7 Prayers for Your Home and Family

It’s usually when I watch my children sleep.

Or when my tired infant son finally relaxes his on-the-go muscles and snuggles into me as I sway next to his crib.prayershomeandfamily

That’s when I pray it.  Like a whispered prayer, one you can’t find all the words for, not when your heart is so full (or you are so sleep-deprived).  But it’s passionate and desperate:

Help me do this, Lord!  Help me be the wife and mom You want me to be and that they need me to be.

I need some ways to cover our home and family in prayer so that I can commit this all to Him and seek His help every day.

So, here they are:  Seven Prayers for Your Home and Family.  These are the verses I pray and the requests I make.  What about you?  Please comment with your own verses and prayers.

  • Salvation

    • Prayer:

      God, help us to keep this as our focus and never lose sight of the most important gift and responsibility you have given us—the salvation of our family.  It’s easy to get caught up in worldly standards of success and measures of our worth, especially as parents.  But honor rolls, scholarships, awards, and accolades don’t mean anything compared to salvation in Jesus Christ.  Our greatest joy would be to see our children ‘walking in the truth.’ We pray that every member of our family will choose a personal, real, abiding, and powerful relationship with our Savior and that we will ask Him to reign over our lives both as a family and as individuals.

    • Scripture verses:

 But if serving the Lord seems undesirable to you, then choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your ancestors served beyond the Euphrates, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you are living. But as for me and my household, we will serve the Lord (Joshua 24:15 NIV).

If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.  For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you profess your faith and are saved (Romans 10:9-10 NIV)

I have no greater joy than to hear that my children are walking in the truth (3 John 1:4)

  • Peace

    • Prayer:

      Lord, may our homes be havens of peace. The world around us can be stressful and high-pressured.  We may be surrounded by conflict, battles, and oppression outside this home, but we pray that inside these walls, You will bring peace.  Help us to rest in You.  Help us communicate with grace, offer love and support, and speak in love.  Even in the stressful rush of the mornings as we head out the door to school, work, church and other activities, may we breathe deeply and choose peace, gentleness, and kindness with one another.

    • Scripture Verses:

      Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid (John 14:27 NIV).

       “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33 NIV).

  • A Godly Legacy

    • Prayer:

      No matter what our faith background up to this point, we pray for a heritage of faith, godliness, righteousness, salvation, and a passion for Your Word and for the Gospel.  Help us to take the time to teach our children truth.  We don’t want to ever be so busy that we neglect to teach our children about You.  Give us the right words to say and guide our discussions with our children.  May our children choose to marry strong Christians and raise their own children in Your Word.  Where we have gone astray, we pray for grace and new opportunities.  For our adult children and our grandchildren, we ask that You will turn their hearts and minds to You even now.

    • Scripture Verses:

Train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old he will not depart from it  (Proverbs 22:6 ESV).

And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart.  You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise (Deuteronomy 6:6-7 ESV)

  • Unity and Love

    • Prayer:

      Father, help us to remember that we are not just individuals out to achieve our own agendas.  You have joined us together as a family; unite our hearts in love.  Remind us that we are stronger together.  Show us how to love each other sacrificially, graciously, and generously every day.  May we serve each other, performing even the smallest acts of kindness for one another without complaint or score-keeping.  We ask that our love for one another reflect Christ’s sacrificial and unconditional love so that others will look at our home and our family, and see You.  Let our love for one another draw others to know your love for them.

    • Scripture Verses

      Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God, and whoever loves has been born of God and knows God (1 John 4:7 ESV). By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another (John 13:35 ESV).

      Two are better than one,
          because they have a good return for their labor:
      10 If either of them falls down,
          one can help the other up.
      But pity anyone who falls
          and has no one to help them up.
      11 Also, if two lie down together, they will keep warm.
          But how can one keep warm alone?
      12 Though one may be overpowered,
          two can defend themselves.
      A cord of three strands is not quickly broken (Ecclesiastes 4:9-12 NIV).

  • Stewardship

    • Prayer:

      Father, You know our needs.  We lay them at Your feet and ask for Your provision.  We trust in You as our Provider.  Lord, we ask for blessing, not so that we can stash it away, or indulge our own material desires.  We don’t need the biggest house or the flashiest car or the most expensive clothes.  We ask for blessing so that we may bless others.  May we be good stewards of what You have given so that we can give it away to support missions and to care for others in need.  Please open our eyes to the needs of others around us and help us to give quickly and give generously.

    • Scripture Verses:

      And my God will supply every need of yours according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus (Philippians 4:19 ESV)

      The generous will themselves be blessed, for they share their food with the poor (Proverbs 22:9 NIV).

  • Purity

    • Prayer:

      God, it is so easy to fall into the pitfalls and traps of sin and temptation.  We are surrounded by what is wrong.  Help us choose what is right.  Give us strength to be vigilant about protecting the influences inside of our home, and when possible, outside of it, as well.  Holy Spirit, prompt our hearts when we need to walk away, when we need to stop listening, stop reading, stop watching…..and help us fill our minds and hearts only with what is good, true, righteous, and pure.  May we be set apart for You, living in this world, but not of it.

