"Lord, please change Dan," Tami Chelew prayed—not once but many times during her 12-year marriage. Tami admits she was afraid her husband was slipping away from God. His life was filled with stress as he worked fulltime, attended graduate school, and carried the full financial burden for their family.
Tami begged, argued, cajoled, cried, and flat out told Dan he should spend more time praying and studying his Bible—especially during that stressful season. She even strategically placed a Bible at the foot of their bed as a hint.
"I tried everything I could think of to get him to change," says Tami. "I played mother, counselor, spiritual advisor—even Holy Spirit," she adds, smiling and embarrassed as she recalls her controlling behavior.
Then one day after another episode in which she watched her husband choose again not to seek God's wisdom and help in a stressful situation, Tami became desperate—and fed up. She stretched out on her living room floor, face down, and prayed like she'd never prayed before.
"God," she cried. "Dan is yours. Please take charge of his life—because I can't do it any more."
Something wonderful happened in that moment. "I felt the burden of my husband's relationship with God release from my grip. I knew God would answer my request," Tami says. This was the "turning point" in her marriage that she'd wanted for so long.
As Tami lay on the floor, she felt God present her with an idea for how to handle her husband. Instead of pestering him about getting spiritually in sync with God, she could pray for him—really pray for him—and get together with other wives for a consistent and regular prayer time.
Tami wasn't sure how to make that happen, so she left it up to God—since it was his idea.
"Okay, Lord," she said, "if you bring the women, I'll do it."
The next day Tami received a call from her friend Cindy. Just before they ended their conversation, Cindy asked Tami if she'd like to get together to pray for their husbands.
"I nearly dropped the phone," says Tami. "I'd never seen God work so fast!"
That was the confirmation she needed to move forward. "We looked at our calendars," says Tami, "and chose Friday mornings as our time to pray together for our husbands."