National Day of Prayer is tomorrow and there has never been a greater time in our nation’s history to pause and pray. I think there has never been a greater time to pray for our marriages as well. I’m so happy my friend Jodie Berndt has just released a brand-new book called Praying the Scriptures for Your Marriage. Buy it, read it, use it to create a more intimate marriage. You can learn more about this wonderful person and her ministry at JodieBerndt.com.
Do What Works
What do you want God to do for your marriage?
That’s the question I threw out on social media as I began working on a new book about how we can pray for—and trust God with—our most important relationship.
You can imagine the answers: People wanted better communication. Good relationships with their in-laws. Deeper spiritual and physical intimacy. Help handling money—and conflict. The power to be kind and the grace to forgive.
And a handful of people said they just wanted God to “show me how to fix my spouse.”
I laughed at that honesty. Truth be told, though, we know we can’t “fix” anybody. But we can bring our cares and our questions to God—the one who works in us to desire and do what pleases him—and then trust him with the outcomes.
And there will be outcomes. Study after study details the benefits that come with mutual prayer—perks that include a higher satisfaction in marriage, a greater sense of emotional well-being, and even better sex. Even when you’re fed up with your spouse (they left their towel on the floor, they forgot your anniversary, they were late—again), praying helps. “Prayer gives couples a chance to calm down,” is how one researcher put it. “And it reinforces the idea that you’re on the same team.”
What if My Spouse Does Not Want to Pray?
If praying together is not something that would fly in your home—maybe your spouse is not a believer, or they aren’t sure prayer works, or one or both of you just balk at what feels like an awkward or unfamiliar idea—that’s okay. Pray as you can, not as you can’t.
My husband and I spent many years teaching marriage courses at our church, and we understood that a lack of prayer in a marriage did not in any way signal a lack of love. One of the things we encouraged couples to do, if they were not comfortable praying together, was to consider the material, reflect on the questions, and then ask one another: “What’s something I can do to support you in this area? How can I let you know you are loved?”
How can I let you know you are loved?
Malachi 3:16 says, “Those who feared the LORD talked with each other, and the LORD listened and heard.” Could it be that God pays attention when we talk with each other? Might he even receive these conversations as prayers? When they’re birthed in the context of marriage—a relationship that’s designed to reflect God’s covenant love and be a picture of the gospel of grace—we have to believe that he would.
From the union between Adam and Eve, to the language in Solomon’s song, to the fact that Jesus’ first miracle took place at a wedding, to the Revelation promise of Christ’s triumphant return to marry his people, the Bible is one big wedding story. God loves marriage.
Our Prayers Release God’s Provision
God loves marriage—and he loves your marriage. Whether you’re newly engaged, celebrating a golden anniversary, or somewhere in between; whether you’re navigating a new transition, holding on in a really hard place, or simply longing to experience deeper intimacy and connection with your spouse; whether you are brand new to prayer or you’ve been talking to God your whole life, know this:
God wants you to come into his presence, the place where you’ll find fullness of joy. And he invites you to partner with him, through your prayers, to release his richest provision.
If you’re looking for some fresh ways to approach God on behalf of your spouse or your marriage, here are a few of my favorite scripture prayers:
In humility, may we value one another above ourselves, not looking to our own interests but to each other’s interests and well-being. (Philippians 2:3-4)
May we be kind and compassionate to one another, and quick to forgive. (Ephesians 4:32)
Make our love increase and overflow for each other and for everyone else. (1 Thessalonians 3:12)
Discover how to pray about 20 different topics in Praying the Scriptures for Your Marriage: Trusting God with Your Most Important Relationship. Whether you’re just starting out, holding on in a hard place, or navigating the empty nest years, there is no need you will face that God has not already thought of, and provided for, in his word!
Connect with Jodie on Instagram and via her email newsletter, and please visit jodieberndt.com to access free resources like printable prayer cards and calendars, encouraging videos, and study guides for group or individual use.