There are times when the words don’t come. Days when I’m so distraught, that words can’t describe the depth of my pain. Nights when I’m too exhausted to pray. Hours when I’m not sure what to pray. Minutes when I realize that the compromise soured. Friend, have you been there? What if the perplexing moments, the seconds that cause us to pause, are the touchpoints that God uses to lead us to joy?
The art is in the pause … the prayerful pause.Tweet
My prayers don’t compare to the prayers of David, Hannah, or Daniel, but they’re sincere. I wish I prayed more. Perhaps, it’s because I’m busy with “good” work. Like love, prayer is a choice, and it takes intentional action on our part. Often, our prayers for our husbands are prayers for ourselves.
Have you prayed this prayer? “Lord, please change him. Make him more loving.” I have; it didn’t go so well. What if we turned that prayer around and prayed that God would bless his day? Before we get out of bed, we could pray “Lord, help him be aware of Your presence and love in all that he experiences today.” That evening, we could ask our husbands to tell us three things about their day. If we listen carefully to their answers and try to see their responses from God’s perspective, we might see God at work—in us and in them.
Jesus was constantly aware of God’s presence and habitually paused to check in with the Father. He prayed and fasted for 40 days in the wilderness before He began His ministry. Jesus prayed all night before He chose His disciples. He prayed to thank God for food. He prayed before He raised Lazarus from the dead. Jesus prayed before He faced the cross, and He prayed on the cross. Jesus paused to pray before every major decision. Pausing to listen to the Father, Jesus spoke the words that His Father gave Him (John 12:49). Jesus paused to pray for His followers, including you and me (John 17). He prayed in public and in private. He prayed day and night. If Jesus found it essential to pause in prayer, how much more are we compelled to prayerfully pause?
Prayer prolongs the pause.
Daily distractions pop up. Have you found that when you sit down to read your Bible or pray, that the phone rings or you remember one more task that you need to accomplish that day, and you get up to add it to your to-do list? Sometimes, the distractions win over my good intentions, and I turn from my prayerful pause to my pending project, or I try to do both at the same time.
We are multitaskers. Research has found that multitaskers are up to 40 percent less productive than those who are focused on one task. I start reading my Bible passage, and the washer dings. I load the clothes in the dryer and return to my Bible and say, “What was I reading? I’m sorry, God, I’m listening now.” That first time in the Bible accomplished nothing. Was I showing my love for God when I demonstrated that my priority was the clothes in the washer? Quality time, or giving the other person my undivided attention, is one of the love languages Gary Chapman writes about in The Five Love Languages.
Undivided attention with God. Undivided attention with my husband. However, God doesn’t ask us to spend the entire day in the Bible, nor do our husbands want us to sit with him googly-eyed every evening, all evening. We do have tasks to accomplish and service to render.
Chores can become cheers steeped in gratitude.
We can focus on the everyday tasks of cooking and cleaning while turning those tasks into opportunities that delight. Can we be productive and prayerfully pause at the same time? Cleaning a scorched pot, we might pause our thinking about the pot but not our scrubbing hands to remember that our sins burned into our souls, and no matter how hard we scrub, we can’t remove them. Jesus looks at our charred lives and cleanses us, causing us to gleam in His light. We whisper a “Thank You.” That whisper turns into a smile when we remember our husband’s praise when he tasted that pot’s baked beans. We look at our husbands and whisper, “I love you.”
Seemed simple, didn’t it? But did it occur to you to try it? No? That’s why we need reminders so that we can practice pausing until it becomes a habit. You might want to make a list of your weekly chores and pair them with a characteristic of God and your husband and tape them to your refrigerator. Your list might begin like this.
From Chores to Cheers
|Laundry||Cleanses us from the filthy||He loves me despite my faults|
|Cooking||Gave us the gift of taste||He opens the jars I can’t open|
|Weeding||Holy Spirit shows me my sins and plucks them out||He works with me to design our garden|
|Work||Prepared work for me to do||We’re partners in life|
But there’s more. We can meditate upon God’s nature as well as our husbands’ nature.
Seeing God’s Nature In Our Husbands
|Volunteering||Love||Gave His Son to the world||Shares his dreams with me|
|Errands||Service||Jesus came to serve||Anticipates my needs|
|Dusting||All-Knowing||He wipes away my hidden dirt||He knows my dust bunnies|
|Driving||Leader||He shows me the way||He takes me by my hand|
Intentional thoughts and lists will help us relax in our prayer-filled pauses. I know that you are creative and can come up with some interesting meditations. Add to the lists as you think of them and pause right now and then continue reading. You may see your husband through different eyes, and he may see God through you.
The prayerful pause unifies.
Did you observe yourself during your active pauses? I hope you began to smile and thank God. Did you share something with your husband? From passing pauses to prolonged prayers, we’re learning that we may not be able to rise above our difficulties in our marriages through our own strength, but Jesus is our strength. Nothing is impossible with Him in our presence.
In John 17, we find Jesus praying for His followers, followers during His life and in the future. He prayed for you and me. Jesus prayed for unity with God and unity in the believers. He prayed for His followers to be made perfect through God and that the love that God had for Jesus would be present in His believers. Although the cross was facing Him, Jesus was focused on glorifying God and praying for His followers.
The glory that you have given me I have given to them, that they may be one even as we are one, I in them and you in me, that they may become perfectly one, so that the world may know that you sent me and loved them even as you loved me. (John 17:22-23, ESV)
Can you see Jesus talking to the Father on behalf of you and me—on behalf of our husbands—for unity? Notice the order of unity: Jesus in us as God is in Jesus so that we become completely or perfectly unified. Jesus wants unity for us as a community of believers and unity in our marriages. We can be united with our husbands as one. This unity causes the world to know that God sent Jesus into the world because He loved us as He loved Jesus.
Our Father, thank You for our husbands. Bless them with Your every spiritual blessing. Cause them to grow more in love with You each day. Remind us to prayerfully pause throughout our days – pausing to see Your nature in all that we do and to see that nature in our husbands. We love You, Lord, and we love our husbands. In Jesus’ name, Amen.