I married a missionary kid. Growing up, I knew a few PKs (preacher’s kids) who, by the time they got to high school, threw their upbringing to the wind and decided to see what they’d been missing. I’d seen some turn their back on God and those sacred traditions that strengthen and support our faith. But I never thought about how that might apply to an MK.
I want to believe my husband is a Christian. I want to believe that he loves Jesus deep down in his shrouded heart. I want to believe that the truth so consistently planted in his head has distilled and dripped quietly down into his soul. But I don’t know.
My husband doesn’t want to pray with me, or go to church with me, or talk deeply about God’s will for our lives. Whatever he believes, he holds close to the vest. When I probe him, he evades me, uncomfortable. “I believe,” is his standard answer.
Have you been there? Are you one of the other women in the pews each Sunday whose husband is not hostile to her faith? He doesn’t forbid you to go or mock you when you pray on your knees. Maybe he’ll even watch sermons online with you, but he won’t really let you or anyone else in. Does your heart whimper with the hurt of not knowing beyond a shadow of a doubt that your husband, the man you’ve sworn to grow old with, to share this life with, will share eternal life with you, too?
I spoke about this with my pastor recently. I didn’t intent to weep in his office, or even discuss my husband. But the fear and frustration lies so close to the surface, it bubbled out and over.
He leaned back in his overstuffed chair and asked me, “What do you pray for him?”
I spoke honestly, “I pray for him to know God’s love for him; I pray for evidence that he knows the Lord. I pray that his love for the Lord will deepen our intimacy. But really truthfully? I’ve grown tired. Often, my prayer becomes simply, ‘Lord, you know. I’m so tired of saying the same things.’”
My pastor looked at me with little sympathy. “Let God put the words in your mouth.” Then he picked up his Bible and spread salve on my wounds with God’s sweet Word:
And I will give you a new heart, and a new spirit I will put within you. And I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh. And I will put my Spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes and be careful to obey my rules. You shall dwell in the land that I gave to your fathers, and you shall be my people, and I will be your God.” —Ezekiel 36:26-28
Who knew Ezekiel held the words of promise, the fresh breath of life for my marriage?
Since that afternoon, I’ve had words. I’ve had all I need to continually approach my Father and say, “You said!”
Oh, but there’s more!
As I prayed for God to soften my husband’s heart, He brought me to another promise in Job 9:4.
He is wise in heart and mighty in strength—who has hardened himself against him, and succeeded?”
Oh my Lord, you have said that no one can harden himself against you. You are wise in heart and mighty in strength. Draw my husband irresistibly to yourself!
I continued searching the Scriptures for more to fill the gaping holes in my prayers. Psalm 25:11-13 fed me.
For your name’s sake, O LORD, pardon my guilt, for it is great. Who is the man who fears the LORD? Him will he instruct in the way that he should choose. His soul shall abide in well-being, and his offspring shall inherit the land.”
Without assuming that I’m guiltless, I paraphrased this passage for my husband:
Oh Lord, forgive my husband’s sin, the sin of ignoring you, or giving you anything except the highest priority in his life. Forgive him for being embarrassed of his faith in you. But Lord, create in his heart fear, awe and reverence of you. I want you to direct our whole life; you promised to instruct us as we fear you. Bind us together in our mutual love and respect and obedience to you. Lord, I pray for our posterity. Let those who come behind us find us faithful and enjoy your blessings.
Does your voice blend with mine? Do you wonder if God hears you, if you’re praying right or have you grown weary of pleading the same phrases for years? Have hope! God’s Word will not return void (Is. 55:11).
Cling with me to the truth of God’s Word and forsake the tremulous begging of your own requests. Let the very Breath that gave you life, exhale into your lungs fresh prayer and renewed hope.
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