The Power of a Praying Wife

praying wife book

The Power of a Praying Wife, by Stormie Omartian, originally published in 1996.

One of the essential things a wife can do is pray for her husband. I believe that strongly. I pray for my husband regularly but often find that in seasons of calm or marital bliss (both of which happen to be our present state), my prayers become redundant and lacking in fervency. I find myself at a loss as to what to pray for besides his health, work and wisdom.

This book has been on my book shelf for at least a decade. Well, some version of it has been on my book shelf for at least a decade. I have given away several copies over the years and had to go out and replace it.

With each return to it, I find that my attachment to it is not so much that the writing is brilliant, or even that the theology is flawlessly presented. I don’t necessarily pray the prayers within verbatim as I go through it. What I love about this book, and I do love it, is that it gives me the opportunity to do three things:

  • Pray for my husband in a specific area of his life each day for 30 days with a sense of purpose and passion,
  • Consider areas and struggles he may be facing that are easy for me to miss because he is such a strong and confident man, and
  • Talk to him about things he may appreciate prayer for that it would never occur to him to mention.

One of the best things about this book is that there is wifely accountability built into the prayers and encouragement. For example:

If we are filled with anger and bitterness, or insist on complaining and blaming God, things tend to turn out badly.

There is plenty of direction for how to pray for God to help our husbands in their struggles, whatever they might be, for those who are concerned about that. But Mrs. Omartian makes it clear that we are not our husband’s guardians while encouraging wives to pray for God to help us to do our part by guarding our hearts:

But God considers the sins of unforgiveness, anger, hatred, self-pity, lovelessness, and revenge to be just as bad as any others.

And being the best we can be:

I pray that we will desire each other and no one else. Show me how to make myself attractive and desirable to him and be the kind of partner he needs.[emphasis mine]

Being something of a regimented person, not really given to a free flowing approach to the faith, I have a strong preference for praying Scripture which applies to a given area, and this book does that superbly! It’s my favorite part about it.

As I said in the beginning, there will be for those so inclined, opportunities to pick a nit here or there with this book. It is NOT the Bible, after all. However the balance tilts far over in favor of the good. It is a resource I recommend for just about every wife. It covers any and every possible facet of life.

I’m going to be going through it (again) starting on Wednesday, June 1st, which is why I’m reviewing it and suggesting that those of you who have a copy to find it and brush it off.

Let me know if you do.

Grade: A

 

 

El’s Rabbit Trails: A Mama’s Thoughts

I’m going to wander way off the reservation here. This is one of those topics that make me want to either write, scream, or cry.

Anyone who has followed my various writing pursuits for any period of time is aware that we have 3 daughters of marriageable age. It’s also no secret that their mother’s vision of ideal manhood is a primitive, patriarchal, visceral archetype; the opposite of post-modern masculinity, such as it were. They have been instilled with a bit of that mindset as well.

It is also clear to anyone with a modicum of observation skills that the lines between masculinity and femininity have bled over into each other so that finding good examples of either requires an exhaustive search.

Much has been said about women being too male identified, particularly with regard to black women, and I’ll concede that charge could accurately be leveled at me. What I never thought I’d see however, is a day when men would readily and without reservation self-identify as being anything less than all man. Even if he has his doubts, he used to have enough man in him to fake it till he made it.

This is however, exactly where we are. From The Decline of the Manly Man at PJ Media:

Research from YouGov shows that the muscular masculinity of decades past is a fading feature of American life for the young. Americans were asked to rate themselves on a scale of 0 to 6, there 0 is ‘completely masculine’ and 6 is ‘completely feminine’. 65% of men over the age of 65 say that they are ‘completely masculine, while only 28% of men aged 30 to 44 and 30% of men aged 18 to 29 say the same. Among under-30s, 13% put themselves halfway between the masculine and the feminine, while 12% say that they are at least slightly feminine. Only 4% of over-65 men say that they are at all feminine.

My first instinct to to dismiss this out of hand as so much nonsense.  How many men did they survey and what part of the country was this survey taken in? This can’t be true! Then I remembered that in every walk of life, you get more of what you reward. We reward femininity and praise men who are in touch with their feminine side.

I’ve never believed that 80% of the women are after 20% of the men. I literally laughed at the notion that 95% of the women are chasing 5% of the men. But if this is to be taken at face value, it is pretty clear that 100% of the women are after about 30% of the men. Those are some daunting stats.

