Prayers for Troubled Marriages

Here are some prayers for you to use if you are facing trouble in your marriage.

I often find that having a prayer to refer to prompts people to pray more effectively for their needs.

Read through the following prayers and see which prayer or which parts of various prayers best relate to your situation. Then use those thoughts to put together a prayer best suited to your needs.

I don’t use scripted prayers and I don’t want you to be dependent on what others have written for you. But I know that people find it helpful to be guided in their praying until they gain confidence to make up their own prayers.

If you have found some other prayers that really helped you then please send them to me so I can make them available to others.

Crying Out to God

“Lord God, my Father, I cry out to you in my distress.

King David cried out to you and you heard him, so I believe you will hear my cry too.

I cry out to you for my marriage.

I ask you to save my marriage and to bring my spouse back to right living and back to me.

I ask you to completely set my spouse free from the sin and foolishness that led them away.

I also ask you to save them from destroying their life.

You did not create me or my spouse for sin and destruction, but you created us to serve and glorify you, powerfully.

I ask you to grab a hold of our lives, turn us both around and set us on a course of serving you with all our might.

And please bring your love and power into my life.

While I cry out for my marriage, I know that I need more than just having my spouse back.

I need your love and your grace in my life, so I can have all the peace, joy, love, patience, and those other things that you bring into a life.

I want to be used by you to see lives completely transformed.

So I need you to transform me and reveal your love and power in my life, so I can show others what you can do.

Come and overflow me with your love.

Come and lead me into a really close walk with you.

Come and captivate my heart and fill my life with your glory.

I want to know and love you better than I know and love anyone else.

I want you to have first place in my life.

Come and be lord and master of me, and also come and transform my marriage and my spouse, for your glory.

I ask this in Jesus’ wonderful name. Amen.”

Repenting for Wrong Choices

“Lord God, You know that I have not been living the way You want me to.

I have allowed myself to get tangled up in a relationship that does not honour You and does not bring the best for me or my children.

Please forgive me.

I call out to You for grace and for wisdom.

I want Your best in my life and I want Your best for my children.

Please rescue us from this messy situation.

Lord, I have allowed things to happen without really relying on You.

I have let myself get into this present situation, and I did not really look to You, or trust You to protect and bless me and my family.

Please forgive me for not totally relying on You, and for not putting You first in my life and in my home.

Come into my heart, and into my home, and bring Your holy presence to clean up the messes that I have allowed to develop.

Help me and the children to love you as the most important person in our lives.

I pray for this other person in my life, who is part of my wrong choices.

I want them to be totally sold out to You and controlled by Your love and power in their life, whether we have a future together or not.

I ask You to bring them into the fear of God too, so they will want to live right before You.

And lead us both into a proper sorting out of the way we live.

May my home become a place where Your glory shines, and may Your glory fill my life, my home and the lives of my children.

Have Your way in each of our lives I pray. In Jesus’ powerful and lovely name. Amen.”

Loneliness and Fear

“Lord, you know my heart and you see my deep feelings and fears.

You know that I am not happy with the way things are and I am insecure about the future.

I am anxious about relationships and what might be ahead for me.

Forgive me for not trusting You.

Your word says that Your plans for me are only good, and that if you are on my side then nothing can prevail against me.

So I bring myself back under Your care and protection, and ask for Your guidance and wisdom in my life.

I also ask that You pour into me your Perfect Love, because perfect love drives fear away and banishes it. I want all fear driven out of my life.

And Lord, please visit my inner thoughts and feelings. You know the things I struggle with better than I do. And You have answers that are more wonderful and powerful than anything I can get from a relationship, or from counsellors or from any other source.

Come into my heart and heal me of those things that consume me. I don’t want to be trapped in selfish preoccupation with myself. I want to be free to bless others and to be blessed.

I call upon You to be my deliver and I trust You to do, for Your glory.

And I ask all this in the lovely name of Jesus. Amen.”

