Now on to the “H” of the wifely prayer acronym “PRE-HEAT.” The “H” is for Heart Idols. All men have them and all women have them. Even kids have them. Tim Keller explores several big idols like money, sex, and power in his book Counterfeit Gods. But what Keller does extremely well in this book is that he elucidates how money, sex, and power, are really only “surface idols.” Different people may seek the same “surface idol” for a different reason, and until that reason, or heart idol (he calls it a “deep idol”) is addressed, we’re only scratching the surface. In relation to money, Killer writes:
“Surface idols” are things such as money, our spouse, or children, through which our deep idols seek fulfillment. We are often superficial in the analysis of our idol structures. For example, money can be a surface idol that serves to satisfy more foundational impulses. Some people want lots of money as a way to control their world and life. Such people usually don’t spend much money and live very modestly. They keep it all safely saved and invested, so they can feel completely secure in the world. Others want money for access to social circles or to make themselves feel beautiful and attractive. These people do spend their money on themselves in lavish ways. Other people want money because it gives them so much power over others. In every case money functions as an idol and yet, because of various deep idols, it results in different patterns of behavior. pg. 65
So anyone who is shepherding another, whether it’s a husband, pastor, elder, parent, Sunday school teacher, mentor, older friend, will do a disservice to those under their care if we don’t go below the waterline and discern the reasons behind the clearer “surface idols.” It takes time listening and loving, but this is a must in praying for your spouses.