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“There Must Be More to This Journey Than Just Prayer”

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Yes! There absolutely is!!!

I spent up to four hours a day praying during those first 14 years of our marriage. God wasn’t answering my prayers. Why, in my case, was He not listening to me?

If I had cherished sin in my heart,
the Lord would not have listened. Psalm 66:18

I have to choose. I can have Jesus or I can have my sin. I can’t have both!

God doesn’t make us change. He is a gentleman and doesn’t force Himself on us. He allows us to choose sin and misery if we want it. Or we can have Him, real spiritual Life, the power of His Spirit, and victory over sin. But we can’t have both sin and Jesus. We must choose one or the other. We can’t just sit around and be upset with God that He won’t change us. That choice is ours to make!

Sometimes wives say to me, “I have been praying. Praying isn’t doing anything. There must be more to it than that.”

There is! Yes!!! We must be willing to completely and totally surrender ourselves and all of our control and all that we want and cherish to the control of Jesus as LORD of all in our lives. He doesn’t answer prayers for those who do not know, love, trust, and obey Him – other than prayers of repentance (turning away from wrong doing).

If we want our prayers to be heard – we must be willing to give up anything that God places His finger on in our lives – sin, wrong motives, desires, dreams, all of our possessions, our bodies, our lives, our time, our health, our families… Jesus is worthy of us giving our ALL to Him. He certainly gave ALL for us! We must be willing to hold all things but Christ loosely in our hands. We must totally give up our will and Self for Him.
Then He will hear our prayers, forgive our sins, and begin to radically transform us into the image of Christ. But He must be Lord of our lives, not just Savior. Those who love Him obey Him (John 14:23-24). Those who don’t obey Him – according to Jesus – don’t love Him. We must be in right relationship with God in order for God to hear our prayers. We come to Him through what Jesus did for us – not through any goodness in our own strength. We are totally dependent on the death of Christ on our behalf and His grace for our salvation. And when we do come to Him, we are totally dependent on Jesus living in and through us to empower us to walk in obedience. We can’t do any of this in our own power!

One of the evidences of salvation is that we have a desire to obey and please our Lord. If we cherish sin in our hearts and desire sin more than we desire Christ – something is horribly wrong spiritually.

The sin that I cherished in my heart that separated me from God and grieved His Spirit in my life:

Pride, thinking I was so much more spiritual than other people, a critical spirit, bitterness, unforgiveness, doubt (toward God), worry, fear, gossip, unbelief in God, lack of trust in Him, I had self on the throne of my life rather than Christ, lack of submission to Christ as Lord, disrespect toward God, disrespect toward Greg, idolatry of several things (things I wanted more than Jesus in my heart – control, my way, happiness, romance, my vision of marriage, etc…).

Until I am willing to lay down EVERYTHING I have, EVERYTHING I am, and EVERYTHING I might ever be – I am not allowing Jesus to be fully Lord. And I will be stuck in misery.

This is the path to the healing, blessings, joy, and peace of God in our lives.

  • Total surrender to Him.
  • Total trust in Him.
  • Total faith in Him.

Knowing Him more, loving Him more, obeying Him, His will, and His glory become the most important things in my life.

It often takes some intense wrestling in prayer to get to this place. It did for me! And it is scary at first. But once you do truly trust Christ and He begins to work in your life, you realize the scary place to be is trusting yourself and the best place to be is trusting God.

Then Jesus said to his disciples, “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me.  For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me will find it. What good will it be for someone to gain the whole world, yet forfeit their soul? Or what can anyone give in exchange for their soul? For the Son of Man is going to come in his Father’s glory with his angels, and then he will reward each person according to what they have done. Matthew 16:24-27

If you are afraid to trust God – study His character and His attributes and discover who He truly is! Ask Him to change your heart so that you desire Him more than anything else in the world. Ask Him to show you your sin and to help you hate it as much as He does. Ask Him to give you faith to come to Him! He will do it – if you are willing to give all of yourself to Him.

David Platt – Secret Church – Who Is God?

RELATED:

“Please God, Ask Me for Anything But This!”

Praying from an Obedient Life

Dying to Self

Giving All Of Myself to Christ – a Prayer

Godly Femininity

Stages of This Journey

50 thoughts on ““There Must Be More to This Journey Than Just Prayer”

  1. I encourage women who are struggling with sin to look up all the verses about the particular sin and begin memorizing them for the Bible says, “I will hide God’s Word in my heart that I may not sin against Him.” We are transformed by the renewing of our minds with God’s Truth! His Word is sharper than a 2-edged sword and is powerful to change any and all sinful behavior.

  2. Thank you very much for your posts. They have blessed me very much and pointed me to Jesus. I have been going through a horrible time in my marriage and have felt very alone. Your blog has reminded me God is there and His way is better than my way. Gbu xx

    1. Struggling wife,

      My dear sister! I wish I could give you a big hug! I’m so sorry for your pain. But how I praise God that He has lifted up your chin to look toward Him!

