Day 40: 40 Days of Praise

Really, that's what we've been doing these past 40 days... Praising. One of the (many) definitions of praise is, "the offering of grateful homage in words or song as an act of worship." Our words have been worship to His ears. Today, Caitlin and I really just want to offer Him praise for ALL that He has done, is doing, and will do. I know we all have stories of His gracious handiwork in our lives through this journey, and tonight we just want to share a few of them with you. So as you read of all He has been doing, let your heart rest in His goodness and give Him praise.

[If you read my blog you know I'm all about anonymity and initials so that's what we are sticking to with these]

"Over the past 40 days of praying for my husband I have experienced great blessing in my own heart as well as in my marriage. Through Laura and Caitlin's posts and beautiful prayers and also through my own time with the Lord, God has shown me different areas to be praying for my husband and specific areas of his life to become more in tune with. My husband and I have had growth in our marriage and our communication which as a result has strengthened and deepened our bond." -K "I'm so glad God put the 40 days of prayer in my path. With a husband that is often gone with work I am always seeking ways to pray over him and his safety. What a blessing it was to dedicate 40 days to just that. While praying, a sense of calm was given to me. I was able to give my worries and concerns for my husband over to my Heavenly Father who knows how to love and protect him so much better than I can. I thank Jesus for using these ladies to speak His truth in my prayer life for my beloved. Prayer is powerful, praying for my husband is a joy, thank you Father for the reminder." -L "I am praising God so much in the area of the man I am married to. It started before the 40 day journey... it started 9 years ago when we got married and I started praying more fervently for him. I've prayed for specific things that I have just seen answered recently - the last few months. NINE years of prayer. It would have been so easy to just stop, give up, and say "to heck with it, Lord! There's no fruit!" And I did get discouraged, many times. But I was reminded over and over by the Lord and women like you, that God IS faithful and He is in the business of answering prayers and changing hearts. I FULLY praise Him for all the work He has done in my husband's heart in the last 3 years! -D "I feel as if my husband and I have grown closer. I talked with him last night, asking him if he felt different since I had been praying for him, and he said he feels better at seeing my emotional needs. We struggled with a lot of spiritual warfare during this journey but I know it's because God was working good in us. My hubs even stepped out last night and decided to make a permanent time every night for us to pray together. Praise God for His work in our hearts!" -Caitlin For me, God has been doing the muscle work of digging these roots down deep into the earth. He moved some mountains after I did this last year, and I feel very much that this journey was all about the roots. I've seen a wisdom and a maturity in my husband that I've not seen before. But it's a maturity of steadfastness. His heart is becoming more and more steadfast in his God. His faith is becoming his own. I have shared emotions with him that I would've been insecure to show before now, allowing him the ability to see the rawness of my heart for my God. While being apart makes communication all the more difficult, we've really done all that we can to share what really matters in our hearts, and a lot of the time that is simply Jesus.

The most exciting thing to me about this day is that it is like that last second that your toes are touching the diving board before you spring off into the sky and fly exhilaratingly into the blue below. This is the springboard--just the beginning. Because the reality is, He has always been working for, seeking out and loving on our husbands and us. He has now gotten our attention and removed the scales from our eyes so we can see how He really works.

So wives, joyously leap off that diving board tonight! Lay your head on your pillow KNOWING that YOUR GOD IS NOT FINISHED! Oh praise Him!

Image-1 (18) "For I am about to do something new. See, I have already begun! Do you not see it? I will make a pathway through the wilderness. I will create rivers in the dry wastelands." Isaiah 43:19

Peace and joy to all of your sweet, loving hearts tonight. We have been so blessed going through this journey with you. Until next year.

-Laura and Caitlin

*Remember, these prayers will always be available to you. If you ever feel like you would like to repeat this journey PLEASE don't hesitate! Just obey!*

Day 39: Proclaiming His Faithfulness

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As we wrap up our journey tomorrow I can't help this insatiable need to praise His faithfulness. Whether He has already begun it, or has simply been putting the final touches on a big move, He has been moving and has been faithful these past 39 days. What's so magnificent about our God is that He works far beyond the confines of committed prayer journeys or bible studies or retreat weekends. He's always moving, proving His faithfulness. Things like this are merely an opportunity for us to open our eyes and our hearts to the True God we serve and love.

