Tag Archives: Prayer

7 Ways to Pursue Spiritual Growth in 2017

Prayerfully reflect on the year that has passed and ask God to guide you in the year to come.

Physical fitness, wholesome nutrition, quality sleep – chances are you’re hoping to improve at least one area of your health in 2017. But what about your spiritual wellbeing? As you get ready to ring in the New Year, take some time to prayerfully reflect on the year that has passed and ask God to guide you in the year to come.

Focus on Prayer
Prayer is a powerful and essential part of spiritual growth. Set yourself up for success by laying your goals down at God’s feet and relying on Him for strength. If prayer has felt more like a burden than a blessing lately, energize your prayer life with these four tips.

Get Into God’s Word
If you’re resolving to read the Bible this year, The One-Year Bible will help you stay on track with daily readings from the Old Testament, the New Testament, the book of Psalms and Proverbs. Maybe you’re just getting started on your walk with God or picking up a Bible for the first time. Get into the Word and begin to better understand the Gospel with these Bible study tips.

Be Thankful
When we flood our minds and hearts with everything we want to change, it can be easy for the goodness of God to escape us. While we certainly need to pray for our needs and the needs of others, it’s important to intentionally thank God for all the good He is doing in our lives. Cultivate a spirit of joy by focusing on your blessings not your burdens.

Consider a Second Bible
If you read your Bible book by book, try a chronological Bible. If you typically take notes in a separate journal, experiment with a journaling Bible. Supplementing your daily reading with a second Bible can help bring clarity to God’s Word.

Commit to a Daily Devotional
Whether you’re diving into your faith for the first time or you’ve been connecting with God for years, these devotionals will keep you encouraged. Focus your heart on God’s faithfulness with 8 daily devotional books that will strengthen your faith in 2017.

Join a Small Group
Faith flourishes in the presence of community. Consider joining a small group or a Bible study at your church or identify a spiritual mentor who can lovingly challenge you to grow. Surround yourself with believers you can learn from.

Put Your Faith Into Action
As Christians, we are called to serve. Be the hands and feet of Christ by volunteering through your church or another organization in your community. Serving can also be a great way to spend time growing together as a family.

We hope you feel encouraged and equipped to make spiritual growth a priority in the New Year.

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4 Encouraging Bible Verses about God’s Will

The Bible is the most accurate and honest place to seek the Lord and gain perspective on His will for your life.

As Christians, we hear a lot about pursuing God’s will but are often left wondering how to go about it. While only God himself knows His plan for us, He loved us enough to give us His Word as a guide. The Bible is the most accurate and honest place to seek the Lord and gain perspective.

We asked some of our staff to share a verse that helps them understand who God has called them to be. We hope these scriptures encourage you to dive into the Word and seek the will of God.

1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 NLT
Always be joyful. Never stop praying. Be thankful in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you who belong to Christ Jesus.

“I love these verses because they clearly describe these character attributes as God’s will for me in Christ Jesus. These verses are very clear that no matter what the situation or circumstance, God is certain that He wants me to be a man of joy who seeks Him in prayer and is full of thanksgiving. These are powerful attributes that allow me to rest in Jesus.” – Steve Biondo, Senior Vice President of Human Resources

Romans 12:2 ESV
Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.

“This verse has always spoken to me in an incredibly deep way. We are constantly being tugged at and pulled toward conforming to the ways of this world, but I will never cease to consistently renew my mind in God and push myself to be exactly who He has called me to be.” – Olivia Holman, Visual Merchandiser

Romans 8:6 NIV
The mind governed by the flesh is death, but the mind governed by the Spirit is life and peace.

“Though it’s a daily, moment-to-moment battle, I have found that the rewards of thinking about and satisfying my own wants and desires are so shallow and short-lived. When I pursue God through daily Bible study, prayer, and fellowship it positions me to be led by the Holy Spirit. I am able to serve with joy and I have better perspective on life’s problems, which are inevitable. I experience peace as a result of hope and perspective.” – Dan McAleenan, SVP Store Operations

Philippians 4:13 NKJV
I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.

“These verses remind me that I can achieve anything as long as I seek the will of the Lord. Regardless of the task, circumstance or situation, everything will work out because God is in control and I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” – Andreanna Sims, Real Estate Manager

We hope these Bible verses inspire you to live your life in alignment with God’s will. We encourage you to seek Him through His Word as you strive to be more like Christ.

What Bible verses encourage you?

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4 Ways to Energize Your Prayer Life

Has prayer become yet another item on your busy to do list? If we’re honest, we’ve probably all felt this way at times. As humans, it can be easy to get swept up in the demands, distractions and disappointments of this world. But as Christians, we know that prayer is a powerful and essential part of our spiritual walk. If prayer feels like a burden instead of a blessing, these tips will help you get excited about spending time in prayer.

Be Thankful
When our prayers are a laundry list of all the things we want to change, we’re not likely to approach the throne of grace with excitement. We certainly need to pray for our needs and the needs of others, but let’s remember to thank God for all the good He is doing in our lives.

