The Power of a Special Kind of Prayer
A friend gave me a copy of The Power of a Praying Wife way before I was even married. I wasn’t even dating anyone at the time. I remember being puzzled at why she gave it to me exactly, but nonetheless thumbed through it. If you’ve never read any of Stormie Omartian’s books on prayer, I recommend doing so. She is a beautiful writer and pens to paper equally beautiful and heartfelt prayers. At the time, reading the prayers a wife was to pray for her husband seemed sweet and something I looked forward to doing some day if the Lord ever decided to make me a wife.
Fast forward a few years…and now I am indeed writing this post just one year into being married. Believe it or not, I was given another copy of Stormie Omartian’s book, The Power of a Praying Wife (from another friend, go figure) and I must say, the written prayers take on new meaning. Let’s just say the images I had in my head of being a wife who prays for my husband aren’t, well, as “sweet” as I thought they would be. As I re-read the prayers of this little book, there is a level of rawness and vulnerability that comes with the territory of being a wife that prays. That is, if you want to experience the power that Stormie speaks of. The reason for this is that the entire first section of prayers of the book aren’t for your husband, as one might expect, but for…you. The wife.
“Lord, help me to be a good wife. I fully realize I don’t have what it takes to be one without Your help…”
This is a powerful nugget of truth I am still learning. It is saying that before we can even begin praying for our husbands, or anyone else for that matter, we’ve got to pray for ourselves – that God would make us into the women He has called us to be. Gulp.
Are you ready for this?
As I read on in the prayer Stormie offers in the very first page of the book, I recognize that in order to experience the true power of prayer, it means we must come to God ready and expecting him to answer the things we pray for in the sort of “take” and “give” rhythm she suggests:
Take my selfishness, impatience, and irritability…and give me kindness, long-suffering and the willingness to bear all things.
Take my old emotional habits, mindsets, automatic reactions, rude assumptions and self protectiveness…and give me the fruits of patience, goodness, gentleness and self-control.
Take the hardness of my heart…and give me a new heart and work in me Your love, peace and joy.
Gulp, again. This is no joke. These kinds of prayers are designed to convict us to the core. We can’t hide behind any facades of thinking our husbands are the ones who need to change. It’s coming to terms with our own sin, our own faults, our own weaknesses and asking God to change us… first. These are the kinds of prayers you love on paper, but kinda tremble at the thought of making them a reality in our own lives. They are the kind of prayers that call us into full and utter surrender, saying, “Lord, I can’t do it, it’s just not possible!” They are the kind of prayers that call us to our knees with our hands held high, asking God to take the things – the ugly, embarrassing, shameful things – we cannot get rid of ourselves and give us the things – the loving, kind, Christ-like things – we truly need, reminding us that He is the only one that has the power to transform. It takes work and a whole lot of willingness to fight against our flesh and self-deception that tells us we don’t need to change. It takes trust to believe God can do it even when it gets hard and we keep failing again and again. It takes great humility and vulnerability to admit our weakness, our wrong, and ask for help. Day. After. Day. Gosh, it’s so hard. But when we do it, we can be encouraged, for,
“Whatever things you ask when you pray, believe that you receive them, and you will have them.” – Mark 11:24
Hallelujah to that. Thank God we don’t have to do this on our own. Whether we are called in this season to be spouses, parents, siblings, friends, or colleagues, may you and I have the courage today to embrace our own weaknesses and faults, asking God to take them and in return give us His strength to change for the greater good of the people we love. Only then will our marriages and all our relationships truly begin to flourish as God intended them to.