I rocked hard in my cushy blue chair. My foot kept tapping on the floor as I pushed it back and forth. I was so frustrated! As a young newlywed, I knew I was not who I should be, and neither was Greg. We loved each other and we loved God, but UGH! How do we help someone to change when we ourselves are struggling with the change in us? Sometimes, we would just forget who we are and to Whom we belong! I hated these moments. So, my foot would tap, and I would rock back and forth pondering how to counter our latest moment of not so godliness with one another. On this particular day, I happened to be reading in Colossians so when I opened up the Bible, I remembered that I had heard someone say, “Real power comes when we pray Scripture!” So, I decided that I would commit to praying Colossians 3 over our marriage. I took Colossians 3 and wrote it out in my prayer journal praying it with my owns words and my own issues. I was trying to own it in my life. I wondered if it would really work for us. I wanted to experience the reality of God changing us. So, I rocked, wrote, and prayed.
I do not remember what our particular fight might have been in the moment, but I do remember that when I paused to pray Scripture, I would see that I was more intentional to dress appropriately in God’s character qualities and when I prayed them over Greg, I was more apt to see them in Greg. Yes, I had to fight really hard to not point out his lack of being dressed properly and try even harder to focus more on how I was dressed in a God given character quality. We have had seasons of beauty and splendor, as well as seasons of Hmmmm… not so much! But what I know from almost thirty years of marriage is that when I prayed and made the choice to honor God, Greg would follow suit. When I chose to dishonor Greg and God, Greg would often follow suit. This goes the other way as well. When Greg would choose to honor me and God, I would make a shift and do likewise. And when he didn’t, I would easily fall into the temptation to do the same. We so easily can cause our beloved to fall. UGH!
I think the hardest thing in marriage is learning to die to self! We expect our spouses to be the one that meets our needs, but it must come from God. Learning how to die to self to serve our spouse is the training ground God uses to grow our character. He knows we have so much to learn. So, He blesses us with one another to grow us!
What might a marriage prayer look like based on Colossians 3? This morning I took the time to write it out in a prayer and as I prayed through it I wished that I had the one I had written some thirty years ago. But, as I wrote it out I recognized for sure that the things I probably emphasized as a twenty-year-old are different than what I am now. I have learned so much and I know the blessing of praying long-term in marriage. Seasons come and seasons go. All things pass, so what might feel devastating in the moment will in a few weeks be forgotten when truly covered in love. This is the beauty of love given freely.
It is my prayer today that some of my younger beloveds might consider writing their own marriage prayer based on Colossians 3. Pray it often and allow God to dress you appropriately at home in His character qualities. Maybe God just wants you to pray what I have already written.
A Marriage Prayer based on Colossians 3
Father, thank You for raising us up in Christ. Help us to see the things that are above that will honor Jesus and honor You since He sits at Your right-hand in the position of strength! It is hard sometimes for us to remember in the moment that we need to set our minds on things above. Emotions, frustrations, routine, wants, desires, and needs get in the way. Life is real and raw, so we forget and focus on the earthly things. Please forgive us! We know that we are hidden in Christ because we have chosen to die to self and follow Jesus. Thank You for the reminder that our belief in Jesus will allow us to appear before You in glory. Sometimes that seems far away. Can You please show us Your glory in our marriage now? Help us to show Your glory through our marriage.
Help us to put to death anything that might be hindering our marital journey. Slay within us sexual immorality, impurity, passion, evil, desire, and covetousness that leads to idolatry. Thank You for all the ways You have already dealt with those in our lives and help us to celebrate the goodness You have already orchestrated. Father, in many ways it is the internal struggles that are the hardest to slay because they are hidden inside us, and no one knows our thoughts. Please help us to deal with our anger, wrath, malice, slander, and obscene talk. Help us to be honest about our struggles and to speak truth to one another. Help us to encourage one another to grow in our new self by renewing our minds seeking to be like You! Help us to remember that NO ONE has the advantage of being better than the other. We are both free in Christ both male and female.
What a gift You have given us as Your chosen children. Please help us to dress like Your children and to never forget that these character qualities must be put on at home before we walk out the door to serve others. If we do not dress in them at home, we cannot walk about wearing them well with others. Please help us to dress ourselves in Your holiness—allowing You to do the sanctifying work that must be done to make us holy as You are holy. Help us to remember that we are beloved and that our spouse is Your beloved as well and that just as we expect to be treated a certain way so does our spouse. Help us to pray often for us to deeply love each other so that our spouse knows that they are our beloved. BE LOVED! Help us to get into the act of loving well.
Dress us in compassion, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience! O yes! Give us patience! We ask for it from You because with You we will have a better chance of being patient as the trials unfold. Help us to bear with one another without complaint in the daily routine never forgetting that it is in our times of peace that we prepare for our times of struggle. Our choices in these moments prepare us for when we must trust our daily habits to get us through. Help us to take out of our hearts what we received as an offense and not hold on to it for true love keeps no record of wrongs.
Let Your forgiveness and grace be our norm. Let us forgive freely as You forgave us freely. Help us to cover ourselves in the blanket of love so that we might be bound in harmony as we let peace rule our hearts. You are so giving and so generous. In this we give thanks! Let thankfulness flow freely from our hearts, mouths, and actions. Cause us to say, “Thank you!” to each other often and to be very specific in what we are saying thank you for. Let us daily give thanks for the gifts You have given us and let us be known for our thankful and generous hearts toward one another.
Let us dwell richly in Your Word, O LORD. Let the meditations of our hearts be upon Your Word and honoring Your Word because when we are in the Word, we are with Jesus, and we are transformed! Let Your songs of wisdom pour out of us with thankfulness to You! Help us to serve You in both word and in deed, giving Your Name, Jesus, honor. And giving praise and thanksgiving to our Father through You, Jesus!
Father, as we submit to You it is so much easier to submit to one another because we are no longer thinking about our self, but the other and giving You glory. When we are submitted to You, O LORD, it is so much easier to love each other and not be harsh with one another. Allow our love and submission to one another be so honoring that we give You glory. We lift our children up before You and ask that we raise them up in honoring You and one another. Help us to show them how to respect us and help us to lovingly raise them up in kindness. Show us how to reason with them, guide them, direct them, coach them, and bless them as they grow. Show us how to encourage them so that they become strong and courageous.
As we serve in work or ministry let us do it in reverence and awe as we serve You! Help us to not be people-pleasers always wanting to be seen. Let us serve for Your pleasure and not man! Thank You for the inheritance we have in Christ Jesus and that You call Your children Your inheritance. Thank You that we can rest in knowing that this is secure. Thank You that we can also trust that You will discipline the one that does wrong. You have no favorites. We can trust You to discipline us both as we go through life. We can trust that You can and will speak to our spouse when they have gone astray in their choices. Thank You for this assurance. We trust You! We give our marriage to You for Your glory! In Jesus Name, AMEN!
May our Father, encourage you and strengthen you in your marriages today!
Amen and Hallelujah!