So let's pray Psalm 146 today, and with all of our hearts proclaim His faithfulness and goodness to us and to our husbands. He's doing a greater work in us and in them than we could ever begin to dream up on our own, and we praise Him for that!

-Laura

 

Hallelujah!

Oh my soul praises You God! All my life long I will praise You, singing songs to You as long as I live. Lord, I will not put my life into the hands of "experts" who know nothing of True life; salvation life. Mere humans don't have what it takes; when they die their projects die with them. Instead, God of Jacob, I get help from You! I put my hope in You and because of that I know real blessing! God, You made the sky and the soil, the sea and all the fish in it. You always do what You say You will. You defend the wronged. You feed the hungry. You free the prisoners. You give sight to the blind and lift up the fallen. God, You love good people and protect strangers. You take the side of the orphans and widows and you make short the work of the wicked. God, You are in charge-- ALWAYS! My God, the God of Zion, is God for good! 

Hallelujah!

(Prayer adapted by me from the Message version of Psalm 146)

Day 37: Silence

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We live in a terribly loud world. Radios quietly on in the background, televisions playing in the corner, children talking/yelling/crying/singing... and that's just the audible noise. The "noise" constantly produced by our minds can be deafening at times. Maybe this is why we like to have some static in the background... something to drown out what's really driving us crazy-- our own thoughts.

Here's the thing though; God never intended for us to be in a constant state of noise. While we've been given the gift of music and voice and all of these other things that produce sound we cannot forget the beautiful gift of silence. When we are silent, truly quieting the audible and inaudible in our lives, we can enjoy His presence.

Guys, this is not easy. As I am learning through training this is something that must be practiced, but it's worth all of the effort. I have to believe that, each and every second (literally, second by second) that I have to reel my thoughts in and quiet them in the name of Jesus, that  is one step forward in my journey towards quiet.

"But the Lord is in His holy temple; let all the earth be silent before Him." Habbakuk 2:20

By the victorious death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, we are now His temple. He is IN His holy temple, and we must take time to be silent before Him.

Our husbands have busy lives; working, providing, loving, caring, delighting, fighting... the actions never end, just as ours don't either. But let's ask God to provide them with a space of silence. A place where they can quiet their hearts, even for a moment, to remember that He is in His temple-- in them. Whatever noise may come, whether from sugar-spiked children or the weight of worry, they might be able to draw close to the Father in His temple and enjoy the gift of silence. There is so much waiting for them there.

-Laura

Jesus,

You taught us how to withdraw from the noise; from the crowds and the demands of life. You showed us this often. Thank you for making this a very clear matter of importance in our relationship with you. As you knew you needed to be with your Father, you had to turn from the noise to truly do so. Help myself and my husband to recognize when the radio needs to be turned off. Or when we need to choose some quiet with you over the numbing of the television. Give us the strength to believe that what you can provide in those moments can and will fill us more than any noisy distraction could. Grow us both in the ability to recognize and cherish silence before you for the gift that it really is. Give us grace each and every time we have to bring our busy minds back to quiet, and remind us that there is  nothing but grace there-- no expectation or disappointment--only love. Thank you, Jesus, for giving something as simple as silence so much value! Help us to grow and challenge each other in this practice of being present.

In your most Holy name,

Amen.

Day 35: A Prayer Of Protection

Image-1 (14) In the book of Joshua, we find Joshua bringing the Israelites together once more to renew their covenant. Joshua tells them to choose, once and for all, who they will worship; the God of the universe, the gods of their fathers or the gods of the Amorites. And here is the verse we are all so familiar with: "But as for me and my household, we will serve the Lord." (Joshua 24:15)

What I would like to point out is the following verse, one that might not get as much fanfare but brings to light the state of the hearts of the Israelites-- they were not always as aloof as we sometimes might remember them to be.

"Then the people answered, 'Far be it from us to forsake the Lord to serve other gods! It was the Lord our God himself who brought us and our fathers up out of Egypt, from that land of slavery, and performed those great signs before our eyes. He protected us on our entire journey and among all the nations through which we traveled." (vs. 16-17)

Even before Jesus came and brought with Him the new covenant, God actively protected those he loved from the dangers of this world. His protection did not first come with the anointing of the Holy Spirit from Christ's death and resurrection. In John 17 we see Jesus praying for protection over the followers God gave Him during His time on earth. Jesus protected them while He was here, and is now calling upon God to protect them once He has gone. So again, even in the new covenant we see our Mighty God actively protecting those He loves. In verse 13 Jesus clarifies why He is saying the things He's saying... "so that they may have the full measure of my joy within them." He said it that they might hear and believe that the God of the universe will protect them, because His very Son asked Him to.

