Oct 31

Hello friends!! There are so many different ways that God goes about repairing the broken places in a marriage. He uses His Word, people, circumstances, time, and prayer amongst other things. He knows us deeply and intimately, and He knows our hearts towards one another. He understands the intricacies of our motivations, reactions, and what makes us “tick”.  In my experience, there are three types of issues that create conflict within a marriage. His issues, Her issues, and Our issues. The first step to being able to pray in a strategic way is to properly identify the difference between the three of these.

When my husband and I got married, boy were we in for a rude awakening. We thought things would be instantly rosy, the grass would be greener, the sky a more brilliant blue, and all of our other problems would melt away in our love and devotion to one another. HA!!! We immediately came to realize that our fears surfaced, our insecurities deepened, and our vulnerabilities were ever-present. We fought and cried and then fought some more. But, how could we possibly have “issues” the first few weeks of marriage? Because these issues that were coming to the surface were not “Our issues” but issues we had brought with us from the past.

I came to realize as we talked and prayed that I had my own baggage that I didn’t realize was hidden, and it began to come to the surface when I was with someone all the time. I wanted my husband to think I was this amazing, perfect wife. I blamed him for everything because I didn’t want him to know I was flawed. But, he wasn’t to blame for everything. I had a lot of past hurts and even more fears. He had his own stuff too. Things that had happened in his life both to him and in front of him that left him hurt, skeptical, and confused. We spent a long time focusing on the other person’s baggage, but it wasn’t until we realized that we had our own stuff to deal with that we were able to begin making forward progress.

So, here’s the thing. A very good question that one might ask right about now is, “How do I get my spouse to deal with his/her stuff?” My answer would be prayer. It is not our job to fix the heart of our spouse. It is our job to bring it to the One who can, but it is more important that you bring your stuff before the Lord. When you get the healing you need, the dynamic of your home will automatically change because the things that triggered you will no longer affect you. Many of the things that bothered you will become your prayer burden for your spouse, and as a result of your change, your spouse will change too. Ephesians 5  talks about being submitted to one another. There is an underlying principle here. You and your spouse are one. “He who loves his wife loves himself. After all, no one ever hated his own body, but feeds and cares for it, just as Christ does the church-for we are members of his body. For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh.” Ephesians 5:28b-31 (NIV) Therefore, if one changes, they both change.

Preparing for strategic prayer begins with identifying what the issues are. The way we do that is by asking God to reveal them to us. To get real practical, sit down with a notebook and pen, and just say something like this, “Lord, I open my whole heart to you. I invite you to look into the deepest parts of me and I trust that you love me no matter what you find and that you are the God that heals. Please reveal the places you would like to touch and heal completely.” Write down anything that comes to you. This will help you begin to pray strategically. There may be some things that God chooses to heal immediately, and if He does that is great!! Victory! However, there will more than likely be things that He heals through process.

The next step in your strategic prayer preparation is to identify the things in your marriage that are truly bothering you. Things that hurt you, things that hurt your children, things that break intimacy. Realize that God can handle it and write down all of those things. Because of our unique vantage point, we can see what our spouse needs better than they can sometimes. We can intercede for them in a way that no one else can. Check your heart before God, because you want to bless them and not curse them. But be real with the problems, for I assure you that God does not need things sugar-coated.

The last preparation step in preparing for strategic prayer is to identify specific promises in God’s word that resonate with your situation. Take your concerns to the Word, and ask the Holy Spirit to guide you to the verses that speak directly to your marriage. Write those down as well. For example, “We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed, perplexed, but not in despair, persecuted, but not abandoned, struck down but not destroyed.” 2Corinthians 4:8-9(NIV)  There are many, many promises. Let God reveal them to you and keep record of them.

Once you have done this you are ready to pray strategically. I wrote down my prayers. I started with glorifying God for who He is. It prepared my heart before Him. I then asked God to specifically move on the areas He had revealed to me that He wanted to heal. I gave Him full permission and authority to do what He had to do. I then asked Him specifically to move on the areas of my marriage that needed His attention. I gave Him the toughest and seemingly most impossible problems to deal with. I then reminded Him of His word (but I was really reminding myself). I thanked Him in advance for the faith He had given me and for answering all of my concerns. I took my time writing these prayers, and I prayed them word for word everyday. I prayed them whenever fighting ensued, whenever doubt crept in, whenever I felt led by the Spirit to pray.

I encourage you that God is strategic and orderly. He loves to be asked to heal marriage. It delights Him to do it, and your prayer for your marriage will begin to change the pattern. Trust Him and give Him the glory, for I believe you will begin to see changes and you will get the healing and restoration you most desire!!! God bless you, and if there is anything I can pray for I would be happy to agree with you in prayer. 

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