Five Finger Marriage Prayer

Five Finger Marriage Prayer - IntentionallyPursuing.com
When I first began praying for my husband from head to toe every morning, I enjoyed it so much that I decided that should be how I prayed for him before bedtime too. And when Tim first read the post about how I prayed for him, he was surprised I covered him in prayer so thoroughly but felt blessed by it.

However since Tim reads faster than me, he usually finishes reading his Bible before I do. So since I pray for him before I read my Bible, he was beginning to feel a little less than blessed by my prayers for him. In all honesty, the guy was just tired and wanted me to turn the light off so he could go to sleep.

So one night when he was gone and I had a little extra time, I asked God to give me a faster but still thorough way to pray for Tim that would still leave him feeling blessed. And with God’s help, I came up with the Five Finger Marriage Prayer.

For the Five Finger Marriage Prayer, I use my left hand because, one, Tim sleeps to the left of me; and, two, that is the hand I wear my wedding ring on. So I will explain why I picked the five areas and their corresponding fingers. And hopefully, my thinking will make sense to you, and you will be able to remember to use this simple but effective tool to pray over your husband : )

Thumb – I use the thumb to pray for my husband’s work. I remember from Dr. Emerson Eggerichs’ book Love & Respect* that men get their identity in what they do. And I know one of the best ways for me to show I understand his need for conquest and support Tim’s efforts is to pray over them.

Pointer – I use the pointer finger to pray over Tim’s health because that’s the finger they use to check someone’s pulse. His mental health – his thoughts and that he will have the mind of Christ; his physical health – for his protection and for a healthy and strong body; and his emotional health – that he will follow wisdom rather than be led by his emotions.

Tall Man –  Since this is the center and tallest finger, I use “tall man” to pray over Tim’s relationship with God. I pray for God to be both the center of Tim’s life and his first priority, that he will be transformed by the Word of God, and that he will seek God with his whole heart.

Ring Man – I use this finger to pray for our marriage. I want us to grow closer both to one another and to God so we have a strong and loving marriage that brings glory to God and is a blessing to each other. And I pray that I will be the wife Tim needs, a blessing to him.

Pinky – Since this is the smallest finger, I use the pinky to pray for Tim’s fatherhood. For me that means praying that God enable him to become a father and that one day he will be the father God designed him to be.

Well, Tim still finishes reading his Bible and praying before I do. But at least with this simple Five Finger Marriage Prayer, he doesn’t have to wait as long for me to finish so we can turn off the light and say goodnight : )

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Rest in His presence.

Seeing Ourselves Through the Eyes of God – Protected

Seeing Ourselves Through the Eyes of God - Protected - IntentionallyPursuing.com
This year we are looking to the Word of God to uncover truths (50 in all) of how God sees each one of us. If this is your first time here or you simply need a reminder of how God sees you, click here to begin reading through the series.

Seeing Ourselves as Protected Through the Eyes of God

“He [the Lord] holds success in store for the upright, he is a shield to those whose walk is blameless, for he guards the course of the just and protects the way of his faithful ones.” Proverbs 2:7-8 (NIV)

Life can be scary. But God reassures us we do not need to be afraid because He is with us. “So do not fear, for I am with you;  do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand” (Isaiah 41:10 NIV).

Mark tells of a time the disciples were afraid and for good reason. To theses seasoned fishermen the storm was bigger than their boat could handle. Let’s take a look at their story and then look at a few key points we can apply to our own lives.

After speaking to the multitudes, Jesus “… said to his disciples, ‘Let us go over to the other side.’ Leaving the crowd behind, they took him along, just as he was, in the boat … (Mark 4:35-36 NIV).

As Jesus slept in the boat, “A furious squall came up, and the waves broke over the boat, so that it was nearly swamped” (Mark 4:37 ). Frightened the disciples woke Jesus up saying, “‘Teacher, don’t you care if we drown?'” (Mark 4:38 NIV).

“He [Jesus] got up, rebuked the wind and said to the waves, ‘Quiet! Be still!’ Then the wind died down and it was completely calm” (Mark 4:39 NIV).

