I've joined with over 1,500 other women who have committed to pray for our husbands every day this June, and since I'm about halfway through the month, I thought I should mention it here. We are actually using a book called "The Power of a Praying Wife" by Stormie Omartian (if I could figure out how to put links in this post, I'd hook you up with Amazon.com).
The benefits of such an act are, of course, that I'm taking the time to care about the many aspects of my husband's daily life (his work, health, choices, fears, integrity, trials, etc.), which is both encouraging to him and humbling for me. And it's pretty powerful to think about the hundreds of other women who are praying 'with' me each day.
But I've also been reminded that this just isn't how I was made to live my spiritual life.
Most Christians attempt to have some kind of daily "Quiet Time", which generally lasts 15-30 minutes(?) and includes some reading of the Bible and prayer. The first 3 years of my marriage (which were also my first few years as a Christian), I had a QT every morning before going to work. I was religious about getting this "time with God" at the beginning of my day. But during one of our many arguments during this period of our marriage, my husband not-so-gently made an insightful comment to me. In one of my less than pretty moments, Michael pointed out that though I prayed and read my Bible more than he did, I was no more graceful, kind, patient, or loving. He asked me what the point of all that QT was if it had no effect on my character or behavior.
Good call, honey. So I stopped. I stopped putting "time with God" in a narrow box that dictated what time of day and in what manner I would talk to him (and maybe even listen). I stopped the religious rules with myself and started paying attention to my natural inclinations. God made me a rule-breaker, a risk-taker, an in-the-moment-conversationalist. In my nearly 10 years of walking with Jesus, I've never heard his voice when I've sat quietly alone; but I can guarantee that he'll be talking to me when I'm with a crowd of people or while I'm dancing or when I'm listening to an athiest share his story.
God is talking all day long. The Spirit of God is moving in every corner of my day. Jesus is listening to the deepest parts of my heart even when I'm not paying attention to myself. By stopping my Quiet Time, I was starting to LIVE with Jesus.
So, committing to pray for these 30 days has been rather, well, boring for me. Doing the same thing in the same way every day - it's not very adventurous. Don't get me wrong - discipline is good, and I need a little of that every now and again. And I know that God made people, very different from me, who find great fulfillment in a daily routine.
But I also know myself. I've taken solitary spiritual retreats. I've had personal days of journaling, reading, and praying. And, while I believe such alone time is inherently valuable (and necessary), it's not the richest experience of God for me. God is in the movement of my life, not the stillness. What great freedom to worship that way!