Last month the Mom’s Corner focused on praying in situations where there is a difference of opinion between a husband and wife. In this Corner, I want to go further on the issue of a wife’s praying.
We can know the importance of praying for our husbands. We can plan to pray for them on a daily basis. However, do we follow through, or do we find our prayer life steps up only when there is a crisis? I would rather be praying positively for my husband daily when all is going well than to wait until the difficulties arise.
When we begin praying for our husbands, particularly concerning areas where we disagree, we must be very careful that our motives are pure. It is easy to get caught up in the “I am right” syndrome and pray pridefully for our husbands to switch to our way of thinking.
Two times in our marriage Steve has been led to change churches when I didn’t agree with him. While I conceded there were good reasons to leave the current church, I was afraid of the unknown. I was settled in the present church and comfortable. The children had ministries and friends. I didn’t want to “rock the boat.” My prayers were not in support of Steve and the decision he was making.
We made each of those church moves despite my reluctance. In retrospect, they were good decisions on Steve’s part even though they were not the ones I wanted. The work the Lord did in our lives through each of those new churches was wonderful. Now I would not change those decisions for anything. In these cases, my opinions on leaving a church were not right, but I sure thought they were at the time!
Fear was ultimately at the heart of my desire to stay in churches that weren’t right for our family. I was uncertain of what the future would hold with a move. 1 Peter 3:6 says, “Even as Sara obeyed Abraham, calling him lord: whose daughters ye are, as long as ye do well, and are not afraid with any amazement.” We are encouraged not to be afraid as we follow Sara’s example.
How many times are our prayers about differences with our husbands based on fear? We are afraid that if we follow our husbands in these decisions, it will mean we may face financial difficulties, we could lose our children’s hearts, or perhaps we will be embarrassed in some way. Our Lord Jesus does not want our prayers for the situation to be resolved as we think it should simply because we are afraid. Rather, He wants us trusting in Him.
Keep in mind the biblical stories where everything looked terrible, but God had a purpose in it and brought about good: Joseph being sold into slavery, Samuel being raised by Eli the wicked priest, Moses taken from his mother to be raised by Pharaoh’s daughter. Our trust must be completely in the Lord and not in what makes sense to us.
Of course there are legitimate issues where it is clear the husband is making poor choices. When we are considering praying for changes in our husbands’ hearts, I would caution that we can easily be consumed with this and develop a critical spirit toward them.
It is important to lay a necessary groundwork for a careful guard against a critical or condescending spirit in a wife toward her husband. If we are praying in one area after another for a change in a husband’s heart and doing this day after day, it could keep our focus on the perceived failings of our husbands. This would fuel our critical spirits.
To avoid this, I would suggest being careful how we pray. For example, in my situation when I didn’t want us to go into debt for a new roof, I think I was asking the Lord to change Steve’s heart so that he didn’t want to go into debt for the roof. On the other hand, I could have prayed for the Lord to provide the funds for a new roof or another alternative that would keep us from debt. Do you see the subtle difference in those two prayers and how the latter would keep my thoughts off of my unhappiness with the direction Steve was headed?
What about the mom who didn’t want to have to go back to work? She can petition the Lord to change her husband’s heart, or she could ask the Lord to provide for the family without her having to work. Again, a very subtle difference, but one worth noting.
Proverbs 31:11-12 says, “The heart of her husband doth safely trust in her, so that he shall have no need of spoil. She will do him good and not evil all the days of her life.” Is it possible that by allowing a critical, prideful spirit to develop in my heart toward my husband, I am doing him evil rather than good?
My heart’s desire is that, as wives, we truly learn the role the Lord has for us. Since areas of disagreement are bound to arise between a husband and wife, may we make it a priority to be much in prayer about each of them. May we rest in the Lord even if we don’t see the changes we would like to have happen.