      How may we pray with you?

      Much love!

  3. This is a good prayer (and attitude) from anywhere we are in our spiritual walk:

    Psalm 19:12-13

    But who can discern their own errors? Forgive my hidden faults. Keep your servant also from willful sins; may they not rule over me. Then I will be blameless, innocent of great transgression.

  4. Again and again …Focusing on the lord ..knowing him asking him to show me what he dislikes about me and allowing his holy spirit to change me is the shortest cut to save my marriage …Perfect message to remind me of working on me no ton my husband ..Oh lord help me to release my husband and seek you …

    1. NancyGrace,
      Thank you for sharing! I pray God will continue His good work in you to completion and that His will and His good purposes might be accomplished in your life, your husband’s life and your marriage!

  5. God listens and works with us where we are. 4 hours seeking him were not wasted, even in your stubborn sin. God was working with it and 14 years later it was able to bear fruit. God listens to sinners that seek him. I’m just saying this as a balance.

    1. Katy,

      My attitude was so very prideful! I was disrespectful toward God and tried to dictate to Him what He should do. It was truly awful!

      I thank Him that He did open my eyes to my sin and that He has been willing to change me in spite of the irreverence with which I approached him for so long. The motives and attitude of my heart and my pride were not conducive to God hearing my prayers.

      There are some situations where people have pure motives and pray for a long time in persistence. I believe God does answer those prayers. But my prayers were like the prayers of the Pharisee Jesus described – the one who did not go home reconciled to God like the tax collector did.

      Thank you for sharing! 🙂

  6. Excellent word today, April! Every time you post anything about giving our ALL to Jesus and putting sin to death, it makes me stop and think and realize I have a ways to go. Thank you for continuing to challenge us and point us to Jesus!

    1. Anon,

      It can definitely be a process of surrendering over time. And sometimes, even when we do give ALL – we see layers later as God shows them to us – that we need to surrender. Or there are new things that come up that we need to be sure to lay on the altar. It is a daily process of surrender and being a living sacrifice.

      Much love to you!

  7. I think another thing is to never underestimate the power of intercession. If your prayers seem to be going unanswered, if God seems to have turned His face from you, if you can’t feel any love or peace inside you, and even your heartfelt desire for God’s presence is being ignored… ask someone else to pray for you.

    For years I’ve been in pain (mostly due to my marriage, or maybe the pain has been manifested most clearly in my marriage but the source has been my own sin and forsaking of God when I married my unbelieving husband). It all came to a head several years ago when my husband had a devastating affair while I was pregnant with our second child. We were living abroad at the time, with no access to English-speaking counselors, churches, and no real friends. For years afterwards I would alternate between crippling sadness, bitterness, and numbness at the best of times. My prayers went unanswered for 6 years. I lost every last shred of hope in a good God. Then, when things seemed at rock bottom, the dynamics changed and one of the things for which I’d been begging the cosmos (I no longer had any faith in our Christian God) happened – my husband chose to move us and our daughters back to our home country, after years abroad. Everything fell into place, even as far as finding a church of my former denomination 3 blocks from our new home! I was finally happy… for a few weeks. Then my husband lost the job we had staked everything on, became depressed, and our already fragile marriage started crumbling again. It was at this point I found this blog, desperately seeking online advice if I should just get divorced.

    Months of learning that I needed to regain a belief and trust in God rather than trying to put my husband and marriage first seemed to help, but I STILL had little peace and my marriage was just barely hanging on. When my husband got a wonderful new, full-time job I thought God had FINALLY answered a prayer! My husband is very driven to provide for me and our daughters and his inability to do so was crushing him. Unfortunately, this job is a thousand km away and we couldn’t all move, as we had no money for anything larger than a room in the new city, and our daughters were just in the last term of school. Two months of struggle and unhappiness went by, where I felt our marriage was still falling apart and that God’s face was still turned against me. Two months of intense prayer, rooting out of sin and idols, and STILL no peace, no joy, no love, no trust. Two months of begging God to heal me and help me to love Him. Nothing. Just a continued distrust of my husband (still having a hard time trusting him even though I’m finally learning to respect him) and an utter lack of hope that God cares enough to bless my life. After all, what’s good in my opinion may not be at all in God’s plan. But… I DID have a strong desire to seek and do God’s will. No hope, no trust, but a strong desire. After two months, I finally broke down and asked for intercessory prayer, and you know what? For the first time, I started feeling some peace! God had been faithful to me, and given me two months to get to know Him without the temptation or distraction of my husband but I guess He knew I needed to go to a deeper level of relying on Him.

