The thing we most need to do, but what so many of us struggle with. I have a few people in my life who are prayer warriors, plain and simple. I call them when I need prayer because I know they will truly pray. Lately, I find myself wanting this in my own life, but my mind wanders, my lack of attention sets in, or I am at loss for words.
I know I can be honest with God, but most of the time I end up telling Him what I think He wants to hear, as if that is the way I’d want my children to talk with me. Add prayers over my marriage into it, and I really feel lost because mostly I just complain to Him. Real nice.
Paul Tripp speaks about the importance of marital prayer in his book, What did you Expect?, and his advice rings true.
“In our marriage, prayer pushes us in all the right directions. It reminds us of the kinds of things we have said are so important to a marriage of unity, understanding, and love. Daily prayer reinforces all of the commitments we are tempted to forsake but that are vital to maintain. Prayer opens the eyes of our heart. Prayer is a necessary ingredient of a healthy marriage.”
I need the eyes of my heart opened each day! I can’t stay focused without negative thoughts bombarding me, and redirecting my prayers to the point where I start making grocery lists or even worse, pointing out others flaws instead asking forgiveness for my own. I know, I am so pathetic.
I’m sure God isn’t shocked to see me freaking out and wringing my hands. King David did it, maybe you do it, so at least I am in good company.
But I want some of my prayers to reflect what I do know to be true about my Father in heaven. Even David usually ended his prayers proclaiming God’s goodness and mercy. At times, my ears and my soul need to hear something other than my own fearful thoughts.
As I murmured the Lord’s Prayer, I felt more anchored. Steady. Jesus told us to pray these words, so this must be a good springboard. This prayer reminds us of who we are, who God is, and how we fit into His kingdom.
Our Father in heaven…
We are not alone. We tend to forget we are not left to our own devices and resources. We are not to depend on our own strength, wisdom, and righteousness.
Prayer reminds us that God is in every situation, and every detail. He is our God, and He is our Father so He is faithfully committed to providing for us. So that means when you are in the middle of the most disappointing and frightening moments of your life, you are not isolated. You are not without hope. You have a Father in heaven who is with you in your struggle. He will not let you go, and knowing this can make all of the difference when we feel lost.
Hallowed it be your name. Your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.
God has a larger purpose for marriage than what we can see or know. We can easily focus on our own version of how our marriage should look, with us as the miniature rulers. But when we pray these words, we are acknowledging that He is in control of us, and we are not in control of each other. It is offering our own will in exchange for God’s will.
Real unity happens when we put away our own agendas and pursue God’s plan together. It reminds who is King and which kingdom is best. Serving God together in a marriage, rather than ourselves, is the best way to be knit together in unity and love.
Give us this day, our daily bread.
We are needy. We are dependent upon God for the basic necessities in life. From the bread we eat to the character traits we display. We need God. We don’t have the ability to turn ourselves into loving, gentle, faithful, kind, forgiving people. This only happens as his Spirit transforms us and changes us, sometimes very slowly.
Prayer humbles us, and rescues us from ourselves and reminds us that we can never be who we need to be without God’s intervention and restoration. I forget this far too often. I try to figure out all of the answers to my problems, and the wonder why life feels so scary and difficult. Instead of leaning on my own understanding, I need God to help me and lead me and protect me.
Forgive our debts as we have also forgiven our debtors, and lead us not into temptation but deliver us from evil.
This reminds me that my sinful heart is working against me, tempting me from the inside.
Prayer causes us to look within, to stop blaming others, and to accept responsibility for our behavior and to receive forgiveness and help. Prayer reminds us that our biggest problem is our own self. But our Savior is there to forgive and redeem. It really is a daily battle, but we can’t give in. We have to keep going to the Cross over and over. Repenting and forgiving one another.
For yours is the Kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Amen.
The center of the universe is not you. Or me. It is God. Our hope in marriage is not in the miniature kingdoms we establish, complete with dinner menus, and family photo shoots each November, in God, and His kingdom.
The Lord’s Prayer helps me go to the Throne of God and find peace, hope, and assurance of who I am in Christ. It reminds me of how much He loves me. And it lends perspective to the big picture, the amazing story I am a part of. I still worry and complain, don’t get me wrong, but I feel certain I am being changed, and that even in the trenches, and the fearful times, I am His. Amen.