  • The disciples were in the center of God’s perfect will for their life on that boat. Sometimes following God means we will encounter storms, but He promises to be with us through the storms.
  • The storm was bigger than the disciples could handle. We were never meant to go through this life alone. The storms we face are reminders of how much we need God.
  • The disciples were protected by Jesus. Whether Jesus had calmed the storm that day or made another way, they were going to make it to the other side because He was with them.

There is a quote by John H. Groberg that says, “Sometimes God calms the storm, and sometimes He calms His child.” The Apostle Paul went through many storms in his life including being shipwrecked three times. But he was able to go through those storms because he know God was by his side.

Seeing Ourselves Through the Eyes of God - Protected - IntentionallyPursuing.com
I am protected and loved by my Beloved.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for being my refuge and protecting me. Help me see the storms in my life as a reminder to turn to You because in Your presence I have peace for my soul and strength to continue on knowing You walk with me. In Jesus’ precious Name, Amen.

God, “You are my hiding place! You protect me from trouble, and You put songs in my heart because You have saved me.” Psalm 32:7 (CEV)

Image courtesy of foto76 / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Rest in His presence.

Psalm 16:8 – Right Hand of God

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“I keep my eyes always on the Lord. With him at my right hand, I will not be shaken.” Psalm 16:8 (NIV)

While I was researching At My Right Hand, something jumped out at me in one of the verses. It was too special to just put at the end of a post, so today I want to share something significant from Psalm 16:8.

When Tim and I walk hand in hand, he always stands to my left because he likes to be on the “driver’s side.” So when I thought of God at my right hand, I pictured Him next to me, Tim on one side and God on the other.

“I keep my eyes always on the Lord.” – But if God were standing next to me, I wouldn’t be able to keep my eyes looking sideways to Him and continue moving forward. So when I read about keeping “my eyes always on the Lord,” I pictured myself looking towards Heaven, but that isn’t what it says.

I gained a little more insight when I continued reading Psalm 16: “Therefore my heart is glad and my tongue rejoices; my body also will rest secure, because you will not abandon me to the realm of the dead, nor will you let your faithful one see decay. You make known to me the path of life; you will fill me with joy in your presence, with eternal pleasures at your right hand” (Psalm 16:9-11 NIV).

“… with eternal pleasures at your right hand.” - If you and I were to put our right hands out to one another, it would look like we were about to shake hands. That is the position God is standing when He is holding our right hand as referenced in Psalm 16:8. This is how we are able to keep our eyes on Him and hold His right hand with our right hand.

Now, David may not have meant his eyes were literally always on the Lord as these verses indicate. According to David Guzik when David speaks of keeping his eyes always on the Lord, “This speaks of a decision David made to put God first in his life. He determined that God would always be his focus, his perspective.”

God’s mighty right hand is reaching out to you, reaching out to me. And at God’s right hand there is:

  • Salvation – “Show me the wonders of your great love, you who save by your right hand those who take refuge in you from their foes.” Psalm 17:7 (NIV)
  • Sustaining Strength – “You make your saving help my shield, and your right hand sustains me; your help has made me great.” Psalm 18:35 (NIV)
  • Victory – “Now this I know: The Lord gives victory to his anointed. He answers him from his heavenly sanctuary with the victorious power of his right hand.” Psalm 20:6 (NIV)
  • His Righteousness – “Like your name, O God, your praise reaches to the ends of the earth; your right hand is filled with righteousness.” Psalm 48:10 (NIV)

So I will choose like David to intentionally keep God as my focus. And with God first in my life, I will not be shaken by my circumstances but will hold on to His mighty right hand.

Image courtesy of tungphoto / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Rest in His presence.

At My Right Hand

At My Right Hand - IntentionallyPursuing.com
When was the last time you felt afraid or alone? Are you facing something right now that requires more strength than what is in you? Do you know you can say with assurance God is at my right hand?

