It’s not difficult for most of us to think of someone who’s struggling with their marriage. Failed marriages have reached a crisis point, even within the church. Record numbers of people experience broken marriages, divorce, or avoid marriage altogether.
Marriage might seem like a lost cause.
Can Prayer Fix the Unfixable?
If someone tells you to “just pray” for your marriage, it may seem like a spiritual bandaid. You might think, my marriage is too far gone for that. Even committed Christians often resist the concept of praying for their marriages.
Perhaps you feel like you can’t come back from the harsh words, wrongdoings, or instances of betrayal that occurred. Prayer can seem like a simplistic over-spiritualization of some complicated pain or suffering.
Even if your marriage is not facing ruin, prayer is often relegated to the margins of life–an important appendix to the real business of living. But this thinking represents an erroneous view of prayer.
But let’s go back a bit further. It’s more than just an erroneous view of prayer. Many modern Americans begin with an erroneous view of marriage itself.
A Wrong View of Marriage
Today, we often inherit our views of martial love from Disney movies or modern rom-com. Romantic love is envisioned as an isolated and individualized event—just two people encountering each other alone.
But this is not a Biblical perspective on marriage.
Marriage is a Community
We worship a triune God. This means, in essence, God is relational. He exists in communion within the Trinity, and He communes with us. God’s communal nature defines every aspect of our Christian faith and marriage. Marital love was never intended to exist in isolation.
After creating the world, God made man. But then he took one look at Man and said, this is not going to work out so well. Something is missing from the bachelor pad! It was the first thing in all of creation that God described as “not good.”
So, God created Eve. Eve’s creation saw the beginning of the first ‘community’. As the Trinity comprises the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, so marriage pours out of this. And as God’s trinitarian community pours into our lives, our marriages similarly pour into our children’s lives, the church, and the world beyond. Romantic couples are not isolated events, instead…
Christian marriage receives community and then provides community.
What does this have to do with Prayer?
Just about everything. True prayer is the actualization of this communion with God. It welcomes God into your marriage and opens your relationship to Heaven. Prayer is the catalyst for restoring your marriage to its original design.
A Wrong View of Prayer
As Americans, we can sometimes be practical to a fault. We wrongly see prayer as a “quick fix” because we wrongly see everything that way. We approach life assuming that it should make good sense and deliver on the dollar, on time. We are almost offended when things are not instantaneous, or user-friendly – as if it’s a design flaw.
But God’s nature is altogether different from this (after all, God spoke the world into existence). Prayer is never a bandaid. It is work, and it is communion. It’s a relationship, not a laundry list.
And yet… prayer does fix things.
The Practical Side of Prayer
Apart from prayer, our methods for fixing our marriages will never work. Marriage self-help books, biblical counseling, and therapy, for example, have their place, but when done to the detriment of prayer, they fail.
God is our spiritual physician and He can genuinely heal us, our marriages, and our families–and He’s the only one who can! He invented and defined marriage.
If you are new to the idea of praying with your spouse, here are a few practical things to keep in mind:
- Discipline your Emotions
Let’s face it, we often don’t feel like praying. But this is an occasion on which we must ignore those feelings and pursue prayer as a spiritual discipline. It can sometimes feel like a burden, but when done sincerely over time, it works miraculous changes in our marriages.
- The Six-Minute Prayer
The following “six-minute prayer” can be used as a helpful framework for couples. This prayer has three parts you pray for one minute each, totaling six minutes.
Part One: Give
Husbands, begin by thanking God for your wife. Tell Him what you appreciate about her. When your husband has finished, ladies, it’s your turn. Take one minute each, thanking God for one another.
Part Two: Be
We all fall short. This is an opportunity to confess your sins and shortcomings to God and ask for His forgiveness. We can assure you that humility before God honors both Him and your spouse.
Part Three: Ask
For the final two minutes, take turns asking God to bless your spouse. What is needed today? Favor? Wisdom? Strength? Whatever it is, ask God for His blessing. He has an unlimited supply.
Remember, when you sit down to pray with your spouse, you have just invited all of Heaven into your living room. In Matthew 18:16, Jesus says, “For where two or three gather in my name, there am I with them.”
We left the garden, but God never left us. He offers real healing and restoration, not easy fixes, and it all begins with prayer.
If you are interested in learning more about prayer and how to pray together as a married couple, please join us for our weekly DREAMarriage classes. Visit our website to find more information or to sign up to participate. We can’t wait to meet you!