    • Scripture Verses:

“Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God” (Matthew 5:8 ESV).

Blessed is the man who walks not in the counsel of the wicked, nor stands in the way of sinners, nor sits in the seat of scoffers; but his delight is in the law of the Lord, and on his law he meditates day and night. He is like a tree planted by streams of water that yields its fruit in its season, and its leaf does not wither. In all that he does, he prospers (Psalm 1:1-6 ESV).

  • Laughter and Joy

    • Prayer:

      Lord, we know that there will be hard times, but we pray that You will continually stir our hearts to joy.  Let our home be a place of laughter.  Open our eyes to see reasons to rejoice, stories to share, jokes to tell, and smiles to give one another.  Make our home a place of rejoicing.

    • Scripture Verses:


      A joyful heart is good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones (Proverbs 17:22 ESV)

      Then our mouth was filled with laughter, and our tongue with shouts of joy; then they said among the nations, “The Lord has done great things for them” (Psalm 125:2 ESV).

      Be glad in the Lord, and rejoice, O righteous, and shout for joy, all you upright in heart! (Psalm 32:11 ESV)

       

      If you would like a printout of these prayers to place in Your Bible or journal or maybe on your fridge or bathroom mirror, you can click here for the free printable!

      You can also check out 12 Verses to Pray for Your Husband and 14 Days of Prayer for Your Marriage With 1 Corinthians 13 for other ways to be in prayer for your family.

       

       

Heather King is a wife, mom, Bible Study teacher, writer and worship leader.  Most importantly, she is a Christ follower with a desire to help others apply the Bible to everyday life with all its mess, noise, and busyness.  Her book, Ask Me Anything, Lord: Opening Our Hearts to God’s Questions, is available now!  To read more devotionals by Heather King, click here.

Copyright © 2014 Heather King

 

14 Days of Prayer for Your Marriage with 1 Corinthians 13 (plus a Free Printable!)

When I was a girl earning my badges in the kids’ program in my home church, I had to memorize the whole chapter of 1 Corinthians 13 in the King James Version.

It’s stuck.  I can still rattle off bunches of it.marriageprayer

But I hope it really stuck…you know?  Not the rote memorization, but the revelation of what love is.  God loves us this way.  And He says even if we’re performing the most outrageous acts of self-sacrifice and service and we’re not doing it out of love, then it’s just meaningless drivel.

So, I’m praying for the next two weeks through this “Love Chapter” for my marriage because I want it to be meaning-full and I want it to reflect God’s love to the world around us.  Perhaps you will be praying for your own marriage, too?

Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails. (1 Cor. 13:4-8 NIV).

Day One, Love is Patient: 

Lord, today let us respond with patience and show each other grace.  We know that no one changes over night and none of us is perfect.  We make mistakes.  We forget, we grow careless, and we become distracted by life and stress.  Please let us be patient with each other, with our marriage, with our circumstances, just as you are so patient with us.  Help us not to push, nudge, or give up on each other, but instead may we give each other room and grace to grow more like You.  

Day Two, Love is Kind:

God, it’s too easy to forget the simple beauty of kindness.  We can neglect courtesy and consideration.  Help us to be thoughtful and kind to one another, showing each other respect and attention in our words and deeds.   Stir our hearts to remember the small things like holding doors, making phone calls, performing acts of service, putting the other’s needs above our own.  As it says in Ephesians 4:32, may we “be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave You.”

Day Three, Love Does Not Envy:

Lord, As it says in The Message, “Love doesn’t want what it doesn’t have.”  Let this be true of us.  Help us appreciate the gift you’ve given us in this marriage and in each other and cultivate contentment and gratitude in our hearts. We don’t need to compare our spouse or our marriage to anyone else’s.  Instead, thank You for the marriage You’ve given us.  Please remind us throughout the day of all the reasons we fell in love in the first place.

Day Four, It does not Boast, it is not Proud:

Jesus, at that Last Supper with Your disciples, You bent so low and You poured that water over their grimy feet.  You, Our Savior, came “not to be served, but to serve” (Matthew 20:28).  May we never be too proud to serve one another in the humblest of ways.  We might think, “That’s his responsibility; that’s her job.”  In our selfishness, we might feel like we’ve given so much already and how could we give any more?  But we bend low today.  We lay down our rights and our pride and choose to serve our spouse just as You served us.

Day Five, It does not dishonor others:

God, may we show each other honor in all we do and say.  Guard our mouths.  May our words be used to encourage, praise, and build one another up, not tear each other down, find fault, or trample all over each other’s feelings.  When we’re with others, don’t let us fall into those traps of complaining about marriage or our spouses, but instead let the way we talk about one another help others to know the beauty of marriage the way You designed it.

Day Six,  It is Not Self-Seeking:

Father, we live in a “me first” world.  We’re told to “look out for number one” and to take care of ourselves above all.  But that is not Your way.  Jesus “made himself nothing” and humbled himself, choosing “even death on a cross” for us—for me (Philippians 2:6-8).  Today, let us choose Your way over the world’s way:  “Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others” (Philippians 2:3-4).

Day Seven, It is Not Easily Angered:

God, forgive me for the times I’ve reacted in anger instead of responding with grace.  And so often, too often really, we can make the smallest issues into the biggest deals.  Help me not to be easily angered.  Today, may we overlook petty offenses and minor bothers.  Redirect our vision to focus on what is good rather than what we think is wrong.  Remind us of what is important and learn to let the inessentials pass by unnoticed.

Day Eight, It Keeps No Record of Wrongs:

Lord, if You kept a record of all my sins, I couldn’t stand up under the weight of them all.  I’d be buried in accusations and proof of my failures.  But You show grace.   May we likewise extend grace to each other, as it says in 1 Peter: “Above all, keep loving one another earnestly, since love coves a multitude of sins” (1 Peter 4:8).  If we excel at anything in this marriage, may it be at forgiveness.  When Satan tries to drag all that trash up from the past, we ask that You help us choose forgiveness instead, choose to let it go, choose to move toward one another instead of apart, choose to rebuild trust, choose moving on.

Day Nine, Love Does Not Delight In Evil, but Rejoices With the Truth:

God, help us rejoice with our spouse when they rejoice and mourn when they mourn.  Let us be a place of refuge and safety for them when they share their struggles, fears, emotions, hopes and dreams.  Help us to “have each other’s back” all the time and to be such a team that we delight and take pleasure in what is good and true and battle together against what is evil and wrong.

Day Ten, Love Bears All Things (ESV, NKJV):

Lord, we are so thankful that when there are burdens to bear, You’ve called us to bear them together.  As it says in Your Word,  “Share each other’s burdens, and in this way obey the law of Christ” (Galatians 6:2 NLT).  May we bear all things together.  May we carry each other to the cross and help each other each day.  If one of us is weak, may the other be strong in You.

Day Eleven, Always trusts:

God, build trust in our marriage.  Create that environment of honesty and truth.  But more than that, may we always trust You to care for us and to guide us.  We know that start to finish, this marriage, our lives, our family is in Your hands.  We know You are trustworthy, so faithful and full of merciful, loyal love for us.  We pray that our home and our marriage reflect that to those around us.

Day Twelve, Always hopes:

Lord, we don’t want to ever lose hope.  We know that You have a plan and a future for us as individuals and as a couple, and we thank You for that.  Thank You that You never give up on us and we pray that we never give up on each other.  Each morning, let us wake with hope for a new day, for fresh starts, and for the work that You want to do in us.

Day Thirteen, Always Perseveres 

God, remind us during the hard days, when we’re hurt or angry, tired, frustrated, or broken, that You are with us.  Help us to persevere through every season of difficulty.  Draw us together during those times instead of letting circumstances drive us apart.  Where there is distance, bring intimacy.  Where there is bitterness, bring reconciliation.  Where there is coldness, bring passion.  Where there is pain, bring healing.

Day Fourteen, Love Never Fails

Father, Your love for us doesn’t fail.  You just never give up on us.  Thank You for that unfathomable and astonishing love when we are so unworthy.  We pray that our marriage will grow ever more beautiful each day, not fading, not failing.  In every single season, we pray that You will help our relationship thrive.  Teach us how to avoid the pitfalls in communication, in intimacy, in finances, in conflict, in friendship, in parenting and in every way so that we will always be putting on love, which binds every other virtue together in perfect unity (Colossians 3:14). 

In Jesus’ name we pray, Amen.Photo by Cora Miller

Will you join me in praying for your marriage for 14 days?  If you would like a printout of these prayers to place in Your Bible or journal or maybe on your fridge or bathroom mirror, you can click here for the free printable!

If you’d like to see the 12 Verses I pray for my husband, you can click here!

Heather King is a wife, mom, Bible Study teacher, writer and worship leader.  Most importantly, she is a Christ follower with a desire to help others apply the Bible to everyday life with all its mess, noise, and busyness.  Her book, Ask Me Anything, Lord: Opening Our Hearts to God’s Questions, is available now!  To read more devotionals by Heather King, click here.

Copyright © 2014 Heather King

Dear Daughter, Remember that Nightmare About Divorce?

Dear daughter,

Remember that morning when I found you slipping quietly out of the bathroom into a corner of the house all alone?

I stopped that mad rush of cereal pouring, hair brushing, and shoe finding to smooth down your wild morning hair and ask if you were okay.marriage

Those tears, the loud kind that burst uncontrollably out of your soul, they shook your whole body and I couldn’t understand what you were saying because those words stuck right in your throat.

A nightmare.

I rocked you just as if you were still my baby girl (even if your head touches my shoulders now).

What was it about? 

I expect monsters, fire, death or even a bad grade on a test.

But you tell me one….slow….word….at a time: I dreamed you…..and……dad……got……divorced.

You stun me.  We hadn’t fought.  There was no tension in the home.  No need to fear.

Hadn’t you watched us hug and kiss goodbye every morning?  Hadn’t you seen me stop cooking that dinner and setting that table every evening to hug your dad and welcome him home for the night?

Why are you afraid?

But it wasn’t really about us at all.  It’s about a scary world where marriages don’t often last and your friends split their time between dad’s house and mom’s house.  It’s about a friend telling you, “My dad doesn’t love my mom anymore.  He doesn’t love any of us.”

