Prayer, Plain and Simple

Prayer, Plain and Simple

The Sex Prayer

posted by Mark Herringshaw

Last week writer Matthew Paul Turner dedicated a week on his blog, “Jesus Needs New PR” to talking about sex. He calls it “Sex Needs New PR.” Jennifer Schuchmann, my co-writer on Six Prayers God Always Answers, and Nine Ways God Always Speaks added a post on prayer and sex. In “Prayer Plain and Simple” we’re talking about praying for EVERYTHING in our lives… Sex counts too. Here’s Jennifer’s take.

I’ve been thinking about desire a lot after a recent conversation with my sister. Annie is married to a Navy man and lives in Italy in a little resort village near her husband’s port. When the men are out to sea, the Navy wives get together and hang out. Annie was surprised that they also wanted to get together when their men were home.

“I didn’t want to go out, I wanted to stay home with Tony,” she told me. “And when we did get together, I couldn’t believe what they were saying. They kept saying that they wanted their husbands to go back out to sea. They were tired of them being around. I don’t understand that,” said Annie. ” I just want to spend every waking moment with Tony. I would be happy just the two of us alone in our house forever.”

Did I mention Annie has been married for less than a year?

And her husband has been gone more than half of that year?

I think we all feel that way when we’re newly married. We can’t get enough of each other; we can’t keep our hands off each other. But somewhere down the road when we’ve been married a few years a phone conversation with a newlywed reminds us we don’t have that same passion and desire for our spouse we once did.

Is this normal?

I’m not sure if it’s normal, but it’s certainly common. Women talk. And I’ve heard women talk about how they don’t want their husband touching them because the kids have been hanging on them all day, or because they’re just too tired from their jobs and taking care of the house. They blame their husbands for not helping and when you’re mad at someone, it’s hard to get excited about having sex with him.

Sometimes desires wanes for a spouse because of physical changes. After you’ve been married for a few years, one (or both!) get a little flabbier, a little grayer, or occasionally have to take a little blue pill to get their blog up, and things just don’t seem as exciting as they once did.

My husband and I have been married for almost twenty years and we’ve experienced all of the above. (Well, except for the little blue pill but that could still be in our future.) Over time we’ve learned some ways to cope. For example, my husband knows the best aphrodisiac for me isn’t foreplay; it’s a clean house. But recently, I’ve discovered there may be another solution to an occasional lack of desire. And believe me it’s an unexpected one.

I co-authored a book with Mark Herringshaw called “Six Prayers God Always Answers.” After the book came out, I started hearing about women praying to always desire their husband. One woman prayed that she would “always thrill to her husband’s touch.” Another prayed that all her children “would be conceived in passion.”

I wrote the book on removing the awkwardness from prayer, but can I just say praying for great sex is A.W.K.W.A.R.D.?

But apparently, it works.

My friend Kelley had an authentic marriage, and by authentic I mean the kind where her husband wanted sex more than she did. But over the years, it came to the point where she never wanted it. She would lie on her back and count ceiling tiles and listen to Fox news for the thirty or so seconds it took to uh, satisfy her man. But Kelley wasn’t happy with this. She believed in her marriage and wanted to find a way to love her husband better so she started to pray. She prayed that God would help her desire her husband.

As Kelley tells it, “It worked. We’re like rabbits. I keep pouring gallons of milk down the drain just to I can send my eighteen-year-old to the store so we can have a few minutes of privacy. We’re doing it upstairs, downstairs, and on the stairs.”

The next time your spouse says, “Not now, I’ve got a headache,” consider it an invitation to pray together as a couple. In fact, I might have to talk to my publisher about revising the book before it comes out in paperback evidently, this is the seventh prayer God always answers.

-To learn more about Jennifer as well as her latest book First Things First, a collaboration with Kurt and Brenda Warner, visit JenniferSchuchmann.com.

QUESTION: How does prayer influence your sex life?

 

A prayer for anyone with a broken heart

posted by Mark Herringshaw

The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit (Psalm 34:18).

 

The image of heartbreak describing the devastating emotional pain of a broken relationship transcends culture and is expressed in the same way in almost every language.  We feel the pain of betrayal and separation deeply at the core of our soul.  It feels as if our heart really is breaking – because of course, it is. God understands this experience because he himself has lived through a broken heart.  God has been a jilted lover. Through his love for us, he has endured unfaithfulness and desertion. God understands our loneliness and identifies with us. We can talk to him about this experience and ask him for help at our deepest point of despair – because he’s been there himself!

 

Here is a prayer for those who have suffered a broken heart.

 

“God, you care deeply for broken-hearted people.  This is a promise you make: You are close.  We pray for all those who are crippled by broken relationships.  Our hearts take the blow of disappointment.  We feel crushed because our hopes are dashed.  God, heal broken hearts.  We cannot fix our own wounds.  But you can.  If pieces of our heart have been lost, or are held captive by another, recover them and bring them back to us and miraculously “put us back together” so that our heart is whole again.  You are a mender of broken hearts.  We ask for this miracle, in the name of Jesus.”

