Pray Anyway

You don’t have to believe in God to pray. That’s what our Sexual Recovery Therapist told my husband as he outlined the sex addiction recovery program my husband was about to begin. Having a day bookended by prayer wouldn’t have fazed me too much. As a Christian, I didn’t spend as much time talking to God as I could or should have. Twice a day would have been a stretch. But something I would have readily agreed to as a part of my recovery program.

And yet it wasn’t me seeking healing from a pornography addiction, compulsive masturbation and intimacy anorexia. It was my husband. A man who did not believe in the existence of God.

I was highly doubtful that my non-believing husband would agree to pray. My eyes had been glued to our counsellor’s face, grasping every bit of hope his words were offering us. The hope began to fade as I apprehensively glanced at my husband, anticipating his resistance to this instruction to talk to God every morning and every night. He was hesitant.  I saw the conflict on his face. Desiring freedom, but struggling to accept that prayer was part of the answer.

Our counsellor recognized the wrestling occurring in my husband’s heart. As he offered the encouragement that “You don’t have to believe in God to pray,” my husband slowly nodded his head and agreed to the plan.

I don’t know if my husband did pray every morning and evening. Or if he did, what words and emotions those awkward prayers must have included. What I do know is that twenty six days later, my husband asked me if I would begin praying together with him as part of an exercise to rebuild intimacy in our marriage.

I avoided answering the question. On my own, I pleaded, cried, spewed to God throughout my day. Now it was me wrestling with this strange idea to pray together. Although my husband had begun attending church with me the previous weeks, he was not yet ready to accept his need for a Saviour. And even though he was fully embracing his recovery program, my heart was unsure of just what exactly I was committing myself to by agreeing to establish spiritual intimacy while my pain was still so raw and fresh and our future unknown.

He pressed for an answer. His vulnerability was both endearing and unnerving. He was opening his heart to me, and to the world, and inviting me to do the same. A risky endeavour for both of us. That he was willing to take. Which, in my mind, distorted the dynamics of our relationship.  It had always been much easier and more comfortable for me to portray my husband as the villain. But now, as his character was consistently shifting in a positive direction, it ultimately required me to adjust alongside him lest we exchange roles and I become the monster in his place. I said yes.

He took my hands in his. And then his voice led the way in uniting our three hearts together in one intimate conversation. It wasn’t as scary as I had anticipated. I faltered in my words. In expressing my true feelings and thoughts. It wasn’t an eloquent prayer. But it was us. And I told my husband that night that even if we don’t say the right words, God knows what the prayer in our heart is.

We prayed together the next night too. And the following one. And for every day since that pivotal night on January 29, 2015. Even when circumstances physically separate us, praying jointly remains a steadfast component of our bedtime routines. By phone, text or email it happens.  One of the most loving, romantic gestures I have received was a prayer tucked in an envelope and carefully placed on my pillow the first time we were apart. Another cherished memory was praying together in a plane somewhere over the Atlantic Ocean in the minutes before midnight to ensure our commitment to praying together daily didn’t lapse because of a time zone change.

And then after seventeen months of praying daily together, a hiccup occurred. And this time, only one of us was able to pray. But it was enough…….

My husband was taken by ambulance to the hospital. Conscious, but with complete vision loss and confusion. When I arrived in the emergency room, and was given the opportunity to talk to him, I approached the bed, anticipating that my arrival would calm him. I gently told him I was there. He asked me who I was. I said “Cynthia.” He didn’t know who that was. I said “Your wife.” And he replied that he did not know my voice. He became even more upset and agitated than he already was and began to cry.

I started praying out loud for him. Right there in that emergency room. And as my words flowed, I watched the tension ease from his body and relax.

The next day, he told me that when I started praying, that was when he knew it was me. His heart and altered mental state recognized me by the words and cadence of my prayer. That was only possible because we had been praying together daily. And because I had learned how to pray out loud and was bold enough to use the new skills God had been developing in me. A year and a half earlier, my husband never would have known I was at his side. Or that God was.

My husband was heart broken in the following days that he had missed praying with me that night. I assured him that he hadn’t. I may have been the only one who spoke the words, but our hearts were united with each other and God.

Pray anyway. It just may lead to your own blessing and miracle. 

Look to the Lord and His strength; seek His face always. 1 Chronicles 16:11

25 thoughts on “Pray Anyway

    • It was PRES – Posterior Reversible Encephalopathy Syndrome. Key word reversible! It was caused by a spike in his blood pressure so once that was lowered and stabilized he was back to normal in a few days. No ill effects, but he is on medication now to prevent another scary episode. It was a crazy experience for both of us, but I was covered in an amazing peace and strength the entire time. I have a friend who works in a hospital and sees emergencies and distraught families all the time and she just asked me who the heck was praying for us?!

      Liked by 3 people

    • It was a frightening experience and yet not. My peace and ability to function calmly at the time was surreal. There was absolutely no doubt that God was covering us every moment.

      I think it was finally time for me to share this story, because as powerful an experience as it was, it was beginning to fade. It is me as much as anyone else who needs a reminder of God’s faithfulness and protection when I begin getting bogged down again by the little things, and lose focus on the really big things God has done for me, my husband and our marriage.