    I am praying that God helps me to love him, and that God will bless my life and help me to count trials as joy because they will strengthen my faith. Sometimes I hear a whisper in my heart “baby steps… keep praying no matter what”. Reading Habakkuk was good for me because it’s about keeping faith even when God seems to be absent or unloving. Forcing myself to give thanks and try to seek silver linings also helps. Looking beyond my feelings and trying to keep a smile on my face and letting go of anger helps. And another huge thing for me was realizing I simply can hand over to God the things I really struggle with (anger, bitterness, envy, jealousy, gossip) and He WILL take those burdens!!! I now thank God for the good work He will do in my future, even when I struggle to actually believe it. I find that I have more to thank Him for than I did a month ago. He’s teaching me, step by step, to trust Him, which is what I’ve been praying for for many months.

    There’s a lot more to this journey than just prayer, but if you can’t find that exuberance and passion for Christ, start with a simple prayer that God will give you what you need to love Him.

    1. peregrine042,

      Oh how my heart breaks for the pain you have gone through!

      But praise God for what He has done and is doing and will do in your life! THANK YOU for the encouragement about intercessory prayer. YES!!!! Such a powerful healing tool. What a beautiful thing God is doing i your heart now.

      THANK you for sharing! I am so blessed by reading your testimony.

      Much love and the biggest hug to you!

    2. I am so blessed by reading this testimony, Peregrine042, and I am praying for you. Thank you for sharing, and being so painfully honest, and I hope it helps others too. Keep looking at those silver linings, and giving your burdens to a God who is more than able to carry them for you. 🙂
      I have had a massive struggle lately, and yesterday someone prayed with me, and I felt God say to me “Let ME worry about that” and I realised I didn’t need to be carrying this myself and I could just let go of it!
      Jesus says “Come unto me all you who labour and are heavy laden and you will find rest for your souls… My yoke is easy and my burden is light” He doesn’t say go round without a yoke and do what you like!, but that His ‘yoke’ is easy, it’s the way of peace and rest. As April has so clearly demonstrated in her own life when she laid down all the huge burdens she carried and let Jesus take over.
      Thank you for another insightful and challenging post today April. I praise God for the day I discovered this blog, and how much God has shown me through it.

      1. Sunshine,

        I’m so thankful to God that He has used this to bless you. May He richly bless your walk with Christ!!! And may He take you much deeper in your faith, and in love. 🙂

      2. Thanks, Sunshine and April! I came off as really wordy but it was neat to see a bit more of a bigger picture as I wrote, which inspired me to actually hit the “send” button, hoping my story would resonate with someone else. Or at least get me a bit of unasked for prayer!! 😀 I continue to need prayers but it’s tough to keep asking for them.

        That feeling of handing off the burden to God and KNOWING He’s taken it is a little astonishing, isn’t it? It certainly is a light yoke, if you’re wearing it right. I’m still bogged down so much by negativity and bitterness, but the day I realized I could ask God to take over my uncontrollable anger AND HE DID, was probably the day I realized ours is a living, dynamic, powerful and real God, not just a wishful projection of a god spot in my brain.

        1. peregrine042,

          Oh wow! What an incredible story you have! I would love to hear more about how you gave your uncontrollable anger to God and what He has been doing in your life. 🙂

  8. Thank you for another thoughtful and moving post, April! I especially like your reminding us that we need to think of God not just as an endlessly gracious Savior, but also as a Lord whom we have to obey and whom we have to fear with a godly, appropriate fear.

    Something in the text gave me pause, and I was wondering if you could walk me through it. You write that “He doesn’t answer prayers for those who do not know, love, trust, and obey Him – other than prayers of repentance.” I was wondering if, being the omnipotent and magnanimous Lord that he is, is it possible for Him to answer prayers from unrepentant people? Say, for example, a cheating husband (adultery) whose child is seriously ill. The husband has not yet repented of his affair–and might still be in the middle of it–but would God turn a deaf ear to his prayer for his child to get better? Or a woman who has had an abortion (murder). Say she has not confessed her sin or repented of it. But she loves her own parents, who are separated and facing a divorce. Would God not answer a prayer from her to lead her parents back towards each other?

    I know the above examples are extreme, theoretical, and kind of artificially sewed together, but I exaggerated to make clear what I am asking.

    I also cannot help but look at the Lord’s Prayer, and notice that “give us today our daily bread” (what I, the fallen, imperfect human being need) precedes “and forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us.” I might be overanalyzing the text, but I cannot help but notice the order. It’s not 1) help us not be evil, 2) if we fail and act in an evil manner, please forgive us and teach us how to forgive, 3) and only then meet our needs and give us what we need (the daily bread); it is, in fact, the other way round.

    I do not mean to imply that you are wrong, especially because you are a scholar when it comes to knowing the Bible and I am a relative novice. I am just tripping over the idea that He will not hear and respond to prayers from any of His disobedient children, unless the prayers are to ask for forgiveness of the sin.

    I am excited to read what you have to say and look forward to reading it. 🙂

    With love and gratitude for your writing,
    your sister in Christ

    1. Maine,

      That is a great question! We have been teaching a really watered down version of God and His Word in so many of our churches. We leave out God’s holiness and His inability to tolerate any sin at all. We have become so casual with approaching God – like He is our “buddy” rather than understanding that if we were truly standing before Him – we would be on our faces in awe and fear and we would immediately realize how holy He is and how unholy we are in our own power.

