We are really enjoying the class with you! Margie is back this Sunday so we are in for a treat… more conversation … deeper insight … and a whole lot of fun!
See ya this weekend!
Hixon and Margie
Over the years Margie and I have learned a lot about the X’s and O’s of marriage. Through Bible studies, seminars, retreats, books and sermons, we have learned how to “fight fair”(with respect), “communicate effectively” (I learned to talk like a girl), “speak truth in love”(its harder than you think), have “date nights”(they occasionally went well) and agree on how to raise three kids (its messy but we are doing it).
But by far the important part of growth as a couple has been the ability to see ourselves as key to a great marriage. Not in a selfish way, but in a “my job is to fix me and serve you” way. Yet marriages sometimes have this reversed. They want to fix their spouse and be served. If we can get to a point where we believe the key to a great marriage is … “ME”, then we can begin dealing with all of the stuff (good and bad) that we bring into our marriage.
The way we say it around our house is “YOU DO YOU BOO BOO”. In fact this banner hangs in our entry hall at our house…
The most effective way to “fix me” is to learn to tenaciously and consistently …..PRAY. Prayer is transformational. It changes us, develops us, deepens us. The value of prayer in the life of a Christian is priceless. Yet, the vast majority of people DO NOT PRAY. We may shoot up a prayer every now and then, maybe before a meal or maybe in a difficult spot…but really pray?… prioritize prayer? Pray like everything depends upon it? Not usually.
- Might be because we have seen 100’s of our prayers go unanswered…(by the way: sin, idolatry, focus is selfish, holding God “hostage”, unforgiveness, selfish motives, asking for things to feed our appetites, etc…greatly hinders our prayers)
- Might be because we live is such a way that makes it hard to “look God in the eyes”…
- Maybe because, if we pray God is gonna remind us of the sin He wants us to deal with first…
- Whatever the reason, if we are honest, if we are really honest….we don’t pray. Not for any extended period of time.
If we really want our marriages to flourish, if we want our lives to flourish, more than any other single discipline…we must pray. (Feel free to look up how often the Bible tells us: this is “how to pray”, “when you pray…”, “when you are praying”, “as you pray” etc…)
HERE IS A PRACTICAL APPROACH to changing your marriage, by changing yourself through prayer.
1. GET ALONE WITH YOUR BIBLE. Yep. even though it isn’t Sunday, grab that rascal and get away from distractions. For you young and/or single moms, it may be next to impossible to think of “exactly where” that place is, but do whatever you can to get alone with God and His Word. It may mean being the first one up or the last one to bed. (like you need sleep anyway :-))
Here is what we know…Hebrews 4:12 says: For the Word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart.
So what if we simply let it speak to us?
Not sure where to start? Try praying about what your read in the Psalms. You will see a lot, including:
Psalms 27 (God is our strength and shield)
Psalms 46:1 (He is a refuge in time of trouble)
Psalms 46:10 (We need to be still and know that “I am God”)
Psalms 34:1 (We can “taste and seen that He is good”)
Pray, thanking and believing God to be what the Bible declares Him to be. You will be encouraged and your prayer life will become essential to your daily routine as “the pray-er prays, the prayers change the pray-er, then the pray-er changes their prayers”!
2. KNEEL – We suggest this as a way of physically “humbling ourselves before God”. He knows if we are humble or not regardless of our posture. Kneeling is a way of getting our hearts in a humble posture.
Here is what we know: James 4:10 “Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will exalt you.”
Choose a posture that says to God “You are and I am not!”. Bad knees? Sit with your palms up and open. You may say that you are not a demonstrative person. Good thing no one is around to see you…except God.
After a while when kneeling becomes a habit, do something else to remind you to humble yourself. Bow, lay prostrate, sit palms up, raise your hands in air… the point is the attitude of the heart. Our physical position is only to drive us towards our proper place before God.
3. PRAY OUT LOUD – We have probably all been guilty of praying silently and having our mind wonder. Before we know it we are pondering the most random things, from the tragic to the innocuous. Praying out loud helps with concentration.
Here is what we know: Hebrews 5:7 “In the days of his flesh, Jesus offered up prayers and supplications, with loud cries and tears, to him who was able to save him from death, and he was heard because of his reverence.”
4. PRAY FERVENTLY/WITH PERSISTENCE
Sometimes praying looses heart. But remember….Widow and the judge.
Here is what we know: The Parable of the Persistent Widow
Luke 18:1-8 And he told them a parable to the effect that they ought always to pray and not lose heart. 2 He said, “In a certain city there was a judge who neither feared God nor respected man. 3 And there was a widow in that city who kept coming to him and saying, ‘Give me justice against my adversary.’ 4 For a while he refused, but afterward he said to himself, ‘Though I neither fear God nor respect man, 5 yet because this widow keeps bothering me, I will give her justice, so that she will not beat me down by her continual coming.’” 6 And the Lord said, “Hear what the unrighteous judge says. 7 And will not God give justice to his elect, who cry to him day and night? Will he delay long over them? 8 I tell you, he will give justice to them speedily. Nevertheless, when the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on earth?”
You may very well be just moments away from God moving in your circumstances…keep praying, keep seeking and keep trusting.
5. PRAY IN AGREEMENT WITH YOUR SPOUSE …
I believe that “the secret to prayer is prayer in secret” but there is something remarkably special about praying TOGETHER… It heals, it unifies, it melts cold hearts, it creates intimacy, and it is powerful.
Here is what we know: Matthew 18:18-19 “Truly I tell you, whatever you bind on earth will be[a] bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be[b] loosed in heaven. “Again, truly I tell you that if two of you on earth agree about anything they ask for, it will be done for them by my Father in heaven.
BONUS: Pray with A LIST – (raises the specificity) Did you ever notice that very few prayers in Scripture are generic “have a good day” prayers. Usually people prayed for specifics:
Here is what we know:
Elijah: fire to come down….also that it would not rain
Hannah: she would have a son
Rehab: not be killed
David: forgiveness and restoration
Centurion: Healing of his son
Jesus: Protect them (disciples) from the Evil one… unity…effectiveness in ministry…etc…
It’s fine to pray for a “good day” but how will you know when God answers that prayer? Try praying for something specific…something you can see…something you will recognize when it happens.
“Help me have a gracious attitude towards that co-worker…”
“Bring to mind ways I have sinned….so I can turn from it”
“Help me forgive my spouse for ____________”
“Bring my son or daughter to saving faith in you…”
“Restore to me the joy of my salvation….”
“Break the addiction of (name it) in my life…”
When we are specific and God moved mightily we are greatly motivated to pray more.
We fix our marriages by fixing ourselves.
“YOU DO YOU BOO-BOO”
1 Tim 2:2 – Pass this stuff along
Hope this helps,
Hixon and Margie