The calling of a pastor's wife can be confusing at times and our roles somewhat ambiguously defined or generically categorized. We are all different and we all bring to our husbands' ministries a unique set of skills. I have always felt my calling to write and speak, though I have not always pursued it. I have always had a teaching gift and, thankfully, have watched God bring fruit in this area over the years as a minister's wife.
But one thing that I did not see as clearly, and therefore didn't practice completely, was my role as the woman God chose to cover my "man of God" with prayer. In fact, only recently have I discovered this power as it relates to my husband. His personal needs, his private needs, his ministry strengths and weaknesses, his hurts, his frustrations, his fears and his anxieties. No one sees them better than I, and no one can relate to them more completely, and no one feels the passion or compassion that I do about him or what he is facing, so how could I neglect so great a responsibility? What was I thinking?
Oh, I have prayed over the years, but never with the kind of awareness and confidence that I pray now. In years gone by, I have prayed for him and the church, but most of the time AFTER a crisis or catastrophe, asking God to clean it up, fix it, heal it or restore it! I hope that you are saying, "Well, Stephanie, I have known this for years, and have been praying offensively ever since our first day in the ministry." In fact, maybe I am the ONLY pastor's wife who didn't get this until now!
As I wrote this article, we were out in Van Nuys, Calif., where my husband was attending Rev. Jack Hayford's School of Pastoral Nurture. He has attended Consultation I, II, and now III. All have been extraordinary, and I highly recommend them. I have accompanied my husband to all three sessions. They are one-week long (7:30 am — 8:30 pm everyday). I say I accompanied him because I am simply his traveling companion. I stay in the hotel while he is in the sessions, and am there to greet him when he returns to the room where he can tell me all about his day. (Though, if you've been around Dr. Hayford much, you know what a challenge it is to repeat what he so eloquently and profoundly communicates, especially when he has been teaching for eight hours!)
Anyway, while in the hotel room, I write . . . and write . . . and write. I can get away from my SWM responsibilities and focus on writing. Another one of my mandates since the first consultation with Dr. Hayford was to pray for Jack while he attends class each day. So I spend one to two hours praying for my husband each day. Now, before you request a sainthood mantle for me, just know that I do this by the pool. There, that settles that.
Well, this year I used Stormie Omartian's book, The Power of a Praying Wife. The book has 30 chapters (perfect to pray through every month). I took the book, divided it into five days and read six chapters a day, praying for Jack on six topics each day. Wow!!! This was transforming! Not for my husband (that I can see), but for ME! The complete focus, the conscious determination, the deliberate intercession, the calculated intervention and the deep connection I felt were truly unsurpassed.
Every pastor's wife needs to buy this book. Every plumber's wife needs to read this book! Though the book is written with any man in mind, I was so able to translate it into the ministry and realized that a pastor has an even greater need for the specific prayer cover Stormie communicates throughout the chapters. It is an effective and divinely inspired process for praying for our "man of God."
Whatever book you use, process you follow or plan you devise, the important thing is that you "just do it!" Our husbands encounter temptations every day, so we need to be on the offensive in prayer, under-girding them and asking for their protection as well as wisdom for their decisions in the area of work, finances, sexuality, insecurity, integrity, priorities, trials, attitude, relationships, emotions, obedience, self-image, faith and future — just to name a few of the issues faced by our pastor/husbands.
I don't know about you, but I have never been around guns. Since I have no experience with one and do not even know how to "turn one on," I would be considered dangerous if one were in my hand; dangerous, not to an enemy, but dangerous to myself and innocent bystanders! But "armed" with the gospel and prayer, I am dangerous to the enemy and he knows it! So he would desire to keep me from any knowledge of this mighty weapon, and ignorant of its power as long as he could. Well, look out enemy, 'cause this woman is now "armed and dangerous!"
The enemy is seeking to devour you and your husband, too. If he can devour you, he can devour your church. If he can devour your church, he can devour your city. We must be diligent and become a "watchman" on the wall for our husbands and our ministries. The enemy's power is diminished and rendered basically ineffective IF we will take an offensive position in prayer.
Don't worry. There will still be opportunity to pray defensively because crisis and catastrophe will still come, but I think it will come less and less as we charge the forces of hell and push them back offensively. For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty in God for pulling down strongholds, casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God (2 Cor. 10:4-5a).
I have been guilty of fighting using carnal weapons as opposed to the recommended and proven spiritual ones. I have often been known to reach for justification, reason and excuses, as well as anger, resentment and arrogance. I have found them to be powerful only in the pulling down of a reputation . . . mine. They have never worked, so why do I keep using them? It is like looking for something that you are sure is in your purse and coming back to the purse again and again, looking where you have already looked and not found it!!! But somehow, you think that between the last time you looked and this time someone may have slipped it in there and this time when you look it will be there! Duh? It's not there and no matter how many times you look, it still won't be there! Our carnal weapons do not work! When are we going to get it? How many times do we have to try them before we accept this fact?
The Word tells me that, if I walk in the spirit, I will not fulfill the lusts of the flesh. It doesn't say I won't be tempted to, it just says I won't fulfill them. I am believing the Holy Spirit to prompt me to walk in the spirit through prayer on a more regular basis, and that I will make more of an effort to cover my husband, our marriage and our ministry with intentional, effective and fervent prayer because God promises that this type of prayer "avails much!" I'm sure it will work a whole lot better than "HELP!"
I sometimes feel that people are shocked to discover that my husband has limitations, that he has the same number of hours in his day that they do in theirs.
Who can find a virtuous wife? For her worth is far above rubies. I don't feel like my husband found one. At least, not today . . . well, not this week . . . okay, so maybe longer. Worth? Somewhere around a "cat's eye" marble.