Today, I pray a prayer of joy and thanksgiving that my Father loves my husband so much that He will never leave him unprotected. That no matter where he may be-- at home under "my protecting arms" (yeah right!) or far from my reach or influence-- God is before him, with him and behind him, keeping him safe and within His merciful and gracious will for his life.

Just think: as desperately as we strive to keep our husbands in our arms, safe, healthy and happy, God desires all the more to see those things manifest in their lives. He just has a different way of achieving that end goal. We must relinquish our desire for control and let God protect and care for his precious sons, knowing full well that He has promised to protect them and keep them safe in His arms.

Our God does not break His promises, dear daughters. Believe Him.

-Laura

Mighty God,

You are the God who has protected Your people for countless years, and You are not about to change now. Thank You for knowing us- our need for reassurance. For knowing that there would be many, many times that we would need to cling to Your promise of protection in the scary times in life. Thank You for not leaving us to fend for ourselves in this dark world, but for supernaturally interceding on our behalf in times when our security in You is threatened. We are never far from You, and the blessing from that is boundless. It continues to pour over our entire lives, each and every day, allowing us to live freely and without fear or worry. God, I lay my husband and his safety and security down. I unclench my fingers and willingly hand it over to You because I know that You love him more. You are even more interested in seeing his life be glorifying to You and so I choose to stop trying to influence it and drive it in the ways I believe are best. God, as he faces dangers in this world, physically and spiritually, I believe that You have already gone before him, allowing what is necessary to glorify You and grow him, and keeping him from anything that will harm him and the purpose You have called him to. God, thank You for loving him so. My soul is blessed and at peace knowing that there is Someone who loves him even more than I. You are Lord over all, and there is nothing that brings You fear. We find such peace in Your presence today.

In Your name, Jesus.

Amen.

Day 31: Predestined To Be His

Image-1 (10) The prayer of my heart today comes from several places in the Word, speaking to one incomprehensible truth. Journey with me to this revelation for your husband and for yourself. But be ready, because it's a doozy and worth all the time you can give to let it truly soak into your entire heart, soul and mind.

"What marvelous love the Father has extended to us! Just look at it -- we're called children of God! That's who we really are." 1 John 3:1 (MSG- emphasis mine)

Me, you, your husband, my husband... we were chosen. We've already talked about this a few times but I think the magnitude of this merits a lot of time to be meditated on. We are His children-no matter our sin;  past or present. Before any of our decisions were ever made, He had already decided He wanted us. It brought Him immense joy just to think of it.

"In love, He predestined us to be adopted as His sons through Jesus Christ, in accordance with His pleasure and will -- to the praise of his glorious grace, which He has freely given us in the One He loves." Ephesians 1:5 (NIV-emphasis mine)

Before He knew my husband's mess-ups and shortcomings, He put in the "adoption paperwork". We currently know a family who is in the process of adopting a little peanut from Poland and they've been asking for prayer support, having garage sales to raise money, and preparing their other children for the welcoming of a 6th family member. There is so much passion and love for this little person that they don't even know yet, but they know that she is a beautiful creation of the Creator and they can't wait to love her with all they have in their hearts. Now with that vivid picture in your mind I want you to think of the Father and His Son. They wanted you. They wanted your husband. Enough that Jesus, with the same sensations and feelings that you and I have, endured the cross.

We often ask why He did that? Why He didn't just call angels or say He couldn't go on. It has recently come to my very humbled attention exactly why He pressed on when He even asked His Father for another way: He went on "for the joy set before Him". Guys, that "joy" was us.

He knew the adoption was on... that there were souls so desperately loved by Him and His Father that He had to pay the price. They wanted us to be a part of their family.

Hebrews 12:2 "... who for the joy set before Him endured the cross..."

