Thinking Through Scripture

"but the word of the Lord remains forever"

Tag: Prayer

A Tradition to Help your Marriage


Since I have been married, every night before going to sleep, I take my wife (Lauren) by the hand, I say a prayer, then give her a kiss.  We always mention several things during this prayer.  We always thank God for our marriage and pray that we continue to grow in our love for each other.  We thank God for the church that we work with and pray for growth and strength in the congregation.  We always pray for Lauren’s sisters and their spiritual wellbeing.  We pray for several by name who have fallen away. And we thank God for the hope and salvation we have through Jesus.  These are staples in every nightly prayer.

We also add various things as they come up, prayer requests, concerns, blessings to give thanks for, etc.  But this is one of the most important traditions in our marriage.  It has helped our marriage in many ways and I would encourage any married couple to do this.  Especially the husbands.  Take the initiative.  Take your wife’s hand. And lead her in prayer.  Here are a few reasons why:

It Reminds You of Your Priorities

This reminds us every single night what is most important.  Sometimes we are tired.  Sometimes we are busy.  And believe it or not sometimes we have arguments.  But we always make this a priority.  Do you know what helps solve an argument faster than anything else?  Taking your wife by the hand, thanking God for her, your marriage, your common salvation, and then giving her a kiss.

Do you know what the important things are?  Your faith, your relationship, your marriage, your family, your hope, and your salvation.  These things are far more important than some point you are trying to prove.  We don’t go to bed angry (Ephesians 4:26).  We go to bed thankful.

It Strengthens your Marriage

Not only does this prayer help in conflict resolution, but it will strengthen your marriage in many other ways.  Because of this prayer, we go to bed at the same time (nearly) every single night.  We also communicate, both with God and each other about the most important happenings in our lives.  From what I have been told once or twice, communication is somewhat important in a marriage.  The best form of communication in a marriage is when you talk with each other, and then talk with God.

My wife sees me praying for her and her family every night.  She sees me praying for our marriage, our faith, and our church family.  She loves me because of that.  And I love being able to lead her in that prayer.  I know that she supports everything I am saying and is praying to God through my words.  That is a big responsibility, but it makes our marriage strong.

It Solidifies your Faith

Prayer has a lot of benefits. It is encouraging and relationship building when I know someone is praying for me. It relieves stress to be able to formulate into words my thoughts and struggles and offer them to God.  But the greatest benefit of prayer is not what we do while praying, but what God does while answering. God answers prayers.  One of the best ways to test that is with a consistent and persistent prayer life.

He often does so in ways that we could never predict or imagine.  Sometimes even while He is answering them, we don’t see it.  Then years later, we look back and realize, “Oh, I see what happened there.”  If you are not a Christian, that might sound extremely cliché or corny.  But if you are a Christian, you know what I am talking about. We have had prayers answered. It has strengthened our faith and our confidence in God.  God really does listen and really does care.  Taking advantage of that fact alone will help any marriage.


Unanswered Prayers

The efficacy of prayer has often been an issue which has troubled believers.  It seems like prayer works sometimes, but other times it does absolutely nothing.  There have been times I prayed for things, even very specific things, and they have come to pass quickly, efficiently, and in a manner I approved.  In those times it is easy to say, “Good job, God, You handled that very well. Bravo.”  However, many times I have prayed for specific things and it seems like the prayer has yielded very little divine attention.

Occasionally, I will have major issues I am dealing with and two facts come to my mind: I know God in His omnipotence can easily and immediately do exactly what I am asking, and I know He doesn’t.  It makes me want to cry out, “How long, O Lord, will I call for help, And You will not hear?” (Habakkuk 1:2), or possibly, “I cry out to You for help, but You do not answer me” (Job 30:20).  David said, “O my God, I cry by day, but You do not answer; And by night, but I have no rest” (Psalm 22:2).  Clearly, this issue is not new.  Unanswered prayers are a major struggle today, just as they were by many stalwarts of faith in Scripture.

Unanswered prayers not only cause doubt because we feel God’s not listening, but it makes us question the times He does answer us.  “Am I simply attributing dumb luck to a benevolent Creator?  Surely just by chance things will go my way sometimes.  Is there a correlation between how often things go my way when I pray versus when I don’t pray?  Is there a litmus test I can develop to verify or falsify the power of prayer?”

This mindset, I fear, is a lot of the problem.  We judge God’s existence, compassion, and abilities based on how closely He conforms to our desires.  If everything goes my way all the time then God must really exist, care and be quite talented. But when things don’t go my way, it begs some serious questions.  Does God really hear?  Does He really care? Does He really exist?

If I judge God’s abilities or existence based on how well He obeys me, I have really missed the point.  I have essentially switched places with Him.  Instead of God judging me based on my response to Him, I have started judging Him based on His response to me.

In the Bible there are many answers given for why our prayers might not be answered as we wish.  Sometimes we ask things that God simply does not want to do.  Or put another way, “it is against His will.”  Maybe His plans are different than our desires (Habakkuk 1:2-3, 12-17; 2 Corinthians 12:8-9).  Even Jesus faced this dilemma with prayer (Luke 22:42).  Maybe our plans do not fit His timeline (Revelation 6:9-11; 1 Corinthians 16:22; Job 30:20).  Maybe we gave up too quickly (Luke 11:5-10; 18:1-5; 1 Thessalonians 5:17).  Maybe we asked with the wrong motives (James 4:3).  Maybe we have been bad husbands (1 Peter 3:7).  Maybe because of our life choices we have been denied the benefit of prayer (Isaiah 59:1, 2; Psalm 66:18-20).

There are many reasons why God might not answer our prayers, or might not answer as we wish He would.  It should cause us to look inwardly and ask if we need to make some life changes.  It should cause us to trust in God that maybe, just maybe, He knows best.  You know, that whole “Your will be done” thing.  But we should never put ourselves in His seat, and base our view of Him on how well He follows our lead.  We should not design tests for God so we can judge and score His abilities.  We should pray without ceasing, without doubting, without judging, and trust that God is pretty good at what He does.  Let Him be the God in the relationship.

%d bloggers like this: