Jump directly to the content

Why I No Longer Pray for a Husband


Sep 26 2011
Lessons in longing, hunger, and trust.

Could fasting and prayer ever be a kind of sin? That was more or less the implication of one person's response to the news that I had joined a group who weekly fast and pray about marriage and singleness. (And yes, we're mostly female and mostly single.)

Perhaps it seemed like I'd committed myself to asking for a husband each Monday, that I'd found a spiritual guise in which to obsess about singleness and pester God to change things. But here's why I don't think we're a bunch of women trying to apply The Prayer of Jabez to our love lives.

My first encounter with the fasting-and-prayer group came in summer 2008, a few months after my memoir of reluctant chastity was released. The book had begun as a blog, launched in summer 2004, when I was an angry Christian single woman, committed to serving God but struggling with deep doubts that he was really good enough to be trusted with my love life. By the time that four-year writing project concluded, I had discovered a far deeper intimacy with God, but was as single as ever and staring down my 30s. With the book done, I didn't want to lose hope in God or drift away from trusting him with that part of my life, but I wasn't sure how to proceed.

Then a friend forwarded me an e-mail. A small group of people across the country, plus a few outside the States, were fasting and praying each Monday for God to bring marriages to those who desired them, to change and heal men in the ways they needed (but especially around their willingness to commit) and to do the same for women in the areas where we were most broken. To participate, I just had to sign up to receive the weekly e-mail meditations, skip at least one meal on Mondays (though other kinds of abstention were also possible), and pray. I joined them.

Of course, I hoped this might finally be the context where not just interior but also exterior, circumstantial change happened. Of course I did. The religious impulse to manipulate fate is strong. But I also knew God was God, and that beginning a spiritual discipline carried no obligation for him to work through that practice in the way I wanted. That was part of the appeal, in fact. Here was a way to invite him to work and bring life into a part of my life which, with each month I grew older, seemed more like a place where hopes, dreams—and fertility—were gradually dying.

From the start, it was far easier to fast than to pray. Often I felt guilty about this—especially as a former daily prayer-walker—but I started to see it as one way to acknowledge my ultimate weakness and lack of control with God.

Support our work. Subscribe to CT and get one year free.

Comments

To add a comment you need to be a registered user or Christianity Today subscriber.

orSubscribeor
More from Her.menutics
Old Hollywood’s Abortion Secret

Old Hollywood’s Abortion Secret

What a culture of death tells us about a culture of life.
Save Your Soul: Stop Writing

Save Your Soul: Stop Writing

In the age of push-button publishing, self-disclosure isn't always God's best.
How Sewing Saved My Sanity

How Sewing Saved My Sanity

I took up quilting as a hobby. I had no idea it would become a tool for soul care.
Q+A: ‘To Joey, with Love’

Q+A: ‘To Joey, with Love’

Country musician Rory Feek shares about faith, heartbreak, and his new film.
Include results from Christianity Today
Browse Archives:

So Hot Right Now

The Casserole-Toting Church Ladies Hold the Secret To Happiness

I found unexpected heroes—and a model for faithful living—in the elderly women at my church.

Follow Us

Twitter

  • Tomorrow is #SeeYouAtThePole. Some thoughts on prayer in schools: https://t.co/Tf2j0XwCXD
  • We're going to look a little different starting tomorrow: Her.meneutics is becoming @CT_Women. Bringing you more of the coverage you love!
  • RT @melissabkruger: Sneak Peek Interview with @sometimesalight on her new book Humble Roots (it2019s so, so good) @TGC https://t.co/8tJxVcGUbB
  • For CT subscribers: Something to keep in mind as your kids watch you watch the #debates2016 @jenniferwilkin https://t.co/2zuVtqGn7y
  • 20% of Christian women log on say they rely on Facebook for spiritual encouragement https://t.co/u0MumFlX7r


What We're Reading

CT eBooks and Bible Studies

Christianity Today
Why I No Longer Pray for a Husband