June 16, 2014

Praying for our Husbands

***The winners of Rob Teigen’s gift packs are listed at the bottom of today’s post***

Welcome to all my Encouragement for Today friends!! I’m excited you stopped by today.

A few weeks ago, my husband and I enjoyed a lovely dinner with a young couple soon to be married. They asked for any advice we had to share. After 27 years, surely we had some wisdom!

As my husband shared his advice, which was hilarious by the way, my mind raced. Mine wouldn’t be clever or funny like his. I wanted my words to encourage, but I also wanted to be realistic. Marriage is wonderful, but it’s also hard…very hard. Especially those first few years.

So I spoke honestly. The most spoken word from my lips was “prayer.” But, that’s not how it was early in my marriage. I confessed that I rarely prayed for anything, let alone my marriage. As the years passed, I prayed a bit more. But they were self-centered prayers asking God to change my husband, to give me patience with his annoying habits, and to curb my anger when he ignored my requests and hurt my feelings. But I never really prayed FOR him or for our marriage.

Twenty-seven years later, I cling to prayer. I pray for my husband, my marriage, my children and our family. It’s a staple in my prayer time. It’s often not long and involved, but it is continual. Yes, I set aside specific prayer time for my family, but I also pray throughout the day as the Lord brings each to mind.

Here are some wise words of wisdom from my dear friend and Proverbs 31 sister, Lysa TerKeurst:

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Praying for our husbands is the greatest gift we can give them.

Praying with our husbands is even better! Praying together intimately knits our hearts together in a way nothing else can. It creates an impenetrable shield about our hearts and our home that NOTHING can pass…especially the evil one.

Praying for my husband comes easy for me. But I’m not so comfortable praying with my husband. It’s a “me” thing. Anyone else relate? I pray with women all the time…friends, Bible study leaders, speaking event coordinators and leadership teams. But I struggle praying with my husband. Excuses abound. Life is busy. It’s hard to carve out time. I feel a bit uncomfortable. I’ve learned, these are Satan’s tactics. He doesn’t want us to pray together because he knows prayer STRENGTHENS marriages and DEFEATS his schemes.

Sweet friends, the only way to pray is TO DO IT!! To intentionally take a step and pray.

A few days after our dinner with this young couple, I sat down at my computer and wrote a prayer for them. I haven’t given it to them yet, but I thought I would share a portion of it with you.

Heavenly Father, we thank You and praise You that every good and perfect gift is from You. You alone are the King of Kings and Lord of Lords. You alone are our Redeemer and Savior. You alone are the Lord of Heaven and Earth, Sovereign over ALL things, including our marriage.    

God, I thank You that Your Word says You know the plans You have for our marriage and our family, plans to prosper and not to harm, plans to give us a hope and a future. What a precious gift  to know that You planned our union before time began! This is Your good, pleasing and perfect will.

Lord, Your Word promises that when we seek You with all our hearts, we will find You. Father, we pray that You will remind us to daily come before You, seeking wisdom about our marriage and our family. And thank You for Your promise that You will generously pour out that wisdom. And thank You, Lord, that there is no good thing that You will withhold from us.

Father, You are El Roi, the God who sees all. As husband and wife, help us honor You each and every day.  Enable us to love each other with Your sacrificial love…to lay aside any hurt, anger, bitterness, resentment, and any other issue, including our wills, that would prevent You from being at work in and through our marriage.

Release the power of Your Word and Your Spirit into our marriage and our home. We are asking You to do as You promise—to do immeasurably more than we could ever ask or imagine.

We ask that from Your glorious storehouses of riches You will make our marriage beautiful. We boldly come to Your throne and ask that our marriage be rooted and established in Your deep and abiding love, the love that surpasses all knowledge. Help us to live lives worthy and live out a marriage worthy of You, Lord. Give us great endurance and patience. Fill us with Your joy so that on the hard days, we will look beyond our circumstances and remember the Promises made in You. Keep our eyes on You and not on our faults and difficult circumstances. Help us to be living sacrifices to You, giving up our own desires to accomplish Your greater purposes for our marriage and our family.

