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The Pastor Who Taught the Married About Prayer

The Pastor Who Taught the Married About Prayer

The Pastor Who Taught the Married About Prayer

Joe and his wife don’t sit next to each other during Church services. Even when going to Church services, they go in different vehicles; and when they travel in the same car, it is usually a very quiet and uncomfortable ride.

Joe sat at his usual spot during the Church service; the fourth line on the far left row. His wife sat on the center row.

The Pastor took to the podium.

“Husbands, stop wasting your time praying” the Pastor began.

The congregants were alarmed. No one expects to hear a pastor saying prayer is a waste of time.

“I am not here to discourage you to pray. I am here to encourage you to pray right.” The Pastor countered. “Husbands, stop wasting your time praying if you are not treating your wife well. The Word says that when you treat your wife badly, it hinders your prayers.

“Men, you claim to be prayerful. You come to church driving your expensive cars, giving your offertory and tithes, active in Church, some of you are Church leaders; but how are you treating your wife?

“You may look good to us Church members, but it is your wife and children that know who you truly are.” the Pastor paused.

Joe turned to face his wife. She looked at him. Joe could see her eyes. Her left eye was swollen from the blow he gave her last week when she confronted him about his alcoholism, pornography use and mischievous behavior.

People couldn’t tell she had a black eye because of the makeup she had on, so well done.

The Pastor continued, “People have perfected the art of cover-up. Here in Church, so many are hurting but you wouldn’t know. People come here wearing their nice clothes, shiny smiles, they are active in ministry, but hurting a lot in their marriage.

“We have become numb and plastic, brushing things under the carpet. But today we shall heal; we shall address those wounds we hide.”

The Pastor cleared his throat and continued, “Many of those who are hurting their spouse are using the church to hide. They think that because they give offertory and tithe, because they make public prayers, because they stand in front to give testimonies or because they hold a Church leadership position that they are right with God. God is interested in what you do in your marriage and in your family.

“Your first ministry is your home. Stop trying to blackmail God with your service in Church, yet you are mean and hurtful towards your spouse.”

Many of the members of the congregation got restless and unsettled.

The Pastor continued, “Many of those who are being hurt by their spouse hide their pain and want to project an image that all is well to validate that they are blessed and in control. Some of you are active in Church to run away from the pain in your marriage.”

The congregation was silent. Some straightening their ties, others fidgeting with their Bibles, adjusting their sitting position. This pastor was preaching the truth and it was uncomfortable.

The Pastor continued, “The husbands are not the only ones guilty. Wives, don’t you know the Word says when your husband found you he found good and you bring favour? Then why are you the source of your husband’s headache and stress? Have you been so toxic that you have turned your prayerful husband into a prayerless one?

“Do you make him regret marrying you because you bring more complications to his life than he had before marrying you? How you treat your husband can be a stumbling block in his walk with God or an environment that encourages growth.

“Many of you married your husband primarily because of his relationship with God, why are you now destroying his relationship with God instead of celebrating and nurturing it? Why are you becoming a burden to your husband emotionally, spiritually, socially, sexually and financially instead of being one who brings favour?”

Joe’s wife looked at Joe. Joe looked at her, she looked away.

The Pastor paused to drink his glass of water.

The Pastor continued, “When I am thirsty, I drink a glass of water. When your spouse gets thirsty, will you allow God to use you to bless your spouse? You’ve been told many sermons that focus on you as an individual, that God will make you prosper as an individual.

“I am here to tell you your blessings are tied to people, you are blessed to be a blessing to others. Our God is not an individualistic God. Your blessing is tied to your marriage, your family. It’s not about you, you, you; it is about Jesus and Jesus is about love.

“What good is it to prosper and be successful when you have no love? It is all vanity. God cares about your family, how you treat your spouse and children.”

Silence.

“Yes, we pray. But what kind of prayers does your spouse pray because of you? When your spouse prays, is it largely to cry to God because of the hurt you bring? Is it to plead with God to change you from the monster you’ve become? Is it to plead for grace to deal with how difficult you are? Or is to give thanks for you?”

Silence.

“Are you really prayerful? Do you really value prayer? Then why is it that many of you find it easy to come to us priests for us to pray with you as an individual, you find it is easy to pray in public in a Church service or Bible study, but find it so hard to pray with your spouse?

Isn’t that telling of what is going on in your marriage? Don’t you know that the more you pray with your spouse the stronger your marriage will be? But how can you find it easy to pray with a spouse you hurt or who hurts you?”

The Pastor paused and looked at the congregation. Eyes staring at him.

