Why doesn’t God answer my prayers? Doesn’t He care?
Maybe He’s waiting for me to do something. I know what I can do…
This is the second in a six-part series (posting every Wednesday) about some of the “worse” times Don and I have experienced and how God led us through. Click here for the series introduction.
This week’s topic: Weariness
This week’s topic: Weariness
When I got married, I knew I needed to pray for my husband every day. Excitedly, I collected several powerful scriptures, inserted Don’s name, and began my daily prayer ritual. Don was so blessed to have an awesome prayer warrior as his wife!
Naturally, I expected to see changes in him because I was praying Scripture, and God answers those prayers. Overnight, immediate, tangible changes.
That didn’t happen (surprise!). So I helped God by making suggestions to Don about how he could be closer to God. When suggesting didn’t work, I moved to tantrums. You can probably imagine how well that worked.
In the meantime, I stopped praying. Discouraged, suffering, and tired of waiting for God to act, I gave up.
Then I read verses like these (both NIV).
Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. (Romans 5:3-4)
And the God of all grace, who called you to his eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while, will himself restore you and make you strong, firm and steadfast. (1 Peter 5:10)
Inspired, I’d start praying again, hopeful my suffering would be fruitful. Impatient and discouraged, I tried once again to get Don to change. When that failed, I gave up, again.
Then I tried a new approach. Maybe I needed to be more specific with my prayers. I figured a few good suggestions on what Don needed for his spiritual growth would be helpful to God. After all, as his wife, I knew him better than anyone.
In response, God humbled me. After trying for weeks to get Don to notice and change something, I raised my hands in surrender and said, “God, he’s yours, you talk to him. If you don’t, well, whatever, I’m moving on.” With a big sigh, I let go and felt peace no matter the outcome.
A few hours later, Don came home and said, “You know, I’ve been thinking, and I need to _________.” Yes, you guessed it. The very thing I tried to change for weeks, God changed in a few hours.
You’d think I would have learned, but I didn’t. The weariness cycle continued. For years.
Truth was, how could I expect God to answer my prayers for Don when my actions toward Don were so unloving?
Then someone gave me Stormie O’Martian’s book, “The Power of a Praying Wife.” It’s a book of 30 days of specifically themed prayers you can pray for your husband, one topic for each day. But the first chapter is titled, “The Wife”. This chapter addresses heart and attitude issues in the wife that must be addressed before prayers for her husband can be effective.
The first time I read the Wife Chapter, I realized many of my motives for wanting Don to change were selfish. No wonder I was worn out! Convicted, heartbroken, and repentant, I began to work on my attitude and behavior toward Don. I allowed God to change me, and gave Don to Him for changing.
Of course, things weren’t “happily ever after” forever. I still lapse into the cycle sometimes. I still need to read the Wife Chapter periodically to adjust my heart attitudes when day-to-day living causes me to forget.
As I look back over the years, I see God has indeed answered many of my prayers for Don, and for our marriage. He answered in His way, in His perfect timing, for our best.
Best of all, He answered (and continues to answer) my prayers to make me a more loving wife.
- We often become weary because our focus is on making things happen (“do” in our own strength) instead of trusting God with timing and results.
- Sometimes our prayers are not answered because we pray with selfish motives (James 4:3).
- Surrendering and giving up are not the same. Surrendering is trusting God to do what you cannot, resulting in peace. Giving up is rebellious inactivity, resulting in frustration.
- God doesn’t need our help. He knows and loves our spouses more than we ever could.
- The only person we have control over changing is ourselves, especially how we treat our spouses (vs. trying to change how they treat us).
- The weariness cycle is part of life. The goal is not to stop the cycle, but to handle it differently as we grow in Christ.
- We all need help and reminders to keep us correctly focused.
- Stormie O’Martian’s book is a must-have for all wives. She also wrote a book for husbands.
My weariness often resulted from wrong focus – trying to "help" God change Don instead of working on myself.
But weariness also comes from enduring through tough times while waiting for God to act. Instead of giving up or taking control, surrender your weariness to God and ask Him to strengthen you. Receive His grace to keep on going. He is faithful. He’ll meet you where you are.
Next up: Offense
TODAY’S CHALLENGE: In what area of your marriage are you most weary from not seeing the change you’d like to see? Surrender that concern to God, and ask Him for grace to remain surrendered. And, ask Him to change you!
Also, if you know someone else who may be blessed by this series, please share the link with them.