Prayer for a Marriage
By Gary Kendall
Editor’s note—More than ever, the Lord’s divine intervention is desperately needed to empower the people of God to collectively build a Jesus-centered, biblically grounded Movement that brings the kingdom to life on earth as it is in heaven. Through that lens, US and Canada Strategy offer the following food-for-thought concerning one of the fundamental spiritual disciplines—prayer. We trust you’ll find it valuable as you boldly approach the throne of grace.
You’ve heard it said we pray, hoping God will change the situation, and what often happens is, he changes us.
Here is a prayer I pray regularly now.
Lord, Jesus, help me see what you see in my spouse. Help me feel what you feel. Let your love flow through me; I want to be an extension of your love. I pray I will be the husband you want me to be.
Like many couples, my wife Belinda and I hit a challenging season in our marriage. My good friend Enrique Cepeda challenged us to pray for each other daily and together. It wasn’t immediate, but prayer drew us back together and added a new level of intimacy over time.
It seems humorous now, but the first few times we prayed together during our troubled season, we both felt like the other was using prayer to correct. Belinda said I prayed like I wanted God to take my side and straighten her out. Of course, I could have offered a different version of the same thinking. But the repeated effort drew us closer to God and closer to each other.
The turning point came when we began repenting to God for our selfishness and pettiness in front of the other. When you take time to recognize who God is and who you are in his presence, repentance is natural.
If I’m honest, the first few times Belinda repented, I thought, “Good, now we are getting somewhere.” But repentance has a way of touching everyone in the room. Soon, I was repenting, and then we began to support each other in the healing work God began to do.
Now when we start to struggle, we say, “Let’s stop and pray.” Somehow selfishness is exposed before God, and it looks and feels undesirable. Love flows from God to his children, and the battle turns. Incredibly, solutions come to mind; sometimes, they are so simple we wonder how we missed them. Other times endurance comes because the path in front of us is long and leads uphill.
We also chose a Christian counselor who prayed “listening prayer” with us, and that was helpful.
Prayer turned the battle. There still is a battle, but Jesus is in it with us, and we are fighting for each other, not against each other.
We don’t have a perfect marriage, but we do have a praying marriage, which makes all the difference.
Gary Kendall is a longtime and well-respected Church of God pastor, church planter, author, and leader of leaders.