A Prayer for Marriages, Our Own and that of Friends
While on the theme of marriage, I read yesterday this prayer by Scotty Smith in his book, “Everyday Prayers” and pass it on as my ‘amen’ to what Scotty prayed:
For no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as Christ does the church, because we are members of his body. ”Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.” This mystery is profound, and I am saying that it refers to Christ and the church. Eph. 5:29-32
Dear Lord Jesus, I’m painfully aware of a growing number of friends who feel disconnected, despairing, or “dying” are in their marriages. I’m saddened, but not shocked, for two 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 is a hater. He hates you, he hates the gospel, and therefore, he hates your bride and he hates marriage.
But knowing my own heart also decreases the shock factor. Like most 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 it would take to love one person well the rest of my life—like every other spouse, someone who needs the gospel just as much as I do.
And I certainly had no clue that your love alone is better than life; that your love alone can slake the deepest thirst of my heart; that your love alone can provides the depths of intimacy we crave and for which we’ve been made.
Only theoretically did I understand how your love can free me to love another my spouse the way you love me as your spouse—for better or for worse, for richer or for poorer, in sickness and in health, to love and to cherish, forgiving and forbearing, accepting without acquiescing, doing the hard and heart work of the gospel.
Jesus, I pray for my friends, and I pray for myself. Protect us from the evil one, and rescue us from ourselves. Give hope to the hopeless, conviction to the foolish, nourishment to the famished, grace to the betrayed, and godly sorrow to the betrayers. Tell your story of redeeming love, in us and through us. So very Amen I pray, sobered yet expectant, in your loving and powerful name.
Scotty Smith is Founding Pastor of Christ Community Church in Franklin, TN and you can obtain gospel-centered prayers daily through his book, “Everyday Prayers” (Baker Books, 2011) or at his website: http://thegospelcoalition.org/blogs/scottysmith