Would you ever consider putting “Praying for your ex” at the top of your 2017 new year’s resolution? If not, I would like to share with you Why Praying for your Ex in 2017 is a Great Idea!
If I am honest, I know that I use to be appalled at the idea of Vince praying for his ex-wife. I certainly had my reservations about praying for her myself. I had my thoughts of how our marriage was supposed to be and my husband praying for his ex-wife was not something that I had included. When we first got married I of course understood that Vince’s ex-wife would be in our lives. She is, after all, the mother of our oldest daughter. Yet, I didn’t stop to think about the spiritual role God had given me in her life. Like interceding for her.
I can remember at the beginning of our marriage reluctantly praying with Vince for his ex-wife. Yes, I was a believer, and yes, I loved Jesus, but the idea of praying for his ex made me uncomfortable. I mean, she is his ex for a reason. At some point, they had an actual relationship. That would make anyone a little uncomfortable. I just always felt strange and a sort of tension that Vince didn’t seem to feel, but I certainly did. The truth is, when a relationship is over, it’s over. No one wants to bring up an ex, even if it is to Jesus. But as Christians, we have been called to something very different. A different perspective and standard in our relationships.
Over the years God had his work cut out for him when it came to softening my heart towards this topic. Not so much the subject of prayer, but more so the idea of praying for an ex.
In most blended families there is at least one Ex that is still in the picture. Truth be told, praying for an ex is not something that we put on the top of our “to-do” list. It just doesn’t come very natural.If we are honest with ourselves and God, it is something that most of us find tough. Not only is it difficult since this person is our ex for a reason but also because our prayers are often selfish and very much centered around our wants rather than Gods.
It was this selfishness that God showed me was the root of my hesitancy to pray for Vince’s ex. After he revealed this to me, he began pulling this selfishness up from the root (with some resistance of course).
First, he helped me to understand just how critical it was for Vince to keep praying for his ex. Without prayer, the times that conflict did arise (and trust me, it did), I am confident that Vince would have handled the situations much differently had he not responded to it with prayer. To be completely honest, even after I “got on board” with praying for her, I often found myself trying to direct Vince’s prayers. For example, if we were praying together for a situation regarding his ex, I would pray something along the lines of,
“Dear God, please help her to see how right we are, how wrong she is, and make her change. In Jesus name, Amen.”
I know what your thinking. I told you God had his worked cut out for him!
Thankfully, God never gave up on me. He allowed those moments to teach me that not only did Vince need to be praying for his ex-wife with a sincere heart, but that I needed to be praying for her with one as well. As prayer became our response, we began to experience a change in the dynamics of our relationships with our children and his ex. We have learned that before we react to any situation regarding his ex-wife, we need to sincerely and intentionally pray for her and the situation.
Through prayer, good interactions have become even better, and the not so good ones go much smoother. Most importantly God has shown me, just how important my prayers for his ex, OUR daughter’s mother, are. Not because they always change her from the inside out, but because they always change me from the inside out. God has revealed to both Vince and I that we will never successfully co-parent with Vince’s ex-wife and her husband if we are not consistent in praying for them.
God has shown me that my husband praying for his ex doesn’t mean that he’s still in love with her. It only means that he is a man of integrity, a man who puts his family before his selfish desires, and a man who allows God to be in complete control.
Dear friends, as challenging as it may be, I encourage you to set a goal in 2017 to earnestly pray for the “exes” that are involved in your life. It is the most powerful tool you have on this blended family journey.