“I challenge you. I challenge you to pray with your spouse and to treat your spouse well. Husbands, you are the head of the home. I challenge you to stand up and go to where your wife is and pray with her as a start of a more prayerful chapter in your marriage. Don’t do it because I asked you to but because you want to. Your choice.”

One by one, the husbands present stood up. Joe stood up too.

Joe walked to where his wife was. The face of Joe’s wife overwhelmed with love, she looked on as her husband walked to her. She almost stood up, but he gave hand gestures at her to stay seated.

Joe reached where she sat. Their eyes met. Joe knelt down. He stared at her then kissed her swollen left eye.

“I am sorry,” he said. “Can I pray with you?”

She got up from her seat and knelt down too. There, on the floor, as the Church service was still ongoing, husbands prayed with their wives.

Joe prayed kneeling with his wife. They prayed for forgiveness, for thanksgiving, for love, for renewal, for peace, for direction; for their marriage.

Marriages were healed at that service. If You have been blessed by this message, please share. You might just be saving a marriage.

– Author Unknown

Meditation: Husbands, likewise, dwell with them with understanding, giving honor to the wife, as to the weaker vessel, and as being heirs together of the grace of life, that your prayers may not be hindered… Wives, likewise, be submissive to your own husbands, that even if some do not obey the word, they, without a word, may be won by the conduct of their wives. – 1 Peter 3:7; 1 Peter 3:1

You will succeed in Jesus Name!

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A Surrendered Wife

A Surrendered Wife

A Surrendered Wife

Californian Kathy Murray says she saved her marriage by giving up trying to control her husband. Despite considering herself a feminist, she follows – and now teaches others – the approach of a controversial book called The Surrendered Wife, which tells women to stop nagging their partners and start treating them with more respect.

The first time I married I was divorced by 26. I married for the second time at 32 but soon found myself sleeping in the guest room. My husband and I fought all the time.

Much of our fighting stemmed from the fact I thought my husband was clueless when it came to raising the children (we had four children between us aged from four to nine years old). We also quarrelled about how to manage our finances, and how often we made love.

I was working full-time as chief finance officer for a private school and also volunteered at my kids’ school and in my community. My husband was a sales rep for a construction company but I was the breadwinner and acted like I was in charge.

I didn’t tell anyone I was in constant conflict with my husband. I was embarrassed, angry, and resentful.

The six principles of being a ‘Surrendered Wife’

Relinquishes inappropriate control of her husband. Respects her husband’s thinking. Receives his gifts graciously and expresses gratitude for him. Expresses what she wants without trying to control him. Relies on him to handle household finances. Focuses on her own self-care and fulfilment

My husband often resorted to watching TV and snuggling with our pets as I’d rage at him over ignoring my needs. I mean all men want sex right? Not my husband. He wanted nothing to do with me. It was awful.

The more I told my husband how he should be, the less he’d try. I couldn’t figure it out so I dragged him to marriage counselling. But that only made things worse, so we sent our children to counselling since they too bore the brunt of so much of our conflict. That didn’t work either.

So I went to counselling by myself and complained about my husband for more than a year. Spending thousands of dollars, only to find myself nearer divorce than when I started.

I’d cry, fight, yell and pout, thinking he would eventually come around, but he didn’t. I lost weight, went to the gym and started getting attention from men which was tempting to act on, but I knew I couldn’t do that, so I’d play the victim card and sulk. That didn’t work either

I was about to end my marriage when I picked up a book called The Surrendered Wife by Laura Doyle. I mean, they don’t teach us how to be successful in marriage in school and the women in my life didn’t share the secrets either.

It was incredibly humbling to recognise that I had something to do with why my marriage was failing and perhaps even why my first marriage failed. But it was also empowering.

I didn’t know I’d been disrespectful to my husband or even that I’d been controlling and critical.

I thought I was being helpful and logical. I just didn’t know that respect for men is like oxygen, so no wonder my husband was no longer interested in me sexually.

I’ll never forget the day I first apologised to my husband for being rude for correcting him in front of the children or the day I said “whatever you think” when I’d previously been extremely opinionated about what he should do.

I had trained my husband to ask my permission for everything. And then complained about it for a year in counselling that he couldn’t make simple decisions!

I relinquished control of my husband’s life, choices, and decisions, and instead, I focused on my own happiness. I was no longer acting like his mother and started acting like his lover.

We were fighting less and less and my husband started reaching out to hold my hand or pull me in for a kiss.

I had no idea that I was responsible for my own happiness. I thought my husband should make me happy.

