Praying the Lord's Prayer for Your Marriage - Part I
- Jay Sklar, Ph.D. Two Becoming One
- 2004 16 Mar
How does the Lord Jesus want you to pray for your marriage?
I'm not asking how often He wants you to pray for your marriage. I'm not asking how long He wants you to pray for your marriage. I'm simply asking how does He want you to pray for your marriage? What type of things does He want you to be praying for your spouse? What should your focus be when you pray for your spouse?
Someone might respond, "Those are great questions, but there is no verse in the Bible where the Lord says, 'Pray for your marriage in such and such a way'." That is true. But there are certainly many prayers in the Bible that could serve as models of how God wants us to pray. This is especially true of the most well-known prayer in the Bible: the Lord's Prayer (Matthew 6:9-13).
Just before Jesus begins the Lord's Prayer, he does not say, "Pray these words: Our Father who art in heaven...." No, Jesus says, "Pray, then, in this way: Our Father who art in heaven..." (Matthew 6:9a). In other words, Jesus is not giving us a prayer to recite as much as He is giving us a model of what prayer should look like.
So what does Jesus want our prayers to look like? And how can we use Jesus' model of prayer in praying for our marriage?
Our Father, who art in heaven...
Jesus begins His model prayer with a reminder of who it is that we pray to. Before bringing any of our requests before God, we pause to remember the God to whom we are praying.
On the one hand, we remind ourselves that God is "our Father". He is not a distant God who is far away; He is a God who is near, a God who loves us, a God to whom we can come like a little child can come to his or her father.
On the other hand, we remind ourselves that God is our Father "who is in heaven". This speaks of God's sovereignty and greatness, His absolute control over the world. As a result, we not only bow before Him with reverence, we also bring our requests to Him in confidence, knowing that He is powerful and mighty to help us.
Our prayers, then, begin with praise to God, our loving Father who is great and powerful and able to help us. This can be especially important to remember in the context of a marriage that is difficult or going through a rough time. God does indeed love us and is indeed able to help us.
Hallowed be Thy name, Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven...
The focus of these three petitions is the glory of God. This is very important to recognize. Unlike many of our prayers, Jesus' prayer does not begin with asking for daily bread; that comes later. Instead, Jesus teaches us to begin by praying for the glory of God. In fact, all three of these petitions are focusing on that very thing.
For example, the word "hallow" in this context means "to treat as holy". When we pray, "Hallowed be Thy name", we are praying that God would be treated as holy in this world. We are praying that people would acknowledge His holy character and respond to Him as a holy God. What we are praying is that people would give glory to God.
When we pray "Thy kingdom come," we are praying the same. The "kingdom" of God is His rule and His reign in this world that is shown especially in the lives of those who have submitted to His lordship. When we pray that His kingdom would come we are praying that more and more people be rescued from the kingdom of darkness and submit their lives to the kingship of God Himself.
When we pray "Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven," we are again praying that God would be glorified in the earth. We are praying that people would be obedient to the will of God so that the kingdom of heaven itself would be reflected in their lives. Once more, then, we are praying that God would be glorified.
How should this impact the way that we pray for our marriage? If God's glory were our first concern, what kinds of things would we be praying for? Here are a few suggestions to consider:
1. We would pray for the Lord's perspective - a kingdom perspective - in the decisions that we make as a couple. Ask the Lord to give you a kingdom perspective on life. Ask him to make the things that thrill His heart thrill yours; ask him to make the things that break His heart break yours.
2. We would pray that our spouse would love the Lord God with all their heart, soul, mind and strength. We would go so far as to pray that our spouse's love for God would be greater than any other love that they had.
3. We would pray for our spouse's spiritual life and their growth in Christ. If they are not a Christian, we would be bold to continue to pray that God would bring them to faith in Jesus Christ.
What all of these suggestions have in common is that they are prayers for God's glory to be manifested in the context of our marriage. This is how prayer for marriage should begin. Is this how our prayers for our marriages begin?
How should prayer for marriage continue? Please see the second part of this article.
© 2003 Christian Family Life
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