Above all of the prayers for peace, or strength, or faithfulness or obedience, today I want to pray for eyes open. Hearts softened. Minds welcoming. Because this Truth is a doozy- and it is what pours over everything else we could ever ask or hope for for our men, ourselves or our children. To know that before the foundations of the earth were laid, He had already decided He wanted us. Man, how incredible is that?

May that carry you through the next month and a bit as we prepare to celebrate the price paid for each of our hearts, that we may truly be His children.

-Laura

Father,

You are a tender, loving God. You are a mighty and just God. You have moved mountains and parted seas that those you chose could be called yours. Please, Father, soften my husbands heart, from a heart of stone to a heart of flesh, that he might begin to comprehend this truth. Lord, there is nothing in this fallen world that cares for him or desires to love him relentlessly, which is why the beauty of your adoption is so magnificent. Thank you for loving us personally, not like faces in a crowd but individuals that you paid a lofty price to make a part of your family. I pray that this truth, as it seeps more and more into his soul, would drive him to turn from the empty and heavy things of this world. As a father picks up his child each and every time they stumble and fall, continue to pick him up and cover him in your love. And in each of those moments graciously remind him of how proud you are to call him your son. Thank you, Jesus, for enduring all that you did just for us. Truly, we will never be able to understand that kind of love, but we will continue to offer our lives to you in obedience and gratitude for all that you are and have done for us.

In your mighty Name, Jesus, I pray.

Amen.

Day 27: To Know Shalom

20140312-180000.jpg"You're blessed when you feel you've lost what is most dear to you. Only then can you be embraced by the One most dear to you."

-Matthew 5:4, MSG

I fully believe God has ordained every step of this prayer journey. It never seems to fail that Laura and I's heart have been seeking the same sort of prayers for our husbands, even though we haven't planned out these prayers days in advance. Then there's the fact that we're both in Holy Yoga training and just happen to be studying the same scriptures during the week which I firmly believe God is speaking through. 

I feel--in my heart--that God as we have prayed about suffering and healing, He also wants us to know shalom this week. 

In the study and origin of scripture, shalom means "the absence of strife." Oh! If we could find ourselves basking in the serenity of shalom everyday! But this shalom--this serenity-- is not something we humans can attain. Instead, we find ourselves in mourning during our life here on Earth. In my lifetime, I have come to associate mourning with death for there has been far too much of it that I have seen. And yet, I believe mourning can take place over many other things besides death. Yes, the loss of a loved one is heavy on our hearts, but some days we lose our dreams. We lose our way. We lose our hope. 

But we can never lose His Grace. You see--in order to understand His peace that surpasses all understanding, we must realize that shalom exists only when we surrender to God--when He is in control. To be able to understand the blessing that comes in times of mourning is to know shalom--to have surrendered to God so that we are wrapped in His comfort: in the absence of strife.

Wives, I know that not all of our husbands may be in mourning of something at this particular time. But may we still arm them for when the moment comes? May we pray for the time when we can let go of ourselves and let God take over? So that when the time of mourning comes, we can be blessed by His shalom.

-Caitlin

Father God,
I come before you tonight a broken sinner who often loses my way. But I know, Lord, that you will always guide me home. You have told us this life will not be easy, and that we may suffer and feel persecuted, and fill our days with mourning. But there will be a day of Glory where none of those will exist. We will feel your peace. Your shalom
Today, Lord, I pray for that. I lift up my life and my husband to you in this moment, in this day, of imperfection. Help us to see you and know that you will heal us and bless us during this time. I specifically lift up my husband tonight, that you would help him to seek you in his strife. Take away his mourning Lord and help him to see that you are wrapping your arms around him. I pray that he would find strength in you to completely surrender in these moments. That your 
shalom would wash over him as he lets go.
Father--his mourning may not be as deep some days as others, but you know his heart. You know the strife that plagues him. But you also promise a life brimming over with blessings. I praise you for the peace he will feel when he lets go. May he surrender to you today and in days to come, letting go of anything worries or sadness or strife so that your blessing can settle in. 
I ask of these in your Son's name,

Amen

 

 

Day 25: Suffering and Sharing in Christ

20140310-172135.jpg"We proclaim him, admonishing and teaching everyone with all wisdom, so that we may present everyone perfect in Christ. To this end I labor, struggling with all his energy, which so powerfully works in me." -Colossians 1:28-29, NIV

Wives. This morning I sat meditating on the word and something about the scripture I was reading stuck out at me. I'd like to share The Message version with you and let the words speak to you today. I feel as if my thoughts have been so focused on this scripture today, and yet I cannot put the pen to paper and explain what I am pulling from it. I have a heart feeling with the Lord's word tonight, and I would simply like to encourage you to mediate on this scripture for your husband and let it speak to you in the way God wants it to speak.

