Things That Make You Go Hmmmmm or You Don’t Need To Pray? Seriously? Well, cool.

A couple of weeks ago I posted the following message on Facebook:

How many married couples and seriously dating couples can I get to take the Oneness Prayer Challenge
together, 30 days, 3-5 minutes a day,starting October 1? Let’s flood heaven’s gates with men and
women praying together.

Be bold and put your name below then put a reminder in your calendar to either get a text prompt
or an email. It couldn’t be easier.

OCTOBER 1, 2015. LET’S PRAY.

I also included a short video from Familylife.com that explained the challenge and the benefits.

Oneness Prayer Challenge

man and wife prayingNOT ONE person agreed to join me in praying with his/her spouse for 3 minutes a day for 30 days.  There was not one like or share. This completely fascinates me.

Now, it is quite possible that everyone on my friends lists is already praying wholeheartedly with their spouses and do not need to take the challenge. It’s possible but it’s certainly not probable. For one thing, I coach/counsel people who tell me they don’t. For another, take a look at the world, at our families, the struggles we have – seriously, we could all use a bit more active prayer.

Praying with our spouses more than doubles the power we have to stand against the wiles of the enemy. God is a God of multiplication and not by single digits. In Deuteronomy, we discover that, with God,  one can chase a 1000 and two can chase 10,000.  The footsteps of two lepers convinced an entire army they were about to be massacred. Gideon’s 300 routed more than 100,000. Over and over in scripture we discover the power of two who are centered in God. Nearly everyone knows or has at least heard of Matthew 18:19-20 (NLT)

“I also tell you this: If two of you agree here on earth concerning anything you ask, my
Father in heaven will do it for you. For where two or three gather together as my followers,
I am there among them.”

This is why I’m perplexed. Thirty days of praying for 3-5 minutes with your spouse, is it too much? Are people skerd?  What are the issues that keep us from committing to praying with our spouses?  Are people already ‘prayed up?’  Do we know the possibilities if we take the challenge?

The Matthew passage quoted above gives some idea about the promises available to married folk, seriously dating folk, siblilngs, bffs who ‘touch and agree.’

If two         – that would be the spouses or seriously dating folk, in this particular cases

agree          – (maybe this is the issue??? – I’m asking)

concerning ANYTHING YOU ASK          – That’s a big window of opportunity. Jesus does not put qualifiers on it other than the two agree. Imagine the healing, restoration, strengthened financial situations, wayward children returning to their senses,  kingdom advances, romance restored, depression lifted, anxiety settled,

My Father in Heaven           – that would be Jesus talking about God (since believers were adopted into the family and have been given the right to call God, Abba, that means YOUR Father, MY Father in heaven)

WILL DO IT FOR YOU         – can’t be any clearer than that. Whatever we ask, when we agree, God will do!

Joel Osteen tells of an image his father once had. In a huge room in heaven, shelves were lined with boxes upon boxes upon boxes. When asked what they were, he was told they contained blessings God had already laid up for people who never even asked! I do not want any box in heaven to have my name, Gerald’s name, any of my children’s, grand/great-grandchildren’s, nieces’, nephews,’ cousins’, sisters’, brothers’ names on boxes of blessings they do not believe they can have and therefore do not claim.

We could start by being families who pray together. Husbands and wives model this to our children. I’m not saying it is an easy thing to do but Day 30 will be different than day 1 – and there just may be some boxes being opened in Heaven.

Where two or three gather in my name     – spouses, maybe a child or two at some point??

I am there!    Jesus, our big brother, our intercessor, the lover of our souls, the sacrificial lamb, the one whose shed blood paid for every sin we’d ever commit, promises to BE PRESENT. So, even if your spouse is getting on your nerves, for 3-5 minutes a day, Jesus will stand between the two, strengthen and encourage as you seek agreement on the prayer before God at that time.

This sounds like a pretty good deal to me.

Welp, tomorrow starts the Challenge. It’s not too late to join me.  Just for the record, Family Life did the actual challenge in September. I did not know about it in time to get on board with that challenge.

