What Comes After Prayer?

Once we think about what God did for us through Christ, it is easier to grasp what it means to see our family members through God’s eyes.

Willie and Elaine Oliver
What Comes After Prayer?

COVID-19 is causing lots of headaches in my home. I heard you on TV talking about the need to pray for our spouse and families. I’ve prayed and nothing has changed. In fact, my husband doesn’t seem interested in praying, let alone praying with me. My children are simply out of control. Where do I go from here?

Thank you for posing such an honest question. We can feel your angst and exasperation. The pandemic has shaken the foundations of the security and structures we have grown accustomed to. In fact, it appears that even people of faith seem to be growing weary when their expectations don’t seem to materialize in the way and time-line they anticipated.

We invariably hear people say that prayer moves the heart of God. While this statement is true and should bring solace to every believer’s soul, when we recommend prayer as a dynamic strategy for helping preserve the peace and sanity of your marriage and family during these difficult and tension-filled days, we especially mean for you to pray that God would heal your heart and that of your spouse and family members.

Although your spouse may not feel like praying, which could be for any number of reasons, this is a good time to ask God to help you see your husband and children through His eyes. This means trusting God to help you love your husband and children unconditionally, as He loves you. Ask God to help you to be kind, compassionate, and patient with those closest to you on earth, those who are often the most difficult to deal with.

The apostle Paul may help clarify what it means to see your loved ones through God’s eyes. He wrote: “But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us” (Rom. 5:8). Once we think about what God did for us through Christ, even when we were doing our own thing, it is easier to grasp what it means to see our family members through God’s eyes. We know this is not easy, but “with God all things are possible” (Mark 10:27).

Much is happening during this pandemic that most of us are not even conscious about. We feel as if the world has changed, and it has. We believe what’s going on will not go on forever, but we are not sure. We often wonder when will things go back to normal, yet we are slowly realizing it may never again be what it was. Yes, you, your family, and humans all over the world are in grief—most of it at an unconscious level. This collective grief is palpable everywhere: in every culture, in every country, in every continent. It’s the loss of normalcy, the loss of connection, the loss of financial certainty. It’s the reason you feel tension with your husband, your children, and within yourself.

Prayer only works as we talk to God as a friend and allow the muscle of faith developed over the years to claim the promises God has made in His Word to those who believe, internalize, and act.

We encourage you to live each day by these words: “But the fruit of the Spirit if love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. Against such there is not law” (Gal. 5:22, 23). Choose one aspect to focus on every day. Trust God to give you the strength to do so, and watch the transformation of your relationships at home before your very eyes.

Willie Oliver, PhD, CFLE, an ordained minister, pastoral counselor, and family sociologist, is director for the Department of Family Ministries of the Seventh-day Adventist Church.

Elaine Oliver, MA, LCPC, CFLE, a licensed clinical professional counselor and certified family life educator, is associate director for the Department of Family Ministries. You may communicate with them at or

Willie and Elaine Oliver