Confronting Your Fears

“Lord, whatever You put me through and whatever price I must pay, I choose to believe in You, to trust You, to love You, to worship and serve You, and to remain totally committed to You as my Saviour and Lord.”

That is a simple prayer that can set you free from repeated disturbances from your fears, pride, lust, selfishness and human weakness.  Read on to understand why.

Living Sacrifice

One of the silliest things we do as Christians is try to save our flesh.  Jesus warned that when we try to preserve our life we lose it, but if we lay it down for the Lord we find it.

“For whoever saves his life will lose it: and whoever loses his life for my sake will find it.” Matthew 16:25

“Losing your life” is the same as presenting it to God as a “living sacrifice”, which the Apostle Paul instructed us to do.

“I beg you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service.” Romans 12:1

When something is sacrificed it is dead.  It is given up completely.  A “living sacrifice” becomes dead to those things that would otherwise distract.

No Worries in the Graveyard

The story goes that someone took a group into a graveyard and told them that no-one in that place had any cares about money or health any more.  There are no worries in the graveyard, because the people are already dead.

The point being made was that problems are a good sign.  They prove you are Alive!

Notice also that we will be free from all cares and worries once we have “died” to self, sin and this life.

Pulling Back Through Fear

When we are confronted by something threatening and fearful we naturally pull back.  And Christians can pull back from their willingness to obey God, because of things they fear.

I have heard from several people over the years who held back from becoming a missionary because they feared they would end up in some horrible place, missing all the comforts they were accustomed (addicted?) to.

People hold back from giving more, serving God more, praying more, reading the Bible more, witnessing to others more, committing to Christian training, and so on, because they have various internal cautions.

Those cautions may well be nothing more than pure fear, and often that fear is focused on our selfish desires.  We fear that we will lose our comforts, or look foolish in the eyes of others, or have to give up something we want to keep.

Tackle the Fear Head On

In my experience the most powerful way to deal with my fears, hesitations, selfish desires and the like is to boldly confront them.

Rather than trying to block out the fear or run away from the threat, it is better to face the fear and cut the ground out from underneath it.

Take a lesson from the ancient man of God, Job, who lost so much of what God had given him.  Rather than become bitter, or curse God, or let fear rule him, he confronted his fears head on.

Even if God kills me I will still trust in him: and I will maintain my own ways before him.” Job 13:15

Job became a “living sacrifice”, ready to die if God so chose, and determined to trust God no matter what.

Take note of Job’s first response to the many tragedies that suddenly came upon him and his family.

“I came out naked from my mother’s womb and I will leave earth naked: the LORD gave, and the LORD has taken away; blessed be the name of the LORD.” Job 1:21

Practical Examples

Consider the missionary example I mentioned earlier.  Here is the kind of prayer that can put to death the fears I mentioned.

“Lord God, I sense You are calling me to serve You in missionary service.  I am afraid that if I say ‘Yes’ to You I will be sent to some horrible place where I will suffer the loss of all things I hold dear.  So I now choose to renounce my love for those things and to hold You far more precious to me than everything this life offers.  I choose to serve You and to go where You send me, no matter how horrible or difficult that may be to me.  And if You send me to the worst place on earth for the most difficult challenges anyone has ever faced, I will still love You, serve You, worship You, tell others about You, read Your word and cling tightly to You, because that is my choice.  I die to my comforts and my selfishness and I put You above all of those things.  In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.”

The Call to Give

Here’s another example, to give you a sense for how you can address issues that come up in your life.  In this case, consider someone sensing the challenge to give up their wealth, as the Rich Young Ruler was by Jesus.

