Day 349: Weekly Prayer: Your Fears

November 29, 2012

In her chapter on fear, Omartian talked about some things that some women sometimes fear. (These fears aren’t unique to women, but men—or at least I—sometimes fear them too.) A woman might fear physical danger, lack of provision for herself and her family, or what people think of her. I would add to that, that people often fear death (but what is the fear of death? a fear that one will cease to exist or a fear of meeting the divine in judgment or a fear of the process of death or something else?)

I prayed, for my 349th act of love, that God would calm your fears. I prayed that the love of God would drive fear out of your life. At the same time, I prayed that you would fear God—the Creator and sustainer of the universe and your life and the one who will judge the living and the dead at the final resurrection.  Having said that, I’m not sure what an appropriate fear of God—a loving Father but omnipotent creator—looks like.

Anyway, I pray that God would cast out fear from your life. What reason do you have to fear? The God who loves you is also in charge of your safety, your provision, and your life. What he does with those things is for your good. And, what he, not your neighbor, thinks of you is what ultimately matters.


Day 341: Weekly Article: Driscoll on Leadership

November 9, 2012

For my 341st act of love, I read this article by Mark Driscoll on how men can better lead their families. Much of the advice he gave had to do with making sure men read the Bible on their own and with their families, and that they pray with and for their families. Through 365, I’ve definitely made great gains in these areas. Over time, I’m sure this will have a huge impact on the health of our family.

Another aspect of his advice had to do with physical touch. I’m glad to say that I hug and kiss each of our kids each day when I put them to bed and often hold them while sitting on the couch either reading to or talking with them. I’m also glad to say that you and I often snuggle together on the couch after the girls are in bed.

The other day, our pastor said that his wife is his best friend. He said that sometimes, they’ll sit at the dinner table and talk for a couple of hours after they’re done eating, not because they’ve scheduled that time, but because they can’t help but talk with and enjoy each other. I think that we lack in this area. Though I think we spend a lot of time together, we don’t often talk to each other just to talk or because we’re really enjoying each other. I don’t think we should be too hard on ourselves, though, since much of our energy is spent making sure our kids our happy and healthy. Still, I think we should make time for talking.


Day 326: Our Resolution

September 12, 2012

I’ve also been convicted, because of that men’s conference, that we don’t pray or read our Bibles together consistently. We do it individually, but still. So, for act 326, I committed to doing devotions with you every night. As an incentive, I promised to give you a back massage every time we did devotions for seven days in a row.

Guess what? We haven’t followed through. Too bad. We’ll do it tonight. I promise. I don’t know why it’s so hard to be consistent.


Day 325: Family Resolution

September 12, 2012

Lately, I’ve been convicted. Very convicted. I’m supposed to be taking the lead with our family by, for one thing, teaching our kids about God. But I haven’t been systematic about doing this. At best, I’ve taught them some stuff here or there during teachable moments and I’ve read them some stuff from their children’s Bible.

When I went to that men’s conference, I decided that I needed to make some changes in this area. For my 325th act of love, then, I committed to reading the Bible and praying with our family every day. To ensure that we would be consistent, I promised our kids that every time we had family devotions for seven days in a row, they would get a prize.

We’ve been consistent ever since I made my commitment. For our first prize, we got frozen yogurt at Pinkberry. The prizes won’t be that cool every time, but I wanted to kick things off right.


Day 321: Praying Together

September 5, 2012

On Tuesday, I set apart some time during our day so that we could pray together. We shared things we were concerned about and others we were grateful for, then we prayed. I wish we would do this every day. I take responsibility for the fact that we don’t.


Day 317: Weekly Prayer: Your Relationships

September 3, 2012

I read and prayed through the chapter on relationships in Omartian’s The Power of a Praying Husband. Mostly, she discussed how important it is for you to have good relationships.

She talked about how important it is to have friends who are mature and a good influence on you. You’re very blessed to have many good, godly women in your life, from your mom to our homegroup leader to your friends.

Omartian emphasized the importance of forgiving others, but I couldn’t think of a single relationship in your life in which it seems that one party is harboring unforgiveness. Still, I prayed that God would root out that unforgiveness if it’s there.

She emphasized the importance of having a good relationship with your family and mine. I praised God to think of how gracious and accepting and supportive of us both families have been. The only regret we have is that we don’t get to see either family enough.

Basically, you’ve been so blessed in this area. Keep fostering great relationships!


Day 312: Weekly Prayer: Submission

September 1, 2012

For my 312th act of love, I prayed through the chapter on submission in The Power of a Praying Husband.  According to the Scriptures, wives should submit to their husbands (whatever that means). Here’s the passage:

Wives, submit to your own husbands, as to the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife even as Christ is the head of the church, his body, and is himself its Savior. Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit in everything to their husbands.

Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her, that he might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, so that he might present the church to himself in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that she might be holy and without blemish. In the same way husbands should love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. For no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as Christ does the church, because we are members of his body. “Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.” This mystery is profound, and I am saying that it refers to Christ and the church. However, let each one of you love his wife as himself, and let the wife see that she respects her husband.

I’m going to be perfectly honest here: I’m uncomfortable with this biblical command. I’m just not sure what to think of it. I’ve read stuff defending the claim that a marriage works best when a husband loves his wife as Christ loved us and a wife submits to her husband. But this command still doesn’t sit well with me. Because of that, I’ve never really talked with you about submission. Perhaps that’s had a negative impact on our marriage. I don’t know.

I’ve given much, much thought to so many of the other claims of Christianity and have come to the conclusion that they’re true. It’s probably time that I put some thought into this claim, especially since it affects something so close to home as our marriage.

At any rate, two initial considerations soften the doctrine for me. One, in the verse preceding the above passage, Paul calls everyone in the Church to submit to everyone else in the Church (what does that look like in practice?). So, in the Church, it’s not just that wives need to submit to their husbands, but that everyone must submit to everyone.

Two, Paul calls husbands to love their wives as Christ loved the Church. Christ came into the world to serve, not to be served, and to give his life as a ransom for many. If I served you and gave myself up for you, would you have much trouble submitting to me? It seems you’d have less trouble than if I were authoritarian. In fact, the situation in which I serve you and you submit to me seems a bit like mutual submission and I’m very comfortable with that. Furthermore, I wanna say that husbands have the tougher calling. We aren’t called to submit to our wives, sure, but we are called to give up our very lives.

At any rate, I’d like to wrestle through this issue more, for the sake of our marriage if anything.

PS: I need to keep in mind that something doesn’t need to sit well with me for it to be true.


Day 308: Weekly Prayer: Marriage

August 24, 2012

Chapter 6 of The Power of a Praying Husband concerned praying for and fostering a good marriage. Omartian talked about the importance of love, fidelity, respect, quality time, and communication for a marriage. It was encouraging to read this chapter, because I’ve grown and placed more importance in each of these areas over the course of the last year. I prayed that God would continue to grow me in each of these areas and that he would help us build a great marriage.

Here’s something related. At the beginning of 365 Acts of Love, we had an informal counseling session with a couple in our church in order to talk through some issues in our marriage. During that session, I mentioned that our marriage was about average, thinking that the other couple would be okay with that. They weren’t. They encouraged me to strive for an excellent marriage, one that would serve as an example to many.

That really hit me. Why would I think that having an average marriage is acceptable? I think it’s because I knew that a great marriage takes work and I wanted to focus my energies on other things that I considered more gratifying, like work and exercise. Now that I’ve focused on building an excellent marriage, an excellent relationship with you, pleasing you brings me gratification (though I still really enjoy exercise and my job).


Day 298: Weekly Prayer

August 9, 2012

This time around, I couldn’t use The Power of a Praying Husband for my weekly prayer because I lost it. So, I “resorted” to using the Bible as my guide. I turned to Romans 12:9-21, which says that

Love must be sincere. Hate what is evil; cling to what is good. Be devoted to one another in love. Honor one another above yourselves. Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord. Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer. Share with the Lord’s people who are in need. Practice hospitality.

Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse. Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn. Live in harmony with one another. Do not be proud, but be willing to associate with people of low position. Do not be conceited.

Do not repay anyone evil for evil. Be careful to do what is right in the eyes of everyone. If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone. Do not take revenge, my dear friends, but leave room for God’s wrath, for it is written: “It is mine to avenge; I will repay,” says the Lord. On the contrary:

“If your enemy is hungry, feed him;
if he is thirsty, give him something to drink.
In doing this, you will heap burning coals on his head.”

Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.

What a wonderful but impossible standard for living! I prayed that your life would accord with this standard through the power of God’s Spirit.


Day 293: Weekly Prayer

August 3, 2012

For act 293, I prayed through the fourth chapter of The Power of a Praying Husband, which was about praying for one’s wife’s role as a mother.

This is a challenging stage in your life as a mother. I’m gone all day at least five days a week for work and we have three children under 6. That means you’re at home alone all day (nearly) every day with three very young children who (in spite of their virtues) are often whining, scratching, biting, screaming, fighting, running, and tripping. They’re frequently hurting themselves and others, needing food, drink, snuggles, sleep, comfort, and kisses. Basically, they’re dependent on you for almost everything.

Given this, nearly every day when I come home, you’re at your wit’s end and the children are going crazy. So, typically, I keep them company, usually by taking them outside and letting them get some energy out.

I prayed, for my 15 minutes, that you would have the strength and energy you need to care for our children, to meet their needs while I’m at work. I also prayed that God would give you patience and wisdom as you seek to raise them well.