  • Walking in to the room full of people, I suddenly felt lost. I scanned the room for someone I knew, a familiar face in the crowd, an empty chair next to someone with a friendly smile.
  • He sits on his porch as I walk to the mailbox. The way he looks at me makes my skin crawl, like there simply aren’t enough clothes covering my body.
  • All eyes are on me as they wait for me to share my story. My voice squeaks and my knees shake as I wonder if my words will make a difference.

But when I am afraid, I remind myself that God is at my right hand and He promises to help me. And oh how I need His help. Holding onto Him gives me strength to keep going forward. And because He holds my right hand, I am never alone.

“For I am the Lord your God who takes hold of your right hand and says to you, Do not fear; I will help you.” Isaiah 41:13 (NIV)

“The Lord watches over you— the Lord is your shade at your right hand;” Psalm 121:5 (NIV)

“For he stands at the right hand of the needy, to save their lives from those who would condemn them.” Psalm 109:31 (NIV)

“Yet I am always with you; you hold me by my right hand.” Psalm 73:23 (NIV)

“I keep my eyes always on the Lord. With him at my right hand, I will not be shaken.” Psalm 16:8 (NIV)

And because I know God is at my right hand, I squeeze that hand when I need assurance He is there. It’s just a little reminder to myself I am not alone. With God at my right hand, I can let go of fear and grab hold of God.

Images courtesy of Praisaeng / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Rest in His presence.

Married to a Backslider

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During Bible study this week, one of the women asked for prayer because she was married to a backslider. When I told her I had been there too, she wanted to know how I got from there to where God is the center of my marriage.

Before we go any further, I want to address what the Word says about a backslider. James refers to this person as a believer who has wandered from the truth (James 5:19) and goes on to say: “remember this: Whoever turns a sinner from the error of their way will save them from death and cover over a multitude of sins” (James 5:20 NIV).

I can only speak from my own experience about what it means to be married to a backslider, but during that time Tim wasn’t walking with the Lord, had no desire to go to church, only prayed before meals out of habit or my promptings, and had one foot in the world.

Now let’s go back to my Bible study friend. Instead of painting a picture of my husband as a sinner and myself as a saint, I was quick to confess my own failings in the marriage. Because as the neck that turns the head, I have the power to influence my husband. And during that time, I was not always using my influence for good. And those little foxes that ruin the vineyards (Song of Songs 2:15) gave the enemy an open door to my marriage.

But since I was part of the problem, I was also part of the solution. So when I saw my marriage was headed for divorce, I looked to God to save my marriage. And He surrounded me with godly women who counseled me and directed me to books that had been tools of transformation in their own marriages.

I went on to tell my Bible study friend that being married to a backslider had been a blessing in my life because through it, I grew closer to God as I leaned on Him and learned three valuable lessons:

  1. Marriage takes work. We need more than date nights to hold our marriage together. We need to be applying God’s truths to our marriage. An intentional marriage happens when we pray together, learn to love the other in their own language, submit to our husband’s authority, and each have our own relationship with God.
  2. Marriage takes prayer.Wives, in the same way submit yourselves to your own husbands so that, if any of them do not believe the word, they may be won over without words by the behavior of their wives, when they see the purity and reverence of your lives” (1 Peter 3:1-2 NIV). I can’t do those things without God’s help.
  3. Marriage takes surrender. I need to surrender myself to God and make Him Lord over every area of my life. This isn’t something that happened overnight but is a continual process. Every day I need to intentionally choose to surrender my feelings and emotions to God in order to walk in obedience to Him and be led by His Spirit.

As I applied the lessons I learned, I gave God an open door to work in me and my marriage. I couldn’t change my husband. I couldn’t even change me, but I could surrender my life to the One who could change it all.

I would love to say progress was made every day, but sometimes it felt like two steps forward and three steps back. And at one point things looked worse than when we started. But when we fell, God picked us back up again and carried us through. And I hope to never take my marriage for granted again but continue to intentionally apply the lessons I learned and offer some of that same godly wisdom my friends offered me to that woman who finds herself married to a backslider.

Images courtesy of arztsamui / FreeDigitalPhotos.net 

Linked to Titus 2sday.

Rest in His presence.

