You might be wondering why I am praying for my husband who chose to betray our marriage covenant. Honestly, sometimes I wonder the same thing.
Max Lucado’s writes in his book, Anxious for Nothing, “The path to peace is paved with prayer.” In these days of utter turmoil, peace sounds very very good.
(I find myself pausing here to breathe. Deep, lung-filling breath. In through the nose, hold it in for a second or two and then exhale out through the mouth. Peace. Take a moment to be kind to yourself. Do you even remember the last time you took a long, deep breath? Close your eyes. Be still. Breathe in some peace right now before moving on to read the rest of this article. Take a moment to soak in the feelings of peace.)
In Lysa TerKeurst book, It’s Not Supposed to Be This Way, she breaks Psalm 51 down in such a way that allowed its meaning to burrow down into my soul. If David, one who committed unthinkable, sinful acts, can sing a song asking God for change and restoration, perhaps my husband will ask the same and be granted the same measure of grace God gave David. And what a gift it is to have the opportunity to participate in and witness that hoped-for change and restoration.
Something I don’t want you to read here is that I think praying for my husband lets him off the hook for his actions. All things can be forgiven but not all things can be excused. Something else I don’t want you to read is that I think I’m somehow better than my husband and I come to this prayer from a place of arrogance. I haven’t done what he has done but I, too, have my broken places and am a sinner in need of grace.
Here are five quick things I now about prayer in the realm of marriage betrayal:
- Praying for my husband does not excuse or condone his choices.
- Prayer does not promise a certain outcome of the relationship.
- Prayer may not soften my husband’s heart but it will soften mine.
- Praying doesn’t take the place of actively seeking healing.
- Good comes from prayer–no matter what the circumstances or ultimate outcome.
Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.
Do not quench the Spirit. Do not treat prophecies with contempt but test them all; hold on to what is good, reject every kind of evil.
May God himself, the God of peace, sanctify you through and through. May your whole spirit, soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. The one who calls you is faithful, and he will do it. 1 Thessalonians 5:16-23 (NIV)
After reading Lysa TerKeurst’s book, I have committed to focus on praying Psalm 51 over my husband. If you are in a season of healing from betrayal, I would like to cyber hug you and tell you how I genuinely wish you weren’t. I wish I weren’t either. But, alas, here we are. So, let’s join together and pray Psalm 51 over our husbands. Let’s pray for their hearts to be softened toward repentance and renewal. Oh, what a hoped-for day when we see our husband’s spirits, souls, and bodies find their way to integrity.
With a humble heart, pray with me.
For the director of music. A Psalm of David. When the prophet Nathan came to him after David had committed adultery with Bathsheba.
1 Have mercy on (him), O God,
according to your unfailing love;
according to your great compassion
blot out (his) transgressions.
2 Wash away all (his) iniquity
and cleanse (him) from (his) sin.
3 For (he) know(s) (his) transgressions,
and (his) sin is always before (him).
4 Against you, you only, (has he) sinned
and done what is evil in your sight;
so you are right in your verdict
and justified when you judge.
5 Surely (he) was sinful at birth,
sinful from the time (his) mother conceived (him).
6 Yet you desired faithfulness even in the womb;
you taught (him) wisdom in that secret place.
7 Cleanse (him) with hyssop, and (he) will be clean;
wash (him), and (he) will be whiter than snow.
8 Let (him) hear joy and gladness;
let the bones you have crushed rejoice.
9 Hide your face from (his) sins
and blot out all (his) iniquity.
10 Create in (him) a pure heart, O God,
and renew a steadfast spirit within (him).
11 Do not cast (him) from your presence
or take your Holy Spirit from (him).
12 Restore to (him) the joy of your salvation
and grant (him) a willing spirit, to sustain (him).
13 (That he) will teach transgressors your ways,
so that sinners will turn back to you.
14 Deliver (him) from the guilt of bloodshed, O God,
you who are God (his) Savior,
and (may his) tongue sing of your righteousness.
15 Open (his) lips, Lord,
(may his) mouth declare your praise.
16 You do not delight in sacrifice, or (he) would bring it;
you do not take pleasure in burnt offerings.
17 (May his) sacrifice, O God, (be) a broken spirit;
a broken and contrite heart
you, God, will not despise.
18 May it please you to prosper Zion,
to build up the walls of Jerusalem.
19 Then you will delight in the sacrifices of the righteous,
in burnt offerings offered whole;
then bulls will be offered on your altar.
May our tears of sorrow become tears of redemptive joy. “The one who calls you is faithful, and he will do it.” 1 Thessalonians 5:23( NIV)