I studied a great book with a few other women this past summer: Becoming the Woman of His Dreams by Sharon Jaynes. Initially I thought the title pretty cheesy; the content of the book, however, is terrific. Jaynes breaks down 7 areas in which we wives can be the woman of our husband's dreams. Throughout the book, she uses many Scripture references to back up her points--the part I appreciated most on my first read through the book was that she used Scripture references beyond those normally offered to wives (you know, beyond the "submit" passages or "a good wife is better than rubies"). She points out, for instance, that 1 Corinthians 13 should be applied to the way we love our husbands--not just a general way to love others. She outlines all the many times Paul encourages believers to be constant in prayer--doesn't that mean we need to be constant in prayer for our husbands?
Dostoevsky, in his amazing book The Brothers Karamazov, has a fascinating chapter titled "The Grand Inquisitor" in which a character expounds on this idea of loving those close to you. It's definitely easier to profess love for the starving children in Africa or the persecuted church in the Middle East (you might even send money or pray for these groups) than it is to love those in our own homes or our real, next door neighbor. Why? We see all the faults of those close to us. We let little things get in the way of our love; I believe an example in Dostoevsky's book is the way someone chews his or her food. If it's annoying, it can keep us from loving someone.
C. S. Lewis offers similar insights in his Screwtape Letters. In this book, a senior demon is training a younger demon in the arts of temptation and swaying people away from the Lord. One of his tips: get the "patient" in question to start focusing on the irritating little things his mother is doing rather than focusing on the real ways he can love and serve her.
Why do I mention these? Is my husband bothering me? Are my kids driving me up a wall? Not really. I've just been praying through some Scripture that is general in nature, not directed specifically at families, and was struck by the difference these actions/ideas/attitudes would make in our own homes. Some of these verses are ones Jaynes offers in her book as prayers to pray for our husbands, inserting their names as we pray. Praying Scripture is a powerful tool, the Sword of the Spirit. So, in the coming days, I'll offer up some of these Scriptural prayers. I encourage you to pick one or two and pray through them for you husband and your children. If you need an attitude check, I can guarantee you that this will help! If you've begun to focus on irritating little habits or started to notice a bothersome trait in someone in your household, try praying through one of these verses for that person instead. Our prayers become so earthly-focused. Scriptural prayers help reorient our thoughts to what is really important.
Carrie has already given us a great list of verses to pray through for our children. See her post on Teabag Verses for Students and Moms.