And even the safe place seems like shaky ground.

I tell you the truth.romans5

How we are happily married and being together even now is joy.

I tell you how seriously we take that vow we made when we said, “I will love you forever” and slipped those rings onto our fingers.

Sure, we meant romance love and feeling love, but we also meant committed love, covenant love, I-will-make-our-marriage-a-priority love.

Divorce smashes the lives of good people, Christian people, godly women and honorable men.  It’s real and ugly and I don’t want to sugarcoat the danger.

Sometimes even the best wife who has done everything right walks that hard road of aloneness and betrayal.

But I want you to know this, too.  There were decisions I made as a teenage girl, as a single young woman, that made this marriage I have beautiful–not perfect perhaps, but lovely—from the start.

I want you to hear this wisdom: sometimes a good marriage starts when you’re 13 and that first boy asks you to the school dance.   Remember this:

1. Do what God has called you to do—Don’t worry about boys, love, dating, or marriage.  Focus on Jesus.  Grow beautiful and strong in Him.  Go to the college that’s right for you, not the one a boyfriend attends.  Fulfill your calling and your potential.  Don’t look for love; let God bring it to you.

2. Wait for God’s best—That first boy who asks you out isn’t necessarily “the one.”  You are beautiful, smart, funny, strong, kind….Boys might swarm around you; don’t be swayed.  I saved myself body, soul, and mind for the one man who was God’s best for me and your dad is totally worth it.

3. Make sure He’s in love with Jesus—Attending church twice a year, saying you love God but couldn’t be bothered with discipleship or Bible-reading or Christian service?  That’s not loving Jesus.  That’s calling yourself a Christian without the fruit.  If you want to respect your husband as a spiritual leader, he needs to show that leadership before the wedding day.

4. Fall in love with your eyes wide open—You won’t find a perfect man.  No person is perfect and no marriage is perfect either.  Know what his flaws are in advance and be committed with a plan to love him, not change him.romans12

5. Ask hard questions–Some couples marry without talking about kids, career plans, church, or money. Ask the hard questions before marriage.  Don’t just shrug your shoulders and figure love will carry all.  Love dies on battlefields like those all the time.

6. Give and Receive Respect–If he annoys you with stupid jokes, doesn’t understand or care about what you have to say, can’t hold a job, loses his temper easily, or embarrasses you in public now, he sure will later.  Marry someone it’s easy to respect and be proud of.  And, make sure he treats you as the precious gift from God that you are, valuing your opinion, not dominating you or devaluing you.  Paul wrote to “Outdo one another in showing honor” (Romans 12:10 ESV).  Make that your goal because kindness always matters. It matters when you’re dating, when you’re first married, and when you’ve been married 20 years.  Give respect and kindness; expect respect and kindness

7.  Build the friendship–That friendship you develop before marriage is what you should cultivate every year after “I do.”  So when the kids are grown and gone, the freshness of young love fades, and your body ages and changes, you’ll still be best friends.

Marriage can be beautiful and holy, a sacred place where God transforms us to be more like Christ, where joy grows, selfless and sacrificial love blooms, and you help each other produce fruit as individuals and as one together.

This was my prayer for my own marriage on my wedding day.  This is what I pray for you and I’m starting now:

 For because of our faith, he has brought us into this place of highest privilege where we now stand, and we confidently and joyfully look forward to actually becoming all that God has had in mind for us to be (Romans 5:2 The Living Bible).

Love,
Mom.

Heather King is a wife, mom, Bible Study teacher, writer and worship leader.  Most importantly, she is a Christ follower with a desire to help others apply the Bible to everyday life with all its mess, noise, and busyness.  Her book, Ask Me Anything, Lord: Opening Our Hearts to God’s Questions, is available now!  To read more devotionals by Heather King, click here.

Copyright © 2014 Heather King

Will you still love me after four kids, a minivan, and a mortgage?

I made the list when I was, oh, 14-years-old or so.

With cramped cursive letters, I wrote in my journal:

Things I Want My Husband to Be Like

Then I divided the list into “Non-negotiables” and “Negotiables.”  Or”Requirements” versus “Desires.”  Or some other dual-heading system like that.1cor13

Because even then I was neurotic about list-making.

I was spiritual about it, of course.  I prayed before making the list and then again afterward.

Even though I can’t find the list anymore in my pile of teenage journals, I still remember most of the items on there.

Non-negotiables:

  1. Not just a nominal Christian, but someone who is passionate about God and His Word and is actively using his spiritual gifts to praise God and minister to others.
  2. Someone I can respect intellectually.
  3. No substance abuse issues.
  4. Faithful.
  5. Hard working.
  6. Unselfish.
  7. Calm without problems controlling his anger.

Negotiables:

  1. Please, God, can he play the guitar since I play the piano?
  2. I kind of like blue eyes.

Amen.

Fourteen years ago, I married this blue-eyed, guitar-playing man who was everything on my list and so much more.

He’s the only guy I ever dated.  The only man I’ve ever kissed or held hands with or told, “I love you.”  After all, not many men would live up to “The List.”