      This is sobering. But obedience is part of having a relationship with Christ. And it is a necessary prerequisite to prayer. We don’t obey in our own strength – God’s Spirit empowers us to obey so that it is Christ living in us – the hope of glory! But we must let Him have control, not our sinful flesh.

      One of the things that God reveals about Himself in the Old Testament is that people must approach Him on His terms- with great respect. They must be willing to use the methods He ordains to come to Him. He is holy and will not tolerate sin. Jesus is our High Priest who provided the atoning sacrifice in the heavenly Temple – rather than an earthly copy like Israel had. We are washed in the laver of Baptism, instead of a priest ceremonially cleansing himself with water in the laver in the court of the temple. He is the Bread of Life – as symbolized by the show bread in the Holy Place in the temple. And He is the Light of the World as demonstrated by the lamp stand in the Holy Place. He went into the Holy of Holies on our behalf with His own perfect blood – making a way for us to approach the Mercy Seat that only the High Priest could approach in the Old Testament – and then, he could only go once a year. If he did not do everything as God prescribed, he would die when he went into the Holy of Holies. That is why they tied a rope to his leg so that if he offended God, they could pull him out if he died.

      We must still approach God through the Way He provides. Jesus said, “I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life. No one comes to the Father but through Me.” John 14:6. Jesus is now our ultimate High Priest – and He made the way for us to come to God through His blood. But we are not free to approach Him with unrepentant known sin.

      When Jesus gives the Lord’s prayer – He is teaching His disciples to pray. Not unbelievers.

      Before God answers our prayers – before we can have a relationship with Him – our sin must be dealt with.

      First Jesus did much so that God can answer our prayers. But we must take hold and receive what He did for us. Then, we must not be cherishing sin in our hearts. To cherish sin is to grieve the Holy Spirit. We must make things right with Him by repenting and turning away from our sin to restore fellowship with His Spirit.

      Here is a post by John Piper about what is involved in God answering our prayers.

      http://www.desiringgod.org/messages/what-do-answers-to-prayer-depend-on-part-1

      Another fantastic resource is E.M. Bounds – The Necessity of Prayer. He is known now as an authority on prayer – he was a pastor during the Civil War in Tennessee. He has an entire chapter on the importance of a believer walking in obedience for his/her prayers to be heard that is very helpful.

      If we are not in right relationship – not abiding in Christ – we are not promised that God will hear and answer our prayers.

      The prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective. James 5:16

      But what does that say for the man walking in sin?

      <em “I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener. 2 He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit he prunes[a] so that it will be even more fruitful. 3 You are already clean because of the word I have spoken to you. 4 Remain in me, as I also remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me.

      5 “I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing. 6 If you do not remain in me, you are like a branch that is thrown away and withers; such branches are picked up, thrown into the fire and burned. 7 If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. 8 This is to my Father’s glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples. John 15:1-8

      For us to abide and remain in Christ – is to be filled with His Word, filled with His Spirit’s power, and walking in obedience. The fruit of the Spirit will come from this (Galatians 5:22-23).

      Jesus replied, “Anyone who loves me will obey my teaching. My Father will love them, and we will come to them and make our home with them. 24 Anyone who does not love me will not obey my teaching. These words you hear are not my own; they belong to the Father who sent me. John 14:22-23

      “I have revealed you to those whom you gave me out of the world. They were yours; you gave them to me and they have obeyed your word.” John 17:6

      God does not answer prayers of those who don’t know Him or who are estranged from Him except for prayers of repentance. He heard the prayer of the tax collector who beat his breast and wouldn’t even look up toward heaven as he humbled himself before God and repented. But God did not hear the prayer of the prideful Pharisee who exalted himself (Luke 18:9-14).

      ISAIAH 1
      11“The multitude of your sacrifices—
      what are they to me?” says the Lord.
      “I have more than enough of burnt offerings,
      of rams and the fat of fattened animals;
      I have no pleasure
      in the blood of bulls and lambs and goats.
      12When you come to appear before me,
      who has asked this of you,
      this trampling of my courts?
      13Stop bringing meaningless offerings!
      Your incense is detestable to me.

      New Moons, Sabbaths and convocations—
      I cannot bear your worthless assemblies.
      14Your New Moon feasts and your appointed festivals
      I hate with all my being.
      They have become a burden to me;
      I am weary of bearing them.
      15When you spread out your hands in prayer,
      I hide my eyes from you;
      even when you offer many prayers,
      I am not listening.
      Your hands are full of blood!
      16Wash and make yourselves clean.

      Take your evil deeds out of my sight;
      stop doing wrong.
      17Learn to do right; seek justice.
      Defend the oppressed.a
      Take up the cause of the fatherless;
      plead the case of the widow.
      18“Come now, let us settle the matter,”
      says the Lord.
      “Though your sins are like scarlet,
      they shall be as white as snow;
      though they are red as crimson,
      they shall be like wool.
      19If you are willing and obedient,
      you will eat the good things of the land;
      20but if you resist and rebel,
      you will be devoured by the sword.”