Seeing Ourselves Through the Eyes of God – Seen

Seeing Ourselves Through the Eyes of God - Seen - IntentionallyPursuing.com
This year we are looking to the Word of God to uncover truths (50 in all) of how God sees each one of us. If this is your first time here or you simply need a reminder of how God sees you, click here to begin reading through the series.

Seeing Ourselves as Seen Through the Eyes of God

“She [Hagar] gave this name to the Lord who spoke to her: ‘You are the God who sees me,’ for she said, ‘I have now seen the One who sees me.'” Genesis 16:13 (NIV)

Have you ever felt like no one even sees or notices what you’re going through? Maybe it feels like even God has abandoned you.

  • Driving home from the hospital, I didn’t even have the words to pray. What if my husband didn’t make it through the surgery? They were only supposed to operate on his wrists, but they had me sign those papers on life-saving measures.
  • The scrubbing, the laundry, the ironing – the only time anyone notices what I do around here is when life gets too busy and I can’t get it all done.
  • I let the water run down my back as I recalled our most recent fight. Feeling overwhelmed and hopeless I curled up on the bottom of the shower floor and wept for my marriage.

Even though Hagar was carrying Abram’s child, Abram didn’t stand up for her when Sarai mistreated her. So Hagar didn’t think anyone would even notice or care when she ran away. But God saw what Hagar went through.

“The angel of the Lord also said to her: ‘You are now pregnant and you will give birth to a son. You shall name him Ishmael, for the Lord has heard of your misery.'” (Genesis 16:11 NIV)

When it felt like everyone had abandoned Hagar, God was still with her. When it felt like no one cared what she was going through, God gave Hagar the name Ishmael for her son, which means “God hears.” God was with Hagar, and God is with you.

  • When I drove home from the hospital, God met me in the car and surrounded me with His presence.
  • God sees the sacrifices we make in our homes and invites us to do our work as unto Him.
  • When my marriage felt hopeless, God gave me the strength to get up  and fight, not my husband, but for our marriage.

Seeing Ourselves Through the Eyes of God - Seen - IntentionallyPursuing.com
God sees all I am going through and will be the One to carry me through.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that I don’t have to go through any of this alone because You are right there beside me. You see what I am going through and have not abandoned me. You are my El Roi, the God who sees me. In Jesus’ precious Name, Amen.

“Yet I am always with You; You hold me by my right hand.” Psalm 73:23 (NIV)

Image courtesy of Simon Howden / FreeDigitalPhotos.net 

Rest in His presence.

Psalm 84:4 – My Home

Psalm 84:4 - My Home - IntentionallyPursuing.com

“Blessed are those who dwell in your house; they are ever praising you.” Psalm 84:4 (NIV)

When the worship team began singing one of my newest favorite songs, “Psalm 84″ by Celebration Worship, I closed my eyes to block out any distractions. But when it sounded like they were singing one of the lines wrong, I looked up to the screen. And instead of seeing “my hope is found in You alone,” I saw “my home is found in You alone.”

We’ve only sung the song a few times, so I shouldn’t have been surprised one of the lines of the song was different than I thought it was. But it caught me off guard. I loved proclaiming my hope is found in God alone, and at first I thought “home” was merely a typo, but actually both of the lines are in the song.

And if you look at the words of Psalm 84, you will see words like “dwelling place,” “home,” “house,” “courts,” and “house of my God” scattered throughout the chapter.

Long after the song was over, I couldn’t stop thinking about what it means to say “my home is found in You alone.” People who have become a part of a church talk about the first time they entered the doors as if they were coming home. It’s as if something within them recognized the Spirit of God residing in the house of God.

But I think finding our home in God alone is more than the walls of a church or even our own homes. The Amplified Bible expands the verse to say “Blessed …. are those who dwell in Your house and Your presence …” Let’s look at all of Psalm 84:4 in the Amplified Bible to gain a little more insight:

  • “Blessed (happy, fortunate, to be envied) …” – The blessings of His presence are available to each one of us.
  • “… are those who dwell …” – Dictionary.com defines dwell as “to live or stay as a permanent resident; reside.” This isn’t a five-minute quiet time but a continuous awareness of His presence.
  • “… in Your house and Your presence; …” – We don’t have to wait until we get to Heaven, but we can experience the blessings of God’s presence right where we are.
  • “… they will be singing Your praises all the day long …” – We can’t help but praise Him, for He alone is worthy!
  • “… Selah [pause, and calmly think of that]!”