And I’ll confess it.

I still get all weepy every….single….time he weaves his fingers through mine and prays with me.

I’m still his biggest fan whether he’s on the stage acting in a play or grabbing his guitar and stepping up to the mic to lead worship at our church.

And when he reaches out and places his hand on mine when we’re driving around town in our minivan with four kids (possibly screaming, singing, fighting, or laughing) in the back seats, my heart totally stops for a second or two.

I pretty much still have a teenage crush on this guy.

Back when I was making my ‘husband list,’ I was thinking things like:

What kind of guy would I want to spend the rest of my life with?

Who do I want to date forever?

Whose eyes do I want to gaze into when sitting at a candlelit table?

But I wasn’t thinking this.

Who will give me grace when I’m grumpy?

Who will see the ugliest parts of my heart and dare to love me anyway?

Who will watch me push a baby out of my body or see the surgical scar from a C-section…or see me on days when I’m covered in baby spit-up, child-vomit, or other bodily fluids from my kids and still make me feel beautiful?

Who will crawl under our house multiple times in January during a massive plumbing failure to make sure our pipes aren’t clogged and then call the septic guys and take off a day of work so he can be there to talk to them as they drain out our clogged and filled septic tank? (True story).

One day you just wake up and you’re the one with the minivan, the mortgage, a few extra pounds, gray hair, and four kids.

So, I’m so thankful I didn’t marry someone I could only do romance with, but someone I could do life with, as well.

After all, you can do beautiful with most anybody; it takes someone special to plow through the sludge with you.

In his book, Sacred Marriage, Gary Thomas writes:

Marriage can be that holy place, the site of a relationship that proclaims God’s love to the world.

Paul said it this way:

Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her to make her holy, cleansing her by the washing with water through the word, and to present her to himself as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless (Ephesians 5:25-27 NIV).

So, maybe this is what should have been on my list all along: At the end of the day, people should see my marriage and say, “Wow, look at the faithful, unselfish, sacrificial, gracious way that God loves the church!”

And here on my 14th wedding anniversary I’m remembering this: marriage isn’t just a secondary something I do while I minister to God elsewhere.  Marriage is my ministry, my sacred calling, the workshop God uses to make me more like Christ, and the way He can use me to show God’s love to my husband, my children, and to the world.

If you knew a young woman who was making “a list” of qualities to look for in a husband, what would you suggest she put on that list?

Heather King is a wife, mom, Bible Study teacher, writer and worship leader.  Most importantly, she is a Christ follower with a desire to help others apply the Bible to everyday life with all its mess, noise, and busyness.  Her book, Ask Me Anything, Lord: Opening Our Hearts to God’s Questions, is available now!
To read more devotionals by Heather King, click here.

Copyright © 2014 Heather King

Accepting this Gift

“Is there anything I can do for you?”

That’s what I ask, but there isn’t anything right now….and that’s hard.

It’s hard to be one so used to serving, doing, and giving now mostly watching as another serves me.9550030_s

This, after all, is a love note I write to my family: one husband, three daughters, now one tiny son.  In lunches packed, laundry washed, games played, songs sung, books read, homework helped, appointments made, chauffeuring done, I say, “I love you.”

But this is his message now to me in these first two weeks of life with a newborn, and it’s beautiful and yet all so overwhelming because part of me rebels and revolts, thinking, “I should be doing this.”

Yet, it’s my husband clearing up the dinner table, washing each dish, and there he is driving three far-too-busy daughters to dance classes three times a week and shuttling children back and forth to school and then from school day after day.

He pushes the cart in the grocery store and carries the baby carrier into the church.  He serves the cereal in the morning and then bounces a restless newborn while I fix ponytails and bows into long blonde hair.

He forgoes sleep so I can sleep.

He’s been serving me all along, all these years of working hard and caring for me in many ways.  But now it’s all-the-time service; it’s middle-of-the-night and throughout the day every day and it’s taking over my jobs and chores in addition to his own normal tasks.

I find it so hard to rest and accept the gift of love…to allow someone else the chance to say:

“I love you” as I wash this dish.

“I love you” as I care for these children.

“I love you” as I sacrifice and as I serve.

It still feels like it should be me giving, not receiving…doing, not resting….loving, not being loved.

Yet, I sit for so much of every day and every night now, cradling a newborn, feeding him, changing him, cooing over him, praying for him, running my hands over his soft skin and kissing his totally kissable cheeks.

And I think….

What if this helpless babe refused my help?

What if, in his need, he declined my acts of love?

He’d be utterly desperate, hungry, filthy.  He’d be completely incapable of thriving.  He could try as he might to function with determined independence, but he’d fail and he’d suffer.

He needs me to love him.

And I need to let others and let Christ love me with this unmerited, unselfish, undemanding grace, as well.

Paul wrote:

“I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me.  And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.  I do not nullify the grace of God” Galatians 2:20-21.

Nullifying grace. How could we do this?

How could we take the amazing grace of God as it pours down all over us and soaks us right through and reject it, make it thoroughly null and void and ineffective in our lives?

