article written for MTL More To Life magazine http://mtlmagazine.com
At the young age of 20, I married Brian, the love of my life, who happened to be a professional baseball player. That may sound much like a real life fairytale, but what many do not know is the road to the big leagues is nothing close to glamorous. The endless traveling and pressure to keep your job is hard to say the least, not to mention the small salary you earn during your minor league journey makes many have to walk away from their dream.
In the beginning, I thought I understood how my role of his wife should be. I assumed that I needed to work as much as I could to take every other pressure off of him so that all he had to do was focus on baseball. We operated that way for six years. And while our needs were being met, something was missing.
The desire to pursue his dream was fading. He couldn’t see why all the sacrifice was worth it anymore if we weren’t doing it together. I started to see that I was missing a big part of my role. He needed a cheerleader. Not just a financial backer, mother to his kids, chef, maid, etc. He needed me to trust and need him too. This is where I learned how to lay my independent ways at the feet of Jesus.
Struggling with fear of leaving a good job and a comfortable home, I learned to pray for my own heart, to trust the path the Lord had for my husband and our family. Seeing Brian through God’s eyes brought a love that could never come apart from Him. Once my heart was filled with Jesus, the expectations that I once threw on Brian were removed and we were free to embrace the journey together.
The more I prayed for my eyes to see, God continued to blow me away. My trust in Him and passion for prayer grew quickly. I had always heard the power of prayer changes everything, but I needed to experience it for myself to believe.
“Devote yourself in prayer, being watchful and thankful.” Colossians 4:2
I remember coming to this verse and thinking, “If I believe and have seen what prayer can do, am I willing to devote my life to praying for my husband and our family?” The definition of devote is “give all or a large part of one’s time to.” If our husbands can give a large part of their time to the calling on their life, can we devote ourselves to praying for them? I learned early on in our marriage that I rarely had the right words to say when my husband desperately needed encouragement, but through prayer, God way always faithful and led me to a Scripture or story in His Word that would help. The pressures of pursuing a calling can often shout out so many lies that only His Truth can drown out.
What I want for Brian will never be as amazing as what God has for him.
In the rush of life, it is often hard to remember that the greatest need for our family is the time we spend on our knees, speaking on behalf of them to our Heavenly Father. I understood this now and was on a mission to be intentional on how to apply a devoted prayer life into my daily routine. I really dislike learning new things, and don’t like being told what to do, so I need to note here that this was not an easy process for me! But I felt firsthand the peace and contentment that come from a heart cleansed of my own desires and replaced with His desires. I desperately wanted to learn how to create that time with Him and continue to walk in freedom.
I read books about prayer, and I prayed for the Spirit to teach me how to pray. With the help of practical tips from trusted bloggers and websites, I came up with a prayer binder that would help me to be organized and on purpose in my prayer time. My children helped me pick some family photos for the front of the binder and we added our family verse, Romans 12:2, at the top. The inside has five dividers with pockets. Behind each divider is blank notebook paper for me to journal my thoughts and prayer requests. I find that writing them out not only helps to keep me focused but also always me to see the answered prayer along the way.
A woman’s heart devoted to prayer is the most powerful way she can positively impact her husband’s future. This notebook was a tool that helped me to be more disciple, but that’s not the answer. Jesus is! My prayer and deepest desire for each of us is that we sit long enough with Him to experience a peace that is so irresistible it leaves us with no other option but pure devotion.
My Prayer Binder
The five subjects I chose for my bindr were taken from a sermon my pastor once gave.
- PRAISE. Praise is always first and where I believe He shifts my heart the most. In this section, I write everything I am thankful for. There have been days in the past where my heart felt very little gratitude because it was so filled with bitterness from our circumstances. Starting my time with Him in thanksgiving shifts my perspective and I can continue to pray with an open, obedient heart. That is where the second part to Colossians 4:2 comes in. Watching expectantly in thanksgiving comes through a devoted heart toward Him.
- HUSBAND. What I want for Brian will never be as amazing as what God has for him. Rather than spending hours writing out what I want for him, I continually pray Scriptures over his life. I came across an article years ago that shared 31 days of prayer for your husband. I have it in my binder and use it as a tool to lead me as I pray for him.
- CHILDREN. As a mom, I fail often. But this section gives me hope! I lay all my fears here and release them back to Him. I also have a list of 31 days of scripture for your children that I pray over them in this section as well.
- FAMILY/FRIENDS. Our prayer requests can feel overwhelming at times. How often do we use the phrase, “I will keep you in my prayerS” and not pray? This is the section I write those down to help remind me. This also helps as a reminder to pray for the lost ones in my life daily. I was once lost and have no doubt someone’s prayers saved me!
- CHURCH/COMMUNITY. Love your neighbor. Here is where I am reminded to pray for our pastor, his family, our church and our community. Our nation is hurt, and healing starts with our own hearts devoted to prayer for each other.