Prayer: The Secret to Transforming Your Marriage, Part I
- 2008 15 Jan
I am always stunned when I hear someone say, “Well, I guess the only thing left to do is pray.” My goodness, I’ve even been shocked to hear the words come out of my own mouth. Prayer should never been seen as a last resort but as a first line of defense. No matter what condition your marriage is in today, prayer will make it better. God can make a bad marriage good and a good marriage great. God’s answers to prayer healed the sick, fed the hungry, stopped the rain, kept the earth from revolving on its axis for an hour, divided the Red Sea, poured forth water from a rock, opened wombs, confused enemies, opened jail doors, made leprous skin reform, caused the lame to dance, gave courage to the fearful, and raised the dead. Jesus said, if you have faith the size of a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain ‘Move from here to there’ and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you” (Matthew 17:20).
I know there are many of you who are reading these words with hurt in your hearts. You may be wondering, how did my marriage drift so far from where I hoped it would be? How did my marriage get to this state of desperation, mediocrity, frigidity, mutual tolerance, and co-existence? Is it too late for me? Is it too late for us?
Friend, the answer is no – it is not too late. I have good news for you. God’s specialty is resurrection. He excels at bringing life from death. Nothing is too hard for God, my friend. Absolutely nothing. He raised Lazarus, the widow from Nain’s son, and Jesus Christ from the dead. He even took a bunch of old dried up bones and brought them back to life and formed an army (Ezekiel 37:5, 6). He the dead womb of a 90 year old woman, Sarah, to conceive. “Is anything to hard for the LORD,” God asked (Genesis 18:14). Nothing, dear friend, absolutely nothing, is impossible for God.
Jesus said, “All things are possible to him (or her) who believes” (Mark 9:23). A baby is born to a dried up womb, fingers and toes materialize on numbs on a lepers hands and feet, sight is given to a man blind from birth, a son is raised right in the middle of his own funeral procession, the earth stops revolving on its axis for a few hours in battle, the Red Sea is parted and thousands walk across on dry land. Now, tell me, is there anything in your life too hard for a God like this?
I have so many stories of how prayer has changed men’s lives, but let me tell you about a man named Allan. Allan was raised by a single mother with five other siblings in eastern North Carolina. His own father died when he was five-years-old, and his country mother had the daunting task of raising her six children during the final years of the Great Depression.
As a young man, Allan worked at a small town lumber company driving a delivery truck. He graduated from High School at seventeen, became a soldier in the Korean War at eighteen, became a husband at nineteen, and became a father at twenty. Over the next thirty years, Allan moved from driving a delivery truck to managing a prosperous building supply company. He and his wife, Louise, had another child when he was twenty-five and then another when he was twenty-eight.
Financially, life was moving along quite well for Allan and Louise, however, there was a secret in their household that very few knew. Allan had a severe drinking problem. He didn’t drink everyday, but when he did, the alcohol consumed him and transformed him into a vicious man. Most of the time, his violent outbursts were aimed at his wife. Unfortunately, his children watched in terror as he broke furniture into pieces, hit their mother with his fist, and cut the family to pieces with harsh and cruel words.
Alcohol was not the only vice in Allan’s life. While it was never discussed in their home, his bouts with gambling, pornography, and other women, were the unspoken reality.
But something amazing happened as Allan approached forty. His fourteen-year-old daughter befriended a woman in her neighborhood who introduced her to Jesus Christ. His teenage daughter fell in love with Jesus. He wasn’t quite sure what to think about her new found faith. “Oh, it’s a phase,” he told her. “I’m sure it will pass. Just don’t go overboard.”
Through the years, Allan’s wife, Louise, had become a very bitter woman. As you can imagine, living with a man with such a reputation was enough to destroy any woman, but for some reason, she never left. Louise became intrigued with her daughter’s new found faith but had a difficult time trusting in a God who had allowed such heartache in her own life. Their daughter began to pray for both parents to come to know Christ as their Savior and after two years, it seemed her mom’s cold heart was beginning to melt.
God did answer the young girl’s prayer and her mom accepted Jesus as her personal Lord and Savior. This is where I want to bring you dear friends. Yes, God intervened in a young girl’s life. Yes, He saved her mother as well. But could God get a hold of Allan’s heart? A drinker, carouser, womanizer, gambler, just to name a few of his more colorful attributes? Could God do that?
Look for Part II of Allan's story next week in Crosswalk Marriage...
Sharon Jaynes is an international speaker and author of 10 books, including Becoming the Woman of His Dreams. She can be reached as www.sharonjaynes.com. Also, Sharon is the co-founder of Girlfriends in God. You can sign up for their daily devotions here.