Prayer Requests

Love, Obedience, and being tired…

Thoughts from a recent conversation

*I will continue to obey, even though I am tired

I am tired of having an adversarial relationship with my wife, tired of feeling like I’m losing everything important to me, tired of feeling like I’m as much a failure as a parent as I am as a husband, and tired of failing to hit the mark so often. Heck, I don’t even want to face the day anymore… I live in dread of the next text or email. I want off of this train, but where would I go? I worry that God won’t restore me or kill me and I’ll just have to keep going. Living out our faith definitely seems harder than dying for it. Still, I will serve Him and trust him. I will trust that He is a loving father and not some twisted sadist, enjoying chips and dip while our tragic lives play out.

I have to trust that there is some purpose to this mess and that it is not just random pointless pain and suffering at the whims of Satan and his minions, entirely out of God’s control to stop. I have to believe that He cares. I have to believe that he is at work. If I don’t, I’ll snap. I’ll utterly lose all touch with humanity. I need God. I need Him to hold me together. I could use some serious prayers to stay out of the slough of despond. I spend far too much time lately looking like a hapless victim to everyone. That’s not a good witness to anyone. The truth is, I’m starting to hate myself, so I really need to know that He loves me… I really need to know that, even if I’m not sure that I really love Him… The thing is, that we’re commanded to love him.

I’m trying to love Him… I’m not sure I ever did… I obey Him, and I try to serve Him, and I talk to Him almost every moment I can spare part or most of my brain to do so. I read His word. I listen to sermons almost non-stop… I don’t sing though… I haven’t really felt like praising Him since my wife left. Am I holding a grudge against God? Am I holding my praises hostage? I don’t know… the praising, loving part of me just feels dead… like a lump of cold clay. I refuse to give up on my God, and I cry out to Him every day… I just feel guilty for not feeling any love for Him…

4 Yet I hold this against you: You have forsaken the love you had at first. 5 Consider how far you have fallen! Repent and do the things you did at first. If you do not repent, I will come to you and remove your lampstand from its place (Revelation 2:4-5).

I know that God has this… I know that He is in control… I just wish I felt it. I trust Him. I wait upon Him. I cry out to Him, but do I love Him? A fellow stander recently expressed what many of us have been feeling inside, “I miss feeling.. important… special…. noticed…” That got me wondering if that’s how God feels about me. I wonder if that’s why this is all happening. I wish I could make my heart love Him, but I worry that want to love Him just so he will end this pain and heal my family. I’m questioning everything… I am not willing to turn on God for a moment, but maybe that’s only because I know the other team loses in a big way. Is that love, or is it totally selfish and self-serving self-preservation?

Likely, though, loving God has very little to do with warm fuzzies. It probably has a lot more to do with trust and obedience… mainly obedience… So, I will continue to obey, even though I am tired

* These are thoughts removed and cleaned up from a conversation I had recently with some fellow standers with whom I have found community. In looking back over the conversation, I realized that others may benefit from being included in this conversation. So, I posted it here. This is also an explanation of why I have been so silent lately…

Survival Supplies

Here’s the stuff that I have been consuming to help me survive this week. Enjoy:

Sermons etc.

Scriptures

Proverbs 3:5-6 New International Version (NIV)
5 Trust in the Lord with all your heart
and lean not on your own understanding;
6 in all your ways submit to him,
and he will make your paths straight.[a]

Psalm 91 (emphasis added)
1 Whoever dwells in the shelter of the Most High
will rest in the shadow of the Almighty.[a]
2 I will say of the Lord, “He is my refuge and my fortress,
my God, in whom I trust.”
3 Surely he will save you
from the fowler’s snare
and from the deadly pestilence.
4 He will cover you with his feathers,
and under his wings you will find refuge;
his faithfulness will be your shield and rampart.
5 You will not fear the terror of night,
nor the arrow that flies by day,
6 nor the pestilence that stalks in the darkness,
nor the plague that destroys at midday.
7 A thousand may fall at your side,
ten thousand at your right hand,
but it will not come near you.
8 You will only observe with your eyes
and see the punishment of the wicked.
9 If you say, “The Lord is my refuge,”
and you make the Most High your dwelling,
10 no harm will overtake you,
no disaster will come near your tent.
11 For he will command his angels concerning you
to guard you in all your ways;
12 they will lift you up in their hands,
so that you will not strike your foot against a stone.
13 You will tread on the lion and the cobra;
you will trample the great lion and the serpent.
14 “Because he[b] loves me,” says the Lord, “I will rescue him;
    I will protect him, for he acknowledges my name.
15 He will call on me, and I will answer him;
I will be with him in trouble,
I will deliver him and honor him.
16 With long life I will satisfy him
and show him my salvation.”