Rework Your Routine
Prayer should be a regular part of our life, but that doesn’t mean we have to do it at the same time, in the same way, at the same place. If you normally pray in your living room, try going for a walk. If you normally use a prayer journal, try praying verses in the Bible. Don’t be afraid to change it up!

Learn To Listen
Relationships are a two-way street and our relationship with God is no exception. We often develop a pattern of listing off our needs without pausing to hear from God. It’s important to sit silently in God’s presence and simply listen.

Pray Without Ceasing
Don’t compartmentalize your prayer life. God’s door is always open which means we have the opportunity to present our requests to Him all day long, not just during our designated prayer time. Say short prayers during those busy moments in life, then go back and pray more in depth when the events of the day have settled.

God never intended prayer to be dull, mundane or boring. We hope these tips inspire you to approach your prayer time with a joyful spirit and a hopeful heart.

What tips have helped you improve your prayer life?

6 Bible Verses to Pray Over Your Kids as They Head Back to School

Your babies may be walking to the bus stop or driving themselves to high school for the first time. Either way, the end of August can be an anxious time for kids (and parents too!) Calm those back to school jitters and put your trust in God. Pray these verses and leave your little ones in the capable hands of the Father.

Pray for Understanding
I pray that your love will overflow more and more, and that you will keep on growing in knowledge and understanding. For I want you to understand what really matters, so that you may live pure and blameless lives until the day of Christ’s return. – Philippians 1:9-10 NLT

Pray for Maturity
Brothers, do not be children in your thinking. Be infants in evil, but in your thinking be mature. – 1 Corinthians 14:20 ESV

Pray for Perseverance
And let us not grow weary while doing good, for in due season we shall reap if we do not lose heart. – Galatians 6:9 NKJV

Pray for Courage
Have not I commanded you? Be strong, vigorous, and very courageous. Be not afraid, neither be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go. – Joshua 1:9 AMP

Pray for Opportunity
Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, especially to those who belong to the family of believers. – Galatians 6:10 NIV

Pray for Godly Friendships
Friends come and friends go, but a true friend sticks by you like family. – Proverbs 18:24 MSG

Use these verses to combat your fears and ask for favor during this time of transition. Looking to go deeper? Moms in Prayer will help you further explore how to pray for your children using Scripture. This bestseller is included in our Buy One Get One 50% Off sale on all books now through August 25!

How to Study the Bible: 10 Practical Tips to help you Understand God’s Word

The Bible is a love letter, a set of instructions, the inspired Word of God and so much more. But if we’re honest, it can also be confusing, overwhelming and intimidating. With so many authors, parables and translations, it can be difficult to wrap your head around all the Bible has to offer. Get into the Word and begin to better understand the Gospel with these Bible study tips.

10 Bible Study Tips

  1. Prepare Your Heart: Say a prayer of thankfulness before diving into God’s Word. This will align your heart and your mind as you seek to know Him more.
  2. Strive For Consistency: Whether you’re a morning person or a night owl, try to set aside a consistent time every day to dig into scripture.
  3. Set The Tone: Listen to praise and worship music before getting started to focus your heart and your mind. Stock up on your favorite tunes with our Buy One Get One 50% Off sale on all music.
  4. Avoid Distractions: Be honest with yourself about what pulls your focus away from God and avoid it during your quiet time.
  5. Engage With Community: While individual time with God is important, spending time getting to know Him with your brothers and sisters in Christ can be incredibly effective.
  6. Make Time: If you can’t find time to sit in God’s presence, write down everything you do for a few days. You’ll likely notice patterns and identify areas that are consuming you.
  7. Change Up Your Technique: Don’t be afraid to use more than one devotional or tool to avoid falling into a rut. Use a Study Bible or document your journey with God in a Journaling Bible.
  8. Revisit Verses: The beauty of God’s Word is that it is alive. This means scripture may speak differently to you depending on what season you are in.
  9. Pick Out Patterns: The Bible is full of promises, warnings and instructions. Choose a color for each theme and highlight passages that relate.
  10. Ask For Clarity: Ask God for clarity when you don’t understand something. He is ready and willing to impart His wisdom if we simply ask.

What are some of your go-to Bible study tips?

How Every Wife Can Fight Like a Warrior

Alicia Bruxvoort FEBRUARY 5, 2016

How Every Wife Can Fight Like a Warrior
ALICIA BRUXVOORT

“Take … the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. Pray always. Pray in the Spirit. Pray about everything in every way you know how!” Ephesians 6:17b-18 (VOICE)

My littlest boy pattered down the stairs in the dark before dawn and found me sitting in the big leather chair by the window. On my lap were my Bible and the book I’d used for over a decade to prompt prayers for my husband.

My son sidled up beside me and reached for the book. He examined the tattered cover with 5-year-old curiosity then flipped through the yellowed pages inside. He studied the words splattered with coffee stains and rainbow highlights and cast me an inquisitive gaze.

“What is this thing?” he asked.