“Lord, I struggle with Your call on me to give up my wealth.  I have come to trust in my money and the security it brings me.  I fear living in poverty and I fear the contempt of all who know me for doing something so silly in their eyes as to give away my wealth.  But I choose now to trust You and to obey what I believe You are calling me to do.  And I realise that I could regret this decision for the rest of my life.  So I confront my fears right now and I declare that I will honour You and I will die to my selfishness and pride.  If obeying You leaves me poor and mocked for the rest of my life, and causes my children to miss out on all the worldly things I want for them, I will still love You, serve You, worship You, tell others about You, live for You and bless Your name.  I have nowhere else to go than to love and serve You, even if my natural life is destroyed in the process.  So I make myself a living sacrifice and I lay my life at Your feet, for Your glory.  Do with me as You choose.”

Confront Your Fears

What are the things that bring the chill finger of fear into your heart?  What are you most afraid of when it comes to yielding to God?  Identify those things and be ready to tackle them head on.

In my present situation my family is homeless because I have yielded to what I believe God wants me to do in tacking bank fraud and injustice in the courts.  I am completely powerless to defeat those evils and I totally rely on God doing a miracle to bring us through.

It’s not a nice place to be in many ways and it challenges me on many fronts.  Yet I can only trust God.  I have nowhere else to go.  I will not worship anyone but Him.  And there are people who think I am crazy for what I am doing.  And maybe I am.

But I am determined to live what I preach.  I am determined to trust God when there is no visible hope and nothing I can do to save myself.  If the bank has its way they will sell my home for less than it is worth and come after me for unjust claims.  The courts continue to frustrate my claims for justice.  I am undone.

But God is still God.  It is still true that the most important thing we can do is have faith in Him.  It is still true that He is on the throne and that He rewards those who determine to seek Him.

So I am living the things I write here.  And I am enjoying God’s preservation and grace even in this stretching time.

But even if God decides to let me be squashed and financially destroyed by the bank, what else can I do but trust Him? I will not give in to fraud and injustice, treason and corruption.  So I must look to God and rely only upon Him.

I encourage you to address your fears and to cross the hurdles that hold you back from being totally yielded to God.

Greed and Fear

We are told that the two forces that drive most people in our world are Greed and Fear, or Desire for Gain and Fear of Loss. The Stock Market is said to be driven by Fear and Greed. Most people seem to be caught in the turbulence of these two competing streams.

It is to be expected, then, that the Bible would have something to say about these two overwhelming forces in our society and in people’s lives. And, Yes, It Does!

God’s Assurance to Abraham

Way back about 4,000 years ago God spoke to a man named Abram and told him that God would be to him two very important things. Those two things speak directly to the subjects of Fear and Greed, or Protection and Gain.

“After these things the word of the LORD came to Abram in a vision, saying, Fear not, Abram: I am your shield, and your exceeding great reward.” Genesis 15:1

While many people spend their life either “Defending” or “Gaining”, here God declares that He is our Defense and our Gain.

By being our “shield”, God is the one who protects us from all kinds of evil and attack – be it physical, spiritual, evil intentions, litigation, exploitation or whatever. We can sleep easy at night and feel safe during the day, because God is our “shield”.

By being our “reward”, God is the one who brings profit, gain, growth, provision and the like into our lives. So we don’t have to be anxious, competitive, aggressive, opportunistic, exploitative, deceptive or any other wrong motivation, in order to be blessed. In fact God is our “exceeding great reward” – so He brings us real abundance and great blessing.

It Must Be The Lord

While God’s revelation to Abraham is that God, Himself, is the embodiment of our protection and our profit, a further revelation, given to King David, shows that God is to be the only source of those things in our life.

In Psalm 127:1 David declares that unless the Lord is your protection all your preparations to keep yourself safe are a waste of time. And unless God is the one who blesses you, all your efforts to get rich will be fruitless.

Except the LORD build the house, they labour in vain that build it: except the LORD keep the city, the watchman wakes but in vain.” Psalm 127:1

If God is not with your efforts to build your house, or make profit, or build up your assets, or get what you want, then all the work that is put is in vain. It doesn’t matter if you hire the best builders or the cheapest, you are wasting your time trying to get gain when God is not in it.