      JEREMIAH 7
      This is the word that came to Jeremiah from the Lord: 2 “Stand at the gate of the Lord’s house and there proclaim this message:

      “‘Hear the word of the Lord, all you people of Judah who come through these gates to worship the Lord. 3 This is what the Lord Almighty, the God of Israel, says: Reform your ways and your actions, and I will let you live in this place. 4 Do not trust in deceptive words and say, “This is the temple of the Lord, the temple of the Lord, the temple of the Lord!” 5 If you really change your ways and your actions and deal with each other justly, 6 if you do not oppress the foreigner, the fatherless or the widow and do not shed innocent blood in this place, and if you do not follow other gods to your own harm, 7 then I will let you live in this place, in the land I gave your ancestors for ever and ever. 8 But look, you are trusting in deceptive words that are worthless.

      9 “‘Will you steal and murder, commit adultery and perjury, burn incense to Baal and follow other gods you have not known, 10 and then come and stand before me in this house, which bears my Name, and say, “We are safe”—safe to do all these detestable things? 11 Has this house, which bears my Name, become a den of robbers to you? But I have been watching! declares the Lord.

      12 “‘Go now to the place in Shiloh where I first made a dwelling for my Name, and see what I did to it because of the wickedness of my people Israel. 13 While you were doing all these things, declares the Lord, I spoke to you again and again, but you did not listen; I called you, but you did not answer. 14 Therefore, what I did to Shiloh I will now do to the house that bears my Name, the temple you trust in, the place I gave to you and your ancestors. 15 I will thrust you from my presence, just as I did all your fellow Israelites, the people of Ephraim.’

      16 “So do not pray for this people nor offer any plea or petition for them; do not plead with me, for I will not listen to you. 17 Do you not see what they are doing in the towns of Judah and in the streets of Jerusalem? 18 The children gather wood, the fathers light the fire, and the women knead the dough and make cakes to offer to the Queen of Heaven. They pour out drink offerings to other gods to arouse my anger. 19 But am I the one they are provoking? declares the Lord. Are they not rather harming themselves, to their own shame?

      20 “‘Therefore this is what the Sovereign Lord says: My anger and my wrath will be poured out on this place—on man and beast, on the trees of the field and on the crops of your land—and it will burn and not be quenched.

      If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land. 2 Chronicles 7:14

      Other examples:
      Ezra’s prayer

      Daniel’s prayer

      Amos 5

      Verses in the New Testament about Repentance (Acts-Revelation)

      There are more examples of how God deals with those who are disobedient and unrepentant in Scripture. But there are many references to the fact that God will not listen to even His people if they are living in unrepentant sin. Repentance comes first! Then God hears prayers of faith of those who are in Christ.
      Much love to you!

      1. Matthew 5:
        “You have heard that it was said to the people long ago, ‘You shall not murder,[a] and anyone who murders will be subject to judgment.’ 22 But I tell you that anyone who is angry with a brother or sister will be subject to judgment. Again, anyone who says to a brother or sister, ‘Raca,’[d] is answerable to the court. And anyone who says, ‘You fool!’ will be in danger of the fire of hell.

        23 “Therefore, if you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that your brother or sister has something against you, 24 leave your gift there in front of the altar. First go and be reconciled to them; then come and offer your gift.

        I am not talking about people having to have sinless perfection. We are in the process of being sanctified – made more and more holy in practice – in this life. We will be perfect only in heaven. But God is changing those who belong to Him to make us more and more like Christ. If we are aware of sin – we must repent of it before we approach God. Or we cannot approach Him with boldness and confidence. If we grieve the Spirit of God, we cannot be overflowing with the power of the Spirit of God. If we cherish sin in our hearts, God will not hear our prayers – Psalm 66:18

        But, if we continually repent as soon as we are aware of sin and hate our sin and turn from it and toward God – asking Him to change, regenerate, and empower us. He can give us victory over sin and He will also hear our prayers – for those who know Christ.

        1. “But, if we continually repent as soon as we are aware of sin and hate our sin and turn from it and toward God – asking Him to change, regenerate, and empower us. He can give us victory over sin and He will also hear our prayers – for those who know Christ.”

          Yes! Well-said. 🙂

          We are on the journey as God leads us toward repentance.

          Matthew 11:12
          From the days of John the Baptist until now the kingdom of heaven has suffered violence, and the violent take it by force.

          Seeking the kingdom of heaven with all our strength and intense aggression!

          Romans 7:14-25
          Is a feeling I get sometimes, but remembering to trust in Christ for deliverance is so important. I know that he is in my inmost being, which does indeed hate sin and eagerly seeks God’s discipline and perfecting. It is just so important to remember that it is all done through Jesus.

        2. Hi. Here is a verse on this subject that’s also stood out to me:

          John 9:31 Now we know that God does not hear sinners; but if anyone is a worshiper of God and does His will, He hears him.

