Prayer in Every Season of Marriage
By: Rebecca Barlow Jordan
Don’t be anxious about things; instead, pray. Pray about everything. He longs to hear your requests, so talk to God about your needs and be thankful for what has come. And know that the peace of God (a peace that is beyond any and all of our human understanding) will stand watch over your hearts and minds in Jesus, the Anointed One. - Philippians 4:6-7 VOICE
As couples, we all experience various seasons in our lives. And it’s easy to characterize those seasons either by ages—the length of time we’ve been married—or by the circumstances we face. Spring may indicate young love or a season of married bliss. Or it could indicate a period without major calamities or stresses.
Summer moves us into a completely different season: dry, hot, and to some, challenges of parenting young children. Summer can be a wakeup call to the realities of life—and to issues that won’t disappear. To some, summer can also represent a temporary reprieve of problems and a time of rest.
Fall points to change, as we and our children age. Depending on disciplines formed and lessons learned, couples may welcome this season as a new era, a time when we birth new dreams, while we release old ones. On the other hand, new worries and losses can strip a marriage like a tree bared of its autumn leaves. And depending on how we deal with changes, we may face this season totally unprepared, bared of the warmth and comfort we had hoped would arrive.
Ah, then winter blasts through our doors, and we might feel the onslaught of aging, our spirits and bodies reaching for renewal, even as memories and disappointments may stalk our relationship, threatening us into unwelcome isolation. Winter can enter our marriages at any age, just like any season, but we can protect against devastation and respond to its gifts of celebration, warmth, and rest.
A determination to hang tough through difficult challenges, to join hands and hearts in a new era of togetherness, and to see life from God’s perspective can make spring, summer, fall, or winter a blessed season every year of our marriage. But I can testify to one “practice” that has made a huge difference in my own marriage through the years.
We’ve prayed together since the moment we said, “I do.” We’ve asked; we’ve searched; we’ve knocked; we’ve cried; and we’ve laughed our prayers to God throughout the seasons of our marriage. We learned to truly pray about everything. Our kids will tell you we even prayed about whether to have pizza on Sunday night. (But the real reason we escaped into another room was not to pray about ordering pizza, but to discuss whether we could afford it!)
Like other couples, we’ve also experienced seasons of neglect where we prayed, but not necessarily intentional “together” prayers other than mealtimes or children’s tuck-in bedtimes. And we’ve also experienced seasons of choosing worry over prayer. Not recommended.
The teenage years of parenting—and issues in our own lives— brought us to our knees and experiences of prayer with fasting, not because of our kids, but because we felt so inept and unprepared for those particular challenges. While we had prayed together through critical issues in earlier years, this season pushed us to understand what prayer could really do: it made us long to truly feel and know the heart of God.
Since that time we’ve only intensified our determination to pray about everything. But in this “fall/winter” season of our marriage when we can commit more focused time to prayer, we now pray intentionally together every morning before beginning our work, offering prayer, thanks, and whatever concerns God has laid on our heart. It has become the highlight of my day and has only intensified the oneness in our marriage.
The idea of praying together may cause weak knees and fearful hearts in some couples. Where to start? What to pray? Start at the beginning. Talk to God—and your spouse—as your best friend. The object of prayer is not to get something from God. It’s to know God’s heart. Throughout His Word, God conveys His “consuming passion” for us. That passion is like a husband for His bride. He longs to hear us cry out to Him, even if it’s simply, “Help, Lord!”
The words you pray are not what matters to God. He sees and knows your heart. And that’s what He wants to hear from you: cries, petitions, thanks, praises—and your trust from deep within. Start with sentence prayers, rather than paragraphs. Take turns praying. Find a Bible verse that speaks to you in Psalms or somewhere else, and pray that Scripture back to God. Be honest with Him and with each other as you open up your lives. And don’t forget to thank Him for however He answers.
No matter what season of marriage you are experiencing, prayer is the powerful privilege God has given to us at any time of need to come boldly to Him and pour out the contents of our hearts. To pray continually (without ceasing) means in any season or circumstance—even to let our very breath be a prayer of praise, thanks, confession, and petition to God.
When we choose to make prayer our companion instead of worry, God has promised to fill us with a peace that can’t be explained by human understanding. Don’t all marriages need that?
Rebecca Barlow Jordan is a bestselling inspirational author and day-voted follower of Jesus who loves to paint encouragement on the hearts of others. After five decades of marriage, she and her husband are more passionate about marriage and family than ever. Rebecca has authored and contributed to over 20 books and has written over 2000 other articles, devotions, greeting cards, and other inspirational pieces. She is a regular Crosswalk contributor whose daily devotional Daily in Your Presence is also available for delivery through Crosswalk.com. You can sign up for Rebecca’s free ebook and find out more about her and her encouraging blog at www.rebeccabarlowjordan.com.
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