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Be prepared…

But in your hearts revere Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect, keeping a clear conscience, so that those who speak maliciously against your good behavior in Christ may be ashamed of their slander. (1 Peter 3:15-16)

I am not prepared. I have not often given the best answers as of late. My least favorite question, which everyone asks me, is, “are you excited for your summer vacation?” No I am not. My family is broken. My one-flesh covenant relationship has been rent in two. I will often be alone with not much to do but work around and on my lonely house that we built together. I will have the occasional distraction of sitting in court. I wish I just had a big sign to wear that said, “DON’T ASK ME ABOUT SUMMER, PLEASE!” The thing is that I am supposed to be walking in victory. I am to be standing firm, remembering:

  • “Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past. See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland.” Isaiah 43:18-19
  • “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” Jeremiah 29:11
  • Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us.” Ephesians 3:20
  • “Have faith in God.” Jesus answered…“Therefore, I tell you, whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours.” Mark 11:22, 24
  • “I will give them an undivided heart and put a new spirit in them; I will remove from them their heart of stone and give them a heart of flesh. Then they will follow my decrees and be careful to keep my laws. They will be my people, and I will be their God.” Ezekiel 11:19-20
  • “What then shall we say to this? If God is for us, who is against us?” Romans 8:31
  • and so on…

Still, I hurt. I feel the pain and dread and grief every time I hear the word, summer. Most often I simply answer in complete honesty. “No, I’m dreading summer actually.” That is not a very good witness to the faithfulness of Christ. That is a failure to witness. That is a victory for the enemy.

Pray for me that I may be prepared, both to give an answer and for my summer vacation.

Praying the Scriptures for your prodigal spouse

Some rights reserved by Zanthia

Some rights reserved by Zanthia

So, I keep reading and hearing that I need to pray the scriptures for my wife, so I have begun to do so. First, I’d like to share some great resources that are out there on this already:

Then, I’ll share the scriptures that I’m praying right now. I’m praying these for my wife, the prodigal spouses of other standers that have shared with me, and for “the other man”. I’m also praying a lot of scriptures dealing with spiritual warfare because that is what this is.

Lord, I know that you are trustworthy in all you promise and faithful in all you do. (Psalm 145:13)

I come now boldly and freely into your presence, freely asking these things according to your will, sure that you’re listening, confident that what I’ve asked for is as good as mine. So, I pray for _____ and ask that you give ____ life (1 John 5:13-16).

12 God, I know that my struggle is not against _______ and ________, 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. (Ephesians 6:12)

_________ steps are directed by YOU. How then can _____ understand ___ own way? (Proverbs 20:24)

Lord, I pray that _________ will Flee the evil desires of youth and pursue righteousness, faith, love and peace, along with those who call on You out of a pure heart… 25 I pray that you will send your servants to gently instruct ________, in the hope that You will grant ___ repentance leading ____ to a knowledge of the truth, 26 and that _________ will come to ____ senses and escape from the trap of the devil, who has taken ___ captive to do his will. (2 timothy 2:22-26)

You are the LORD our God, who teaches us what is best for us, who directs us in the way we should go.” (Isaiah 48:17)

In ___ heart, ________ plans ___ course, but YOU establish ____ steps. (Proverbs 16:9)

“Lord, I worship and praise You that You do speak – now one way, now another—though ______ may not perceive it. In a dream, in a vision of the night, when deep sleep falls on _______ as ___ slumbers in ___ bed, YOU may speak in __________’s ears and terrify ___ with warnings, to turn ___ from wrongdoing and keep ___ from pride, to preserve ___ soul from the pit, ___ life from perishing by the sword.” I thank You that _________ can pray to You and find favor with You, ________ sees Your face and shouts for joy; ________ is restored by You to ___ righteous state. Then _________ will come to men and say, ‘I sinned, and perverted what was right, but I did not get what I deserved. God redeemed my soul from going down to the pit, and ______ will live to enjoy the light.'” (Job 33:14-18, 26-28)

Many are the plans in _______’s heart, but it is YOUR purpose that prevails. (Proverbs 19:21)

I pray that _______ may have Godly sorrow that brings repentance, leads to salvation and leaves no regret. (2 Corinthians 7:10)

Lord, I am praying for ________ and for every prodigal who is away from you. Lord, open their eyes and turn them from darkness to light and from the power of Satan to God, so that they may receive forgiveness of sins and a place among those who are sanctified by faith in You (Acts26:18).