“It’s a book that helps me pray God’s Word over Daddy …”

My 5-year-old’s green eyes grew wide. “It looks like it’s been in a battle, Mommy!”

I planted a kiss atop my son’s unruly tuft and murmured, “It has, sweetheart. It has.”

My son leaned his sleepy head against my shoulder and as we sat in comfortable silence, I remembered the day when God had called a younger and floundering me into combat.

I’d stepped into marriage with grand plans to dance happily through life with the man I loved. But seven years and three kids later, our union felt more like a stumbling shuffle than a tantalizing tango.

There were bills to pay and children to feed; problems to solve and jobs to keep. And as life settled heavy on our shoulders, our marriage spiraled into a jaded jitter of frustrations and unmet expectations.

Sadly, I could name my husband’s shortcomings faster than I could list his strengths, and I could articulate my disappointment more keenly than I could define my delight. I knew God intended marriage to be more than a baffling boogie, but I didn’t know how to reclaim the joy that had once spurred our steps.

One day in Bible study, I aired my grievances to an older and wiser woman. She listened quietly, then pulled me into a one-armed hug and whispered words of truth: “Honey, you’ve gotta decide if you’re gonna spend your energy fighting with your husband or fighting for him.”

My stomach lurched with conviction, and she held my tear-filled eyes in a silent gaze. “Every wife was made to be a warrior,” she said with resolve.

I felt a sliver of hope stirring deep inside, and when I got home, I scoured the shelves for that book of prayers I’d been given as a young bride. Maybe somewhere on those crisp white pages I’d find ammunition for battle.

Later that night, I sat on the couch and begged God to teach me how to fight.

Day after day, I took the Apostle Paul’s words to heart —“Pray about everything in every way you know how!” And like a baby learning to walk, I learned to speak God’s truth over our waffling and weary union.

When I was tempted to fling hurtful words, I asked God to help me swing the sword of the Spirit instead. When I felt weak and discouraged, I asked Christ to infuse me with His strength and His hope.

Eventually I found myself choosing to battle rather than belittle, to praise rather than pester, to believe rather than despair. And one day I woke up and realized I was no longer blind to the gift of my husband. My prayers had granted me fresh vision.

Slowly and surely, our marriage dance began to change. We found ourselves waltzing to a new rhythm of joy. Not with flawless steps or perfect poise, but with confidence in the One who had joined our hearts.

I looked at the worn book on my lap and whispered a prayer of thanks as my son’s sleepy stupor gave way to playful frolic. “Let’s have a sword fight before breakfast, Mommy!” he said as he leaped off my lap and raced up the stairs in search of his plastic saber.

He paused at the landing and cast me a reassuring grin, “Don’t worry, Mommy. We’re just pretending.”

I mirrored his smile and swiped my Bible through the air like a dangerous dagger. “I’m not a bit worried,” I replied. “I’ve had lots of practice in battle!”

Dear God, Teach me to fight for my marriage on my knees. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

TRUTH FOR TODAY:
James 5:16b, “The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective.” (NIV)

Matthew 21:22, “If you believe, whatever you ask for in prayer will be granted.” (VOICE)

RELATED RESOURCES:
Lysa TerKeurst’s book, Capture His Heart, can help you strengthen your marriage and see your husband through fresh eyes.

Stop by Alicia Bruxvoort’s blog today for more encouragement and for a warrior wife giveaway.

REFLECT AND RESPOND:
Find one Scripture to pray over your marriage this week. Declare God’s truth out loud by reciting it frequently and fervently.

Next time you are tempted to tear your husband down, lift him up to God in prayer.

© 2016 by Alicia Bruxvoort. All rights reserved.

Proverbs 31 Ministries
630 Team Rd., Suite 100
Matthews, NC 28105
www.Proverbs31.org

A New Year’s Prayer for You

Wendy Blight JANUARY 01, 2015

A New Year’s Prayer for You
WENDY BLIGHT

{Editor’s Note: Today’s devotion is written simply as a prayer. We hope it will bring you hope and true encouragement for today. May you have an abundantly blessed New Year!}

“This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us.” 1 John 5:14 (NIV)

Elohim, God our Creator, Master Architect of all that is, was and ever will be, by Your hand alone, we are fearfully and wonderfully made. You shaped us in secret, knitting us together … every moment, every detail planned out before we took a single breath.

You knew before time began each woman who would pray this prayer. You formed her. You drew her. You know her heart. Her every need. Her deepest desires … dreams … scars … questions … doubts.

And today, in the quietness of our hearts, we meet with You. Draw near. Fall afresh as we come, from across the globe, to the foot of the cross.

Father, You are Holy. You call us to be holy. You created us in Your image. Yet, so often our hearts wander. Our speech does not glorify You. Our actions do not honor You. Self prevails. In this New Year, clothe us with humility. Take away our desire to be right and our stubbornness to demand our own way. Submit our will to Yours. As we open the pages of Scripture, tender our hearts so that it will penetrate even to the marrow of our bones.

