Pray harder

Faith is a powerful thing. It can resurrect the most dead of relationships. It can resurrect trust that has been totally annihilated. We pray in faith, believing, or else why would we pray at all? I would never intend to minimize the power of prayer or the importance of a spiritual way of life. They are my lifeblood.


But, when we are being victimized by domestic violence and decide to turn to counseling, when we are told to “Just stand in faith and pray through,” what are we truly being told to do? Is it suggested that we pray in a manipulative manner, telling God what to do? Prayer is not demanding. Prayer is not, “Gimme, gimme, gimme,” either. Not only have I heard it prayed, but was actually the one doing the praying, using the words, “Change him,” “Put it back together,” “Keep me strong enough to endure this until it stops,” etc., etc., etc. Maybe, just maybe God wants to do a work in you instead of your partner. Maybe they are absolutely happy being brutish and abusive. Maybe they have no desire in the world to change. Can God make things different? You bet’cha. Will He? Only He knows, but as I understand it, He will not override a person’s will.

So, if it is your abuser’s will to continue demeaning, degrading or battering you, what are your choices? Oh, wait—You didn’t realize you have choices? Yes! It is your life and your walk with God. You have the absolute right to work together with God to find His purpose and plan for your life. If you married someone who was a walking, talking sermon and they made the personal decision of their own will to walk in another direction, that affects you, too, as well as any children you might have.

The rote and verse is usually, “God hates divorce.” That verse is found in Malachi. For so many years I was admonished with those three words, over and over again—God hates divorce. Stay in the marriage, God hates divorce. You made your bed, now lay in it, God hates divorce. Adultery is the only way out, God hates divorce. Only recently did I have the opportunity to hear another pastor suggest we look at the verses in Malachi, but to also consider the scriptures above and beneath those three words. Men are being warned of “dealing treacherously” with their wives, easily another term for abuse, and this results in divorce. So it is suggested that just maybe we are being told God hates the fact divorce comes as the result of spousal abuse?

I’m not proud to admit it, but I endured abuse for over 16 years, all the time suspecting and perhaps even knowing infidelity existed throughout the entire marriage, but convinced I had to be able to prove it beyond a doubt before I could pursue a “Biblical” divorce pursuant to church doctrine. How sad is that? It would appear through the scriptures that just maybe spouse abuse breaks the covenant? Can we truly consider a spouse to be faithful to the pledge of marriage if they wail away on their partner, whether it is with abusive words or a violent hand? It’s worth raising the question: Which does God hate more—divorce or abuse?


Listen to Carolyn’s interview with Cynthia Brennen, on “Help, Hope & Healing.” Visit her website at


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