Here is the song if you have a few minutes to listen as you dwell in His presence.

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Rest in His presence.

On Days Like That

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“On days like that I have to remind myself that I’m in love with a soul who is clothed in human flesh with the weight of the world heavy upon his shoulders.” – Darlene Schacht, Messy Beautiful Love*

The day started like any other. Our first words to each other were kind and loving. But then something was said that turned it all around. It wasn’t what was said or even how it was said.

But the words caused a shift in the conversation and then a rift between two people who love each other. Words came more quickly as lines were drawn and priorities were questioned. Then good-byes were short and formal.

On days like that God offers me a choice. I can either hold onto my anger or hold onto Him. I can choose to feed my flesh or draw near to His Spirit.

  • Holding onto my anger will bring about bitterness in my heart and cause me to separate myself from God and whoever I’m angry with.
  • Holding onto God will bring peace to my heart and open my eyes to His perspective. And from God’s perspective, I can offer grace and forgiveness.

Paul reminds us in Galatians 5:17: “For the flesh desires what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit what is contrary to the flesh. They are in conflict with each other, so that you are not to do whatever you want” (NIV).

“On such days I’m not counting my blessings too quickly because I’m too busy counting my wants, my needs, and my desires.” Darlene Schacht, Messy Beautiful Love*

That is exactly where I was. My thoughts were self-centered and me focused. I was the victim. I had done nothing wrong.

Then I ended my quiet time by reading a chapter of “Messy Beautiful Love.” And Darlene shared a day she took her blessings for granted and forgot the one she loved also carries the weight of the world upon his shoulders. She offered grace as she reminded me I had a choice to make.

On days like that I can forget how safe I feel in Tim’s arms or how his words encourage me. I can forget “every good and perfect gift is from above” (James 1:17). On days like that I can forget to thank God for Tim and count the many blessings I have in my life.

On days like that I need a reminder to exercise virtue and choose kindness. If you need that kind of reminder too, I invite you to check out Darlene Schatt’s new book “Messy Beautiful Love.” You can find out more and read the first chapter by clicking here.

On Days Like That
You can read the other post I wrote on “Messy Beautiful Love” by clicking here.

*Amazon affiliate link. Thank you for your support : )

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Linked to Titus 2sDay.

Rest in His presence.

#StoryOfMarriage – Begin Again

#StoryOfMarriage - Begin Again

“Change comes when we yield ourselves to His Spirit and submit ourselves to His Word.” John & Lisa Bevere, The Story of Marriage*

At first I didn’t notice anything different. Those same feelings rose up in me that have always rose up. Things like anger, selfishness, and bitterness were causing my shoulders to tense up and my heart to race. But there was something different about this time.

This time instead of confronting the person with my emotions, I prayed about the situation. Now, let me interrupt myself to say that confronting someone with your emotions will never yield good results. I know that from experience : (

At first nothing happened after I prayed about the situation. Well, I would experience some peace, but it wasn’t lasting. Because as soon as I talked with this person again, I quickly remembered why I was frustrated in the first place. And after the final good-bye, I would begin to replay the situation in my head and remind myself of every time I had been there for them and think how they should be there for me.

Then I would stop myself and surrender my emotions and the situation to God. I would pray for Him to cause this person to have a change of heart, which by the way He never did because as James 4:3 reminds us, sometimes our prayers aren’t answered because our motives are wrong.

In the end God worked out a much better solution than I had even imagined but not before showing me how I had changed. And I had needed to change. Before I would have felt the need to let this person know how their actions were making me feel and how this was a barrier in our relationship.

And the peace I was praying for finally came when I realized how God was producing the fruit of His Spirit in my life. “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control” (Galatians 5:22-23a NIV).

