Summary: How does God want me to pray?
We’re going to be talking about four letter words that, when used here in the Church make us cringe, raise an eyebrow or we shy away from because they make us uncomfortable. And I’m not talking about curse words, although we might give a similar reaction. I’m talking about spiritual disciplines.
I truly believe the four things we’re going to talk about in this series, these four letter words, are oftentimes desired in our lives. But too often they are dodged because we don’t understand them, we don’t know what God wants from them, or we’ve been misinformed about them. So my prayer is that out of this series, we would each gain a new passion, a new desire to live out these disciplines in the way God has designed for our lives.
Take a quick poll to set up an illustration. Just for men today.
1. Men, by show of hands, how many of you are married?
2. How many of you married men consider yourselves to be romantic by nature?
3. Harder to be honest with this next one. Married men, how many of you became less romantic after you got married?
Now, I’m not saying this is a good thing, I’m just stating facts. For me, after I got married, I didn’t focus on romance as much as I should have or as much as I did when we were dating. I think a lot of guys suffer from that. For most of us it just happens naturally. It’s just the way we are wired. Now this is going to sound horrible, but as guys we are often task oriented people and competitive by nature. So, when we’re dating or when we’re engaged, the task is to win her heart. And when our girlfriends or our fiancés become our wife we default into victory mode. The task is complete. We won the heart. And when we get married in victory mode, we unfortunately no longer try as hard to win her heart.
Before Sabrina and I were married, I did a really good job of seeking her. Of finding out what she wanted or what she needed and doing those things for her for random or special occasions. The first birthday that Sabrina had while we were dating, I knew that she liked to cuddle with something while she slept. So I bought her a new stuffed animal. I gave it to her with a card that said something like this. “When you’re feeling lonely or scared, just hold this bear and think about me. I’ll be there for you. These 5 words I swear to you. When you breathe I wanna be the air for you……” Bon Jovi goes a long way with the ladies. And I probably also stole a line from Bryan Adams…. P.S. – everything I do, I do it for you.
Another occasion Sabrina was talking about how she loved to read in a rocking chair. She didn’t have one. I didn’t have a lot of money, but I saved up some money from a job I had. I went and bought a used rocking chair and loaded it up in the back of my parent’s minivan. I went over to her house. Blind folded Sabrina, walked her down, opened up the back doors of that mini-van (pretty sure Chicago’s greatest hits were playing) and I undid the blind fold and there was the rocking chair and she was overwhelmed with gratitude for these things I was doing for her. Those are the kinds of things I did for Sabrina before we were married; the ways I sought her and served her. As I said, after we got married I didn’t do such a good job of that. Not that I loved her less or cared about her more when we were dating. It just didn’t seem as important as it did before. If you haven’t caught on, the first couple of years of our marriage I wasn’t the greatest husband. If you asked Sabrina now, I think she would say I’ve turned things around dramatically. But to be honest, God had to do a work in my heart to get me over myself and start seeking, serving and spoiling my wife. Not so I could win her heart. I already had her heart. It’s what she deserved and it’s the way God called me to treat her regardless of who she is… whether she’s my wife or not. So God changed that in my heart and I believe I’m totally different today than I was when we got married. Now, I keep an Evernote file on my iPhone that syncs with my computer and my iPad. There’s a note in there called Sabrina’s favorite things. And if we’re driving down the road or at the mall shopping and she says in passing “I’d love to go there” or “I’d love to have that”, I put it in my iPhone notes and keep track of when I can give her those things. Right now there are 21 things that she’s mentioned or alluded to.