Father, humble our hearts to recognize when we are wrong. Make our hearts tender to any faults, selfishness, self-centeredness. Equip us to combat critical spirits. Through Your spirit of humility, work in and through us daily to eradicate all pride so that we will put each other first in all things. Help us to surrender our will to Yours. Help us to lay on the altar anything that will get in Your way. Open our eyes to see those things and make them clear.

Transform our marriage and our family each and every day by the power of prayer and Your Word.  Make our home one that will be built solidly on the foundation of Jesus. May our house be a safe place in this world where we feel loved and protected. Help us to humbly submit to You and to resist Satan. 

Thank You, Father, that there is hope in You, hope for a rich, wonderful future for our marriage and this family. And whatever Satan throws at us, we trust You will empower us to battle him victoriously and what he intends for harm, You will give purpose and turn into good. Cover our family from this day forward with Your hedge of protection. Keep us in perfect peace because we love You and have our minds fixed on You. Thank You that You have begun a good work and will perfect it for Your glory. We ask all of these things in the powerful name of JESUS. 

For a pdf of another marriage prayer I have written, click here.

Before we close today, will you commit to doing something with me? Let’s take one intentional step together toward praying more in our marriage. If you’ve never prayed for your husband, take a step of faith and pray Scripture over him. My Encouragement for Today devotion gives you a great set of Scriptures to begin. Click here to find them. Lysa TerKeurst shares some great Scriptures as well. Click here to find hers.

And if you’ve never prayed with your husband, let’s commit to pray the prayer I shared above with our husbands…at least once. And if it goes well, pray it weekly. And if you are up for it, make this prayer your own. Add your favorite Scriptures and add words that reflect your dreams, your struggles, your heart for your marriage.

Please leave a comment and share your first step toward more prayer in your marriage…a Scripture you will pray or maybe you will tackle the entire prayer!  I will pray for each of you who leaves a comment today.

***The winners of Rob Teigen’s gift packs are below. Congratulations! Please e-mail me at deuteronomysix@aol.com with your full name and address so we can get these in the mail to you.

Carol who posted on 6/9 at 11:23 a.m.

Nancys 1128 who posted on 6/9 at 2:23 p.m.

Susan who posted on 6/10 at 11:59 a.m.

Blessings,

June 9, 2014

A Father’s Prayers for His Daughter…Meet Rob Teigen/Great Giveaway!

I’m excited to introduce to you an amazing dad who has a beautiful heart for prayer. Rob and his wife, Joanna, have co-authored the books I am sharing today. I couldn’t think of a better time to connect you with Rob than just before Father’s Day. He has some amazing resources to share with the “dad” in your life. It might be your son, your brother, your husband, your uncle or even a friend. We all know God calls us to pray for our kids, but knowing and doing are two different things. Praying is hard…even intimidating. How do we do it? What do we pray? That’s why I invited Rob here today.

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Please share this post and Rob and Joanna’s books with a “dad” in your life. And Rob is not only guest-posting but also giving away THREE gift packs. So leave a comment today for a chance to win one of Rob’s great gift packs. Each gift pack includes Rob’s two books and the Conversation Starters!

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Meet Rob Teigen…

I’m thankful to Wendy for asking me to stop by her blog in honor of Father’s Day. Wendy and I connected when she contributed a wonderful story to my wife’s and my upcoming book, A Mom’s Prayers for Her Son: Praying for Every Part of His Life.  Her story is an encouraging example of the power of prayer in her life as a mom. This book follows on the heels of our first book about prayer, A Dad’s Prayers for His Daughter: Praying for Every Part of Her Life. I appreciate the opportunity to share a little bit about these books and my family with you today.

My wife Joanna and I have been married for over 20 years and enjoy life together with our four children. Josh is in college, Emma is 16, Leah is 13, and Anna is 10. This will be an extra-special Father’s Day for me because we’re just weeks away from finalizing the adoption of our 3-year-old son, Mason. That will make number five and we couldn’t be more excited! I have to laugh a little, though, about our crazy life where we’re paying for Pull-ups and college tuition at the same time.

