Surviving Separation: Prayer
This is part four in a series about surviving separation from your spouse. Read all posts in this series.
Gregg and I have been married for over seven years. We didn’t live together until our first anniversary. Three months after we married, he deployed to Afghanistan. A couple of years later, he changed his military specialty and went to school 400 miles away for eight months. A couple years later, he went to another school, even further away, for six months. He is currently in Afghanistan again, this time as a civilian contractor, and has six more months there before he can come home. On top of these extended absences, his civilian job had him away from home for months at a time, when he would come home on Friday night and leave again on Sunday. We have spent more time apart than together, so we have learned how to have an abiding, intimate relationship even though we’re, at times and currently, thousands of miles away from each other. This series will provide you with little tips and hints we’ve picked up along the way.
Any of you who have read this blog for any length of time or who know me personally, can guess that I pray for my husband. In 1 Thessalonians 5:17, Paul encourages believers to pray without ceasing, and in my constant steady prayer, I interject Gregg in there very regularly.
But one thing that his absence has affected in my prayer life is that it has removed our ability to pray together. On the phone, we get 10 minutes at a time. Not really a good length of time to do a lot of things, much less pray together on ny kind of steady basis.
Right after he left, it occurred to me that we had a means at our disposal to continue to pray together, even if we couldn’t do it kneeling next to each other or holding hands together.
We have email.
I intended to do it every night, but there are days that I simply don’t have the time or the energy. But as regularly as possible, I sit down at my computer and type out a prayer to God. It just let it all go and don’t worry about punctuation or grammar, and I type it as if I were speaking it. At the bottom, I type, “Amen”, then address it to Gregg and send it off. I don’t re-read it. I don’t take anything from it or add anything to it. I just pray.
I’ve typed out long prayers just for Gregg that have impacted him in tremendous ways, that contained words he needed to hear at just that moment. I’ve typed out prayers for our children that he’s turned around and prayed out loud to God, reading my words in order to pray in agreement with me. I’ve typed out general prayers for upcoming travel, holidays, birthdays, visits with friends, strength and encouragement for our pastor, etc. Whatever is laid upon my heart to pray about on a particular day, I just type it as I pray it so that I can pray “with” my husband.
His time is much more constrained than mine, and his down times contain much more exhaustion than mine. Because of that, he doesn’t have an opportunity to do the same for me on any regular basis. But he has sent me prayers. Some just for me containing just the words I needed at that time. Words that encouraged me, lifted me up, gave me a moment of stability in a crazy day. Or he’s sent me prayers he’s asked me to read aloud to the children so that we could all pray “together” as a family.
There is nothing more stabilizing to a marriage than to kneel together and go to the Lord in prayer. And while I don’t have my husband’s physical presence next to me as I pray every day, at least I know that I can connect to him spiritually this way, and I’ve discovered that it is enough for now.
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