God, the Jilted Lover, a Friend of Jilted Lovers

posted by Mark Herringshaw

 

Love hurts. Last night I sat and listened to a young woman, a friend of Jill, my wife, tell the devastating story of her recent breakup with her boyfriend. I listened, then prayed that God would heal her wounds and give her miraculous hope. It will take a miracle. But God does miracles.

 

Getting close to anyone is dangerous. Loving brings the risk of disappointment. As I sat and listened and prayed, I found myself impacted by her grief and sharing her sorrow. Getting close to God can be dangerous too, not because we risk getting “dumped” – God never leaves us – but because intimacy means coming into contact with the virus of his passion.  Often God’s passion is tinged with pain, the pain he knows from being
“dumped” himself. That virus of grief is contagious.  I become infected with God’s passion when I sit and listen to his own sad stories of loves lost. God has a lot of those, even some with my name attached. But that is the cost of intimacy with anyone, even God. Get close, get some pain. Prayer, the vehicle for getting close to God ALWAYS has an emotional side. I’m not a naturally emotional person, but praying forces me there, like it or not.

 

In Six Prayers God Always Answers we relay the Old Testament story of Hosea, a man who learned by experience the agony and ecstasy of loving God.

 

Long ago, in the days of Israel’s divided kingdom, 750 years before the birth of Jesus, there lived a prudish, upright bachelor-hermit named Hosea. Hosea was known in Israel as a marginal mystic. He experienced trances and dreams and announced them to the world as the word of the Lord. Hosea was a prophet.

 

At the time, the religion of Canaan was a fertility cult that linked the land’s fruitfulness to the marital bliss of gods and goddesses. When the male god Baal and his female consort, Asherah, were intimate, the land produced crops. The worship of Baal and Asherah at local shrines became an ongoing orgy. Male and female prostitutes joined in erotic acts with worshippers to stimulate the gods and make the land fertile. By the time of Hosea, Canaanite worship had polluted Israel’s worship of YHWH.

 

With this cultural backdrop, God presented the prophet Hosea a special, though pitiable, assignment. “Go find a young Hebrew woman. Woo her. Love her. And marry her.”

 

For a bachelor like Hosea, those must have been exciting and terrifying words, especially as God continued, “But I warn you, if you love her, as you must, she will break your heart and leave you for another. Now go.”

 

Hosea obeyed.

 

Stepping outside the walls of his cloistered life he found and fell passionately in love with the young, promiscuous, and likely beautiful, party girl named Gomer. He won her hand, married her, and brought her back to the safety of his home. There they began a family together, raising three children. 

 

Time passed. We’re not told how long. But eventually God’s dire warning came true. Gomer left Hosea and her children and returned to her wild ways. It broke Hosea’s heart.

 

Gomer was typical of the young women in her culture. She was a liberated worshipper of Asherah, religiously faithful to the fertility cult. But Under Hosea’s roof, she was restrained from her promiscuity. Ultimately, she was drawn back to what she had known.

 

God again approached Hosea. “Now you know,” he said. “You know how I feel. I loved my people. I was married to them and passionately enthralled by them. But they have forgotten me.”

 

So in chapter two of Hosea we see the Creator of the universe and Hosea, this poor, broken man, sitting on the equivalent of a modern-day front porch and having a long cry together. They understand each other’s pain–the bitterness of injustice.

 

Misery loves company… because it needs company.  

 

As two jilted lovers dry their tears and wipe their noses, God turns to Hosea and says, “Go get her. Bring her back. And love her again.”

 

Hosea listens because this is what God is doing. He too has loved and been rejected, but his love never fails, and he chooses to give his heart away knowing he will be rejected again.

 

Hosea goes out into the street and finds Gomer. fees in bondage, having sold herself into temple prostitution. Hosea buys her freedom, though it costs him everything. For the balance of her bill he must barter away his own food.

 

He takes her home. Again.

 

Could it be that the injustices we experience, the anger and heartbrokenness we feel, bring us closer to God?

 

Question: Has your own broken-heart ever driven you closer to God?  

 

 

 

 

For God’s Sake, Say Something!

posted by Mark Herringshaw

I grew up with an image of Jesus as a meek and mild saint.  But when I explore the gospels I see another side of him: Jesus the warrior. 

This may not be popular notion, but it is undeniable.  Jesus came with a mission, on purpose.  He came as a liberator, and a fighter.  The question is not if Jesus fights, but how.  How do we “Fight Like Jesus?” As I look at the stories of Jesus life and examine the ways he handled conflict, I see someone who was anything but timid.  When Jesus entered a battle he fought not with physical weapons, but with words.  Jesus sees the primary conflict in the universe as a war of words.  He defeated his foes – which were not human – by what he said.  He enlists us, and invites us to borrow his words and join the fray – as we pray!

I have fleshed out this idea in a short ebook called, Fight Like Jesus. It’s available for free download on Prodigal Get it. Read it. Then let’s talk.

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