If it takes our girls a while to stumble onto, click with, and commit to one of those 30%, I can certainly understand why now. The pickin’s are slim.

To Read or Not To Read…

read no evil

 

I have had occasion of late to ponder the question of reading non-Christian literature and to what extent a Christian should consider a work off limits. The conversation is one I think worth having with fellow Christian bibliophiles.

I’m not going to write a lot here because I am truly interested in the things my readers use as litmus tests for deciding what to read or not to read. My litmus test is so short as to be shocking to many Christians who lean toward the idea of shunning anything which doesn’t espouse a Christian worldview. Or which doesn’t qualify as classic literature.

My thoughts (in general) can be found on the Reading Standards page. Any further thoughts or questions I’ll answer in the comments. The question ultimately comes down to this:

Are we to assume that anything not specifically branded “Christian” is bad? Are we not mature enough  (and are we not teaching our children) to filter every sentence they read through the lens of Truth?

 

 

The Conversation

The Conversation

The Conversation: How Black Men and Women Can Build Loving, Trusting Relationships, by Hill Harper. Originally published in 2009.

I remembered when this book came out and I didn’t read it because I figured it would be a lot of worldly relationship nonsense. However recently, I ran across this meme online:

queen and prince

After seeing it, I was reminded of this book, and decided to see if the intelligent and talented Mr. Harper had written anything to advance the conversation.

Hill Harper is a handsome Harvard Law graduate, successful actor, and personal friend of the President of the United States. Shouldn’t have any trouble finding a woman, right? He wrote that the seeds of this book were planted when he reached his 40’s and realized with a sense of despair that not only was he single, but that the chances of his ever settling down with a good black woman seemed as elusive as ever.

He needed to deal with the things he was doing to sabotage his relationships (like being caught getting one woman’s number while out with another), and The Conversation was born.

I came away from this book with several conflicting conclusions. On the one hand, I found some of the assertions were indeed nonsensical. Given that the marriage rates of the recently freed black slaves was at a record high immediately following slavery right up through Jim Crow and until the “war on poverty”, I couldn’t help but scratch my head at the repeated assertion by Harper (and many of his female interviewees) that the problems plaguing black relationships and marriages have anything at all to do with the legacy of slavery.

I wish people would quit parroting that because it is patently false. One thing they did get right was the legacy created by the government’s “no man in the house rule”, another bastard child -pun intended- of the so-called war on poverty and how it affected relationships between men and women.

Harper deals with nearly everything facing people trying to connect in post modern relationships. He doesn’t assume pre-marital sex or pornography are objectively bad (far from it), but he makes it clear that all these things need to be made clear at the appropriate times in relationships. He warns women and men who don’t believe in premarital sex to make it known beforehand rather than bring it up in the middle of a heavy petting session on a bed, for example.

Whatever I though of his laissez-faire attitude towards sex outside of marriage, I had to give him credit for that. Despite his passing nods to the people he interviewed or quoted who are Christians, this is not a Christian book. His subscribing to a lot of feminist memes was disappointing since so much of that is what has created the dismal state of affairs between black men and women in the first place.

That said, there were some true and insightful points made in the book, mostly by the very raw and honest men Harper interviewed, as well as a couple of the women. When you stripped away the racial veneer, anything of worth offered here is a universal truth which applied to relationships as a whole regardless of racial background.

Whenever Harper himself hit on something true, he almost always felt a need to qualify it, unlike the men he interviewed.

On women being unwilling to invest in a man’s potential:

Now this might get me into trouble, but I’m just going to write it. Many of my most jaded female friends want a man who has already arrived and there’s nothing wrong with that. However, I’ve noticed that if many of these women hold up a mirror to themselves, they would realize that they are works in progress as well. It is somewhat ironic that in certain ways they are so demanding of a potential mate.

The best parts of the book however,were Harper’s interviews with men. It was no holds barred (language alert) but it was the kind of thing women need to hear.Some of it left me incredulous, such as the repeated assertion by several men that Black women are sexually repressed:

“My ex acted like making love was a chore…like she was doing me a favor.”

Or:

“I made a request and she told me, “I’m not that kind of girl,’…and I said, ‘What are you, a nun?'”

Or my personal favorite:

“My ex said to me once, ‘If I did [the stuff] you asked me to do you’d think I was a ho.'”

Now if that isn’t a departure from the wanton “sistah” meme…

A few women accused black men of being sexist and misogynist:

Even if you have more education than them and make more money than them, Black men will still treat you as is you’re inferior to them.