Advertisements

When I’m old

I saw something today that really blessed me even while it made me think. We were out for our morning romp on the beach. I was playing with a football along the shore while Gerald rode waves further out in the ocean. I saw a couple laying near the water in lounge chairs, the man on his side facing the woman, talking earnestly. Later, I saw them standing in the ocean, holding hands and quietly talking. By this time, Gerald had Hezekiah in the ocean, riding the waves. As I made my way closer to the boys, I passed near the couple. They looked old enough to be Adam and Eve, bodies wrinkled, evidence of a long life etched in their faces. Yet, their eyes sparkled and they laughed every time a wave washed over them. The three of us laughed about the cool water and agreed that it was warmer today than yesterday. I pressed on past. And as I stood there waiting for the boys to come closer, I thought about what I had seen.

The love and attention the man and woman lavish on each other was evident in every action. I imagined them standing before their pastor 60 years earlier, younger versions of themselves, vowing to stay together forever, through better, worse, richer, poorer, sickness, health. And in a flash I imagined all of the things they had seen, the pressures they had withstood, their losses, gains, joys and sorrows. I don’t know their story. I know only what I saw today – two people devoted to each other, a man and a woman who could allow the bigness of the world to shrink around them.

I want that! On August 15 Gerald and I will celebrate 29 years of marriage. In those years we’ve had many ups, downs, years of barely making it and years of plenty. There has been sadness, heartbreak, fear, anger, laughter, joy, wonder, peace, strife – we’ve been through a lot together, and often wondered if it was worth another try.  We’ve raised two children and are co-raising a grandchild. I don’t know what that couple has withstood. But I know that one day I want to stand in the ocean, holding hands as Gerald and I close the rest of the world out. And, I know, from the benefit of 28 years of marriage, counseling many married couples and teaching an on-going Sunday School class for nearly 15 years, that it will not just happen. The only thing that occurs naturally is deterioration. Anything that is not actively tended will deteriorate. Beautiful gardens become wastelands of weeds, a brand new home soon becomes a dump, a svelte body becomes a spongy mass of flesh, a relationship untended is not a relationship at all.

The result I want to see when I’m old starts with the work I do today. How about you?

Winter Renewal: Touch Up Your Roots Marriage Retreat

Give your relationship the gift of ONE day where you set aside the worries of every day life and focus entirely on improving your marriage.

The retreat will start at 8:30 am and end at 6:00 pm.

Spend a day laughing, talking, dancing & learning how to ‘touch up your roots.’

This retreat is appropriate for married couples as well as those who are seriously dating or engaged.

New study to begin in February: Bring Home The Joy

An invitation to invest in your relationship!

Starting next week we will begin a new study for married couples. I also recommend that those who are engaged participate.

The book, Bring Home The Joy, is a series of articles by some of the greatest minds on marriage.  The study is designed to help couples “strengthen and renew” marriages at any stage, whether brand new or seasoned.

bringhomejoy

We will learn

  • the number one priority in your marriage
  • how to fight in a way that lets you both come out winners
  • the incredible power of commitment
  • secrets for enjoying mutually satisfying sex (married folk only)
  • how to become soul mates
  • and much more!

Please get a copy of the book and join me weekly as I post summaries from the Sunday lessons.  I invite your comments.  I know that God is going to bless so plan now to join us in this study.

You are welcomed to join us at Omega Baptist Church on Sundays at 10:00.

Ten Ways to Ensure that Your Spouse Feels Loved

This is from Family Dynamics Institute.

1.     Pray with your spouse every day.
2.     Enjoy a “date” every week with your spouse.
3.     Spend 10 minutes each day listening to your spouse share his or her day.
4.     Discover & fulfill four ways your spouse likes you to receive affection.
5.     While at home wear only what the other desires you to wear, as long as you feelcomfortable doing so.

6.     Give your spouse 15 minutes per week to ask you any question and answer each question honestly.

7.     Spend 5 un-interrupted minutes each week telling your spouse what you specifically appreciate about him or her.
8.     Ask your spouse what domestic chore he or she would like you to do for him or her, and do it.