I have bolded the parts of scripture that spoke deeply to my heart today, revealing some things in my own life and inspiring prayers for my husband and the suffering he experiences, and the servitude and glory that awaits him. May His words speak to your heart tonight and guide your prayers.

-Caitlin

"I want you to know how glad I am that it's me sitting here in this jail and not you. There's a lot of suffering to be entered into in this world--the kind of suffering Christ takes on. I welcome the chance to take my share in the church's part of that suffering. When I became a servant in this church, I experienced this suffering as a sheer gift, God's way of helping me serve you, laying out the whole truth. This mystery has been kept in the dark for a long time, but now it's out in the open. God wanted everyone, not just Jews to know this rich and glorious secret inside and out, regardless of their background, regardless of their religious standing. The mystery in a nutshell is just this: Christ is in you, therefore you can look forward to sharing in God's glory. It's that simple. That is the substance of our Message. We preach Christ, warning people not to add to the Message. We teach in a spirit of profound common sense so that we can bring each person to maturity. To be mature is to be basic. Christ! No more, no less. That's what I'm working so hard at day after day, year after year, doing my best with the energy God so generously gave me." -Colossians 1"24-29, The Message

 

Lord God,

You offer us so much hope and wisdom in your words. This night we come before you lifting up our husbands, praying for their lives, hearts, and souls. I ask that you would use your words to reveal to me the heart of my husband. Help me to see into his suffering and meets his needs to help him through those moments. Make me his encourager, offering up your hope that the suffering in our life can be turned into your glory. Father, I pray your words over my husband tonight that he would become mature in you--understanding he needs no special actions or ways to get to you, but instead basic faith in loving and accepting your Son as the sacrifice for his sins. Continue to give my husband an energy from you so that he may speak your word and spread your joy, turning his bad days and his moments of discipline into your glory. I ask of these things in your precious Son's name,

Amen. 

Day 18: Blessed are Those

20140303-202011.jpg "You're blessed when you're at the end of your rope. With less of you there is more of God and his rule.

You're blessed when you feel you've lost what is most dear to you. Only then can you be embraced by the One most dear to you. -Matthew 5:3-4, MSG

 

Can I be honest with you tonight wives? If you've noticed  a trend in my posting, it usually doesn't happen until late at night. I had grand plans this morning to schedule my thoughts out for the week since I had the day off of school. But instead, I rose early to teach a sunrise yoga class, went back to bed and didn't mean to sleep until 9:30, worked on a tedious project all day, ran errands, did a pile of dishes, cooked dinner, and made time for my mat. If I'm being honest, I haven't showered today, put on a bra (and yes, I left the house without it), and I'm not even sure I remembered to brush my teeth.

I feel as if I am at the end of my rope. Tomorrow is the year anniversary of my grandmother's death, a day I do not want to celebrate, and like Laura yesterday, I feel my emotions all over the place. Between co-hosting this journey, leading a Love and Respect marriage Bible study, and embarking on my Holy Yoga training last week, and simply feeling hunkered down with an immense load of stress,  I have felt nothing shy of spiritual warfare raging in my life.

I've watched my husband this past week seemingly float through his days. To be honest, the enemy is tearing at my heart to harbor bitterness towards him, and messing with my mind making me believe the lie that I'm carrying it all. When in fact, my dear husband has been shouldering my burden all week.

You see, as I sit here with tears streaming down my face realizing how magnificent this thing called marriage is, I am reminded of how like Christ to the church my husband is to me. In such a grace-filled example of sacrifice and love, my husband has taken on the role of a Christ in our marriage. As I feel so heavy laden with my sorrow and stress, my husband takes that burden from me as Christ takes the church's. So as the enemy tries relentlessly to drive a wedge between the holy work God is doing in our marriage, my husband chooses to listen to my frustrations, to comfort me in my sorrow, and to carry my burdens so I don't have too.

For when I think I am carrying everything around our house and our life, in reality, he is shouldering it all.

