This post is part of the #RealWomenPray online Bible study: “Fervent: A Woman’s Battle Plan for Serious, Specific, Strategic Prayer” by Priscilla Shirer.
“I urge you, for the sake of your family, take the fight into your prayer room rather than your living room…Get ready to go to war for your family. And get ready to see some changes you’ve never seen happen before.” Priscilla Shirer, Fervent
Our marriage is a living example of Christ’s relationship and deep love for us—His bride. It is a symbol of covenant, love, and unity. And the enemy hates it. He wants to dismantle our marriage and our family by causing discord, disunity, and strife. He wants to destroy the testimony of Christ in our home.
Satan will use the slightest things to set off disagreements and misunderstandings in our home because he recognizes God can and does use our marriage as a place to birth ministry to others.
When the frustrations and irritations begin to well up in our marriage, we must remember who the real enemy is…him, and no, that “him” is not your husband.
We must realize when the enemy is starting his subtle schemes, attempting to go undetected and have us turn on each other. He doesn’t want our marriage to be an example to anyone else of God’s covenant and unity.
One of the biggest areas the enemy will cause discord is over the topic of submission. Gasp! Yes, we are going to go there. Because submission has gotten a bad reputation and it’s all the enemy’s fault.
“When scripture counsels husbands to love and lead their wives, even when it counsels us wives to submit to our husbands…[it is so that] our homes will reflect on earth the order of God’s relationship with us.” (Fervent, page 76)
Did you know just in this portion of Ephesians alone, God mentions submission only twice (respect is mentioned once) and He directs husbands to love their wives four times? That’s twice as much that the scripture addresses the husband’s conduct than it does the wife’s.
Yet, we often put the focus solely on submission. Listen, submission is not being subservient. According to Eph. 5:24 we are submit to our husbands in the same way the church submits to Christ.
So, how does the church submit to Christ? We have trust in His ability to lead us where He knows there is peace, safety, goodness, and blessing and we willingly follow Him out of obedience and love.
We, too, must trust the leading of our spouse and willingly follow Him out of obedience and love. This doesn’t mean we become a doormat, but rather we serve our marriage from a heart of deep love.
No one would think of calling Jesus subservient when He took off His robe, put on a rag, and washed the feet of HIs disciples (John 13:1-20). He was humbly showing “a servant is not greater than his master” (v. 16) by displaying His passionate love for His friends.
Admittedly, it is hard to submit to the leading of our spouse if they are unwilling to lead out of love. Remember, the scripture addresses their responsibility to love as Christ loved the church. This is a sacrificial love. Giving of himself for his wife and his family.
In it’s simplest form, a good marriage relies on a wife willing to love so deeply she willingly submits and serves a husband that sacrificially loves his wife and pours out his affection through gently leading her to the goodness and blessings of God.
Ah, peace and harmony in the home. Right? Until the enemy edges his way in and brings up feelings of pride, control, manipulation, distrust, and selfishness.
We must remember, those are his lies and not God’s truth. Maybe we need to keep Ephesians 5 bookmarked in our Bible and read it several times a week until it seeps its way into our heart and transforms our way of thinking.
We must stop trying to change each other, or control the situation(s). We must hit our knees in specific prayer and trust God to handle any areas of our marriage that need to be fixed. Trust Him—He can more than handle it!
Don’t be surprised though when God begins to change you! Yes, He will also deal with our spouse, but He also wants to grow us in relationship. He won’t change your spouse and leave you unchanged.
And don’t think that while we are distracted in the area of our marriage that the enemy forgot about our children. Oh, no, he remembers. That’s why he has us and our spouse over in the corner fighting; now our children are vulnerable and easy targets for him.
He will attack the strength and weaknesses of our children to prevent them from growing strong in their relationship with God. He wants nothing more than to see them walk away from God disheartened, disillusioned and convinced that He has nothing to offer them.
Be specific in your prayers for your children. Call out those strong characteristics they have and ask God to use them for His glory. Ask for God to strengthen those places where they are weak—protecting them from attacks.
This chapter also addresses other family members. Please be sure to read pages 83-85.
Let’s do some hard work.
*Spend some real time listing out the areas where you are struggling in your marriage. Get it all out. Be honest. You do not have to share this with anyone. But if you want to see victory in your home, you must be willing to go to hard places in your heart. Otherwise, you wouldn’t be praying fervent, specific prayers that defeat the enemy. This may take some time; don’t rush.
Once you have finished making your list for your marriage, start with your children.
*Make a separate journal page for each child.
*Call them by name
*List their strengths and weaknesses.
*List the areas where you currently see them struggling.
*Begin to list out your prayers for their future.
If you have other family relationships where there is disunity, begin listing each family member on a separate journal page. Again, be honest and take time; don’t rush.
If you are single, or without children, take the opportunity to begin praying for those relationships for the future. List out the qualities you want for your marriage or the characteristics you desire for your future children. Be specific.
Let’s chat: Leave your thoughts in the comments below.
Call to Prayer
Nothing should move you towards fervent prayer like your family. Take these lists that you have made and begin to write detailed, specific prayers for each person. Take your time.
Place these prayers in a place where you can go daily to read them and pray over your spouse and children. Keep these pages as long as it takes for victory to be evident, then make a notation of the date and how God answered your prayers. Consider giving these to your children as a gift when they leave home, if appropriate. What a beautiful legacy to leave our children—answered prayer!
Write out your prayer using one of the suggested scriptures in the book or choose another scripture that speaks to you. Use the P.R.A.Y. points on pages 21-22 to help you write personal, specific prayers.
Jesus, we thank You for our beautiful family. We thank You for our marriages that have weathered storms and are still strong. We thank You for blessing us with children to fill our hearts with joy. Lord, we ask Your forgiveness when we have pushed You out of the way and tried to control and manipulate situations in our homes. We are sorry for thinking we know better than You. Now we ask You to help us trust You in every aspect of our marriage and with our children. Help us to remember You love them even more than we do; You want better for them than we would ever dream. Father, give us insight to all the ways the enemy is causing discord in our family and help us to find encouragement and strength in Your word. Give us the prayers to fight for our family. We praise You for the victories that have already been won and those we have yet to see, but we know are finished in the spiritual realm. Help us fight for our family, Lord. In Jesus’ name, Amen.