “he is, but we had a lovely date last night and he surprised me with wonderful gifts today”.

          29. Godlywifetobe,

            Such a wonderful God thing!!!!!! I just have to thank and praise Him for what He is doing in you!!!!! 🙂 Makes me SMILE so much!!!

            BEAUTIFUL way to handle the people’s comments, my precious sister!

          30. 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!

  2. 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. 🙂

  3. April:
    For years I have been praying for God to fix “my husband,” not seeing how much fixing I need myself. I read somewhere in one of your posts where you spoke about how God hardened Pharoah’s heart, so that his power would be evident. I think the more I prayed about my husband, the more God allowed his heart to be hardened, so I could focus on MYSELF! I genuinely believe that. I used to wonder, how on earth it was possible for my once sweet husband, to have such a hardened heart – even when there was no reason for it! I do believe that God allowed that for my own growth in him to take place….for me to find joy in him alone, instead of being so dependent on my husband emotionally…for me to be refined to be what He (God) wants me to be.

    I am at a place of peace now, as I focus ONLY on me. Of course, I DEFINITELY still pray for my husband (everyday). But it is not selfishly as I did before :(, when my main focus was for my marriage to be restored, and for God to “fix him.” Now, I know that I can be happy even if God does not honor that request. My joy is in God. I now, pray for God’s will for my husband and my family. I pray for my husband to taste how sweet and reassuring salvation is, because that is what is important!

    I can confidently say that, while I love my husband, while I want restoration, (and some more things too, including daughters! 🙂 ) I have placed EVERYTHING at God’s feet. I am focused on my own flaws right now. I can trust God that he will not withhold anything good from me. I can trust that ultimately – everything will work out for good.

    I find myself thanking God for the way he has used all the pain he allowed to make me a better person. As humans, we all have some level of selfishness in us. I think one of the major things we can use to assess our motives in prayer re our marriages, is this —- > Are we changing in the ways we react to “everyone” or just our husbands? Are we just wanting to become peaceful in our roles as “wives”, only?

    It is very likely, that if we are being refined as a whole, if our focus is on God’s will for us, and not just our desires for our marriages/husbands, we will become brand new. I am a different person from when this started! I am a better mother, sister, child, aunt, friend, employee etc. God has been changing ME as a whole, because this cannot only be about my marriage. This is about God’s will for me as His child.

    Thank God, that I am finally, not focusing on my husband. What a place to be!

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

    2. Prayinglikehannah,

      WOOOOOHOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

      You know how to make me cry the happiest tears of joy! WHAT A GIFT FROM GOD! My precious sister!!!!!!! THIS is the place I have longed for you to be and prayed for you to be for so long!!!! I am THRILLED that God has opened your eyes and that your heart is in this place – the only place we need to be – depending totally on Him and asking Him to change you.

      I am in awe that He is already empowering you to see the good He is bringing out of all of the suffering and pain you have been experiencing.

      And you are exactly right – God wants to change the way we relate to EVERYONE in our lives, not just our husbands. He wants ALL of us.

      You made my day! Thank You, GOD, for this incredible answer to many, many prayers!!!!!!!!!!!

      1. April:
        🙂 🙂 – you make me smile.

        It took me sooooooooooooo long to get to this place 🙁 — I am glad I am there now though. I wish I was right here from day 1; but I do not think it was a waste at all. It was a part of the refining process that I needed. Thanks oh so much for your help…for your wisdom and most of all, for the prayers.

        1. Prayinglikehannah,

          I know! I am so glad you are here now, too! Just can’t stop thanking God!!!!!! I wonder if there was a moment that helped clarify things for you? What did God reveal to you that opened your eyes? 🙂

          1. April: Hearing you say you can’t stop thanking God, is joy to my ears! Why? Because it reinforces that you are praying for me…and I know that many times, it has just been the prayers of others, that have held me up – times when I was just too weak (sadly) to pray for myself. Even when I am praying steadfastly, I believe in the power of group prayers.

            I wish I could say there was “a moment” that clarified things. I have had many moments over the years that should have clarified things! I have even had times when I believed things were really “clarified,” but my motives were still primarily based on wanting my marriage restored, wanting my husband to change etc. It was not about totally leaving things at God’s feet, and focusing on me. I don’t think the things I wanted were wrong, I just think I did not put my desires in the right order. My priorities were wrong. I still want those things – (including….daughters 🙂 whew, how exciting that will be!) – but how secondary those are to my relationship with God, to my desire for my husband’s salvation, to my willingness to accept whatever God wants for me, to my willingness to grow in this “bad weather” of my life, to my willingness to be joyful in “whatever” God determines is what he will give me.

            So it wasn’t a crash course… it was just the “education” from taking different courses I would say; courses such as – real trying situations with my husband, reading the Bible, reading other books, reading from you and other Christian women on this blog, praying, trying to hear God, learning at church etc. I think I also really heard from God, that HE was the one who allowed my husband’s heart to be hardened all these years. I really believe that. I felt like the more his heart hardened, the more I acted like a bratty child in the supermarket crying for something and throwing a tantrum at God (my parent). God did not just take the thing off the shelf and give it to me, he let me throw my tantrum for as long as it took for me to realize I was not going to get it that way. It was not a bad thing to want a little candy….. but, my approach was bad. I was more focused on the candy, than honoring my parent.

            It has been a VERY long road for me, with much heartache, and I guess God refused to yield to me! Because he is a good parent, who knows that I should be yielding to HIM! If I focus on my husband, I would never improve, because he is lost…… I cannot expect him to see clearly, I cannot respond to him the way he responds to me. I on the other hand, should act like a child of God. Remember, when all this started years ago – I was not saved! So when I cried out to God from day one, focusing on my marriage – he knew that there was something more important that needed to be fixed. He used the trials to save me first!