Surely it’s by trampling all over this sacrificial gift of God of blessing and forgiveness, salvation and daily mercy, with declarations of our own independence.

It’s refusing the gift and trying instead to earn it.  It’s refusing to receive and demanding instead to be the one doing, serving and giving always.

It’s shaming myself for imperfections and living trapped in self-condemnation instead of accepting the freedom Christ offers.

And really, deep down is the ugly truth, it’s making faith all about me and my performance, and not at all about Him and His sacrifice.

Like Peter, I’m tempted at times to refuse the humility of Christ as He bends low to wash my feet.  How shocking to see the Messiah on His knees.

Foolish Peter—he didn’t know how much He needed a Savior who served, so he told Jesus at the Last Supper, “No…you shall never wash my feet” (John 13:8 NIV).  Jesus answered, “Unless I wash you, you have no part with me.”

Foolish me, how I forget that I need:

Grace

Mercy

Sacrifice

Service

Forgiveness

Without them, I have no part in Christ.

Peter submitted.  He stopped protesting and willingly accepted the gift:  “Then, Lord,” Simon Peter replied, “not just my feet but my hands and my head as well!” (John 13:9).

This is what I need to learn…the submitting.

Sometimes, I need to let others give to me when I am needy and when I am weak.

And grace from Christ….that’s not something I need “sometimes.”  It’s grace I need moment by moment, day by day, new every morning.

Heather King is a wife, mom, Bible Study teacher, writer and worship leader.  Most importantly, she is a Christ follower with a desire to help others apply the Bible to everyday life with all its mess, noise, and busyness.  Her upcoming book, Ask Me Anything, Lord: Opening Our Hearts to God’s Questions, will be released in the Fall of 2013!  To read more devotionals by Heather King, click here.

Copyright © 2012 Heather King

When I Fell in Love….

I can’t say exactly when I fell in love with this man.

He was on stage the first time I saw him, portraying Mr. Elton in a production of Jane Austen’s Emma (my favorite), and I was an audience member.   I laughed loud and long when he delivered the first line of the play while pretending to read from a book:

“It is a truth universally acknowledged that a single man in possession of a good fortune must be in want of a wife.

I heard my laugh hit the silence of the auditorium.  Apparently, I was the only one who got the joke (as a character from Emma read the first line from Pride and Prejudice).  And so I slumped into my chair wishing someone—anyone—shared my sense of humor.

I actually met him a week later after a college worship service.  Someone in the crowd pointed to the guy up front strumming the guitar.  “See that guy,” he said, “You just saw him on stage last week.”

Unbeknownst to me, this young guy who led worship and the drama ministry and acted in productions based on my favorite literature had just prayed a daring prayer two weeks before.

He told God he wasn’t looking for a relationship any more.  He was content to be single until God hit him over the head with a 2 x 4 and told him “Thou shalt marry this girl.”

I met him two weeks later.

And a week after that, I was the new pianist on his praise team (and he’s still my worship leader even now).

I fell in love with the way he used his gifts and talents for God’s glory.

There was his calmness, too.  I loved my dad, but life with him wasn’t calm; it was loud much of the time and sometimes downright volatile.  This man, though, measured his words with wisdom and careful thoughtfulness.

And the first time he dropped the word “obsequious” into a sentence effortlessly, I think I experienced whiplash. (I’m a sucker for SAT words).

Add to that his quick and witty humor that kept me giggling endlessly in the corner of the praise team section, and I realized that he was smarter than me and that was okay.

We’ve never been an opposites-attract kind of couple.  We’re probably two of the most alike people who God matched together.

Except for the fact that he only cares about doing what’s right and not whether it pleases anyone else while I’m a people-pleaser.

And the fact that he can rest and take time (perhaps . . . dare I say it . . .procrastinate) and I’m neurotically pushed to do and do and do relentlessly, first, fastest, and rest when you die.

I can’t say when it happened, but at some point I fell in love.112339-20130114

I can’t speak for him and say exactly why he fell in love with me.

Nor can I say exactly why God loves any of us either, surely not my awkward, nervous, uptight, worrying self.

Amazingly, though, this isn’t a “fall in love” kind of love at all.  God doesn’t grow to love any of us over time or awaken one morning and realize how much He cares.

He loves us.

It really is the beginning and the end of our story.

Like the first time I saw my daughters, I loved them in an instant.  I didn’t slowly grow to appreciate their character or develop feelings for them over time.

In Jeremiah, God declares:

“before I formed you in the womb I knew you”  and David similarly prayed, “you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb” (Jeremiah 1:5, Psalm 139:13).

God loved you before you squinted your eyes at the first burst of light, screamed out and got cleaned off, bundled up and handed to your mom.

He loves you when you feel loved and when you feel overlooked, when you received a blessing and when you endured a trial.  This love of his doesn’t wax or wane, change or alter or depend on us and what we do or say or feel or think.

We’ve never been good enough, pure enough, beautiful enough, or wise enough to earn it.

But even though we’re unworthy, even when we’ve strayed, even when we’ve felt that seemingly incurable distance from Him or poured out in painful honesty what’s troubling us…

Still He loves.

