I just wanted to share some insights from chapter one.
On page 29, it says:
Something amazing happens to our hearts when we pray for another person. The harness melts. We become able to get beyond the hurts, and forgive. We even end up loving the person we are praying for. It is miraculous! It happens because when we pray we enter into the presence of God and He fills us with His Spirit of love.This really stood out to me because I have experienced this in a number of different ways. The first time I really experienced it was when I began praying for my old boss. I dreaded going to work every day because I would have to deal with him. He even targeted me and was slandering me in his "reviews" of my work. I had to go so far as to get a union rep to counteract the accusations and put my rebuttals in my file. I came to realize that the only way I was going to survive going to work was to not only pray for me to have the strength to endure, but to also pray for him. It didn't take long until I was truly concerned for his soul.
On a few other occasions, I have had to pray for a friend who hurt me deeply--so deeply I never thought I would be able to "get over it". I knew that there was no way I was going to be able to do this on my own. Although I had "forgiven" her with my head, it was hard to say I had forgiven her with my heart. Every time I started thinking about how much she had hurt me, I would turn around and start praying for her. It didn't take as long as I thought it would for me to truly forgive her in my heart. It is a miracle that I can now talk to this friend without getting upset.
I truly urge you to try praying for those who have hurt you. And when I mean pray, you don't pray that God change them into who you want them to be, but for Him to work in their lives and that His will be done.
Another part of chapter one that really struck me was the first paragraph on the prayer at the end. It could truly have been me writing those words. I felt so honest and open while praying the prayer. It has taken me a long time to come to the place where I can honestly say that I need the help that I asked for as I read that prayer. I am pretty sure when I did this book 6 years ago, I didn't truly mean it when I read this prayer. Now, it is my heart's cry. I will share just the first paragraph with you.
Lord, Help me to be a good wife. I fully realize that I don't have what it takes to be one without Your help. Take my selfishness, impatience, and irritability and turn them into kindness, long-suffering, and the willingness to bear all things. Take my old emotional habits, mindsets, automatic reactions, rude assumptions, and self-protective stance and make me patient, kind, good, faithful, gentle, and self-controlled. Take the hardness of my heart and break down the walls with Your battering ram of revelation. Give me a new heart and work in me Your love, peace, and joy (Galatians 5:22-23). I am not able to rise above who I am at this moment. Only You can transform me.