Father, in this world of tolerance and compromise, give us hearts that seek Your Truth above all else. Saturate us with Your Spirit of knowledge and revelation so that as we digest Your Truth, we not only understand it but are also equipped to live it. Guard our hearts from the lies of this world and keep our eyes fixed on You, for You alone are the Author and Finisher of our faith.

Father, we surrender our thoughts — especially our feelings and our emotions — to You, You who are Faithful and True. Where fear and anxiety loom, help us fully trust in You and Your goodness, no matter the circumstances. Your Word says that You don’t give a Spirit of fear but rather Your perfect love drives out fear. Lead us to walk in the freedom of that love. Your Word promises that when we pray, anxiety will flee and peace will prevail. We purpose in our hearts to pray more faithfully and consistently so we can walk confidently in Your peace.

Father, Your Word says You created us in Christ Jesus to do good works for Your Kingdom. You knit specific gifts and talents into us to do that work. And Your Word promises that when You begin a work in us, You will carry it on to completion until the day we step into eternity with You. Thank You, Father! We desire to walk in Your good and perfect plan, Lord. To serve Your people. To walk boldly in the call You have on our lives. So, as we seek to walk with You, help us to trust in You with all our hearts and lean not on our own understanding. Help us acknowledge You in all our ways so that in our obedience, we can clearly hear, “This is the way, My child, walk in it.”

Father, we love You and thank You that our names are engraved in the palm of Your hand. You love us unconditionally and nothing can ever separate us from Your love. May we know more than ever before how wide and high and deep and long is Your love. And as we live out that love, may our lives be a living testimony of You. We ask this in the powerful and mighty name of Your Son, Jesus Christ our Lord, who will do exceedingly, abundantly above all that we could ever ask or imagine. Amen.

TRUTH FOR TODAY:
Philippians 4:6-7, “Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” (NIV)

Proverbs 3:5-6, “Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.” (NIV)

Isaiah 49:16, “See, I have engraved you on the palms of my hands; your walls are ever before me.” (NIV)

© 2016 by Wendy Blight. All rights reserved.

Proverbs 31 Ministries
630 Team Rd., Suite 100
Matthews, NC 28105
www.Proverbs31.org

When You Are Tempted Not to Pray

Chrystal Evans Hurst OCTOBER 14, 2015

When You Are Tempted Not to Pray
CHRYSTAL EVANS HURST

“Pray without ceasing.” 1 Thessalonians 5:17 (NASB)

“BOYS!!! GO TO BED!” I yelled.

Exhausted. That word describes how I felt in that moment and honestly … many other moments just like it for days. The boys were in their beds, giggling up a storm, and I knew if they didn’t go to sleep soon, we’d all pay for it in the morning.

Quiet reigned for just a few minutes, until I heard the giggling and silliness start again.

“BOYS!!!!!”

The quiet that came after was quickly broken by a pair of 6-year-old feet padding down the hallway.

“Mommy?”

“Yeeeeeeeeesssss?”

“Are you coming to pray with us before we go to sleep?”

I have to be honest. I was hoping the boys wouldn’t notice. I knew I had skipped prayer that night, but I was just so tired. I deliberately pushed the thought to the back of my brain because I figured the boys wouldn’t care anyway.

“Baby, I think we can skip prayer tonight. We’ve prayed a few times together already today anyway.”

“No we can’t, Mom! Those were prayers for the daytime! We need a prayer for the nighttime, too. We have to thank God for the day and you have to ask Him to help me have good dreams! Come on, Mom! We just have to talk to God!”

There I sat, feet up on the couch, hand over my forehead, realizing I was actually trying to talk my child out of praying.

But my son, even at a tender young age, understood something with his childlike faith.

He understood how prayer offers an ongoing opportunity to talk to God and an open invitation for Him to talk with us. My son was not satisfied that previous prayers earlier in the day had been completed or checked off the list. Rather, he wanted to have yet another conversation with God where he could express thanks and ask God to intervene in his circumstances.

He understood God is not something to do, He’s someone to know, and prayer is how we engage fully in our relationship with Him.

And here I was, trying to talk my son out of doing just that.

We are told in 1 Thessalonians 5:17, to “pray without ceasing.” For many of us this verse brings a bit of trepidation as we contemplate exactly what is required of us to pray and to “do it right.”

We look at our busy schedules and think we don’t have time to do that much praying.

We rehearse our failures and decide God probably wouldn’t have much to say to us, or have much interest in listening to what we want to say to Him.

We let disappointment from one unanswered prayer keep us from asking again.

We let the seemingly well-done prayers of others push our spiritual confidence into a corner. There, the little desire we did have to pray sits, shrivels and grows smaller with each passing day as we hesitate to say something, anything, to the God who does not grade us on our rhetoric.

Neither our schedules nor our pasts should prevent us from talking to God about whatever concerns us. A previous disappointment or our current level of spiritual maturity shouldn’t get in the way of our willingness to speak freely and honestly about how we need Him or what we’re thankful for.

