Graham Cooke made this statement at a recent service we attended: “The church must stop praying like a widow and start praying like a bride.” It struck me. It made me ask myself, “Do I pray like a widow or a bride?” When I began to study for the Women’s Prayer Breakfast, this became the topic.
Then I began to think about brides and widows in the Bible. One of the best contrasts I found was in the book of Ruth. Ruth becoming the bride and Naomi remaining the widow. And what a difference. Ruth was hopeful regarding the future; Naomi was bitter because of her past. Ruth was willing to work and serve; Naomi choose to be served. Future and Past.
Ruth asked for favor. Ruth asked for Redemption. Ruth wasn’t afraid to ask.
They say that brides have a glow about them. I believe they do. They know that someone deeply loves them and is totally committed to them. That will cause a woman to glow.
1. We have a savior who deeply loves us and who is totally committed to us.
If we could just grasp that, our prayers would change. Suddenly we are no longer begging God for things but asking, with expectation that His deep desire is to meet every need we have in an abundant way. By the way, I believe begging anyone for anything, even begging God is a sin. Psalms says, “I have not seen the righteous forsaken or His seed begging bread”. If we are righteous we shouldn’t be beggars.
2. Ruth asked for favor. Throughout the Bible, people asked God for favor and they received His favor. Why not ask Him for it?
Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need.
Paul said to let us come boldly before God. Bold means with confidence. Realize that God loves you and is deeply committed to You. Be confident in that!
3. When Boaz saw Ruth for the first time, it was in a barley field while she was working. She had to have been covered with a coat of grime; dust and sweat mixed together. She must have been appealing anyway, Boaz noticed her. Maybe he noticed her work but I like to think she was so beautiful to him that even in a barley field covered with grime, his heart skipped a beat. When the time came for Ruth to ask Boaz to redeem her, she prepared herself. She washed, she anointed herself and she put on her best garments. This all speaks of repentance. We must prepare ourselves to approach the bridegroom. We must walk in repentance, anointed with the Spirit and cloaked with the garment of praise. We must prepare ourselves to spend time in prayer.
Even King David prayed:
Create in me a clean heart, O God,And renew a steadfast spirit within me
We must get real with God.
God wants a real relationship with you. He knows everything anyway. You cannot manipulate God. You cannot pull one over on Him. He wants pure honesty in your relationship with Him. He knows that you do not “have it all together”. He knows your past and He holds your future.
Part of being real with God is admitting the wrong you have done; everything. The ugly, the really ugly, and the really, really bad stuff.
2 Chronicles 7:14
if My people who are called by My name will humble themselves, and pray and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land.
Repentance is about admitting what you have done. Admitting it yourself and to God. Repentance is about turning away from our wickedness. We are washed clean and our worship and our offering becomes a sweet smelling aroma to our Groom (See Philippians 4:18). Every bride wants to be “well pleasing” to her groom.
When we get to the place of repenting and seeking God, we will see our hearts healed, our families healed, our church healed, our community healed. Everything God does on a corporate level He can do on a personal level. Everything God does on a personal level, He can do on a corporate level.
And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose.
Even when things seem like they are not going our way, we know that God is working the very best out for us. Wait for His answer.
4. Ruth asked for Redemption. Redemption isn’t just about salvation. To redeem means
- to get or win back
- to free from what distresses or harms
- to free from captivity by payment of ransom
- to extricate from or help to overcome something detrimental
- to release from blame or debt
God has the power to redeem. He is able and will redeem us. Redemption isn’t just about getting saved. It’s about getting back the life God had planned for you all along. His plans for us are good (Jeremiah 29:11). It is about winning back your family. It is about getting FREE of things that have bound you. It is about getting back your lost and wasted youth. It is about getting back your purity, your innocence. Things that seem forever lost, God can redeem. Ask Him to redeem you.
5. Once Ruth approached Boaz asking to be redeemed, she had to wait for him to work out the details. She went back to Naomi and Naomi told her, “Sit still….for the man will not rest until he concludes the matter this day.” When the bridegroom is on a mission He will not rest until His will is accomplished.
Can you even imagine? God’s heart beats for you. His mission is to make us fully His. He will not rest until He accomplishes that mission. That makes my heart beat faster. He is so in love with us that He will not rest until we are fully His. Praying like a bride requires us to wait on God. We must wait for an answer, knowing that He will not rest until He has concluded the matter. Even when we do not see what He is doing, He is working on our behalf. He knows what is best for us and He is working out His best plan.
Ruth’s willingness to be a bride blessed everyone around her. Ruth blessed Boaz with a son. Naomi overcame her depression and bitterness and became a grandmother. Ruth changed the course of a nation. Her son, Obed was the grandfather of King David. Ruth, a Moabaite, became a Jew, who became a bride and defined a nation.
Do you remember the beginning of Ruth’s story? Ruth was a widow too. Her husband died. Her dreams were dead. Her future looked bleak. What did she do? She packed it all up and went to a new country and began a relationship with the living God. Ruth could have remained a widow but she choose to be a bride. And from this day forward you get to decide if you will be a widow or a bride.