Editor's Note: The following is a report on the practical applications of Will Davis Jr.'s book, Pray Big for Your Marriage: The Power of Praying God’s Promises for Your Relationship, (Revell Books, 2008).
Your marriage has the potential to bless both you and your spouse in significant ways. So don’t settle for less than the best in your marriage. Go after the best God has for you and your spouse by praying big prayers for your marriage. Here’s how:
Be specific. Rather than praying general, vague prayers such as “Lord, please bless our marriage,” present specific requests to God. The more you focus your prayers, the more direct responses you’ll receive.
Be bold. Jesus emphasized the importance of approaching God with confidence, asking boldly for what you’d like. Don’t be timid when you pray for your marriage. Remember that God wants to give you good gifts that are in line with His will. Don’t just pray to get by; pray to thrive in your marriage. Go ahead and ask God to do whatever you’d like Him to do in your marriage.
Love Jesus first. Make your relationship with Jesus your top priority -- over your marriage – and encourage your spouse to do the same. If you both make Jesus your first love, His love will fill your marriage and empower you to love each other more. Be sure to look to God for your security and self-esteem – not your spouse. Don’t expect your spouse to do what only God can do. Pray for both you and your spouse to have the wisdom and strength to rely on God every day rather than putting unnecessary pressure on each other.
Pray for emotional intimacy. Ask God to make your marriage a safe relationship and help you and your spouse cultivate openness, honesty, and trust. Confess your sins and talk to God about your deepest fears and longings. Pray for God to heal the emotional wounds that may have damaged your ability to be authentic. Ask God to help you and your spouse enjoy meaningful and intimate conversations.
Pray for spiritual intimacy. Pray that both you and your spouse will constantly seek God’s presence and power in your marriage. Ask God to unify you with Him and each other. Pray for protection from distractions that could interfere with you and your spouse seeking God with your whole hearts. Encourage each other to pursue God first before all else. Make a regular practice of praying together, incorporating prayer into your marriage frequently.
Submit to one another out of reverence for Jesus. Ask God to humble you and help you yield to your spouse as a way of honoring Him. Pray for the discernment to know when to defer to your spouse in the decisions that affect both of your lives. Ask God for enough faith to let God deal with the implications of your spouse’s decisions – including the bad ones. Ask God to help you find ways to serve your spouse. Pray for the ability to respect your spouse. Ask God to give your spouse appropriate and healthy desires, and to give you a willing spirit so you can yield joyfully. Pray for the Holy Spirit to fill both of you anew on a daily basis.
Pray for your husband. Pray that your husband will: love the Bible and read it regularly, hate sin, love to pray, welcome Christian community in his life and be accountable to at least one Christian man, love to worship, understand the significance of fighting for his family spiritually, be a mighty man of God. Ask God to fill your husband with the Holy Spirit each day and make him a great leader in your marriage.
Pray for your wife. Ask for the grace to treat your wife as well as Jesus treats you. Pray for the humility you need to be a gentle leader in your marriage. Pray for peace in your home, and maturity for you and your wife as you deal with your disagreements. Ask God to strengthen your wife’s faith; help her love to pray, worship, and read the Bible, convict her of sin and make her quick to repent, and help her follow where He is leading you both in your marriage. Pray for the ability to see your wife as God sees her and appreciate the gift she is to you.
Pray for your unbelieving spouse. If your spouse is not yet a Christian, ask God to show your spouse his or her need for Jesus. Pray for God to deliver your spouse from evil that deceives him or her, and help your spouse to discover the truth of the Gospel, which will set him or her free. Pray that the way you live out your faith would be a good example to your spouse that will help him or her draw closer to Jesus. Ask God to give your spouse an unmistakable encounter with the Holy Spirit. Pray for Christian friends for your spouse who can influence them in positive ways. Never stop praying for your spouse’s salvation as long as he or she is alive!
Pray for protection. Ask God to protect your marriage from evil influences and temptations that can pull you and your spouse away from Him and each other. Pray for the discernment you need to deal wisely with challenging situations. Find Bible verses that describe the kind of home you want to have, and pray them regularly. Pray against temptations like pornography that can destroy your marriage. Ask God to help you and your spouse manage your time well so you can protect your time together. Pray for you and your spouse to be able to forgive each other quickly when you do make mistakes, so no bitterness will develop between you.
Pray for your marriage’s mission. Ask God for the ability to see beyond just the two of you to the greater world and how your marriage can be a blessing in it. Ask God to use your marriage to touch other people’s lives in positive ways, contributing to God’s kingdom on earth. Pray for a vision of how God wants to use you and your spouse to serve others. Ask God to show you a group of people, a part of the world, or an area of life that you and your spouse are both passionate about and could impact together. Then ask God to lead you to a ministry opportunity in that area. Commit your marriage fully to God and ask Him to constantly show you and your spouse how you can best leverage your time, resources, and skills for God’s kingdom.
Originally posted September 5, 2008.
Adapted from Pray Big for Your Marriage: The Power of Praying God’s Promises for Your Relationship, copyright 2008 by Will Davis Jr. Published by Revell Books, a division of Baker Publishing Group, Grand Rapids, Mich., www.revellbooks.com.
Will Davis Jr. (D.Min., Southwestern Seminary) is the founding and senior pastor of Austin Christian Fellowship, a nondenominational church in Austin, Texas. He is the author of Pray Big, Pray Big for Your Marriage, and Why Faith Makes Sense. Davis is also an avid hiker, mountain climber, and water-skier. He and his wife, Susie, have three children and live in Austin, Texas.