Not long after I got married, I formed a group for women to get together to pray for our husbands. I knew the statistics, the threats against marriages today. I didn't want mine to become one of the statistics. So I talked to the director of women's ministry, got her permission, and started telling others about my idea.
Before long, five to ten of us met each week before Bible study. I had a handout we used to pray over various aspects of our husbands' lives: their roles in the house, their spiritual fervor, for them to walk with integrity, and so much more.
Although our numbers were little, our prayers were anything but. We prayed with a reckless abandon, asking God to shape the men we adored into people who more and more portrayed his goodness, grace, and mercy to those they met.
We quickly had to change the format of our prayer time because we could no longer pray for God to cleanse our hearts and then dive into covering our husbands: We first had to stop and give praise reports as every week we witnessed our husbands doing things that we had prayed about the week before.
I became more eager each night for Allen to get home, anxious to hear about his day. One morning our group had been praying for our men to be bolder in sharing about God to others.
"Stacy, you wouldn't believe it. I was in that gas station that I always deliver the mail to and I just had the strongest sense that I was supposed to stop and tell the owner about Jesus. Remember the guy I told you about? The one who is Muslim? Well, we had the most fascinating conversation about Christ for 30 minutes. I decided just to call that my lunch break. I've never been that courageous before, but something just came over me and I…I…hey, what's that huge grin on your face for?"
But while half of us were announcing incredible praises, the other half did just the opposite. You see, the thing I never could have predicted when starting my little prayer group was that it would attract both those who had strong marriages and wanted to see them improve even more, as well as those who were turning to corporate prayer as their last hope. The time of crying, complaining, wishing, and whining filled what was supposed to be set apart for prayer. When I tried to curb it, some said I was insensitive and didn't allow them to share their pain. Each week our time with heads bowed lessened. At a loss for how to handle the dichotomy in the group, I decided to pray for Allen on my own.