9.     Save up to $25 this next month that you would normally spend pampering yourself and put it into your retirement fund.

10.     Spend at least two hours every week for the next month doing something enriching for your entire family.

Intimacy: Chapter 11

Finding Sexual Agreement

This is a good chapter, my friends. Dr. Weiss talks about the ‘sexual system’ that most people do not realize they have developed and use. The system is unspoken, unclear and never agreed-upon. For many couples, this system is dysfunctional and has manipulation at its core and injury results.

God gives men and women the gift of sex. Yet, as in most things, God gives different versions of those gifts. Weiss teaches that God gifts men a strong sex drive that ‘glues a man to a woman spiritually, emotionally and neurologically.” (206). This gift is different in women whose sex drive comes mostly from the communion on an emotionally and spiritual realm. He believes “women intuitively desire spirit, soul and body sex for the majority of her sexual experiences.” A major part of a woman’s sexuality is ‘wrapped up in her spiritual and emotional needs met on a daily basis.” (207)

This chapter is designed to help couples create sexual agreement so that the unspoken, broken systems can be dismantled. We were created to love each other on many levels. Men and women may have different needs for sex in marriage but we all know that it is an important part of our intimacy. The men in my class were afraid that we would not get to the sex part since the book starts with spiritual intimacy. Hopefully, by now we all know that there is NO hope for sexual intimacy if we do not build spiritual and emotional intimacy.

Sexual Agreement occurs when men and women “intelligently and calmly discuss how often they both desire to have sexual intimacy and then fairly distributes the responsibility for initiating sex.” (210) IF YOU DO NOT AGREE ON A SEXUAL SYSTEM, YOU WILL STILL CREATE ONE without the agreement.

So, start talking and then….. (pages 211-226)

Intimacy: Chapter 10

Date Your Spouse Or Go To Therapy!

It is so amazing to me that folk who got together in the first place by dating forget how to date once they are married. Add at least one child in the mix and dating begins to seem like something that folk used to do in the dark ages. When I do marriage retreats, one of the questions I always ask is for couples to tell when they last had a date. Thus starts the questions- does it count if we go to the grocery store, does it count if the children went, does it count if we met somewhere accidentally? The answer is NO! When I taught this lesson there was an engaged couple in class for the day. They looked at us as if we had lost our minds as we grappled with this subject. I challenged them to make sure they weren’t having this same conversation ten years from now. I pray they keep the dates going.

Weiss teaches that dating is an essential ingredient to successful and intimate marriages. No dating, you can expect to end up in marriage therapy at some point. When we don’t date, we begin to bore each other. We also begin to lose touch with who the other person is. Weiss teaches that dating is the ‘oil’ that lubricates our relationships. This chapter is wonderful because it actually teaches us how to date. He helps us to set boundaries for dating with very specific guidelines. I want to be respectful of Mr. Weiss’ property so I won’t go into details about each. I encourage you to read the chapter.

The guidelines to successful dates

  • No problems should be discussed. This is supposed to be fun.
  • No money discussions. This is supposed to be fun.
  • You should not do errands. This is supposed to be fun.
  • Do not go shopping. This is supposed to be fun.

Decide together how often you will date (weekly, every other week, monthly – the more often the better), how much you can spend on each date (dates do not have to cost money) and who will plan each date. He recommends that couples take turns making ALL of the plans for a date and choosing something THE PLANNER or responsible person wants to do. Couples will take turns being A) Responsible Person and B) Happy Camper. You got it. When you plan your spouse is supposed to give you the gift of being the happy camper. When your spouse plans the date, you are supposed to give him/her the gift of being the happy camper.

In order for this (or anything that has been posted her) to work, you must internalize a very important truth. YOU are the only person who can make YOU happy. Being happy is a personal decision. You should never abdicate your happiness. So, CHOOSE to be happy when your spouse takes you on a date. If it makes them happy, then enjoy it because they are enjoying it. Be a happy camper.

Buy the book

%d bloggers like this: