We are down to the last stretch of our 100 days of praying for marriage. I have to admit I have struggled the past 67 days to remember to pray every day. I set an alarm on my phone to remind me, and even then I often turn it off and get distracted before I am able to take a few minutes to pray. It makes me feel crummy and lame. And then I think, there is no expectation here! No one is going to love me less if I miss a day here or there. God is not checking off boxes on my behavior chart to see if I will earn a gold star. There is grace not just in the cracks, but in the big gaping holes. Plus, I have seen some really neat stuff so far, like my husband extending forgiveness to me on the day we were praying for forgiveness in marriage (for the record, he had no idea I was praying for forgiveness that day). Though I don’t understand it, I know God works through prayer, and I am honored to have a way to be a part of that and a way to communicate to the God of the universe.
This last third of the prayers I/we will be praying for specific issues in marriages. So if you have prayer requests or something on your heart and mind, please let me know and I’ll add it to the list. I am going to start by sharing a prayer for marriage by one of my favorite authors/pastors, Scotty Smith.
Lord Jesus, we come before your throne of grace today bringing marriages with us—our own and those of our friends’. Everywhere we look, there seems to be a growing number of friends who are discouraged, disconnected, despairing—even dying in their marriages. This makes us sad, but it doesn’t really shock us, for a couple of reasons.
It makes complete sense that the powers of darkness would assault the one relationship meant to tell the story of your great love for your bride. Of course marriage is going to be a war zone—the front lines of spiritual warfare until the day you return. Satan hates you, he hates the gospel, and therefore he hates your bride and he hates marriage. Of course marriage is going to be difficult—for there is no other relationship on the face of the earth which has more power to expose us and make us vulnerable, and arouse our longings and desires. Of course marriage is going to require your daily mercies and your steadfast love.
Like so many of us, I came into marriage with a little gospel and big naïveté. I had no clue about the depths of my brokenness, the degree of my selfishness, or the devices of my sinfulness. I had no clue about what a “normal” marriage was supposed to look like, much less a healthy one. I had no clue about what it would take to love one person well the rest of my life (or even in the next hour)—a person who needs the gospel just as much as I do.
And I certainly had no clue that only your love is better than life; that only your love can slake the deepest thirst of my heart; that only your love can offer the intimacy we crave and for which we’ve been made. Jesus, only your love can free us to love another sinful spouse the way you love us as your spouse—for better or for worse, for richer or for poorer, in sickness and in health, to love and to cherish, until we are parted by death. Only your love, only your love is enough.
Lord Jesus, we pray for our friends, and we pray for ourselves. Protect us from the evil one and rescue us from ourselves. Show us how to care for one another in ways that bring your glory. Bring hope to the hopeless, conviction to the foolish, nourishment to the famished, grace to the betrayed, and repentance to the betrayers. When we want to “bolt,” may we bolt to you, quickly and surely. Prove yourself, yet again, to be Immanuel—the God who is for us and with us. So very Amen we pray, sobered and expectant, in your loving and powerful name.