Or:

How is it that so many black men grew up fatherless and worship their mothers but have so little respect for women?

That latter question is a perfectly valid one in my opinion.

A common complaint among the women was of spending years with a man without a commitment, only to have him marry the very next woman he dated within 6 months. Seemed like a valid complaint to this feminine brain, but the men weren’t having it:

It’s easy. The chick he left he wasn’t into..the next one he was; simple and done.

Or (language alert):

It’s really not that deep. Basically, if a man didn’t want you, then the exact reason why doesn’t even matter. I think women need to quit crying and stop trying to figure old stuff out. Take a cue from the man who left you and move the f**k on.

Lastly:

Women need to really learn to accept that you can’t force a person to be in love with you or marry you, no matter how long you stick around. He just may not be feeling “it”, but that doesn’t mean there is something wrong with you.

Covering everything from the education divide to interracial relationships, there isn’t much here that Hill Harper doesn’t address, including his own struggles, such as they are.

Overall, the book left a lot be desired but the gems buried in the rubble were shiny and worth the dig. If I had to make a recommendation it would be that the women read only chapters of male interviews and men only read chapters of female interviews and skip all Harper’s attempts to lawyer his way through truth using egalitarian talking points.

Most of all though, is the fact that these issues are hardly unique to black men and women.

Grade: C+

Content advisory: If you’re only into reading these types of things from a Biblical perspective, skip this. If you have a problem with the occasional bit of salty language or a sexual reference, skip this. In truth, it’s not that bad when taken in the context of the entire book but it’s worth noting since most of the 10 followers here are Christians.

 

 

 

El’s Rabbit Trails: Soliciting IEW Review

If you’re a homeschooler, you probably recognize IEW as the curriculum offered by the Institute for Excellence in Writing.

A few years ago my husband and I attended a talk at the Florida Parent Educators convention. It was presented by Andrew Pudewa, the creator of the IEW writing curriculum. At the time our youngest two children were very young and although we thoroughly enjoyed the presentation, we balked at the price of the curriculum.

Fast forward 4 years, and we have decided to make the investment. We think. I’ve talked to a lot of other moms and the consensus is that it could be worth the money. It depends on the child.

Because I am already tutoring one homeschooled young woman in writing with pretty good results, not to mention helping out our young adult daughters whose writing education suffered in the public system more than I even realized, it’s been suggested that we forgo the $250 expense. I still think I need the extra help with out 4th and 2nd grade homeschoolers.

The point of this post is to solicit reviews from any of my readers who are familiar with it or have used it.

Have you any experience with IEW, and if so, what do you think of it?

 

Book review coming on Friday. Els’ honor.

Confession: Big Books Start to Bore Me After a While

This is the reason why I haven’t yet posted my review of Vanity Fair, even though I’ve been reading it off and on for almost a month. My attention span is horrible.

It doesn’t even matter how great the story is, such as in the case of Vanity Fair. I get restless when reading large tomes because I am so easily distracted by other books which catch my attention. Or the circumstances of life overwhelm me and I need to reset so that I can focus my mind well enough to finish the book later.

As I started reading Vanity Fair I was fairly well engrossed. It really is a good story, at least the first half. That’s as far as I’d gotten before I started a slow drift into what can only be described as a funk. Consistent reading of great literature is for me, a part of a productive lifestyle and I haven’t been feeling as productive of late. Life and all that.

When you also factor in that any random trip to the library or any bookstore can easily divert my attention to tens of other titles, it isn’t long before I set aside the longer books for the quicker satisfaction derived from completing shorter books. I eventually (usually within 6 months to a year) finish my longer book. All that to say that Vanity Fair probably won’t be completed before the end of July.

Meanwhile, I have a few other things on tap:

  • The Problem of Pain, by C.S. Lewis. I am drawn to this one right now.
  • The Year We Disappeared: A Father Daughter Memoir
  • The Conversation: How Black Men and Women Can Build Loving, Trusting, Relationships (Seeing the *stuff*around me has made me curious about the kind of books that address this issue. My marriage is better than fine, so no worries.
  • Kitchen Confidential
  • One Nation Under God: A Christian Hope for American Politics. Fully expect to disagree with most of this because I don’t know that there was ever a Christian hope for American politics, but I’m intrigued with the part of the church that is still drinking this kool-aid.

Consider this my summer reading list.