Wives, wherever we are at tonight may we take a moment to simply thank God for our husbands. May we realize how blessed we truly are by them that they would take on such a role in our marriage and show us the purest form of love and grace.

-Caitlin

Father God, As these days journey forward, you never fail to comfort us in our sorrows, to life us up in our joys, or to take our burdens from us. This life is far from the Glory we will one day experience, but you give us snippets through this beautiful thing you call marriage. Someday, we will truly know what it is to walk beside you, to be held by you, and to never more have the heaviness of a burden upon our shoulders. But until that day, you give us a grand example of how that Glory will play out. You have blessed us as wives with a husband who would walk through fire for us all so that we may know love. Thank you for such a man. Thank you for placing him in my life. In all of this--our joy  & our sorrow, our busyness & our moments of peace, may we understand that this marriage is meant to show the world your love. Lord God, I lift up my husband tonight for as he is chasing his own passions and dreams and joys and sorrows, he also is shouldering my burdens. May you give him strength to carry this load and to lift the burden over to you. Bless my husband tonight Father with an overwhelming feeling of love. Fight for my heart God, banish the enemy, turn my soul to you, and help me to show steadfast love to my husband. For if there are moments in life when he is to carry my burdens, I so desperately want him to feel how deeply respected he is from me. 

In your most precious Son's name,

Amen.

 

 

Day 16: He is Jealous for Us

20140301-182538.jpg "Whoever does not love does not know God because God is love." - 1 John 4:8

Friends--I don't know about you but hearing that our God is so in love with us that He is jealous for us makes my heart full. He desperately wants all of us, every minute of our day. But that jealousy calls us and our husbands to drop everything to love Him. I refer to my husband as a jack of all trades because he seems to dabble in so much. His hobbies are endless, and his passion for life abounds. There are moments when I cannot wait for the day until we have children because I know his love for them will run deep.

But I also know that if does not love--truly love--Christ deeply above all else in his life, even me, he will never truly understand how to love those around him.

Oh wives! Christ is so jealous for our husbands' love! He knows that if his heart so greatly desires Him, then our marriage and our life together will be rich in love! May we pray tonight that we will not fight for that spot of honor and in turn pray for our husbands to earnestly seek His love. For if they do, our marriages will be reworded with such a beautiful Christ-like love.

-Caitlin

Lover of my soul, I come before You tonight with a short but honest prayer. I want nothing more than for this family to know Your love, but I know the only way we will is if we place You first. For that reason, I pray for strength and conviction to give up such a spot of honor in my husband's heart so that He may seek Your love first. I ask that You would cover him with love, and pursue him so that he will be found by You. Take my jealousy, Lord, and turn it into love for You. I pray the same for my husband. May he quit vying for the top spot in my heart, and instead understand how I must seek You first. You are so jealous for our love, Lord, that I want You to have it. Teach us together Lord, and love us through this journey. Amen

Day 8: Finding Connection

20140221-161006.jpg "Friends come and friends go, but a true friend sticks by you like family."

-Proverbs 18:24

I'll be the first to admit that when I married my husband, I knew I had married my best friend. Which pretty much made me want him all to myself all the time. I had big dreams that we would work out together several days a week, and spend our summer nights riding bikes or hiking. We'd cook dinner together in the kitchen of an evening, go on coffee dates to the bookstore, and then spend hours reading books separately but together.

We do some of those things together. Some. And not all that often because, let's face it, I love spending time with my husband but our kitchen is way to small to be cooking together.

As a military wife, I can see where my want to have lots of shared activities with my husband is important because we often spend lots of time apart. But through the years I've realized that as much as I need a good girlfriend to connect with both while my husband is away or here--my husband needs a guy he can connect with too.

I truly believe that when husband and wife come together under and in God, He has put together two souls who have yearned for each other. Make no mistake--my husband is my best friend and my partner and he would say the same of me--but we need others outside of ourselves to be who we are created to be. Just as we need a womanly connection to help nurture our spirit, so our husbands cannot fully become the men of God they are destined to be without a strong, Christian male friend in their lives. There are things only that type of friendship can hold him accountable too.

