Wednesday, January 6, 2010

"Love & War" - Praying as a Couple

When I posted my review on "Love and War" by John and Stasi Eldredge, I knew that I couldn't just leave it at that. I wanted to talk more in depth about what the book has to offer, and what it specifically spoke to Tim and I. There is an entire book here of lessons and it was actually challenging to select only one to talk about, but lets be honest, praying together is a "big one", something that few couples really do together.

We all already know that praying together is important, we know it, but why don't we do it? 
The truth is we are in a very real war and our marriage, family and children are under attack. Prayer is one of the powerful weapons that God has given us against our enemy and, sadly, we don't use it as much as we should because this area in particular is being attacked by the enemy - he knows how powerful we are when we are united, he knows better than we do that authority that God has give us, and he does everything in his power to prevent us from using it!

Recently, our family has been experiencing an attack in our home in the area of sleep. It started with me, about a month ago, I started waking up 2-3 times a night. At first I thought it was the pregnancy but then I realized - it's too early for me to be waking up this much to pee. What was going on? I'll be honest, I could go to the bathroom when I woke up, but it wasn't what was waking me up. Next, I noticed that Tim got up a few nights in one week, which is not like him at all. And then finally, it made it's way down to the kids - in the past two weeks the kids have been getting up for "various" reasons (practical reasons mind you), needing to go potty, thirsty, cold, blankets fell off, etc. Nothing even obvious, like nightmares, just everyday, seems to be normal occurances happening EVERY night.
Last night was the worst - Lexie woke up cried for a while, Tim went in there to check on her, she calmed down and seemed to go back asleep, but woke up again a little while later, she did this 3 times before we tried giving her some milk, he drank a small amount and that seemed to help - she went back to sleep. An hour later Treyton woke up - he had gone to the bathroom but had gotten his underwear a little wet and wanted help changing his underwear, no big deal. Two hours after that I woke up to "pee", took me 30 minutes to fall back asleep. 

All of this could be passed off as "normal" but the fact is after two weeks of the kids waking up randomly throughout the night it has really started to effect their behavior, now add on top of that a more tired, less patient mama...  the days are getting a little more "harry" (if you know what I mean). The pressure of less sleep is effecting our entire family.
Can you see what is happening here? 

Now, as a couple we have an option here, we can allow this to continue hoping for it to run it's course or we could sit down together and "fight back" with prayer. Why is it that the "easier" answer seems to be to let it run it's course? Why is it that after two weeks of this we're just now even thinking about praying about it? Why does prayer seem to be a 'last resort' for most of us - left for the more "serious" issues, not normally something as silly as not sleeping through the night?

Here are some thoughts from John and Stasi:
"Couples don't pray much together. Why is that?... for one thing you have an enemy... you feel irritated at one another... you are at a loss for words. You feel stupid... Suddenly you are hungry... Isn't all this just a little too obvious?"
"Prayer is such an intimate act, a place of vulnerability. It is, hopefully, when we are our least guarded, our most honest selves... prayer lets us be in a place of need. When we are alone, this vulnerability can feel quite relieving; it feels good to drop our guard. But when we come together to pray, yikes. Most couples are not nearly as vulnerable with each other."
"Praying together is an intimate encounter; it will cultivate intimacy and companionship in our marriage."

The truth is, prayer is powerful, it unites us together as a couple to fight for our family. God knows this, the enemy knows this, we sort of know this...the power, the joined mission, the vulnerability, the confidence that it builds in us, all of it is a blessing and a gift from God, all of it is something the enemy wants to prevent us from accessing - so it is no wonder that we will be made to feel a whole list of reasons NOT to pray.

I love the encouragement that this gives me - not only do I want to access the power that comes with a man and woman united in prayer with one another, but to increase our intimacy with one another is a beautiful, awesome thing - a true gift from God - a gift that I certainly want more of!

I wanted to leave you guys with a link to John and Stasi's website if you're interested in learning more about them, their book or their ministry. As you can probably already tell, I highly recommend it!
Ransomed Heart Ministries - Love & War 


Deborah Ann said...

Husband and I pray together every morning.

Have you tried pleading the blood of Jesus over your beds? Or play some anointed worship music as you and your little ones drift off to sleep. If you've never tried "Alberto and Kimberly Rivera" I highly recommend them! I always have sweet dreams when I play their CD "The Longing" in my room.

Michelle said...

Praying together is hard. Period. The excerpt you took is great!

And I must ask because I need to know... what is pleading the blood of Jesus over you bed? And anointed worship music? I have never heard of this? My inquiring mind would love to know!

Jessica-MomForHim said...

We pray as a family every night before the girls go to bed (we all take turns so everyone prays), then Ted and I pray together before we fall asleep. It's something we committed to do EVERY night, even if we are apart we do it over the phone.

We have had a HUGE sleep battle going on at our house, too! It honestly didn't occur to me that it was an attack, though we've been praying for the girls to sleep better. The past two weeks have been TERRIBLE here, too. And it's funny, a big girl last night prayed that the youngest would sleep through the night so she won't wake up mommy and daddy, but it isn't the youngest that is getting up--it's the 3 big girls!! So I immediately prayed that the BIG girls would sleep through the night. Didn't work--we were up SEVERAL times last night. And yes, I'm pregnant with #5 so my sleeping is already disturbed somewhat (bladder, aches and pains, headaches, etc). Argh. It's hard. And on my husband, too!

Sorry you are going through it too! I'll add your family to our prayer list tonight--here's hoping we all sleep better tonight! :-)

Dianne said...

Wow. I see this post is over 3 yrs old, but it's funny how God's timeline works out for each of us. Tonight at AWANA my pastor's wife was talking to me about the importance of praying together as husband and wife. She an her husband have had some talks with us about this, and we've been struggling to come together on it. Tonight she was telling me to just start doing it, without letting the excuses get in the way. Then after I got home and did some work I was googling for some resources about Benjamin Franklin for our Adventures lessons, and found your post about when you did this lesson. (Also so helpful btw!) but then the recommended link at the end of that post was this one. (Exactly how does that relate? No clue!) But I am so glad God led me to this post. I just found that book available from my library and reserved it. I will begin reading it and praying with my husband. Thank you for this post!!! God used you tonight ;)