A perfect day for me is a trip to the pool or a bike ride with the kids, and grilling up a meal to share at the end. With our hectic schedule, any time we’re all gathered around the table at once is a special event. I also like to drag my family to as many Christian music concerts as my wife (and budget) will allow. Books are big at our house–I’m currently reading John Piper’s Don’t Waste Your Life, Paul E. Miller’s book A Loving Life, and Moment Makers by Carlos Whittaker. I picked up a copy of The Fault in Our Stars by John Green for my daughter Emma and couldn’t put it down (please don’t think any less of me!). My favorite Bible verse for this season of life is Proverbs 30:5 “Every word of God proves true; he is a shield to those who take refuge in him.”  Now that’s a promise!

Enough about me–I should let Wendy get on with the interview.  Thanks again, Wendy, and thank you to all who stopped here to read about how dads can bless their families through prayer.

What made you decide to write a book about prayer? 

I talk quite a bit about the tremendous value of spending quality time with our kids, passing on a spiritual heritage, and giving our children the security of a deeply committed marriage. But the longer I’m a father, the more I see that my most vital gift to my kids is releasing them to God through prayer.

When I lift my children up to God I remember they are His. I’m able to surrender my hopes, dreams, and fears to His control. He reminds me that I’m not just trying to raise “good kids,” but young men and women that have fully committed their lives to Him.  I want my kids to have hearts that are truly devoted to the Lord, and only He can change their hearts.

Also, I believe that prayer is where we seek wisdom to know how to handle life’s situations with our children.  When I have issues or challenges as a dad I tend to go to two extremes: I either jump in too fast to try to fix everything myself, or I become passive and hope the problem just goes away. In prayer I can ask God for help to know when and how to step in, or when to stand by quietly and watch God move in my child’s life in His own way and timing.

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Why did you feel it was important to focus on dads praying specifically for their daughters instead of sons? 

As I mentioned above I have two sons, and obviously praying for them is just as important as praying for my daughters.  However, I do feel that as guys we can have a harder time understanding the unique challenges our daughters face.  Some challenges are universal, like academic pressure, sickness, or loneliness, but girls have distinctive issues of their own. I know my daughters will face struggles with body image, gossip, confidence, and a biblical understanding of their value as women. I’ll need an extra measure of wisdom from God to know how to protect them physically, emotionally, and spiritually as their dad.

Why do you think it’s important for dads to pray for their girls?

My greatest desire as a parent is to see my daughters mature into the women God has designed them to be. Without God’s help, I might actually become a hindrance to what he wants to do in their lives. One of my favorite passages of the Bible is the foundation for my writing and strongerdads.com–Psalms 127 says, “Unless the Lord builds the house, those who build it labor in vain.  Unless the Lord watches over the city, the watchmen stay in wake in vain.  It is vain that you rise up early and go late to rest, eating the bread of anxious toil; for he gives his beloved sleep.”  How many of us are worrying and working hard to raise “good kids” of our own making.  Releasing our kids to God through prayer sets us free from fear and the pressure to be perfect fathers raising perfect daughters.

In prayer, I find peace and faith to trust in God’s power in the lives of my girls. I find guidance when I don’t understand their emotions or their needs. I find encouragement when things get tough—he promises to use every situation for our ultimate good. I find security by relying on him for their protection.

Dads, let’s start praying for our daughters’ needs before they’re in a full-blown crisis! I’m praying about my girls’ boyfriends and husbands now, even though those relationships are still a few years away on the horizon. I’m asking him to provide them with wisdom and self-control now, knowing that future jobs, grades, and driving habits will depend on it. I’m asking him to surround them with caring Christian friends today, so that they have a positive support system in place heading into their teen years. Praying for our daughters doesn’t guarantee everything in life will go perfectly, but it does build our faith and equip us for whatever comes.

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What would you say to encourage dads who feel like their prayers don’t change anything? 