      Liked by 1 person

  1. Cynthia, I am so glad to hear that your husband recovered from his ordeal by a miracle of God, by the power of prayer. It sounds as though your marriage has healed, too. And, that is awesome. What I did not see in your testimony was that he is now a believer in Jesus Christ or when that occurred. Did I miss that somehow? I don’t want to miss that. Also, I was wondering if he has fully recovered from his sex addiction. That would be another thing to praise the Lord for. It sounds as though he was headed that direction. I hope for you and him that he now believes in Jesus, that he is following the Lord with his life, and that he and you and your marriage have healed from his sex addiction. That would be absolutely awesome! Thank you so much for sharing your testimony. It is a blessing!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Ah, Sue, I am glad that my testimony blessed you as much as it is blessing me.

      You are right that there are missing pieces in this post since I emphasized the prayer aspect and not my husband’s salvation. I had previously told that story in my post “I Gave God an Ultimatum”. So, yes, my husband is now a believer in Jesus Christ. It occurred about two months into our recovery, which was about a month after we began praying together in the “Three Dailies.” Although I chose to focus on the prayer component in this post, we also share two feelings from our day, and give each other two praises/affirmations along with praying together. Anyway, it was a bittersweet two months watching God opening my husband’s heart. Our counsellor asked me at one of my sessions how it felt to “watch my husband becoming a Christian.” Truthfully, it wasn’t a joyful celebration at the time for me when my pain was still so raw. And I also had our joint disclosures (he didn’t know about mine – there’s another post “Twas the Night Before Disclosures”) looming over me three days later. But it did offer me a glimpse of God’s vision in restoring two wounded people and a broken marriage. Even though I was still far from okay, I was beginning to believe that I would be as I recognized God’s sovereign hand setting both of us on a path to healing.

      I’m not sure if my husband has “fully” recovered from his sex addiction. But he has been sober for almost four years now and is doing really, really well. As am I. Our marriage has improved exponentially and become a tremendous blessing to me. I find great delight in serving together at church as a couple. But there are some scars remaining, though fading. Rebuilding and redeeming our sexual intimacy has been challenging, and I am often discouraged. But it keeps us seeking God and complete restoration. So maybe one day those prayers will be answered too 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      • Cynthia, thank you for sharing that with me. I don’t know if you know this or not, but my husband is a lust addict, and has been even before he ever met me, and we have been married 46 years. He has always claimed to believe in Jesus, but his actions have always said the opposite, so that has been very difficult. I am still praying for a miracle, but he (my husband) is not yet in the recovery stage.

        It is very complicated. I wrote about it on my blog Walkingwounded.blog. It is in book form. The book is titled, “I Married My Dad.” I know God is working, and I am just following His lead in all of this. So, I can pray for you and your marriage and your husband and you can pray for me and my marriage and my husband, ok?

        I am so glad to hear about your husband’s salvation. I understand disclosure. My husband and I both made some serious disclosures via our blogs and this book, which he approved, but I sense he has more to come (to reveal), but that he is not yet ready. But, God is at work on his heart, so I wait prayerfully.

        Like

      • Yes, I would love it if we became prayer partners and warriors for each other, our husbands and our marriages! There is definitely power in prayer and interceding.

        It is so tough waiting for God’s timing, isn’t it?! Sometimes it is hard to remember His timing is perfect when it seems to be taking so very long. It is easy to lose hope and feel discouraged. I mean, I can understand waiting weeks, months, a year, but when each year turns into another year……. I am glad to hear that you continue to pray and wait for your miracle. I’m sure that is harder to do some days than others, but you are doing it faithfully. God is indeed working in both of your hearts. xo

        Liked by 1 person

      • Cynthia, that would be wonderful to become prayer partners. You can reach me privately at cfservant@gmail.com, if you want to do it that way, or we can do it this way.

        Yes, it is tough waiting on God’s timing. The Lord gave me a poem about that yesterday:

        Give it A Rest

        An Original Work / September 22, 2018

        When we don’t understand,
        Trust His plan.
        When life doesn’t make sense,
        Trust His ways.

        When things often confuse,
        Trust His care.
        When the answers don’t come,
        Trust His grace.

        When the myst’ries are there,
        Say a prayer.
        When bewilderment nods,
        Overcome.

        When complexities scheme,
        Know He’s there.
        When we can’t trust in man,
        Rest in God.

        For, we may never know
        What’s in store,
        Or how God’s working right
        To the core.

        For, we can’t always see
        What’s ahead,
        Or how God’s working things
        Out, instead.

        So, when life’s complications
        Get bad,
        And, we fear that we now
        Have been had,

        Trust in Jesus to work
        For our best,
        And, give anx-i-e-ty
        A good rest.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Reblogged this on Something to Stu Over and commented:
    This brought me to tears. People just do not understand the power of prayer until they truly witness it first hand.

    I am just blown away by this post and the openness in which Cynthia shares her story with us. What a powerful testimony of what God can do if we simply get out of His way.

    God bless you sis!

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Pingback: I Gave God an Ultimatum | Tears in a Bottle

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