And if God is not protecting you, then having watchmen, an alarm system, security locks on your windows and doors or a loaded rifle under your pillow will not protect your assets.

Another way to put that is: “It must be the Lord who is involved in your plans to gain wealth, or you will end up with nothing. And it must be the Lord who is protecting you are you will be done in, despite your best efforts.”

God is All

But do you see the significance of what God said to Abraham and David? God is all you need. God is ALL. He is completely sufficient as your profit, gain, reward, blessing and achievement. He is also completely sufficient as your insurance policy, protection plan, security system and safeguard for your future.

You don’t need anything other than God. You don’t need God AND something else. You only need to have God in your life.

God is ALL to us, we can want for no more. To strive to get what God is not giving is to take on God Himself. Before God made any covenant with Abraham He established the fact that outside God there is nothing worth having, and in God there is every-thing we will ever need.

The Domestic Bride

I have met some lovely young brides over the years and been delighted by the heart-felt desire of each one to please her husband. The home and its domestic challenges is an area where many brides long to excel and through which they plan to bless their husband.

Yet the domestic role of a bride is also an area where some misunderstanding and unclear concepts can lead the couple into strife. So this post is for the domestic bride.

Beautiful Bride with a Beautiful Heart

I know that not all young brides are as wonderful as others, but I want to pause for a moment and commend the many amazing and sweet young ladies I have met over the years who earnestly long to delight their husband. Some of those lucky men have been ignorant of how blessed they are. Some of them have gone on to bruise the tender heart of their darling bride.

So, to you amazing and gorgeous young ladies, I commend you for your eager and delightful intention to bless your young man. Mankind is blessed to have the undeserved devotion that you give. I pray that God bless each of you with the rewards of His grace, even if your wonderfully blessed husband does not realise how privileged he is.

Tender Hearts Get Bruised

I am sorry that it is so, but tender hearts do get bruised. Insensitive young men and starry-eyed young brides end up with the pain of disappointment, hurts and misunderstanding. Sometimes the bruises are so sore that the marriage never regains the innocence and tenderness of its initial hopes and dreams.

With the progress of time many marriages completely lose their wonder and delight. Both bride and groom draw back from their innocent hopes and their willing abandonment. Many a cranky older couple started out as two tender hearts longing for things they could never find. I will look at this subject from another angle at some time, with reference to the ‘spirit of the marriage’.

Understand the Problems

Entering into marriage and this wonderful new level of relationship with some understanding may help you. So allow me to cover some points that should help you understand the problem.

In simple terms the main problem stems from the bride’s longing to serve and bless, and the husband’s ignorance of what he wants and how things should be administered. It is hard to effectively serve and bless someone when that service is ill defined.

The Dangerous Assumptions

In marriage, the easy assumptions to make include such things as the idea that you are both wonderfully compatible. Another assumption is that it will just work out fine, all by itself. Then there is the assumption by the man that the woman will somehow instinctively do what pleases him, and the assumption by the woman that the man will instinctively be delighted by what she gives him.

All of these assumptions are dangerous, because all of them are most likely not true. They set the couple up for surprises, disappointment, argument, misunderstanding and hurts.

It is unlikely that the husband has ever clearly catalogued what he likes and what he wants. He has most likely been a passenger in life’s journey, floating along with the things his mother did for him. What ever she did will be what he sees as ‘normal’, even if she is the only person on the planet who does things that way.

If a young husband was asked to explain the domestic management of a home very few would have much depth of understanding. Most husbands are happy to leave things up to their bride. However this creates several problems.

Integration Problems

Since two separate domestic worlds are brought together by the newly-weds they will have to work through the integration issues. If they have never done such a thing before then they will be surprised how many issues arise.

There are often no right and wrong ways to do things. But we each have a sense for what is familiar to us. That familiar process is the one that will “seem right” to us, even if it is the most inefficient process ever imagined. If the bride and groom have different ideas of what is ‘right’ they will end up stumbling over each other’s perceptions. It will be easy to use words like ‘right’ and ‘wrong’, bringing a sense of condemnation into the relationship. If emotions are aroused, then insults and hurtful words can spill into the situation.