We have to remember that God is the potter and we are the clay (Isaiah 64:8).  We can trust that God will use every situation in our children’s lives to mold them into the people he’s designed them to be. He can use pain and disappointment to teach patience and faith. He can use heartache to show himself as Comforter and Healer. It is through difficulty that our kids can discover how much he loves them.

We often want to use our prayers to change our child or our circumstances, rather than asking God to change us.  God blesses us with children for many reasons, but especially because they stretch our faith!  Nothing will bring us to our knees or make us aware of our total dependence on God like the needs of our children.  Go read the gospels—you’ll be as amazed as I was to see how many of those that came to Jesus were begging for help and healing for their children. Keep your eyes on God and the big picture of your life with your children. You will see his faithfulness and be amazed.

God loves you. God loves your child. He is mighty and able to do whatever we ask for them. He is good. Don’t quit praying—he hears you and he is with you every moment.

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What would you say to the dad (or mom) out there who is struggling with the choices his daughter is making?  How should we pray for them?

We need to remember that every one of God’s children was a prodigal at one point or another.  It was his kindness that led us to repentance (Romans 2:4).  Some of the best opportunities God gives to show his grace and unconditional love to our daughters are when they blow it.  Pray that God softens her heart to his truth.  Pray that she will see the painful consequences of sin and rebellion to God and turn back to him before she has to experience them for herself. Pray that she will come to the end of herself, see her need for the Lord, and run to him to experience the love, forgiveness, and mercy that he freely offers.

Pray that as her parent you can love her in spite of her choices. Ask for wisdom to know which limits and discipline will be the most effective in training your child. Ask for the strength to be silent when you want to criticize or lash out in frustration. Ask for the heart of Christ who loved us and gave himself up for us while we were still determined to go our own way.

What would you say to the dad whose daughter has made mistakes and she’s now paying for those mistakes?

That’s really hard!  None of us want to see our child experience painful effects of their wrong choices. It’s comforting to know that those consequences can do valuable work in teaching your daughter a better way. Put your arms around her and walk that road by her side. Remind her that God is not surprised by her sin. The first thing he did when Adam and Eve sinned in the garden was to seek them out and find them.  There were huge consequences for their disobedience but God made the clothing to cover them and made a way for their salvation.  He wants to do the same thing for your daughter. He is able to make her new—he wants to clothe her in his righteousness and draw her into a forever-relationship with him.

Pray that the painful consequences she’s experiencing will create a longing in her heart for the mercy of God. Ask him to open her eyes to see the freedom and joy that a life of obedience will bring. Ask him to humble her heart to admit her need for a Savior. And ask him for a tender heart as her dad that can love and forgive your daughter no matter what she’s done.

Any other thoughts on A Dad’s Prayers for His Daughter before we wrap this up?

I would encourage dads to just get started! Create a new habit of praying for your daughter every day. Get excited—you will see your faith grow stronger and real change happen in your family. You will grow in compassion and understanding of your child. You will create a rich legacy that can continue on in your daughter’s life as she prays for her own children someday. You’ll invite the power of God into the middle of your life as a father—prepare to be blown away by all that God will do!

Thanks, Rob, for sharing from your daddy’s heart today and for your generous gifts! If you would like to purchase any of Rob’s resources, click on the title below and it will take you directly to it. And visit Rob’s web site strongerdads.com.

A Dad’s Prayers for His Daughter 

88 Great Daddy-Daughter Dates

A Mom’s Prayer for Her Son (to be released 10/14)

I can’t wait for A Mom’s Prayers for Her Son to be released! Leave a comment today for Rob sharing how you incorporate prayer in your children’s lives. I will announce the three winners in my next post!

Blessings,

May 9, 2014

When Your Heart Needs Mending…

Has someone broken your heart…betrayed you? Lied to you? Abandoned you? Forgotten you?

Have you made a choice that you feel is unforgivable? Irreparable? Irreversible?

These are emotions that take our hearts hostage. They lock us in a prison. We feel hopeless, alone, unworthy, unloved. But we are not without hope. We are not forgotten. And we are loved. We are worthy. Why? Because we are a child of the Living God, and we are precious in His sight. Our God is a God Who loves unconditionally, forgives freely, and heals fully. He alone holds the key to our freedom.