Now, I certainly don’t walk this out perfectly. And there are times my words come faster than I intend them to. But as I yield myself to His Spirit, He helps me:

  • Choose to love when I don’t feel loving.
  • Be joyful when things don’t go my way.
  • Pursue peace instead of holding onto anger.
  • Offer forbearance when I’m impatient and in a hurry.
  • Use kind words in the face of hostility.
  • Exercise good to others when they have not been good to me.
  • Be faithful and keep my word even when I’m tired.
  • Respond with a gentle tone rather than one that is harsh.
  • Use self-control by yielding to His control.

It’s tempting to pray for God to change the ones around us. And it would be easier if He would bring conviction to our husbands and change them first. But though I can’t change me, I can yield myself and allow God to change me.

This is the final post in this series on “The Story of Marriage.” Other posts in this series are: The Story of MarriageThe Original PlanBegin with the End in MindClear the DecksRise and Build, and Intimacy.

This has been one of my favorite books on marriage because as John & Lisa say in the book, “it takes two strong people to make a strong union.” And if today you want to give your marriage a reset and begin again, I invite you to “live in the now by letting go of our yesterdays while setting our hearts for what is ahead.” And this book and curriculum will help you do just that. You can find out more and read the first chapter of “The Story of Marriage” by clicking here.

Image courtesy of Aduldej / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

*Amazon affiliate link. Thank you for your support : )

Linked to Titus 2sDay.

Rest in His presence.

Seeing Ourselves Through the Eyes of God – Healed

Seeing Ourselves Through the Eyes of God - Healed - IntentionallyPursuing.com
This year we are looking to the Word of God to uncover truths (50 in all) of how God sees each one of us. If this is your first time here or you simply need a reminder of how God sees you, click here to begin reading through the series.

Seeing Ourselves as Healed Through the Eyes of God

But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was on him, and by his wounds we are healed.” Isaiah 53:5 (NIV)

As soon as I met Linda, I liked her instantly. She needed a ride home from Bible study, and my wagon had plenty of room for her wheelchair. Her home was a nursing home because her just past 40-year old body was declining. I no longer remember the disease that ravaged her body, but I do remember the sparkle in her eyes when we took a slight detour so she could see the beach and feel the wind blow through her hair from the moon roof.

It wasn’t long before her body was too weak to attend Bible study. So a call went out for volunteers to bring her lunch and break the loneliness of her confinement. I signed up for Tuesdays, and thus began our friendship.

On her good days I wheeled her around the lake outside the home.  And on one particular day I helped her stand at the railing overlooking the water. It took every ounce of her strength to hold her legs steady.

Linda wanted to get better. She wanted to stand on her own two feet and dance and run. I so wanted those things for my friend and prayed for God to heal her.

But the last time I visited her, she didn’t even know I was there. Her eyes were dilated from medicines that took away the pain. But later that day, she did dance and run when she met her Savior face to face.

Sometimes God heals us instantly.

Sometimes God heals us through doctors and medicine.

Sometimes God heals us when we get to Heaven.

My friend received her healing in Heaven. It wasn’t what we prayed for. It wasn’t what we wanted, but I know she’s dancing now.

James reminds us that “prayer offered in faith will make the sick person well; the Lord will raise them up” (James 4:15a NIV). Through prayer I’ve seen bodies healed, marriages restored, souls saved, and broken hearts made whole. So whether God heals instantly, through doctors and medicine, or up in Heaven, I will trust His sovereign plan.

Seeing Ourselves Through the Eyes of God - Healed - IntentionallyPursuing.com

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for Your mighty hand that heals the brokenhearted and binds our wounds. You are my Jehovah Rapha, the Lord who heals. Help me draw close to You when I don’t understand Your plan. In Jesus’ precious Name, Amen.

“[Jesus] was pierced for [my] rebellion, crushed for [my] sins. He was beaten so [I] could be whole. He was whipped so [I] could be healed.” Isaiah 53:5 (NLT personalized)

Image courtesy of Simon Howden / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Rest in His presence.