Tender and fragile emotions can be damaged in such an unexpected exchange.

Many a young man has rebuked his wife for not being able to cook meals the way his mother cooked it. His tastes and expectations have been moulded by his family experience and he may not realise that there is such great diversity in food and its preparation.

The Wrong Response

When a person does not have a clear idea of what they want or how to communicate it they can leave the other person directionless. Most young husbands will tend to leave their bride to do her best, not quite sure what she is going to do and how well she is going to do it.

These husbands can’t give positive guidance in such situations so the only guidance they can give is to point out what they think to be wrong. This I call the ‘wrong’ response. And the ‘wrong’ response is the wrong response!

When a husband can only tell his bride what is wrong he is set up to bludgeon her tender hopes into a calloused heart that gives up the hope of pleasing him. Or that gives him what he wants, but without any delight on her part any more.

Negative responses produce negative responses. A husband who guides his bride by disapproval is wounding her heart.

Is There a Simple Solution?

In matters of relationship there is usually no simple solution. I will offer a few simple suggestions, but I doubt that many people will heed them. I fear that many more lovely and tender young brides are going to head down the road to hardened and hurt older wives, despite what I present here. But for the sake of the one or two who may be saved from pain by my thoughts I will venture my simple solution.

Brides should be taught to expect that everything they bring into the marriage will have to be modified. They should be encouraged to go on a two-year journey of discovery of what works best in their home. They should be told that they will face some difficult challenges in this process but that they can succeed and create the most amazing new domestic formula for them both to enjoy.

The reason I put this on the bride is because she is the one who will otherwise be hurt. Her insensitive hero is less likely to be damaged in the sort-out of domestic process than the wife is. So my simple solution aims at shielding the most vulnerable party – that beautiful young woman.

If brides enter marriage with an expectation of their need to change, and a long-term time-line for getting things sorted out, there will be less pain in finding that the couple are less compatible than she hoped. There is time for the two of them to talk and explore their options. There is no silly idealism about it working perfectly from day one.

All of that helps the tender one to be more resilient in the inevitable sorting out process.

Other Helpful Steps

Obviously it is valuable for the young husband to understand the situation and how easily he can and will offend his darling bride. Men should be challenged to expect a long season of exploration and discovery. They should expect food to taste different and things to be done differently, because they are a new family, with new horizons and new possibilities.

I recommend that the couple set up an expectation – possibly suggested to them in the pre-marriage preparation process – that the husband review the bride’s processes and program at regular intervals.

While that might sound very sexist and man-serving at first glance, allow me to show why that is valuable.

The bride is built to please her man. How can she do that if she does not become attentive to what he needs or wants? If she makes her own assumptions and assessments independently of him she may spend her whole life doing things he does not want her to do in ways he does not want her to employ. This undermines her whole design and motivation.

I have also observed that two heads are better than one. I have a sneaking suspicion that I am not the first to observe that fact. When any person acts for their whole life without the benefit of additional input and review they are in danger of doing the wrong things the wrong way for a long time. The most valuable and understanding contributor to the wife’s situation should be her husband. So having him give input in a regulated and consistent fashion is logical and appropriate.

And I also recommend that young men be given at least some understanding of how to protect the tender heart of their beloved. The pushing of the feminist notion that men and women are equal and almost identical has robbed men of appreciation for the woman’s needs and denied women the loving care that they are due.

Yesterday is Gone

The Beatles made a huge hit singing “Yesterday all my troubles seemed so far away”. And others waxed poetic about how “Yesterday’s gone” and how they remember “Yesterday when I was young” and so on.

Yesterday’s Hold

The reason “yesterday” has such a hold on people’s lives is that we all carry the past into the present and beyond that into the future. Yesterday is the time we sowed certain things into our lives and today we reap the harvest. So yesterday is a powerful component of ‘today’ and it will still be making its presence felt when we get to tomorrow.

