Live in Peace: Overcome nagging with prayer

Written by M. Larson

Paula and her family were off on their vacation trip. Before they had gone far, Paula’s husband reached down and brought up an unopened box of lemon cookies.

“Where’d you get that?” Paula asked.

“Bought it, of course,” her husband said. “You know I love lemon cookies!”

“What are you going to do with it?” she third-degreed. “I have an open box here. We ought to use these first so they don’t get stale!”

Her husband glowered at her and ripped open the top of his box. Paula’s first inclination was to rip open her husband with her tongue. Then she caught herself. She had become aware of her nagging recently. All it had ever brought had been dissension between herself and her husband. She remembered the last time they had gone on vacation. When she had started to nag then, he had turned around and headed for home.

Her heart was in turmoil. She wanted so badly to say something, but then she realized the temptation was from Satan. The verse came to her, “Greater is he that is in you than he that is in the world.” She decided to keep her mouth shut.

Her husband sat happily munching on his cookies as they drove along. Soon he was making jovial remarks again. An incident that could have ruined their vacation passed over, because Paula was trying to live for the Lord.

Since her husband wasn’t a Christian, she also wanted him to see Christ in her. What did a half-finished box of lemon cookies matter compared to peace and an unmarred Christian testimony?

The dangers of nagging

It seems almost ludicrous that such an insignificant thing as a box of cookies could start a big quarrel that would cause ill feelings and ruin a trip that should be enjoyable. But actually, aren’t many of our arguments over things that are inconsequential?

The Bible says that “a proud-hearted person stirs up strife” (Proverbs 28:25). Humility and self-control are fruit of the Spirit, and they can help us to keep our mouths shut when we feel the urge to nag. The love that also comes from the Spirit will lead us to pray about something in someone else that bothers us. Unfortunately, the only ones we feel free to nag are those who are closest to us!

The Bible says, “A continual dripping on a rainy day and a cranky woman are much alike” (Proverbs 27:15). This verse is applicable to everyone. Husbands and wives, mothers and fathers – all of us may be guilty of nagging without realizing it. We drone on and on, wearing the hearer down and provoking quarrels.

Nagging can drive the victim to rage and rebellion. The Bible tells fathers that they are not to “provoke their children to wrath” (Ephesians 6:4). Who knows how many children have been driven into sin because their insensitive parents keep harping on little things? Who knows how many husbands have been driven away, how many wives have come to despise their husbands because of nagging?

How to overcome nagging

It’s such a easy little fault to fall into, but how do we get out of it?

  1. Become aware that we are nagging. Actually, most of us nag without realizing what we’re doing. It’s just a bad habit. Instead of stating our complaint and then shutting up, we go on and on and on. (In some cases, it might be best not even to voice the initial complaint.)
  2. Pray. What can we do about those faults and seemingly erroneous doings we see in others? We can pray. It only takes a moment to seek God’s guidance. His Holy Spirit indwells those who are Christians, and His Word convicts us along with His Spirit and helps us to say the right things or to avoid saying the wrong things.Just by pausing to pray, pausing to consider the unpleasantness our words and our actions might cause may make the difference between suffering through a day of turmoil or enjoying a day of peace and contentment. Furthermore, the atmosphere we set in our homes – be it positive or negative – will have an effect on every member of our household.

Scripture to memorize

“If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone” (Romans 12:18).

“Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone” (Colossians 4:6).

“Keep your tongue from evil. Turn from evil and do good; seek peace and pursue it” (Psalm 34:13-14).

Power for living

God wants to be our leverage in living, empowering us to feel better about ourselves, more excited about our future, more grateful for those we love and more enthusiastic about our faith.

If you are a believer in Jesus Christ, God has given you His Holy Spirit to help you live life according to His perfect plan. Why not pray this simple prayer and by faith invite Him to fill you with His Spirit:

Dear Father, I need you. I acknowledge that I have sinned against you by directing my own life. I thank you that You have forgiven my sins through Christ’s death on the cross for me. I now invite Christ to again take His place on the throne of my life. Fill me with the Holy Spirit as You commanded me to be filled, and as You promised in Your Word that You would do if I asked in faith. I pray this in the name of Jesus. As an expression of my faith, I thank You for directing my life and for filling me with the Holy Spirit. Amen.

16 Responses to “Live in Peace: Overcome nagging with prayer”

  • Sharon says:

    to Emily thank you for you email to me I am glad I encouraged you I will continue to pray for you both prayer–father God continue to be with Emily and I pray for a softening heart of the husband and let him know that you love him with an everlasting love and I pray for Christians to come along their path to encourage Emily and for the husbands salvation God give him a heart transplant of you for him to see God in a new way and marriage is you created it I am praying for you God be with you– sharon

  • Emily says:

    Sharon, thank you for your prayer and encouragement. You words have truly touched my heart. We’ve tried counseling, but it wasn’t successful. You have encouraged me to get back to praying for him like I used too. God has changed his heart before and I know he can heal us both from our words and actions towards each other. Thank you for hope.