I’ve now found subtle ways of getting my husband in the mood for sex, which is far more effective than the days of begging, crying or yelling about wanting it. Even if I’m not in the mood and he is, I often find myself getting in the mood just by being open to receiving pleasure.

My kids began to notice the change in our relationship too, and as a result, their behaviour improved and our home became peaceful and fun again.

Women often ask me if my approach is about dumbing myself down or becoming a submissive wife. I tell them I am a feminist. Surrendering is acknowledging you can’t change or control anyone but yourself. That’s empowering!

— Author Unknown

Meditation: Wives, likewise, be submissive to your own husbands, that even if some do not obey the word, they, without a word, may be won by the conduct of their wives, when they observe your chaste conduct accompanied by fear. – 1 Peter 3:1-2

You will succeed in Jesus Name!

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A Wedding Gift

A Wedding Gift

A Wedding Gift

At the end of the wedding party, a bride’s mother gave her a newly opened bank savings passbook, with $1000 deposited in it.

She told her, “My dear daughter, take this passbook. Keep it as a record of your married life. Whenever something happy and memorable happens in your new life, put some money in it and write what it is about next to the amount. The more memorable the event is, the more money you should put in. I’ve done the first one for you today. Do the others with your husband. When you look back after many years, you will know how much happiness you’ve both shared.”

The woman shared this with her husband after getting home. Both of them thought it was a great idea and couldn’t wait to make the next deposit. This is what the passbook looked like after a while:

7 Feb: $100, his first birthday celebration after marriage

1 Mar: $300, she gets a salary raise

20 Mar: $200, vacation

15 Apr: $2000, She’s pregnant!

1 Jun: $1000, He gets the big promotion

and so on…

However, as the years went by, they began fighting and arguing over trivial things. They didn’t communicate much with each other again. Each regretted that they had married the nastiest person in the world. There was no more love.

One day the woman opened up to her mother. “Mom, we can’t stand it anymore. We have decided to divorce. I can’t imagine how I decided to marry this guy!”

Her mother replied, “Sure, that’s no big deal. Do whatever you want, if you really can’t stand it. But before that, do one thing. Remember the savings passbook I gave you on your wedding day? Take out all the money there and spend it first. You shouldn’t keep any record of such a poor marriage.”

She agreed with her mother. So she went to the bank and was waiting in the queue to close the account. While she was waiting, she took a look at the passbook record. She looked, and looked and looked. Then the memory of all the previous joyful moments came back to her. Her eyes were filled with tears.

She left and went home. When she got home, she handed the passbook to her husband and asked him to spend the money before getting divorced.

So the next day, he went to the bank and was waiting in the queue to cancel the account. While he was waiting, he took a look at the passbook record. He also looked and looked and looked. The memory of all the previous joyful moments came back to him. His eyes were welled up with tears.

He left the bank and went home. He gave the passbook back to her. Lo, inside she found a new deposit of $5000 with a line: ‘This is the day I realized how much I’ve loved you throughout all these years. How much happiness you’ve brought me.’

They hugged each other and cried, putting the passbook back into the safe.

Marriage is not a game; it is not easy, but it is beautiful. You will fight and argue, this is normal, because both of you came from different backgrounds and were raised by different parents, perhaps on different beliefs and moral. Therefore, you cannot expect that everything you say will be accepted by your spouse without their opinion being tendered first. So before you give up, think back to the good times and to what brought you together in the first place.

— Author Unknown

Meditation: Yes, all of you be submissive to one another, and be clothed with humility, for “God resists the proud, But gives grace to the humble.” – 1 Peter 5:5

You will succeed because Jesus loves You!

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Thinking of Divorce? Think Again

Thinking of Divorce? Think Again

Thinking of divorce? This testimony is good for you. It will help you to think twice.

“I am 32 years old. Me and my ex-hubby dated for six years, I started dating him while I was in grade 12, I was 19 years old then. We were best of friends. I waited until he completed college and started work, my family, and his family then met, we got married and had a son. (7 years old now).

My husband was short-tempered at times, but our problems started when I wanted to make him feel like he couldn’t control me. Every time we argue, I would pack my bags, go to my family and explain. My sisters would phone my husband and shout at him. If he is controlling me I would always dare him that if he wished to divorce me, he should do so. I never wanted a divorce, I just had pride and I never wanted to look a loser in his eyes.

One day, I pushed him so hard that for the first time he beat me and locked me outside. I went to my family; my family took him to the police. This happened every time. I would pretend like I was being abused! But to be honest, I used to abuse my husband emotionally.

