By Christina Fox
It was dinner time and I stood in the kitchen cutting up vegetables for a salad. Feeling bone weary, I prayed in my heart, “God, please bring my husband home from work on time tonight.” I stood in front of the sink to rinse off a cucumber and heard a loud crash coming from my boy’s room, followed by the sound of crying. Sighing, I turned off the water and headed for their room, still praying that my husband would hurry home.
Not too long ago, I realized that most of my prayers for my husband centered on me and my needs. They stemmed more from my selfishness. I prayed he would come home on time, prayed he would get the bonus we hoped for, and prayed he would watch the kids so I could sleep in. I even prayed that God would change all the things that frustrated me about him. No doubt, my prayers for my husband were seriously lacking.
It was in reading Paul’s prayers to the churches in Ephesus, Colossians and Philippi where I learned the heart of prayer. Paul’s prayers centered on the spiritual growth of the people he was writing to. For example, “I keep asking that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the glorious Father, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and revelation, so that you may know him better. I pray also that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints, and his incomparably great power for us who believe” (Ephesians 1:17-19). Paul essentially prayed through the gospel. He prayed for the power of the gospel to change and transform the believers he wrote to. While Paul certainly prayed for God’s provision and for other practical needs, the core and foundation of his prayers for others centered on their walk with Christ.
I want to pray for my husband the way Paul prayed for the New Testament churches. And indeed, sometimes I actually pray through the prayers of Paul. But I also want the gospel to be the foundation of all my prayers, including those of my own design. I want to pray for the gospel to be at work in my husband’s heart each day. I want to pray for the gospel to be the lens through which he views all of life. And I want him to be strengthened and empowered by the truths of gospel as he lives out God’s calling for him.
Praying for the gospel to be at work in my husband’s heart and life is transforming, not only for him, but for me as well. I learn to let go of trying to change things about my husband and trust in God to do the changing He desires. Focusing on the gospel in my prayers changes the posture of my heart from relying on my strength to resting in the power of God’s grace. As I pray for the gospel to be at work in my husband’s heart, I am also reminded of how much I too need the gospel each and every day. It also reminds me that all of life is a gift of grace and that prayer is the entrance into receiving that grace.
In an effort to focus on the power of God’s grace to be at work in my husband, I came up with a list of suggested topics to pray through, one for each day of the month:
Christina Fox is a homeschooling mom, licensed mental health counselor, and writer. She lives in sunny south Florida with her husband of sixteen years and their two boys. You can find her sharing her faith journey at www.toshowthemjesus.com.
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