To end the week, I want to share a little summary of some take-away’s from the other book I read in May, “Praying Circles Around your Marriage” by Joel and Nina Schmidgall.
I mentioned that it didn’t overuse the Honi the Circle Maker theme from Mark Batterson’s series, but the chapter breakdowns do use the term “circle.” So there is that. Also it is just good information for other relationships and to encourage others in their marriage.
My guess is that since these two are not well known in publishing and since the attend his church and do ministry with Mark, they used the same principal of praying circles to help get a very good book out into the hands of people who can benefit from their work and practice.
The chapters are alternately written by Joel and Nina which is good to hear from both sides. They cover these topics: Vision, War, Romance, Dance, Support, Storm and Legacy. Since this couple have different backgrounds and family styles, experiences and personalities, it is a rich blend of perspectives…as are most marriages. They are transparent without oversharing and I found it helpful to apply the teachings,
One of the tools they use to help with application is inserting throughout the book both Prayer Prompts and Action Prompts. There are more of the prayer variety, and I found them so helpful. I will be going back and using many of them to teach me how to pray better for our marriage. The prayer is an action and it prompts change in the pray-er.
Here is an example of a prayer prompt from the chapter on War. In the chapter they are addressing the strains and distractions that can pull a marriage apart. So the war is in fighting for that marriage. We know as we look around us, some eventually give up. I know that sometimes one or both simply will not work towards reconciliation for whatever reason, but if both partners want to heal and want to grow and develop a healthy marriage but are stuck, then the “war” is to do the hard work.
“PRAYER PROMPT: Ask God to grant you persistence. Ask that He would reward your endurance with overcoming. Confess to Him that you need Him to do a healing work on the problem areas in your marriage.”Praying Circles Around Your Marriage, Joel and Nina Schmidgall with Mark Batterson, Zondervan, 2019, pg. 66
We can see in this a surrender of the marriage and the problems to God. Allowing Him to work in both of you is humbling. This kind of prayer is one God answers mightily as we are not telling Him what needs to be fixed but asking what He sees needs to be fixed.
An example of an Action Prompt I selected is found in the chapter on Romance. It is following a few paragraphs about how important it is to really know your spouse and be intentional in letting that one know he/she is KNOWN….
“ACTION PROMPT: Write down one observation about your spouse each week and find a way to take action.”Praying Circles Around Your Marriage, Joel and Nina Schmidgall with Mark Batterson, Zondervan, 2019, pg. 120
Included in this prompt are three questions that are so good to remember:
- How does your partner most often express love to you and others?
- What does your partner complain about most?
- What does your partner request most often?
These are based on Gary Chapman’s approach to learning love languages.
I really think these work for so many relationships. Imagine being purposefully EVERY week in noticing things people in your life like and don’t like and then responding with that knowledge.
I want to leave you with one last gem that I absolutely love. It was in the last chapter on Legacy and is a quote from Fred Craddock, a former theology professor from Emory University.
He says that we view giving our life to Christ as if we take $1,000 dollars and lay it down on the table in a surrender. We say we are giving Him our all. And Jesus exchanges it for a thousand dollars in rolls of quarters and says…now spend your life a quarter at a time.
Think about it.
Have a good weekend with your roll of quarters.
You are precious and dearly loved.