"Please pray to the LORD our God for us."
A few weeks ago, my husband and I were enjoying a lovely dinner date chatting about all kinds of things when he leaned toward me and said, "Honey, can I ask you to please pray about something?" I love when my husband asks me to pray about something specific for him. It brings us closer, and it is a privilege to pray on his behalf. Praying for our spouse's specific prayer request deepens the intimacy of our hearts. I love it. With excitement I responded, "Yes, of course, you can ask me to pray about something for you!"
This, however, was a different kind of prayer request. This was not a prayer request for my husband really. It was a prayer request that would require my heart to change...completely. "Honey, would you please pray about getting a dog for our family? The kids would really love to have a dog." What??? This is not quite the prayer request I was expecting! My husband's respectful request for me to pray reflected his desire to grant the children's prayer for a dog. His heart as the head of our home was to now bring a pet into our family. Clearly, I was the only hold out in the family.
For months and months and months our children had been praying daily for a dog. They had talked about it a lot. I put it off....I thought successfully. You see, I am not much of a pet person. I am not an animal lover. To say it very plainly, I didn't want a dog. For the full 17 years of my marriage, I haven't wanted a dog. For my 9 years of motherhood, I have not wanted a dog. My sweet husband knew that. However, he now was asking me to pray about it. I did mention that this was not the type of prayer request I was expecting, right? This prayer request involved me surrendering, dieing to self and asking the Lord to change my heart and fill me with His joy in the process.
Was my husband asking me to pray for something completely out of my comfort zone and for something not on my personal wish list? Yes. Was he asking me to pray about doing something unreasonable? Not at all.
I did honor my husband's request and take this prayer to the Lord....only once. At that point, I knew it was a matter of honoring my husband's desire, which was communicated clearly in his request for me to pray. It was a matter of completely dieing to myself and surrendering my will. It was a matter of asking the Lord to change my heart.
The testimony of how the Lord brought to us a West Highland Terrier named "Holly" to adopt just a few short weeks later is a wonderful story for another day. She is the perfect dog for us. God is so gracious and good. He made this rather easy for me. But believe me when I say this was a "death to self" on many levels, and boy did I cry and grieve for a few days. Dieing to self can be ugly. However, in honoring my husband's heart for me to pray and his desire for a family dog, God is already showing me His faithfulness and blessing. He has changed my heart and filled me with His joy in the process.
It really goes without saying that I am a very imperfect wife. I am a wretched sinner saved by His amazing grace. When I die to self, I can go down kicking and screaming sometimes. However, I do love and fear the Lord. And I do want to honor my husband. Is God honoring that? Yes, He is. He quiets my heart with His love. He fills me with His wonder. He humbles my heart to where I can barely utter a word in His presence. He knows the depths of my heart for Him and my family. Today, just a few short weeks after my husband asked me lovingly to pray, we have a dog. And you know what? I like her.
Holly is being groomed today. When I pick her up later, she will look something like this:
Is your spouse asking you to pray about something? Does it involve a complete humbling, surrendering and change of your heart? Take it to the Lord in prayer. See the beautiful work He accomplishes!
"How many are your works, O LORD! In wisdom You made them all; the earth is full of Your creatures."