Prayer is simply open and honest communication with God. It involves our thanksgiving, repentance, requests and willingness to surrender to what He reveals to us in His Word and in our hearts.

It can be tempting to skip, forget about or even talk ourselves out of praying, but prayer is a key part of how we fully engage in our relationship with God Almighty.

Just like my son wanted to include conversations with God as a normal, ongoing part of his day, Scripture encourages us to pray and keep an open line of communication with God, talking to Him at anytime about anything.

Dear God, Thank You for the ongoing opportunity I have to talk with You. Forgive me for times when I have not made my conversations with You a priority. Please help me remember I can always communicate with You openly and honestly, as You already know what I think, how I feel and what I’ve done — and You love me anyway. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

TRUTH FOR TODAY:
Philippians 4:6, “Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.” (NASB)

RELATED RESOURCES:
Do you desire a better prayer life? Could you use a little help having regular conversations with God? Check out Before Amen: The Power of a Simple Prayer by Max Lucado.

If you’d like a reminder to pray without ceasing, click here to download a free printable Chrystal Evans Hurst has made available just for you.

REFLECT AND RESPOND:
Do you struggle having a consistent, vibrant prayer life? Why do you think that is?

If you find “praying without ceasing” comes easily for you, what tips or encouragement can you offer those who desire to grow in this area of their relationship with God?

© 2015 by Chrystal Evans Hurst. All rights reserved.

Proverbs 31 Ministries
630 Team Rd., Suite 100
Matthews, NC 28105
www.Proverbs31.org

Praying For Your Husband From Head To Toe from Sharon Jaynes

Sharon Jaynes

The Power and Purpose of Prayer

I can still remember being sequestered in the “bride’s room” of our church just moments before the organist began to play for the early arrivals. As I sat in front of an oversized gilded mirror, trying not to wrinkle my dress, I daydreamed about the man who would become my husband by day’s end. He was everything I had ever hoped for: handsome,
smart, ambitious, and strong. And most important, he had a deeply intimate relationship with Jesus.

My delicate white gown fit snugly around my upper frame, and a flowing satin train trailed behind. A veil rested on a nearby table, ready to be positioned on my head. My bouquet of white roses stood at attention, waiting to be placed in my hands. The most important people in my life gathered in the sanctuary to witness the “I do’s.”

Yes, this was a good day.

As I stared at my reflection, my heart so full of hope and promise, an unwelcome thought interrupted my musing. Doesn’t every woman feel this way on her wedding day? What could go so terribly wrong that such a high percentage of marriages end in divorce? Am I fooling myself ? Am I that much different from the thousands who have walked the aisle before me?

I decided right then and there that I would do everything in my power to make my marriage a success. It didn’t take long for me to discover that the words in my power were a problem. “My power” was not enough.

Fairy tales always end with the words “And they lived happily ever after.” But if we could read the epilogue to those rides off into the sunset, we’d most likely find daily struggles, potentially divisive decisions, and angry arguments sprinkled throughout. Fairy tales stop short of telling us about tension over whose turn it is to wash the dishes, pay the bills, or put the kids to bed. They leave out the part about stress over holidays with in-laws, frequency of intimacy, and who gets to spend what when. We naively repeat the words “for better or for worse” and then are shocked when the first hint of “worse” rears its ugly head.

Prayer Can Change Everything

If you’ve been married for more than a few days, then you have most likely figured out that the blessed union doesn’t stay so blessed without a lot of work. And I dare say, the most important “work” we can do as wives is on our knees. The psalmist wrote, “Unless the Lord builds the house, its builders labor in vain. Unless the Lord watches over the city, the watchmen stand guard in vain” (Psalm 127:1). Only God can truly protect your marriage and your man. And He invites you to participate in the unleashing of His power by praying for your husband and turning the key to the storehouse of heaven’s door for blessings outpoured. Louise saw this happen with her husband, Allan, in a miraculous way.

Allan was a tough man. Raised by a single mom with five siblings during the Depression in the early 1930s, Allan learned how to scrap his way through life and climb to the top of humanity’s heap through sheer determination and grit. He married at nineteen, had his first son at twenty, then a baby girl at twenty-five. Over the next two decades he
advanced from driving a delivery truck at a lumberyard to becoming part owner and president of a building supply company in eastern North Carolina.

Allan drank heavily, fought with his wife physically, and terrorized his children emotionally. He gambled, dabbled in pornography, and had questionable relationships laced with a host of unsavory vices. But when his teenage daughter became a Christian and began praying for her family, God grabbed the chisel of grace and began chipping away at Allan’s proud heart of stone. Three years after his daughter’s decision to follow Christ, his wife, Louise, became a believer as well. His wife, his daughter, and a host of other prayer warriors began interceding with God on Allan’s
behalf.

When Allan was forty-six years old, his life took several hairpin twists and troublesome turns. Because of a business deal gone terribly wrong, he was sued for breach of contract for breaking a noncompete clause with a former employer. Fearing exposure in court and, more important, in his small community, Allan teetered on the brink of a
nervous breakdown. From man’s perspective, it appeared he was on the verge of losing it all. From God’s perspective, Allan was right where he needed to be.

One day, in a surge of panic, Allan drove home from work, only to remember his wife was at a meeting in Pennsylvania. He got back in his car and drove five hundred miles to try and find her. As he drove into the town where he expected to find his wife, he passed a church. Immediately, Allan made a U-turn, parked his car, and ran inside the ornate building.

“Excuse me, ma’am,” he said with tears in his eyes. “I need someone to pray for me. Is the preacher available? I need help.” “I’m sorry, sir,” the church receptionist said. “He’s not in, but I know a man who can help you. Here,” she said as she sketched out directions on a scrap of paper. “The pastor of the Baptist church down the street is out doing some construction work on their new church building. Why don’t you drive on over there? I bet he can help you.”

So Allan got back in his car, followed the receptionist’s crude map, and found the country preacher out in the woods working on his church. With a hammer in his hand and Jesus in his heart, the pastor turned to Allan and asked, “What can I do for you?”

“I need you to pray for me,” Allan explained as tears ran down his weathered cheeks.

“Let’s sit down on this log while you tell me what’s going on.” For several hours Allan sat with a fellow builder and told him all he had ever done. When he had finished his confession, the pastor put his arm around this broken man and said, “Now, Allan, let me tell you what I’ve done.”

The way Allan later explained it, “I told this man everything I had ever done. Then he told me he had done the very same things. And I knew if God could forgive him, and he could be a preacher, then God could forgive me too.”

Allan knelt in the woods of Pennsylvania with angels hovering low. Heaven’s host celebrated as he gave his heart to Christ and made Jesus the Lord of his life. “Amazing grace, how sweet the sound…” But for me, this is more than a sweet story. It is a miraculous memory. Allan was my dad.

From my earliest years as a Christian, I experienced the power of prayer to change a man’s life—to strengthen a man’s resolve, to protect a man’s heart, and to mature a man’s faith. My firsthand encounter with God’s faithfulness to hear our pleas began with my father and continues today as I witness it in the lives of my husband, my son, and a host of husbands whose wives call out to God in prayer.

As a wife, you have the power to open the floodgates of heaven through prayer on your husband’s behalf. Whether your husband hasn’t yet decided to follow Christ, has a lukewarm fledgling faith, or lives a fiery firm faith, there is no one more qualified to pray for his relationship with Christ than you. No matter where your husband is on the continuum of faithlessness to faithfulness, I encourage you to pray with “the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen” (Hebrews 11:1, nasb).

Before we jump into praying for our husbands, let’s take a look at your position as a prayer warrior, the power and purpose of intercession, and the promises of persistent prayer.

We’ll begin by looking at the first married couple ever: Adam and Eve.

Then God Created an Ezer

“In the beginning…”

Those three little words are pregnant with anticipation, and God does not disappoint. Genesis 1:1 tells us, “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.” God said, “Let there be,” and there was. “By the word of the Lord were the heavens made, their starry host by the breath of his mouth” (Psalm 33:6). God decorated the sky with the sun, moon, and stars, separated the seas from the land, scattered seed of every kind in the soil, and released flocks of birds into the sky, swarms of insects into the air, and schools of fish into the sea. On the sixth day, God created
all the creeping animals. And He wrapped up His work with a masterful flourish. “Then God said, ‘Let us make man in our image, in our likeness.…’ So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them” (Genesis 1:26–27). Then, as if the writer really wanted us to fully grasp what transpired during the first week of the earth’s existence, he picked up his pen and told the story again. In Genesis 2:4, he starts over: “This is the account of the heavens and the earth when they were created.”

This time when the writer got to the part about God creating man, he interjected God’s musing after He formed Adam and breathed the breath of life into his lungs. God sat back, considered the lone male, and decided, “It is not good for the man to be alone” (Genesis 2:18). This is where you come in.

“I will make a helper suitable for him,” God declared. So God set out to fashion His final masterpiece. The crowning touch of His creation. Woman.

Up to this point in the creation account, we have no recorded words from Adam. However, when he laid eyes on the fair Eve, I imagine he said, “Now this is good!” His exact words were, “This is now bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh; she shall be called ‘woman,’ for she was taken out of man” (Genesis 2:23). Woman—the inspiration of man’s first poetry and the grand finale of God’s creative genius.

Let’s back up, replay the scene, and take a look at one particular word God used in the creation account. God said, “I will make a helper suitable for him” (Genesis 2:18). The Hebrew word translated here as “helper” in reference to the woman is ezer. This term is derived from a Hebrew word used of God and the Holy Spirit: azar. Both mean “helper”—one who comes alongside to aid, assist, or rescue. The ESV Study Bible notes that the “helper” is one who supplies strength in the area that is lacking in “the helped.”

Ezer appears twenty-one times in the Old Testament. Two times it is used of the woman in Genesis 2, and sixteen times it is used to describe God or Yahweh as the helper of His people. The remaining three references appear in the books of the prophets, referring to military aid. Interestingly the sixteen times the word ezer is used of God, it also carries military connotations. “O Lord, be my helper,” David cried (Psalm 30:10, nasb). “My father’s God was my helper; he saved me from the sword of Pharaoh,” Moses proclaimed (Exodus 18:4). Clearly, the word ezer suggests a role of great honor. It is a portrait of great strength. Theologian William Mounce painted a poignant picture:
With so many references to God as our helper, it is obvious that an ezer is in no way inferior to the one who receives help. This is important because this is the word that God uses in Gen. 2:18, when he says about Adam, “It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper suitable for him.” God then forms Eve as his ezer. According to God’s design, therefore, the man and the woman, the husband and the wife, have been designed by God to stand together and help each other fight the battles of life. And God is there as the divine ezer to fight with them.1

I was surprised to discover that even the Proverbs 31 woman, the model for godly wives and mothers through the centuries, was also referred to in military terms. “An excellent wife, who can find?” the passage begins. “Her worth is far above jewels” (Proverbs 31:10, nasb). The New International Version calls her “a wife of noble character.” The Amplified Bible describes her as “a capable, intelligent, and virtuous woman.” The Hebrew word that is translated “excellent” or “virtuous” can also mean “wealthy, prosperous, valiant, boldly courageous, powerful, mighty warrior.”
2 Did you catch that? Mighty warrior.

In my book What God Really Thinks About Women, I noted the following:

God did not create woman simply because man was lonely.… He [fashioned] woman to complete man—to love with him, work with him, rule with him, live life with him, procreate with him, and to fight alongside him. She was a female image bearer in this mysterious union of marriage. Woman was and is a warrior called to fight alongside man in the greatest battle that was yet to come—a battle not fought on the battlefield with guns, but on our knees in prayer.3

I’m not suggesting you replace your jeans with battle fatigues and your cute shoes with army boots. But I am suggesting that God has given you an amazing role as a prayer warrior on your husband’s behalf. The apostle Paul urges believers to enter into spiritual battle armed and ready with the Word of God.

Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on the full armor of God so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. And pray in the Spirit on all occasions.… Be alert and always keep on praying for all the saints. (Ephesians 6:10–18) A spiritual battle is going on all around us, and Paul urges us to be prepared, spiritually armed and physically alert. He emphasizes this again
in his second letter to the Corinthians: “Though we live in the world, we do not wage war as the world does. The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish
strongholds” (2 Corinthians 10:3–4).

While we don’t have authority over our husbands, we do have authority over the Enemy who seeks to harm him (Luke 10:19). Through prayer, the Enemy’s plans are intercepted; the principalities and authorities are defeated. Through prayer, the power and provision of God flow into the lives of His people.

Paul tells us that marriage between a woman and a man is an earthly example of a heavenly relationship between Christ and the Church (Ephesians 5:22–33). So of course the devil, Satan, wants to destroy that microcosmic snapshot. He began with the first couple in the Garden of Eden, and he continues his all-out assault on the God-ordained institution of marriage today. The words of Genesis 3:1, “Now the serpent,” continue to slither into marriages just as surely as they did with the first couple of all time.

But here’s the good news. Jesus said, “But take heart! I have overcome the world” ( John 16:33). Not only that, Jesus said He has given you power and authority to “overcome all the power of the enemy” (Luke 10:19). “The one who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world” (1 John 4:4). You are an ezer, uniquely fashioned and supernaturally
equipped to do battle on your knees in prayer for your marriage and your man.

The Purpose of Prayer

“Well, I guess the only thing left to do is pray about it.” How many times have I heard those words? How many times have they slipped past my lips? But what if we looked at prayer from a different perspective…God’s perspective? What if we viewed prayer as our first course of action rather than a last resort?

The vast majority of the e-mails I receive through my ministry center on marriage problems. Women struggle with husbands who aren’t living up to their expectations: men who work too much and love too little, men who withdraw emotionally and advance sexually, men who initially appear to be Prince Charming but later reveal the villain within.

Some wives describe their husbands as hardhearted, meanspirited, and verbally combative. Others complain that their husbands are aloof, passive, and emotionally withdrawn. Perhaps your man fits one of those descriptions.

On the other hand, perhaps you have an adoring husband who cherishes you, cares for you, and encourages you to be all that God has created you to be. Praise God for such a man!

Regardless of where your man or your marriage falls on the continuum of terrific to tolerable to terrible, there is always room for improvement. Prayer can make a bad marriage good and a good marriage great. Before we start, I want to make this very clear: Prayer is not a means of gaining control over your husband, to whip him into shape and make him the man you want him to be. Prayer is a means of relinquishing control of your husband and asking God to shape him into the man that He wants him to be. Prayer involves turning the finger that points out your man’s faults and folding it along with the others in prayer.

The Bible tells us in Isaiah 29:16, “You turn things upside down, as if the potter were thought to be like the clay! Shall what is formed say to him who formed it, ‘He did not make me’? Can the pot say of the potter, ‘He knows nothing’?”