The Catholic Church teaches people to go to confession to deal with the sins of yesterday. Someone sneered at the habit of some who sin during the week and look for forgiveness in the confessional on the weekend. They said it was like sowing wild oats all week and then praying for a crop failure.

The Hindu faith respects the baggage of yesterday as karma, which we carry not only through this life, but into future lives which Hindus believe they will face. Gautama Buddha, who rejected the Hindu teaching of reincarnation, went so far as to say that we cannot remove our Karma even in a thousand lifetimes.

Yesterday’s Debris

Here are just a few of the things we bring with from yesterday, even though yesterday is gone.

We bring our disappointments from yesterday. We face disappointments with others, such as our parents and family. But we also face disappointments with ourselves.

We bring our broken relationships from yesterday. Once we have offended someone else or they have offended us that damage remains, often throughout life. Family reunions and community life become tinged with the hurt and offence that we feel toward others and they feel toward us.

We bring our compromises from yesterday. Once we have compromised our values and character that becomes a weak spot for us from that time on.

We bring our slaveries from yesterday. When we give in to sin, such as anger, pride, jealousy or lust, that thing enslaves us and it controls us throughout our lives.

Today’s Harvest

It is also true, as the Bible teaches, that our actions and choices involve us sowing seeds in our lives. A seed not only remains, but it germinates and produces a whole crop. So when we sow something into our life, we are setting up a harvest in the future.

Today’s harvest is filled with the fruit of the things we planted yesterday. If we planted selfishness, pride, anger, greed, violence, self-pity, wilfulness, addiction, lies or other evil things, we will have an evil harvest today.

If we planted forgiveness, faith, love, trust, humility and the fear of God then we will have a much better harvest today than others might have.

Yesterday is not ‘Gone’

While the songs might say, “yesterday’s gone” it isn’t true. Yesterday has passed, but it has not ‘gone’. Yesterday lives with you today.

Just as yesterday’s piano lessons undergird today’s musicianship and yesterday’s studies undergird today’s understanding, yesterday’s moral choices undergird today’s character.

Transforming Yesterday

“You can’t go back in time” is one way to look at it. “What’s done is done!” might be your way of dismissing the past. But there are powerful ways of unlocking the past and transforming yesterday. Let me briefly outline two of them.

Confession of Sin is a powerful way to unlock and transform yesterday. When you repent of the choices you made in the past God is able to set you free from the debris and consequences of those choices in the present. You can actually get a crop failure, even though you sowed lots of wild oats.

God can go back in time. While you are stuck in the time-space continuum, God exists outside of time. So He is able to go back to your past and make Himself present, bringing healing to things that are part of your yesterday that has ‘gone’ from you.

A Testimony

A friend of mine named Malcolm visited a lady who had chronic problems. When he prayed for her she had a vision of a baby crying in a cot. She realised that she was seeing herself as a tiny baby. She sensed the extreme distress of the baby and it connected with the pain that kept surfacing in her life.

A spirit of intercession came on Mal and he began to weep for her. As he did she saw in her vision that the door to the baby’s room opened and Jesus walked in. Jesus lifted the baby into His arms and as He did the woman felt all her pain and torment drain from her life.

It was as if Jesus was able to go back in time to the entry point of the woman’s troubles and resolve them, even though that was now many years past.

Saying Good-bye to Yesterday

If yesterday has brought its bad baggage with it into your today then be encouraged to say “Good-bye” to that stuff. You can remove it forever by confession and by asking the Lord to unlock and heal your past.

The Steps to Release, which I have written about in my books and in other posts, will be helpful in this process.

I want you to live in the freedom with which Christ has made you free. I want you to be able to say, in all reality, that Yesterday is Gone! Keep all that is good from yesterday and unlock and remove all that is bad. Once you’ve said “Good-bye” to yesterday’s rubbish you will have an even better future to look forward to.