          And here are some other related verses my Bible gives:

          Psalm 34:15 The eyes of the LORD are on the righteous, And His ears are open to their cry.
          Psalm 34:16 The face of the LORD is against those who do evil, To cut off the remembrance of them from the earth.
          Psalm 34:17 The righteous cry out, and the LORD hears, And delivers them out of all their troubles.
          Psalm 34:18 The LORD is near to those who have a broken heart, And saves such as have a contrite spirit.

          Proverbs 15:29 The LORD is far from the wicked, But He hears the prayer of the righteous.

          Isaiah 1:15 When you spread out your hands, I will hide My eyes from you; Even though you make many prayers, I will not hear. Your hands are full of blood.

          “If, then…”

          Isaiah 58:9 Then you shall call, and the LORD will answer; You shall cry, and He will say, ‘Here I am.’ “If you take away the yoke from your midst, The pointing of the finger, and speaking wickedness,

          Micah 3:4 Then they will cry to the LORD, But He will not hear them; He will even hide His face from them at that time, Because they have been evil in their deeds.

          Zechariah 7:13 Therefore it happened, that just as He proclaimed and they would not hear, so they called out and I would not listen,” says the LORD of hosts.

          Lots of strong words. Really makes me think I need to continue searching my own heart and life more, in repentance. Thank you for this post.

  9. Ladies,

    Thank you all for answering my question comprehensively and for taking the time to post so many relevant Biblical references. I will read and study all of them.

    Blessings to all.

    1. Maine,

      You are most welcome. 🙂 I know this concept sounds strange to many of us. In our Christian culture, we have absorbed a lot of the world’s ideas of “tolerance” and “inclusion.” But – when we really read what the Bible says – sometimes the message can be different from what we expected it to be. God does have a message of great hope and all people CAN be included in that hope. But we must approach God His way – not our own way. There was one door into the temple court and into the temple itself. There is one door to God even now – and that is through Christ. But we must come to Him via repentance, humility, and a desire for Him to be in control – not ourselves.

      May God light your path with His wisdom. 🙂 May He draw you closer to Himself than ever!!

      May He direct all of us for His glory!!

  10. “God doesn’t make us change. He is a gentleman and doesn’t force Himself on us. He allows us to choose sin and misery if we want it. Or we can have Him, real spiritual Life, the power of His Spirit, and victory over sin.”

    Oh amen to this! He is a gentleman indeed. I too would often pray, asking for what I wanted, but not listening to the answer, not listening to the instructions. Prayer is a two way form of communication and if one can humble themselves enough, that still quiet voice will speak to you and lead you in the right direction.

    I would pray for my husband to change and that Still Quiet Voice would say, “your husband is not the problem.” So then I’d say, well shoot, I must have just prayed wrong, because that answer makes no sense at all. 😉

    1. insanitybytes22,

      Oh wow! So you actually heard the answer, “Your husband is not the problem,” but still didn’t get it. That is so interesting! I am not sure that I was ever quiet enough to hear the Still Small Voice. I was so busy demanding and telling God what He better do. 🙁

      How I pray we will hear and listen to God’s voice with great clarity and sensitivity!!

      1. I really did hear the words, “your husband is not the problem,” but what I didn’t understand was how empowering accepting that was going to be. God was genuinely trying to relieve my suffering, but it took me a while to cooperate and let Him. Today the things that used to drive me crazy about hubby are actually kind of precious, charming even. I wasted a lot of time trying to control and change him rather than just enjoying him, and I made both of us miserable in the process.

        For a long time I had the impression that submission was about losing power, but actually it’s been very empowering, the complete opposite of what I expected. There is strength in weakness, freedom in surrender, that I never understood, that I resisted.

  11. Hello! Just wanted to write to ask for prayer. I’ve always struggled with feeling the need to be in control of everything. Of course this has taken its toll on my marriage. I have a lot of fears and struggle to make decisions that involve any kind of risk. We are in the process of looking to purchase our first home. Of course, this is incredibly scary to me and has resulted in fights with my husband since my fear can keep me from wanting to be flexible at all. He is very sensitive to things that are important to me such as location, but I find myself being so paralyzed by fear and wanting to take absolutely no risks. I think it might even keep us from getting any house because I refuse to budge on price, location, etc. this process has just discouraged me because I feel like as much as I try I just can’t let my guard down and trust my husband or God. I want to be in control of everything at all times and am always so concerned about making the absolute best and smartest decision. I am much more conservative and cautious in my decision making than my husband and it makes me feel like I always have to be the voice of reason (even though I know he is fully competent).

    Tomorrow we are supposed to go see a house that we will most likely make an offer on. Please pray that I will be able to be different than how I have been. I want to trust God and my husband. I want to not be the one constantly talking and forcing my opinion. I want to know how I should even be in this situation. I just feel the weight of the world on my shoulders and I want to breathe and trust and respect God and my husband. Any advice and prayers are soo appreciated.