          2. Prayinglikehannah,

            This is amazing!

            I wonder if you might allow me to share this comment and the first one in a post, please, ma’am?

            LOVE LOVE LOVE LOVE it!

          3. “Ma’am” – so funny 🙂
            If you think anything I write on the blog is useful, you are welcome to use it, at any time. So of course, feel free to use it as you see fit 🙂

  4. 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!

  5. 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. Fallenshort – you are so wise. Thanks for this scripture. How does it compare with things like, “Pray without ceasing” and the story of the widow who kept going back to the judge…?

      I have so much more to learn about the Bible. I am a a mere baby at it 🙁 — but it seems as if, though our Father knows what we want, we should still ask for it. I am guessing (correct me if I am wrong, anyone), that what matters is our hearts/motives…you know, that we are not just blabbering, and using many words just for the sake of doing so, and expecting that, that will let us be heard.

      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. Prayinglikehannah,

        I love E. M. Bounds books on prayer. He addresses all of these things in such detail.

        God doesn’t hear us for our many words. It’s not like mindless repetition impresses Him, or if we reach a certain word count, then He will give us an answer.

        But – we do pray all the time in our hearts – thanking Him, praising Him, seeking Him, desiring Him, asking for His will, asking for His glory, asking for Him to fill us, asking for His power, asking for the things we and others need – with pure hearts that are completely devoted to Him alone.

      3. Hi Prayinglikehannah!

        I think 1Thess.5:17, the “pray continually” or “without ceasing” verse, actually refers to the state of our heart’s awareness or consciousness of God’s presence/relationship in our lives at all times. Prayer is an intimate conversation that we need to always have the line “open” on. It is part of many other suggestions that Paul gives to the Thessalonians about how we should go about our days. It is preceded by “Be joyful always”. Obviously, Yahweh understands human emotions and we are not ALWAYS joyful. But we should be very careful not to give much of a voice to emotions that give us (or others) the impression that we are not fully committed to the Lord’s will in our lives. If we all lived this way, as we should, many of the emotions we inflict on one another wouldn’t even be an issue.

        As far as the parable of the persistent widow, it follows these same lines. I believe it is a story that shows that Lord is with us, even when the world is against us, and there is hope even when we seem to think there is none.

        You are right. Several other scriptures do tell us to ask. In James 4 verse 3, we are reminded again, though, to check our motives when we ask. – “When you ask, you do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, that you may spend what you get on your pleasures.” Before we pray, we should weigh carefully our motives and discern which desires are from the Lord and which are fleshly desires.

        I don’t think that the scripture in Matthew means we should not ask. But I do think, as it also says in James, we should be slower to speak and quicker to be still and listen to what Yahweh is saying to us. It is much easier to hear when we’re not speaking.

        Asking The Father repeatedly for the same thing when he knows our hearts, or not checking our motives and “babbling on” about our own fleshly desires, is not how we should approach the Father. It is my opinion that spending hours at a time in “prayer” for most of us falls into this category.

        I sincerely hopes this helps, PLH, and there are many other wise voices here, who may have replied in the meantime or who will soon, I’m sure 🙂

        1. Thanks April & Fallenshort:

          I don’t think (I don’t know though), that when most people say they spend hours praying, they mean all that time they are doing the talking… I sometimes set aside a day or a half of a day to pray.. .. Those are times, when I feel as if I need a little more “connection” than my typical devotions.

          I don’t literally do all the “talking” all that time; though I say I am praying. In that time, I worship through praise songs, I read the Bible and various Christian books, I journal my thoughts etc. I can easily spend hours doing that at certain times, when 15 minutes in His presence, just won’t do for me.

          You have both given me good explanations. Thanks again… Fallenshort, you are certainly a “wisey” 🙂 🙂

          1. 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 🙂

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

          3. Fallenshort:

            Thank you! Compared to where I was, I have grown immensely! Compared to where I need to be, I am still a might long way to go. Please pray for me along this journey. Thanks

          4. 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.

            🙂

  6. 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!!!

  7. Hi April and all striving peaceful wives!!

    I was busy with my daughter at the hospital, her fever and body pains have vanished.. Waiting for her blood reports to come.

    I just can’t believe what change God has brought out in me and I’m sooo thankful to God!! And Im thankful to April and her blog for being the channel through which I could understand Gods will for my life more clearly.

    I was unable to read the word of God or pray like how much I wanted, it was more like a desert experience in the last few days…. I had faith God is in control, hopeful that God will heal my daughter. I was not angry with my husband, and rather understood his busy schedule and tried to bless him even when I felt he was wrong.. I’m longing to be in God’s presence I don’t know why I’m unable to be but I have so much of PEACE!!!

    This is amazing, and at the hospital I was also able to share my experiences with my mom who is filled with bitterness and resentment with all that happened in her marriage. Shes gone through a lot, but there was no peacefulwifeblog for her to know the truth.. My mom seemed to be a lot more receptive than I expected and I know Christ will soon get her rid of all her bitterness. I dint do my finger pointing business with my mom this time, instead I shared with her the Peace that I was experiencing…

    These few days at the hospital helped me learn so much… Im waiting to get onto my knees to just be in the presence of God and nothing else!!

    1. Vinodhini,

      WOW!

      How amazing to watch God work out all of these trials with your daughter for His glory!!!!!! I can’t wait for you to have more time with Him. THANK YOU for sharing all that you are experiencing and learning and what God is doing in your life! PRAISE GOD!!!!!

  8. 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

  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. 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?

    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!! 🙂

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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