Today wives, as much as we love our husband's and desperately want to spend quality time with him, I encourage us to pray for a Christian friend to enter his life should he not have one. If our husbands do have that kind of relationship in their lives, then I encourage us to pray for God's hand to nurture it. I know how dear my friendship with Laura is, and how thankful I am to have had God put us in each other's life. Knowing how much I need her reminds me how much my husband needs a dear friend of his own. God tells us that we will come across all sorts of people in our lives, but those true friends--those who have hearts for the Lord and connect to us in ways our spouses cannot--will become our family. They are the people in our lives who will stick.

-Caitlin

Heavenly Father,

I come before You today with thanksgiving in my heart for this marriage You have blessed me with. Thank You for putting someone so desperately in love with You in my life. Marriage truly is a beautiful example of Your love for us, and I thank You for choosing us to be that example in the world. Not only have You put us together as one--but You have paired us as friends. Such a relationship brings joy to our marriage, and I thank You for that gift of friendship. As we journey on, I pray that You would place a Godly man in my husband's life who would serve as a friend who sticks closer than a brother. I ask that You would nurture that friendship, and grow it in You so that the two of them can go to each other with the joys and hurts of their heart. Father, You tell us that a friend in You becomes closer than family--that in fact, they become our family. As we move around in this life, both literally and figuratively, I pray for a connection for my husband, that he would find this dear friend and Godly man in times he needs him, near or far. Lord, I pray for this friendship--that You would build my husband up to be a Godly friend himself. I ask that as You bring a strong friend into his life, You would equip my husband to be the friend this other Godly man needs. Nurture both of their hearts so that this friendship becomes rooted in You, so that they may build each other up as Godly men in You. God, You are ever faithful to us, and I thank You for Your presence in our lives and our marriage. May our spousal friendship and our Christian friendships be such an honest and beautiful example of Your love to others. In your precious Son's name, Amen. 

Day 7: The Greatest Commandment

20140219-233732.jpg "'Listen, Israel: The Lord your God is one: so love the Lord God with all your passion and prayer and intelligence and energy.' And here is the second: 'Love others as well as you love yourself. There is no other commandment that ranks with these.'" Mark 12:29-31

There are so many elements of love, and I feel on our human level we are not fully cable of grasping them all in unison, let alone giving them all to one another. But God not only understands them, He's created in each of us an ability to give these things to Him, in whatever form that may look like for us, and in them He is pleased.

The second tidbit in this passage is one to think on for a minute because I think it can get passed over to usually mean one thing. How well does your husband treat himself? Do you think, in those moments within that he is as nice to himself as he may be to others around him? Is it easier for him to show kindness or mercy to others but not to himself? We all have our moments when we doubt ourselves, our worth or our place in this world, but I don't think we spend much time thinking of others in those terms. So as we pray for our husbands to love God richly with their entire beings, let's also pray for them to see the love they can and deserve to give themselves. There is grace in every new day so whether they are on a mountain top or in a valley, God's desire is for them to see the love they can have for themselves. That by leaving behind self doubt and insecurity they could love God fully, with all their passion, prayer, intelligence and energy.

Laura

All deserving God, You have equipped me to be capable of giving you so much, and yet I give you so little of myself. You are a merciful and patient Father, and I come to you today with a heart beating with gratitude. Lord, the pride you have for him will never be comprehended on this side of heaven, but Father, please help him to see the moments where there is room for him to show himself grace. In the moments of disappointment or self doubt show him how to love himself well, the same way you've shown him how to love others well. In this Lord, grant him the passion to love you with all of his heart. Show him how to love you with an undivided soul. Clear his mind of the meaningless clutter and guide him into loving you with all that it is capable of. Father, you have made him strong. Show him what it looks like to love you with the strength of his physical being. Show him where care needs to be taken and where love needs to be shown in the body you have given him. I ask you to do these things in him that he would be able to live a long, passionate, prayerful, intelligent and energetic life for you and for our family. I am filled with such joy knowing that I can expectantly ask you these things because I know you have shown us both how to love you through your Spirit and your Word. Oh Lord how we desire to love you more and more. You are perfection, sweet Father. In the Almighty's name I pray. Amen.

40 Days of Prayer...

40 days of weak knees and tear stained Bibles... this is what I am hoping for and believing in these next 40 days. God is so awesome. Not the "awesome" you may hear from the mouths of tweens but what you would read from the dusty pages of your Webster's Dictionary (or dictionary.com, either way). Awesome: causing feelings of fear and wonder: causing feelings of awe. Extremely good.

