The Love Dare: Day 16
Beloved, I pray that in all respects you may prosper and be in good health, just as your soul prospers. – 3 John 2
You cannot change your spouse. As much as you may want to, you cannot play God and reach into their heart and mold them into what you want them to be. But that’s what most couples spend a large part of their time trying to do – change their spouse.
Insanity has been described as doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results. But isn’t that what happens when you try to change your mate? It’s frustration at the highest level. At some point you have to accept that it’s not something you can do. But here’s what you can do. You can become a “wise farmer.”
A farmer cannot make a seed grow into a fruitful crop. He cannot argue, manipulate, or demand it to bear fruit. But he can plant the seed into fertile soil, give it water and nutrients, protect it from weeds, and then turn it over to God. Millions of farmers have made a livelihood from this process over the centuries. They know that not every seed sprouts. But most will grow when planted in proper soil and given what they need.
There is no guarantee that anything in this book will change your spouse. But that’s not what this book is about. It’s about daring to love. If you take the Love Dare seriously, there is a high likelihood that you will be personally changed from the inside out.
And if you carry out each dare, your spouse will likely be affected and your marriage will begin to bloom in front of your eyes. It may take weeks. It may even take years. But regardless of the soil you’re working with, you are to plan for success. You are to get weeds out of your marriage. You are to nurture the soil of your mate’s heart and then depend on God for the results.
But you won’t be able to do this alone. You will need something that is more powerful than anything else you have. And that is effective prayer.
Prayer really does work. It’s a spiritual phenomenon created by an unlimited, powerful God. And it yields amazing results.
Do you feel like giving up on your marriage? Jesus said to pray instead of quitting (Luke 18:1). Are you stressed out and worried? Prayer can bring peace to your storms (Philippians 4:6-7) Do you need a major breakthrough? Prayer can make the difference (Acts 12:1-7).
God is sovereign. He does things His way. He’s not a genie in a lamp that submits to your every wish. But He does love you and desires an intimate relationship with you. This doesn’t happen apart from prayer.
There are some key elements that must be in place for prayer to be effective. But suffice to say that prayer works best when coming from a humble heart that is in a right relationship with God and others. The Bible says, “Confess sins to one another, and pray for one another … The effective prayer of righteous man can accomplish much” (James 5:16).
Have you ever wondered why God gives you overwhelming insight into your spouse’s hidden faults? Do you really think it’s for endless nagging? No, it is for effective kneeling. No one knows better how to pray for your mate than you.
Has your scolding or nagging been working? The answer is no, because that’s not what changes a heart. It is time to try talking to God in your prayer closet instead.
A husband will find that God can “fix” his wife a lot better than he can. Wife will accomplish more through strategic prayer than from all her persuasive efforts. It is also a much more pleasant way to live.
So turn your complaints into prayers and watch the Master work while you keep your hands clean. If your spouse doesn’t have any type of relationship with God, then it’s clear what you need to start praying for.
Beyond this, begin to pray for exactly what your mate needs. Pray for his heart. Pray for her attitude. Pray for your spouse’s responsibilities before God. Pray for truth to replace lies. Pray for forgiveness would replace bitterness. Pray for your heart’s desires – for love and honor to become the norm. Pray for romance and intimacy to go to a deeper level.
One of the most loving things you can ever do for your spouse is to pray for them. “Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to” (Matthew 7:7)
Begin Praying for your spouse’s heart. Pray for three specific areas where you desire for God to work in your spouse’s life and in your marriage.
If anyone is God-fearing and does His will, He listens to him (John 9:31)
Material taken from The Love Dare by Stephen and Alex Kendrick, copyright © 2009 by B&H Publishing Group. Used by permission. Unauthorized reproduction in any format is strictly prohibited by law.
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