God is the Master Potter, and He certainly doesn’t need you or me to tell Him how to shape and mold that marvelous piece of pottery called husband. Oh, we’d like to. That’s for sure. But God’s ultimate goal is for that lump of clay to be fashioned according to His design and for His purposes, not ours. “We are the clay, you are the potter,” Isaiah writes,
“we are all the work of your hand” (Isaiah 64:8). I am. You are. Your husband is.

God shapes and molds. You pray and intercede. James warns about the danger of praying with wrong motives ( James 4:3). Check your desire to control at the door of the prayer closet and don’t let it in.

Prayer is not for the purpose of getting your husband to do what you want him to do when you want him to do it. Let me take that a bit further. Prayer is not for the purpose of getting God to do what you want Him to do when you want Him to do it. It is not for twisting God’s arm to convince Him to do your bidding. He already has your best interests in mind. He already has your husband’s best interests in mind. Amazingly, He invites you to play a part in the miracle of making your husband into the man He created him to be. Your role is not to nag, manipulate, cajole, or control. Your part is to love him and pray for him. And as you pray, God aligns your desires with His desires, your thinking with His thinking, and your heart with His heart.

God is not hoarding His blessings, waiting for us to say the right words to pry those blessings out of His stingy hand. He longs to lavish us with His goodness! (Ephesians 1:7–8). And yet He often waits for us to ask. I am not saying I understand it. Prayer is simply how He chose to engineer the flow of His power and activity from the spiritual realm into the physical realm. Prayer is the conduit through which God’s power is released and His will is brought to earth as it is in heaven.

It is not that God cannot act without the prayers of His people. He can do anything He pleases (Psalm 115:3). However, He has established prayer as the gate through which His blessings flow. James reminds us: “You do not have, because you do not ask” ( James 4:2).

Ezekiel gives us a glimpse into the heart of God regarding prayer.

Israel had sinned in every possible way, and her people were doomed for destruction. God said, “I looked for a man among them who would build up the wall and stand before me in the gap on behalf of the land so I would not have to destroy it, but I found none” (Ezekiel 22:30). God looked for someone to pray, to intercede, to stand in the gap for Israel, but there was no one.

Today God is looking for women who will stand in the gap for their husbands, wives who will pray for their men to experience the fullness of God’s blessing. I’m so glad He has found such a woman in you.


Excerpted from Praying for Your Husband from Head to Toe by Sharon Jaynes Copyright © 2013 by Sharon Jaynes. Excerpted by permission of Multnomah Books, a division of Random House, Inc. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.

Prayer for Success

Boyd Bailey

Lord, let your ear be attentive to the prayer of this your servant and to the prayer of your servants who delight in revering your name. Give your servant success today by granting him favor in the presence of this man. Nehemiah 1:11

A prayer for success from a pure heart is profitable. So, we position our prayers out of reverence for Almighty God. It is not a rigid and rote prayer, but one that delights in holding the Lord’s name in high esteem. Yes, our Heavenly Father does not desire failure for His followers, but for them to flourish in His will. We ask boldly when we are compelled by His call on our life. We cannot sit still, so we seek God first and His Kingdom and watch Him open doors of opportunity.

A prayer for favor with man begins by receiving favor from our Heaven Father. When He is pleased with what He sees in our heart, He wants to see us successful in our work. It is good to pray for the Lord’s favor with a servant spirit. Servants serve at the pleasure of their master. They are part of a much bigger kingdom, not their own. So it is for us, fresh from a soul cleansing from the Holy Spirit we are rid of any spiritual toxins and we are free to serve God with success.

As long as he sought the Lord, God gave him success. 2 Chronicles 26:5

Notice Nehemiah’s prayer was in real time: today in the presence of the King. Your prayers for success need not be so far out that they lose their sense of urgency. It is your daily prayers for bread that keep you dependent on God. It is your specific prayers for God’s favor in upcoming meetings with influencers that the Spirit turns hearts to Kingdom matters. Who can you call on today to help carry out Christ’s calling? God’s provision awaits your explanation of the need.

Who can you ask to arrange an audience with the decision maker at work? Perhaps you need to schedule a meeting with a school principal, pastor or politician. Be bold for the Lord is leading you to make a difference. Christ has made a difference in your life, so you can be a change agent for His agenda. Make sure to maintain a spirit of prayer when you engage those whom Christ has given influence and power. Trust God to grant you success in your service with Him. He will!

In everything he did he had great success, because the Lord was with him. 1 Samuel 18:14

Prayer: Heavenly Father, grant me favor with influencers, so I can successful serve with You.

Related Readings: Genesis 24:12; Judges 18:5; 1 Samuel 18:15; Proverbs 2:7, 3:4; Luke 2:52

Post/Tweet today: A soul cleansing from the Holy Spirit rids us of spiritual toxins and frees us to serve with Christ. #prayerforsuccess

© 2014 by Boyd Bailey. All rights reserved.
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