He was arrested and detained. I was asked by his family to withdraw the case. My husband was never a violent man; he did what he did because I pushed him to the wall. Of which he openly knelt down and apologized. I withdrew the charges, and we reconciled.

After three months, I packed my bags after a small issue, and he remained alone. After two days I received a call that he was in the hospital, my family told me that I shouldn’t go there because it would look like I was begging him, and my sisters believed he was faking the illness.

All this time, people felt sorry for me like I was the one being abused. He spent a week in the hospital, after he came out, I just received a divorce summons. I wanted to say no to divorce, but because I felt this pride, I wanted him to change his mind and beg me. I called him and said he will get the divorce because I had been living like I was in hell. This, of course, was not true.

When we went to court, I wanted to make him pay, so I told the court that I needed his properties to be shared. To my surprise he openly told the court that whatever he and I acquired together should be given to me, all he wanted was divorce.

We got divorced in July 2009. This Saturday, my ex-husband is getting married again, whilst I am here wasted! My family members are gossiping about me, and I depend on what my ex gives to my son for survival.

I know I wasted my marriage. I am here telling all wives to be careful how they get advice. Don’t be cheated. Even my young sisters are much more respected than me. Those who encouraged me to get a divorce are the ones always bad mouthing me now.

There is no benefit in pride! This is a perfect example and advice for those dancing in some overrated ego.

Credit: Relationship Matters Forum

Meditation: Pride goes before destruction, a haughty spirit before a fall. – Proverbs 16:18 (NIV)

You will succeed because Jesus loves You!!!

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The Sweetheart Chair

The Sweetheart Chair

The Sweetheart Chair

No matter where she moved or who she married that little chair had a place in her home. I had admired it for years and, although it was nothing special except that it belonged to her, I longed to have it. Bright pink corduroy, she called it a “Sweetheart Chair”. It was sort of heart-shaped on the back and I guess the color, pink, gave it its name.

Why I was so drawn to it, I can’t really say. I just was. Aunt Ann was like a second mother to me; full of advice, especially about men, relationships and marriage. Heaven knows she was fully schooled to give it having had four husbands of her own, two of which she just plain outlived.

She believed in marriage and it was quite obvious that when she was between husbands, she wasn’t happy. She loved taking care of her husband (and everyone else for that matter), waiting on them hand and foot, satisfying their every need.

God-fearing and a true servant to the Lord, she lived her life as an example of that and there wasn’t a day that went by that I didn’t draw from her unfaltering faith and her willingness to serve Him and others.

Pecan pies were her specialty and my Dad said she was as good a cook as my Grandmother (who, he would always add, was one of the best). If I needed a recipe for anything, it was her I called because she knew it by heart and even today I can fondly hear her say, “Well Honey, let me tell you what you need.”

Like my Grandmother, Aunt Ann never met a stranger and her home and her kitchen table were open to anyone and everyone. She made sure you never left without eating something, even at the very least, a piece of pie and coffee.

I guess that is why I wasn’t surprised by her answer when I mentioned the chair. “Aunt Ann,” I said while admiring it again, “if you ever decide to get rid of that chair, would you let me have first dibs?”

“Why sure, Honey”, she would say. Then, in a whisper, “You just come over sometime when Harry isn’t around, and I will just give it to you”.

I knew she feared Harry and what he would say or do if she gave something away, so I just accepted that. He was her fourth husband and at the time she met him she was well into her seventies and had all but given up on the idea of having a companion for the remainder of her life. Harry courted her with flowers and cards, gifts and affection and she was like a schoolgirl with her first crush. A retired fireman, he seemed perfect in every way and we were all thrilled when she announced their plans to marry.

But Harry was not the man she thought he was and the following nine years with him would prove to be a struggle and a challenge of faith, hope and love for even the most dedicated of Christians. In long conversations with her on the phone late at night, she would reveal to me the darkest and most troubling of stories about Harry and his bizarre behaviours. I knew she was afraid, afraid to stay and afraid to leave. We would talk for hours and I was always instructed by her, “Now Honey, don’t say anything to anyone, this is just between us, OK?”

As we grew closer, I learned to love and respect her more than I ever thought possible. She was so good to everyone, and no matter how much she was driven down by Harry, she would always rebound with a smile and a kind word. Although I feared for her safety and wellbeing, her dark secrets about Harry were mine and hers alone and out of love and faithfulness to her; I kept them to myself as she had asked.

October 12th of 1999 would prove to be one of the darkest days of my life when word came that she had died tragically and unexpectedly. My personal loss was unbearable. Gone was my mentor, my advisor, my counsellor and the one person who could light up my life with the sound of her voice. I was lost.