He says, “I have loved you with an everlasting love; I have drawn you with unfailing kindness” (Jeremiah 31:3).

And what can we do with this everlasting and unfailing love, so amazing and confusing because it’s far more than we deserve?

“We love because he first loved us” (1 John 4:19).

Originally published September 24, 2012

Heather King is a wife, mom, Bible Study teacher, writer and worship leader.  Most importantly, she is a Christ follower with a desire to help others apply the Bible to everyday life with all its mess, noise, and busyness.  Her upcoming book, Ask Me Anything, Lord: Opening Our Hearts to God’s Questions, will be released in the Fall of 2013!  To read more devotionals by Heather King, click here.

Copyright © 2012 Heather King

12 Verses to Pray for Your Husband

“My man.”

I’ve never really been into that phrase.verseshusband

“I’m waiting for my man to come home.”  “So proud of my man.”  “Enjoying some time with my man.”

It’s a Facebook status favorite.

It’s just not my favorite, not my personal style or verbal inclination.

But still this is truth.

Song of Songs:

I am my beloved’s and my beloved is mine (6:3 NIV).

Paul said it, too:

 The wife does not have authority over her own body but yields it to her husband. In the same way, the husband does not have authority over his own body but yields it to his wife (1 Corinthians 7:4 NIV).

Mine.  Joined to me and fused into me so strong that blows to him suck the breath right out of me and the way he smiles on the good day is my joy, too.

He’s my blessing, this gift.  Mine to treasure, to enjoy, to love.

But gifts aren’t just enjoyed; they are watched over, cared for, tended, and kept safe.  God entrusted him to me.

He’s mine to respect, listen to, encourage, fill up and build up, support and to stand by.

And mine to pray for. 

Stormie Omartian wrote, “Prayer is the ultimate love language” (The Power of a Praying® Wife, p.29).

Here are 12 of my favorite verses to pray for my husband:

  • A wife of noble character is her husband’s crown, but a disgraceful wife is like decay in his bones (Proverbs 12:4 NIV).

Lord, help me to be a godly wife, an encouragement and support to him.  Show me how to love him and help me to see him with your eyes.  Forgive me for my mistakes and failings and help me be a better wife every day.

  •  Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength (Mark 12:30 NIV).

God, draw my husband closer to You each day and stir in him a passion for You and Your Word.

  • Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me (Psalm 51:10 NIV).

Create in my husband the desire for purity.  Help him to hunger and thirst for righteousness and give him the steadfast spirit, the strength, and the discipline to choose what is right and godly.  When he is tempted, help him to overcome and to run closer to you.

  • But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.  Matthew 6:33

Show my husband how to balance the priorities and stresses on his shoulders.  Help him always to place You first and then allow every area of his life to fall into place as a result.

  • Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.  Proverbs 3:5-6 NIV

Help my husband trust in You and submit to You in all ways.  Make his path straight.  Show him where to step and how to walk in obedience.  Renew his faith even in the tough times and the dark places.  Remind him of Your presence with Him and the way You have gone before him.

  •  If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you (James 1:5 NIV).

Fill my husband with Your wisdom so that in all things, in every situation, he will know Your will.

  • Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their labor: If either of them falls down, one can help the other up…Also, if two lie down together, they will keep warm…Though one may be overpowered, two can defend themselves. A cord of three strands is not quickly broken (Ecclesiastes 4:9-12 NIV)

Strengthen our marriage daily.  Unite us as a team that cannot be broken.  Show us how to love one another selflessly, to communicate, to show affection, to work together and always to honor You in our relationship.  Teach us how to forgive and give us opportunities to laugh and find joy together.  Defeat any attempt by Satan to divide us with anger, bitterness, infidelity, divorce…

  • Fathers, do not exasperate your children; instead, bring them up in the training and instruction of the Lord (Ephesians 6:4 NIV).

Father God, be with my husband as he parents our children.  Help us be in agreement as we care for and discipline them and attempt to “bring them up in the training and instruction of the Lord.”  Give him wisdom and compassion, fairness and grace, strength and sensitivity.

  • Let love and faithfulness never leave you…Then you will win favor and a good name in the sight of God and man (Proverbs 3:3-4 NIV).

Make my husband’s godly character shines in every situation.  Give him favor with You and with man, especially in the work place.  Protect his reputation and allow his life to be a witness to those around him.

  • May the favor of the Lord our God rest on us; establish the work of our hands for us– yes, establish the work of our hands.  Psalm 90:17 NIV

Establish the work of his hands.  Let it be successful and fruitful labor, well-rewarded and recognized.  Help him overcome obstacles and solve problems with creativity and wisdom.  Reveal solutions to him.  Protect him  from mis-steps and bad decisions.

  • The Lord was with Joseph so that he prospered…the Lord gave him success in everything he did,  Genesis 39:2-3

Just as you blessed the work of Joseph, bless the work of my husband.  Let everything he touches be successful and prosperous.  Prosper his business/company because he is there.

  • But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from all sin (1 John 1:7 NIV).

Give my husband friendships with godly men.   As he walks in the light, give him this “fellowship with one another” so that he doesn’t walk alone, but is strengthened and encouraged by other men of God.