    1. Pleasepray,

      I can understand your desire for control and being fear-driven. That was me for such a long time! It is wonderful to meet you – and I think you are in the right place, my sweet sister. 🙂

      I hope you will search my home page for:

      – control
      – fear
      – insecurity
      – security

      And read some of the posts. I think you might find a lot of hope in Christ, in Scripture, and in the truth of God’s Word and as you learn about the sovereignty of God. 🙂

      Why do you believe you can’t trust God?

      Are your feelings true?

      What was the example of your parents’ marriage like?

      What are your greatest fears about making an offer on this house?

      Is it possible that God might be greater than your fears?

      If you get a chance before you go see that house, please read those posts and pray for God to speak to you.

      Let me know what He shows you, my precious sister! There is every reason for hope in Christ. He CAN heal you and transform you. He did for me and He has done the same for many hundreds of other wives here. 🙂

      I am praying for God to speak to your soul and for you to be able to release your fears and learn to trust God and your husband- resting in His sovereignty rather than thinking you are sovereign. As you study God’s character and realize that He is sovereign, not you – and you release yourself from trying to do God’s job, you will be able to let go of fear and live in faith. Then you will get to experience God’s peace as you rest in Him and trust Him rather than self.

      Much love!
      April

      1. Thank you! I read some this morning and last night. My parents’ marriage is not a good one. There was a lot of abuse by my dad and my mom being a doormat. I am the oldest and was the one always trying to control everything. Because I saw my mom be a doormat, I was determined not to be like her and so I err on the other extreme of being too defensive and controlling and having my walls up.

        We still ended up getting in a fight after looking at the house today. I thought I was doing pretty well but I could tell by my husband’s reaction that even though my tone was better than usual, he took me saying things like “I don;t think you are taking into consideration our future kids” as disrespectful.

        I think I am just more of a slow and cautious decision maker than he is…so I want to be very sure that I want a particular home before I spend so much money (and it is A LOT of money) on it. My husband is faster and I feel like doesn’t always think through all of the implications of various decisions. I felt like we shouldn’t make an offer on this house, but I told him my concerns and told him that I would let him make the decision on whether we offer or not. It is hard for me to think of him making a decision different than what I think should be done about something this big….

        1. Pleasepray,

          If you are reacting to the way your mom was – you probably do have quite a bit of healing to do and a lot of fear-based thinking that needs to be changed to God’s truth. That is an important thing to know – how your past has shaped your thinking, your reactions, and your sinful tendencies. But God can heal you! 🙂

          Yikes. I think that probably any husband would have taken that comment, “I don’t think you are taking into consideration our future kids” as being disrespectful. Any decent man would try to consider ALL the possible important factors when making a decision as big as buying a house. He probably hears you saying that you think he is incompetent or incapable of making a wise decision when you say something like that.

          A more respectful approach might be, “I wonder if this house would be able to adequately accommodate future kids for us, Honey? What are your thoughts on that?” Then you are sharing your concern – but you are not labeling him a poor decision maker. Does that make sense?

          I’m glad you told him your concerns. Do you believe you would feel the same about any house? Are you able to pray and trust God to lead you through your husband? Is it possible that God might be sovereign even over this?

          In deciding on a house to buy – there are a lot of things you just can’t know ahead of time. But God knows. Are you seeking His will and His desire for you and your family? Or are your concerns totally fear based – as if God is not big enough to work through situations to accomplish His purposes?

          What are your motives in not wanting to move forward?

          Much love to you!

          1. I think that I have a come a long way in recognizing that my mom and dad’s relationship is not mine…however, I am far from done. It is taking a lot of unlearning…I know that God can change that even though sometimes it can feel hopeless.

            What you said is exactly what my husband told me. When I say things the way that I do I intend it to just be a statement, a fact…but he sees it as labeling him a poor decision maker. He has said the same things that you mentioned about me acting as though he is incompetent or incapable of making a wise decision. I think that I feel like if I am not more forceful about something I feel strongly about like the yard not being practical for small children then he might not recognize how serious it is and we might end up spending a ton of money on the wrong house. I know I wouldn’t feel that way about any house because there have been a couple others that we have put offers on that I felt great about…we just didn’t get them because there were multiple offers.

            While I realize that I can tend to be too conservative in my decision making especially in a crazy real estate market where it requires us to move faster than I am typically comfortable, my husband also realizes that he can be a little more driven by his fear that the prices are going to continue to go up and we may end up having to pay much more than we want.

            I think that there is definitely a part of me that is not trusting God in this process. I think the hard thing for me is that my motives and concerns are mixed. There are some really legitimate concerns (which my husband agrees with) mixed with not trusting God to lead me through my husband. So that is hard to differentiate and hard to know how to act. We talked about it more this morning and my husband ended up agreeing with me about various cons about the house and decided not to offer. What I become worried about is that if I was not so aggressive with how I presented my concerns, would he have made the wrong decision? Obviously letting go of control is hard for me. In my head I feel like I really do trust my husband to make a good decision for us, but in my actions I obviously do not. I really appreciate all of your thoughtful responses.