Yet so often we run from Him.

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My friend Suzie Eller is here today to remind us that we don’t have to run from God. In fact, Jesus invites us to come to Him…all who are weary and burdened…all who are lost and alone…all who are persecuted and abandoned.

Here’s an excerpt from her new book, The Mended Heart. And… be sure to read through to the end for a chance to win a copy.

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“The Spirit of the Lord is on Me. He has put His hand on Me to preach the Good News to poor people. He has sent Me to heal those with a sad heart. He has sent Me to tell those who are being held that they can go free. He has sent Me to make the blind to see and to free those who are held because of trouble.” Luke 4:18 (NLV)

 

“Why can’t you get it together?”

 

“If you would just try harder.”

 

Have you heard any of these statements? Maybe you’ve even said them to yourself.

 

Perhaps those who stood on a hot hillside in Nazareth were asking themselves the same questions. Many tried hard to follow all the religious laws, but knew they fell short. Would Jesus give them more rules to follow? Imagine their surprise as Jesus spelled out His personal mission statement:

 

I’ve come to open the eyes of the blind.

 

I’ve come to set the prisoner free.

 

I’ve come with good news for the poor in spirit.

 

I’ve come to heal the brokenhearted.

 

The crowd must have been shocked by His words, for they expected a warrior, not a heart surgeon. Jesus Himself was setting the record straight. He came so that we might be made whole … through Him.

 

For those who had been trying harder, striving more, it was a transforming message. They were accustomed to following rules or meeting expectations of man, rather than resting in the power of their almighty God.

 

When I became a believer, I didn’t understand Jesus’ mission statement. I was dealing with untended brokenness and trying everything to fix myself. When I grasped the power of Luke 4:18, this truth changed me:

 

The power of the cross is not found in what I do, but in what has already been done for me.

 

Jesus didn’t mean for us to do this alone. It’s not our strength or power that will transform us. Yes, we make changes. Yes, we open our broken heart to His tender touch. Yes, we allow Him to move us in uncomfortable directions to discover new paths — and leave old ones behind. But we are in a partnership with God … and He’s bigger.

 

I also discovered I didn’t have to earn God’s love. Maybe, like me, you thought God would love you one day, when you had it all together.

 

Jesus’ mission statement proclaims that He loves us today. With our baggage and hurting hearts. When we grasp that kind of love, it changes us. It compels us to return that love, and to trust Jesus from our hearts.

 

This trust helps us listen for His voice. We sense when He is teaching or redirecting us. We weigh temptation in light of our love for our heavenly Father. This relationship helps us discover our “true selves, [our] child-of-God selves” (John 1:12, The Message).

 

Last, Luke 4:18 reminded me that I didn’t have to run away just because I felt broken.

 

A hurting heart can send us running down paths we may regret, searching for something or someone to ease our pain. Jesus’ mission statement invites us to stop running and rest in Him, expectant that our true selves will emerge with His healing touch.

 

The truth of Luke 4:18 is ours today to hold close, for Jesus came to heal our hurting hearts.

 

Dear Jesus, for the longest time I’ve been concentrating on my efforts, but today I expectantly rest in You. Thank You that the power of the cross is not in what I do, but in what has already been done for me. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

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Suzie has been gracious enough to give away one of her books on the blog today!  Thank you, Suzie. To purchase a copy of Suzie’s book click here. And for a sneak peek at Chapter One, click here.

To enter to win, leave a comment today and share how God has met you in a broken place. Maybe through His Word…the prayer of a friend…a worship song…the whisper of His Holy Spirit. Or if you’re in a broken place, let us know how we can pray for you. Suzie will stop by throughout the day to celebrate with you and/or pray for you.

**The winners of Wednesdays giveaway of Living So That are…

Luanda who posted on 5/7 at 5:45 a.m.

Rebecca who posted on 5/7 at 1:26 p.m.

Congratulations! Please e-mail me at deuteronomysix@aol.com with your full name and mailing address so we can send you your book!