In Jesus’ name….Amen.

If you would like a printout of these prayers to place in Your Bible or journal or maybe on your fridge or bathroom mirror, you can click here for the free printable!

You can also check out 14 Days of Prayer for Your Marriage With 1 Corinthians 13 and grab that free printable resource, too!

Interested in learning more ways to pray for your husband?  My favorite resource is Stormie Omartian’s The Power of a Praying® Wife.  She has also written a book to help you pray for specific areas of conflict and difficulty in your marriage: The Power of Prayer(TM) to Change Your Marriage.

Heather King is a wife, mom, Bible Study teacher, writer and worship leader.  Most importantly, she is a Christ follower with a desire to help others apply the Bible to everyday life with all its mess, noise, and busyness.  Her upcoming book, Ask Me Anything, Lord: Opening Our Hearts to God’s Questions, will be released in November 2013!  To read more devotionals by Heather King, click here.

Copyright © 2013 Heather King

When I Fell In Love

I can’t say exactly when I fell in love with this man.

He was on stage the first time I saw him, portraying Mr. Elton in a production of Jane Austen’s Emma (my favorite), and I was an audience member.   He delivered the first line of the whole play while pretending to read from a book:

“It is a truth universally acknowledged that a single man in possession of a good fortune must be in want of a wife.

Immediately, I laughed aloud, until I realized that no one else seemed to get the joke.  More than a little uncomfortable, I slumped down in my chair.

(The first line of Pride and Prejudice was ‘read’ by a character in Emma.  There now, aren’t you laughing?  This is the kind of thing that strikes me as hilariously funny.)

I actually met him a week later after a college worship service.  Someone in the crowd pointed to the guy up front with the guitar.  “See that guy,” he said, “You just saw him on stage last week.”  I think I even confessed to being the girl who laughed at the first line of the play all by my lonesome self.

Unbeknownst to me, this young guy who led worship and the drama ministry and acted on stage in productions based on my favorite literature had just prayed a daring prayer two weeks before.

He told God he wasn’t looking for a relationship any more.  He was content to be single until God hit him over the head with a 2 x 4 and told him “Thou shalt marry this girl.”

There I was two weeks later being introduced to him.

And a week after that, I was the new pianist on his praise team (and he’s still my worship leader nearly 15 years later).

I fell in love with the way he used his gifts and talents for God’s glory.

There was his calmness, too.  I loved my dad, but life with him wasn’t calm; it was loud much of the time and sometimes downright volatile.  This man, though, measured his words with wisdom and careful thoughtfulness.

And the first time he dropped the word “obsequious” into a sentence effortlessly, I think I experienced whiplash. (I’m a sucker for SAT words).

Add to that his quick and witty humor that kept me giggling endlessly in the corner of the praise team section, and I realized that he was smarter than me and that was okay.

We’ve never been an opposites-attract kind of couple.  We’re probably two of the most alike people who God matched together.

Except for the fact that he only cares about doing what’s right and not whether it pleases anyone else while I’m a people-pleaser.

And the fact that he can rest and take time (perhaps . . . dare I say it . . .procrastinate) and I’m neurotically pushed to do and do and do relentlessly, first, fastest, and rest when you die.

I can’t say when it happened, but at some point I fell in love.

I can’t speak for him and say exactly why he fell in love with me.  Nor can I say exactly why God loves any of us either, surely not my awkward, nervous, uptight, worrying self.

Amazingly, though, this isn’t a “fall in love” kind of love at all.  God doesn’t grow to love any of us over time or awaken one morning and realize how much He cares.

He loves us.

It really is the beginning and the end of our story.

Like the first time I saw my daughters, I loved them in an instant.  I didn’t slowly grow to appreciate their character or develop feelings for them over time.

In Jeremiah, God declares, “before I formed you in the womb I knew you”  and David similarly prayed, “you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb” (Jeremiah 1:5, Psalm 139:13).

God loved you before you squinted your eyes at the first burst of light, screamed out and got cleaned off, bundled up and handed to your mom.

He loves you when you feel loved and when you feel overlooked, when you received a blessing and when you endured a trial.  This love of his doesn’t wax or wane, change or alter or depend on us and what we do or say or feel or think.

We’ve never been good enough, pure enough, beautiful enough, or wise enough to earn it.

But even though we’re unworthy, even when we’ve strayed, even when we’ve felt that seemingly incurable distance from Him or poured out in painful honesty what’s troubling us…

Still He loves.

He says, “I have loved you with an everlasting love; I have drawn you with unfailing kindness” (Jeremiah 31:3).

And what can we do with this everlasting and unfailing love, so amazing and confusing because it’s far more than we deserve?

“We love because he first loved us” (1 John 4:19).

How can you respond to God’s love today?

Heather King is a wife, mom, Bible Study teacher, writer and worship leader.  Most importantly, she is a Christ follower with a desire to help others apply the Bible to everyday life with all its mess, noise, and busyness.  Her upcoming book, Ask Me Anything, Lord: Opening Our Hearts to God’s Questions, will be released in the Fall of 2013!  To read more devotionals by Heather King, click here.

Copyright © 2012 Heather King