Lord, I know that _________’s life is not _____ own; it is not for _____ to direct _____ steps. (Jeremiah 10:23)

“Lord, I pray that You will sprinkle clean water on _______, and _________ will be clean; You will cleanse _________ from all ___  impurities and from all ___ idols. You will give _______ a new heart and put a new spirit in ___; You will remove from _____ ____ heart of stone and give ____ a heart of flesh…Then those around us that remain will know that You the LORD have rebuilt what was destroyed and have replanted what was desolate. YOU the LORD have spoken, and You will do it.” (Ezekiel 36:25-26, 36)

May you have the Glory, oh God!!!

So, I keep asking You, the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the glorious Father, may give _______ the Spirit of wisdom and revelation, so that ___ may know You better. I pray also that the eyes of __________’s heart may be enlightened in order that ___ may know the hope to which You have called ___, the riches of Your glorious inheritance in the saints, and Your incomparably great power for us who believe. (Ephesians 1:18-19).

Lord, I pray that _______ will seek You while YOU may be found; that _______ will call on You while You are near. I pray that _______ will forsake ___ wicked ways and ___ thoughts. Lord, I pray that ___ will turn to YOU, and You will have mercy on ___ and You will freely pardon _____.” (Isaiah 55:6-7)

God, please block ______’s path with thornbushes; wall _______ in so that ___ cannot find ___ way. _______ will chase after ___ lovers but not catch them; ___ will look for them but not find them. Then _____ will say, ‘I will go back to my spouse as at first, for then I was better off than now.” (Hosea 2:6-7)

I know that your word that goes out from your mouth: It will not return to you empty, but will accomplish what YOU desire and achieve the purpose for which You sent it. (Isaiah 55:11)

I ask all of these things in Jesus name, Amen.

Finally, I want to share this expanded take on Hosea, Chapter 2, verses 1-8, that comes from 5 things to pray for the prodigal.

  1. “Father, please allow ______’s path to be filled with misery, frustration and irritation.” (verse 6a) – This isn’t to be mean. We pray this because we love them.
  2. “Father, please make ______ unable to clearly see what to do; please cause confusion.” (verse 6b)
  3. “Father, please keep ______ from finding the satisfaction for which ___ is searching.” (verse 7a)
  4. “Father, please allow ____ to see ___self as You see ___ and create a desire to come back.” (verse7b) – No prodigal will come back to God until they first come to themselves. This means that they recognize that they got themselves where they are, and it’s their responsibility to do what it takes to get out.
  5. “Father, please bring to ______’s mind the good and allow ___ to forget the bad, pain, hurt, etc.” ( verses 7c-8)

Next time, I’ll share the scriptures I’m praying for myself.

The battle is not mine.

This is what the Lord says to you: ‘Do not be afraid or discouraged because of this vast army. For the battle is not yours, but God’s.

This is a difficult concept to accept. I can do nothing to win this battle, other than stand, trust, and pray. I can ask others to pray with me, and that is what I have been doing.

STAND

Let’s claim this hashtag…

I need protection from the temptation to try to fix or condemn this situation myself. Ask God to give me strength in Christ to be humble, kind, welcoming, and caring. Guard my tongue that no wrong or unclean thing may pass my lips to my wife, my children, my family etc. May God judge this. (II Timothy 2:25-26). I need prayer that in all of this I will draw near to Christ and him to me. I need prayer that my wife would not be my god or at the center of my life and thoughts every moment. Fix my eyes on him. This is my biggest struggle right now.

God is good and has been blessing me with sleep, food, and friends to support me in prayer and deeds. I am drawing closer to Him and attempting to cling to Him with everything I have. I am also trying to be strong for my son (age 6) and daughter (age 2). I am trying to focus on my walk with God and make Him the center. My wife still needs prayer.

I feel like the holy spirit is prompting me. I feel led to ask people to pray hard for my wife.

Pray that she encounters God in dreams, in media, in billboards, in students, and in the most unexpected places.

Pray against the powers and principalities at war on our marriage.

As long as I can endure financially I will hold onto my marriage. I was only recently served papers, but the bills for this process are already rolling in. I do not wish to make any hasty decisions, and I’m relying on the Holy spirit to minister to me, friends to pray for and support
me, and God to work on and in me.

If you are standing, I want to pray for you! Comment below or hit me up on Twitter. I will pray for as many standers as I am capable.

Speaking of Twitter, if you are a tweep who is standing, let’s claim the #standthegap hashtag, and build a community. We need the support and prayers.