  • Sharon says:

    TO Emily– sorry it ended before I did– prayer father God I do pray for Emily for her marriage pen the eyes of the husband to see on what he is doing to his wife I pray against this nagging from him and help him to see God made both and loves both of them with an everlasting love I pray for this husband for his support during this time of her pregnancy I pray for a miracle for this marriage I pray all of this in JESUS name amen I am praying for you both I feel for you I can’t imagine on what you are going through sad have you considered counseling if not with him for yourself God be with you at this time. I have family members too that get sick the first part of their pregnancy no fun I am sure– God be with you at this time- sharon

  • Sharon says:

    to Emily– I am sorry for your struggle– prayer father

  • Emily says:

    I have a nagging husband. He always points out my flaws. I know I have them, I don’t need to be reminded. Lately he’s told me I’m not a good wife or mother, I was devastated. Its mostly house chores and widely duties he nags about. I’m pregnant again and am so unhappy and have extreme morning sickness. He doesnt sympathize with me. He says if I have fixed what he keeps telling me too, we wouldn’t have any issues. I pull my own weight, always have. Yes, I have slacked off, but not because I don’t want too, but because I was pregnant and getting used to being a mother. I don’t know why he nags me so much esp. being pregnant. I’m considering divorce, because I feel hopeless. I feel that no matter what I’m never going to be the person he has dreamed up. I’ve accepted his flaws and don’t nag him anymore, and it’s because my pastor asked if I would just accept him for who he is not who I except him to be, so I have. I wish he would do the same.

  • Doris Beck Doris Beck says:

    Chinyelum Nwa,
    So glad you found it helpful!!

  • Chinyelum Nwa says:

    Thanks for this article, I will try n follow d solution proffered! Ma hubby is indeed a big gym nagger

  • Elkay says:

    Oscar, I am very sorry that you and your wife are in this situation and because you are separated, re-establishing a God-honoring marriage will have challenges. Your relationship in God’s eyes is much more important than any of the “nagging issues” and in human terms, your marriage also trumps any “nagging issues”.

    Please maintain open communications with her and when/if she “nags” you, try to see the situation from her perspective and let her know that you appreciate what she is saying and then do make some changes, even if small. Whether she is “right” or “wrong” is not as important as honoring your marriage. This may sound crazy, but in practical terms, do some “special favors” for her, without her asking or your expecting anything in return . . . she needs to see herself as special in your eyes and then over time, prayerfully the “nagging” will vanish.

    At the highest level, marriage is a spiritual connection between and woman and a man that in some manner emulates the Trinity. This is what is mean by “become one flesh” in Gen 2:27 and is also why marriage is a sacred institution created by God to honor Himself. You will have eternal rewards by sacrificing for the sanctity of your marriage and for your wife’s perceived well-being.

    Also consider developing private communications with one of the PTC mentors that are freely available for support and advice. Just hit the “Talk to a Mentor” button at the top right of this web-page, briefly explain what is going on and they will get back to you. Oscar, I pray that God will bless you in this endeavor as you go forward.

  • Oscar says:

    My wife does this to such a point that it has driven us apart. We have been living separated for 6 months and she still nags thinking, “if he would just change like I’m telling him, everything would work”. I still pay her bills and do things around the house and I get no thank you at all. I only get nagged about the other things “I should know” to do.

  • Chris says:

    child…sorry to hear you are struggling…being born into this world we are born into many imperfections, including ourselves and those around us. that is why of course jesus died, to make us into new creations. 2 corinthians 5.17. either your mother has not been made into a new creation yet or she doesnt understand the process the holy spirit is trying to bring her through to live like the new creation she is, one of the two. you however can be different. you dont have to follow her bad example. isaiah 11 tells us that a Little child will lead them. even though you are Young, that doesnt mean jesus cant live big inside of you since he is an adult with his full divine powers within you. i pray you wouldnt let your mothers behevior rob you of your joy in jesus. even when we go through difficult times, by his wisdom we can become even stronger. ecclesiates 8. praying now jesus strength be perfected in your weakness. 2 corinthians 12.9 to 10. blessings!

  • child says:

    I pray mom would quit nagging and saying horrible things and tattle taling on me and being oversensitive with greed as the cause and other disgusting things.

  • Jamie Jamie says:

    That is great ACM, what has changed to give you hope for you marriage?

  • acm says:

    Is feeling hopeful 4 the future because I was ready for check out on my marriage.

  • Sharon says:

    thank you for this article good post

  • jenny gray says:

    My husbands constant nagging and veiled putdowns has spit so much venom into my veins that my actions and thoughts and speech have not been very christionlike. I prayed the prayer above earnestly and am looking forward to the change of attitude to follow and the seething, burning, horrible blinding HATE I have in my heart to dissapate. Thank you!

  • Alfred says:

    This write-up is as practical as the Book of Proverbs! The devil likes to trip us up in a thousand different ways, but when we are well grounded in Scripture and are Spirit-led, we are empowered by God to recognize mistakes and make corrections immediately. Yes, I too have been a nag at times, and so has my wife. A word of advice that comes to me is: “Look for the good in others.” When we build on the positive, then the negative gets pushed into the background where is inconsequential. Two things from this article that spoke to me are: 1. Remember “Greater is he that is in you than he that is in the world.” and 2. “God wants to be our leverage in living, empowering us to feel better about ourselves, more excited about our future, more grateful for those we love and more enthusiastic about our faith.” It takes commitment to live the 9-fold “Fruit of the Spirit” as found in Galatians 5:22-23
    “love, joy, peace, long-suffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, self-control.” NKJV.

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