Did you catch that? Extremely good. Man, isn't He?

I can't wait for these next 40 days, and I also hope they pass slowly, that I may soak in the essence of each day. The time spent with my Dad, talking intimately and deeply about His very precious child. I know that He has quite the agenda for it, and so I will strive to leave myself at the door and proceed in the Spirit alone. Laura really has nothing of value to share. She is grumpy and selfish and generally a bit too emotional as a whole. But her God is beautiful, powerful, gentle and so wise. So let those things be what you take from this experience... His goodness and His goodness only.

The God that we kneel to on behalf of our husbands, ourselves, our children, is a mighty God. His name alone has the power to make the ocean rise and fall. So as you go before Him these next 40 days, begin so by making your heart and mind right before Him... by acknowledging that this is not a chore but a privilege. Loving that man, and being entrusted into his care and love is a privilege. Being the one who allows him to feel strong, to feel a need to protect and provide, is a unique and beautiful honor. There is so much beauty in these roles as husband and wife.

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"For this reason I kneel before the Father, from whom His whole family in heaven and on earth derive it's name. I pray that out of His glorious riches He may strengthen you with power through His Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the saints, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge- that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God." Eph 3:14-19

Let's  back up a bit first to verse 7 where it says, "I became a servant of this gospel by the gift of God's grace given me through the working of His power." That man I love was not just born into a Christian home. God purposefully and powerfully worked. He selected him for a purpose and did so with more intention than I could ever begin to wrap my mind around. The man you love isn't yours because you both went to the same University and fell for each other, or because you made some bad decisions in your youth and tried your best to make it right. God powerfully placed you together. He is not a God of chance or lackadaisical effort. He is a God of purpose. You are his wife for a purpose.

These men, they are made in the image of God, which means they have the capacity to experience the same emotions you see God experience in the pages of His Word, as well as the emotions you yourself feel. Granted, some are experienced on a microscopic level compared to ours but they are there nevertheless. So the same difficulty you have relating to the good that you are and that you have been given because of Christ is also present in them as well. Which brings me to this passage from Paul. In order for our men to grasp just how deep the love is of the Father, the Spirit of God must be home in their hearts. I find it of no coincidence that Paul first prays for them to be strengthened, before he speaks of the Spirit dwelling in their hearts. It takes strength to open yourself up to truth. The Spirit residing in their hearts produces what the Voice translation calls "the rich soil where their lives take root."

It's such a domino affect. If we can pray them through this passage, in this order, I believe we will be thoroughly praying them into a place where they could begin to catch a glimpse of the depth of His love. So today, He has made things easy for all of us by giving us His very word to pray. With a few slight textual changes on my part, pray this over your husband and yourself. Let it soak into your soul and then let it soar. Allow this to launch your prayer into whatever you may know he needs specifically. And allow yourself the freedom to allow the Holy Spirit to determine your timeline of prayer... because it could go further than you may have allowed it on your own.

Father, out of Your honorable and glorious riches, strengthen Your son. Fill his soul with the power of Your Spirit so that through faith the Liberating King will reside in his heart. May love be the rich soil where his life takes root. May it be the bedrock where his life is founded so that together, with our family, we will have the power to understand that the love of the Liberator is infinitely long, wide, high and deep, surpassing everything anyone previously experienced. God, may Your fullness flood through his entire being. (From Ephesians 3:16-19 in The Voice. Changed for these purposes with an effort to keep the original message.)

In life we are ever surrounded (usually just from ourselves) by the "should" and "shouldn't" but tonight let yourself soak in the good that you are doing as a wife. Your Father is so very proud of you. Even today, in this very moment with the very emotions you're feeling and the sins you're battling. So rest in His gleaming pride for his daughter, while you spend some time praying for the man you both love so dearly.

Laura

Side note: if you are familiar with the yoga posture "Child's Pose" might I recommend a prayer posture for you? Find a quiet space and bring yourself down into child's pose, with your bible placed in front of you. As you stretch your arms out before you, allow your forehead to rest on the Word and your hands to face heaven. With each breath let your body sink deeper as your heart opens wider. And if you're anything like me, you will soon have a very tear stained Word of God beneath you.