The months following her death would result in a total lack of communication and cooperation from Harry. He closed the doors and locked us out, denying us even the smallest of her possessions. Months later, after hopeless negotiations with Harry and as a last resort, her daughter Jan would hire an attorney to obtain a small list of personal items that belonged with our family and had been handed down through generations.

As my 50th birthday drew near and still grieving her loss, I dreaded it. Each special event in my life since her death just didn’t have the same enthusiasm and I knew not having her here to burst through the front door, carrying her pecan pies and calling out to me, “Honey, what can I do to help you?” would be yet another challenge to my faith in understanding why.

As I busied myself with preparations for the party my daughters were hosting for my 50th, the doorbell rang. Aunt Ann’s daughter, Jan and her husband Joe had dropped by to wish me a happy birthday and apologize for not being in town to attend the event the following day. We visited for several hours and caught up on family and friends, world events and local news. Joe excused himself and went unnoticed to his truck. A few moments later he returned carrying a rather large wrapped ‘gift’ that he carefully sat down at my feet. “What’s this?” I questioned. “It’s your birthday present. Open it up”, Jan coaxed.

Bewildered by the whole thing, I cautiously unwrapped the gift. I stood in total silence and amazement, my throat blocked by a huge emotional lump. There, at my feet, was that little pink Sweetheart Chair. I turned to my cousin, with tears in my eyes, unable to speak. As if she could read my mind she explained, “When I gave the lawyer my list of items I wanted from Mother’s house, I remembered the chair – the chair I knew Mother wanted you to have.” I had no idea she even knew of the discussions about the chair, much less that she would request it – for me! It was the perfect gift – and suddenly turning 50 never looked better to me.

To lighten the mood, Joe asked with enthusiasm, “Well, where do you want it?” I wiped my cheeks and instructed him, “Follow me, I have the perfect place for it”. He picked it up once again and followed me down the hallway to my room. As he sat it in the spot I selected, the wonderful memories I had of my conversations with Aunt Ann filled me with a warmth I had long forgotten since her death. Her very presence was there too. So there it sits, that little pink chair – the Sweetheart Chair, she called it – right there in my room and when I open my eyes in the morning, it is the first thing I look at and remember with great fondness my special Aunt Ann and I can almost hear her say, “Now Honey.”

By Linda Stallings

Meditation: The memory of the righteous is blessed, But the name of the wicked will rot. – Proverbs 10:7

You will succeed because Jesus loves You!

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Truth of Life

Truth of Life

Truth of Life

One day, during an evening class for adults, the psychology Teacher entered the class and told the students, “Let’s all play a game.”

The Teacher asked one of the students to volunteer. A lady, Aliza, came forward. The Teacher asked her to write 30 names of the most important people in her life on the board.

Aliza wrote the names of her family members, relatives, friends, colleagues and her neighbors.

The Teacher told her to erase three names that she considered most unimportant. Aliza erased the names of her colleagues.

The Teacher again told her to delete five more names. Aliza erased her neighbors’ names. This went on until there were just four names left on the board. These were the names of her mother, father, husband and only son. The entire class became silent, realizing that this wasn’t a game anymore for Aliza alone.

Now, the Teacher told her to delete two more names. It was a very difficult choice for Aliza as she unwillingly deleted her parents’ names.

“Please delete one more,” the Teacher said.

Aliza became very nervous and with trembling hands and tears in her eyes, she deleted her son’s name. Aliza cried painfully.

The Teacher told Aliza to take her seat. After a while, he asked, “Why your husband? The parents are the ones that nurtured you, and the son is the one you gave birth to. And you can always find another husband!”

There was total silence in the class. Everyone was curious to know her response.

Aliza calmly and slowly said, “One day my parents will pass away before me. My son may also leave me when he grows old, for his studies or business or whatever reason. The only one who will truly share his entire life with me is my husband.”

All the other students stood up and applauded her for sharing this truth of life.

This is true. God created marriage for all and it’s a relationship for life. Always value your life partner, it’s not only for husbands alone but wives as well. God has united these two souls as one and it’s on you to nurture your relationship above all other relationships you have with friends, loved ones and family.

Before marriage, God is first, your family second; but when you marry, God is first and your husband or wife second. So when you marry, Enjoy your marriage and make it healthy, peaceful and romantic.

Author Unknown

Meditation: But he who is married cares about the things of the world—how he may please his wife… she who is married cares about the things of the world—how she may please her husband.1 Corinthians 7:33-34

You will succeed because Jesus loves You!

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