          2. Pleasepray,

            Husbands are a lot more sensitive to our words than most of us would ever imagine. It doesn’t take a lot of pressure or force for them to hear us – and, in fact, they often hear us better and feel more free to do the very things we want them to do the LESS pressure and force we use – because that feels more respectful to them. 🙂

            I pray that you might both pray and seek to hear God’s voice and to follow His prompting about the house and many other decisions, too. 🙂

            I am not saying not to share your concerns. Share them – but use much less aggression and force – and show faith in your husband that you believe he is a competent, capable guy and that you don’t have to be his mother as if he is a little boy.

            Lots of posts here will help with the details on how to do that.

            Much love to you!

          3. Thank you! I have been reading your blog for a couple of years and am definitely familiar with your posts regarding these issues. Sometimes it feels almost impossible to apply but I know I need to be praying for Gods strength and not trying to do it in my own. I really appreciate your advice and prayers.

          4. Pleasepray,

            Yes – we ALL need to do this stuff in God’s strength. If I look away from Him for a few minutes and try to do things in my own strength and wisdom, I will crash and burn – and it will be ugly!!!

            Much love to you!

    2. I know your request is now a few days old and you may have a house (!), but it struck me because I’m currently house-hunting, as well, and trust in both the Lord and my husband has been a big issue for me. I can at least empathize and will gladly offer a prayer – although I’m not a “prayer warrior” – that you seek and find God’s guidance in this and all situations, as well as the ability to willingly submit to both God and your husband. I’m so amazed at how the prayers of others on my behalf have been effective, so I hope and believe you’ll have similar results, although the answers may come in surprising ways.

      1. Thank you so much for your prayers! It really means a lot to know that someone understands and empathizes with my struggles since it sometimes feels like I’m the only one who deals with this. We actually are still on the search for a house so I can definitely continue to use your prayers. I hope you are having success with house hunting. Good luck to you too!!

  12. Please pray for me. I am 6 weeks in, and my husband has shut down even further. He said he recognized that I have been reading and changing a lot but that he does not feel hope for this marriage and that his heart is “hardened”. He said he is bitter and full of resentment and though he recognizes he is being unkind to me he can’t help it and maybe he should just leave. He is a Christian. I know this will take a long time. I am just praying he will stay and be able to forgive me. It took us a long time to get here. I am spending hours in prayer and study every day and trying to let go of idols and sinful fears and attitudes. The Lord has truly been supporting me and giving me a peace that is unreal considering the stress, but the SECOND I take my eyes off Him I am back to wrong thinking. Thank you so much for your blog. I am so desperately sorry I didn’t find it sooner….but then maybe I would have been too prideful to see. I thought I was a really good wife all along. I am struggling with knowing I am forgiven for all this sin and why did He let it go on for so long….

    1. Hummingbird,

      This post may help – “Why Isn’t My Husband More Supportive of Me As I Seek to Change?”

      This is a pretty normal dynamic in the beginning.

      Sometimes husbands finally realize that they have the right to feel hurt or angry over feeling disrespected – and they had not given themselves permission before.

      Sometimes they don’t believe the changes for many months, maybe years, because they don’t want to get their hopes up, or they think their wife is manipulating them again.

      Your heart sounds like it is in the right place. Keep doing what you are doing. Keep seeking Christ and allow Him to change you. Your husband has his own journey he has to take. We will pray for God to work in his heart. He is responsible for his sin, his obedience to God, his motives, his thoughts, his words, and his actions. You are only responsible for you.

      I can’t take my eyes off of Christ either or I will go back to wrong thinking immediately. We all desperately need Jesus every moment!

      I thought I was an amazing Christian wife, too, those first 14+ years of our marriage. 🙁 But I thank God He woke me up!

      You know what? I was so upset about my many years of sin – and asked God, “Why didn’t You wake me up 14 years ago!?!?!” But now I understand why. He had this ministry for me – to reach thousands of women around the world. And if I had learned this stuff the first summer we were married, I wouldn’t be able to do what I am doing now.

      God is sovereign even over the timing of when He opens our eyes. And He is able to use even our sin for His glory! We serve an awesome God!

      Much love to you! Hang in there. This is a marathon of many, many months and years. It may get a bit rocky in the first few months, especially – just keep clinging to Christ!

      1. Thank you, April. You are such an encouragement to me, dear sister. The article you sent was excellent and helped me so much. Especially the part about the ICU bed. Perspective is so important and the truth is, I DO have hope…I always have hope, because I have hope in Christ. I appreciate your prayers more than you know. XXOO

        1. Hummingbird,

          I’m so thankful that post was a blessing. And I am SO thankful that you have hope in Christ!!! That makes me smile. Because I know that when a wife knows that truth, that God is about to do some amazing things in her life. 🙂

          Much love to 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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