Typically, when you get married, you have a dump truck full of gifts and cards to sort through after the big day. Not to mention the steady stream of engagement gifts beforehand. This was Ashley’s and I’s experience over five years ago. We still have most of the things given to us.
One type of gift that never seemed to be in short supply was the marriage book. Numerous titles about relationships, finance, newlyweds, family, etc. line our bookshelves.
Many of these titles were great and gave us some foundational truths and realities to help us start our new season together. But there was one title that I received and at first glance thought was quite “cheesemo.” It wasn’t the content, because I thought the concept was good, but for some reason, “The Power of a Praying Husband” didn’t resonate with me. I immediately thought of Ned Flanders from The Simpsons, Dana Carvey’s character on SNL, the Church Lady, ultra-conservative Sunday morning church service and various cliche Christian bumper stickers. “The Power of a Praying Husband” might be a really helpful book, but it didn’t jump to the top of my reading list.
Early into our marriage, interested in the content, I put Ned, the Church Lady and all my other Christian stereotypes aside and decided to read the book. Ashley read the “Power of a Praying Wife” at the same time. From what I remember, my book provided some good conversation and if nothing else, got me doing exactly what the title said – praying for my wife. That book would sit on my shelf for the next several years. And it came rushing back into memory this week.
With the arrival of our son Malachi and the advancement of the Burns Family Expansion Project, life has been full of adjustments. Figuring out the little guy is challenging. You rule out the obvious – dirty diaper, hungry, tired and then you’re left with playing 21 Questions with someone who doesn’t speak English.
Over several days, I was at a loss. Malachi’s daily routine and rhythm was absent of both routine and rhythm. Ashley was frustrated. I was powerless.
One morning, I got my butt outta bed earlier than usual and set out to specifically, intentionally do what I sometimes shamefully forget to do – pray for my wife. The adage that prayer should be our first response and not our last resort rings true. Eventually the morning at the Burns house was underway and with a quick shower I was out the door.
Two hours later I got a text message from Ashley with the words that left me dumbfounded, awestruck and smiling.
“Thanks for praying for me this morning :-)”
We never talked about praying for her! I didn’t tell her I had. It wasn’t a discussion the night before or in the morning as I headed out. But she was prompted to thank me for praying for her.
I texted back, “how did you know?” She simply replied, “I just felt it”.
There is significant power when a husband and wife pray for one another (Romans 8:26, Phillipians 4:6). Yet we often try to “fix” things ourselves and prayer becomes our last resort. Pray for your spouse today. As Christians there is untapped potential in the power of prayer, waiting for you every day.