The scripture phrase, “Wars and rumors of wars” keeps going through our thoughts. There have been so many battles raging recently on so many fronts, and now even more so with all that is going on in many parts of the world, especially in Ukraine. All of this breaks our hearts. We’ve been led to continually be fighting with prayer. We’ve been praying and praying; and we’re sure that many of you have too. How we wish we could do more!
But then the Lord prompted us that we are to fight with the best weapons available to us. And in our corner of the world fighting with prayer is the best thing we can do for those who are physically fighting. They need our prayer support.
It also occurred to us that we need to be fighting with prayer for spouses all over the world, including our own marriages. It doesn’t take much to make our own marriages into war zones. Some are “minor” skirmishes. But other times we can engage in an all-out war of words, and even beyond that where abuse is involved. (If that is the case, please read through the Abuse in Marriage topic to see what you can glean from there.)
A Good Example of Fighting with Prayer
The following is a great example of fighting with prayer. We’ve shared this example before; but it’s golden, in what it can teach us. Dr David Clarke tells of a couple that had a deeply troubled marriage. In his book, A Marriage After God’s Own Heart he said, “The situation looked grim.” However, he advised them to pray about their marriage together that week and come back to see him.
When they did, they were like honeymooners. He asked them what happened and here’s what he wrote:
“They said they’d gone home after the previous week’s session ready to end their marriage. After three days of silence, the husband suddenly asked his wife to pray with him. He told her he was desperate, and the only option left was to turn to God. So they prayed; and prayed, and prayed.
“For three solid hours, they cried out to God on their knees in their bedroom. They confessed their relationship sins. And they repented of the many things they’d done to hurt each other. They admitted their resentments and gave them all to God. Through tears, they asked for forgiveness—from God and from each other.
“And, they told me, after those hours of prayer, something amazing happened. Forgiveness and healing happened. They felt cleansed. They felt hopeful and closer to each other. And they felt passion and love for each other for the first time in years. With God’s help, they knew they really could start over. To be sure, this couple still had hard work to do in therapy. We spent several months clearing away old debris and building a new marriage. But their prayer marathon was the beginning of their journey.”
THAT is fighting with prayer.
Fighting with Prayer in Our Own Marriage
We know without a doubt that our marriage would not have lasted this long. And fighting with prayer is how we have gotten to this wonderful point in our marital relationship. Sometimes we’ve been bent on “right fighting” in trying to “win” the other over to our stance. And that is destructive. But how does the marriage win when sheer stubbornness is the prevailing attitude?
However, when we’ve been wise enough to pray, our fighting attitudes melt. God leads us to work on the problem, and not be stuck on proving who’s right. After all, in the light of eternity, what does it really matter? With our fighting attitudes out of the way, God gives us wisdom. Sometimes, God lets me know that I’m wrong. The words come to me, “Steve didn’t deserve that snarky reply.” Or, “Steve may be wrong, but so is your approach towards this issue.” OUCH!
God often impresses upon me and/or Steve to approach to pray about the matter first before “talking”. We will then come back together to fight the problem, and not assault each other. When we’re fighting with prayer, rather than fighting with our own human tendencies, it’s amazing how much easier it is to resolve our problems. And sometimes, when we can’t come to an agreement, God impresses upon us to drop the issue. Giving each other space and grace can sometimes be a wiser approach.
Other times, it’s just a matter of approaching the problem with cooler attitudes, and a bent towards resolving the problem, and apologizing when it’s needed. Taking our problems and differences to the Lord, and awaiting His transforming power, has helped our marriage immensely!
In Your Own Marriage:
Here are a couple of thoughts on fighting with prayer that we hope will inspire and help you:
“Many marriages consist of two people who have become enemies. Consider this: It’s hard to hate someone you’re praying for. Your heart simply won’t allow it. It’s also hard to sling mud on a person who is praying for you. Does your marriage break out in all-out combat on a consistent basis? Try bombing your battles with prayer instead of anger. It brings amazingly effective peace talks to the conflict. But don’t just pray for your imperfect spouse before or after the battle. Pray with him or her during the battle. It’s hard to launch scud missiles when you’re on your knees praying for each other.” (Alex and Stephen Kendrick)
It can be good to:
“Start your day with prayer. Roll over, hug your [spouse] and say something like, ‘Lord, we give you, our day.’ or ‘God, thank you for being so good to us. Help us honor you today in everything we do.'” (Lori Byerly) “Nothing tends more to cement the hearts of Christians than praying together. Never do they love one another so well as when they witness the outpouring of each other’s hearts in prayer.” (Charles Finney)
That way you are fighting with prayer against the enemy’s plan for hurting your marriage.
Here are a few more thoughts on fighting with prayer:
“Have you ever felt irritable with your spouse over insignificant things? Or maybe you’ve had significant things over which to fret? Have you discussed these issues with God? Have you asked His perspective? Many times, God uses situations we think are for others when He is actually after something in our own hearts. He’s willing to tell us—but He often waits for us to ask!” (Debi Walter, from Theromanticvineyard.com article, “Love Is Not Irritable”)
We’re told in God’s word:
“Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.” (Philippians 4:6)
“For the next thirty days, pray for your mate every day. Ask your spouse to share the two or three requests he/she would most like to see answered during the next thirty days. Write these down and put the prayer requests where you will see them every day. Tape them to the mirror, dashboard, or refrigerator. If the requests are deeply personal, keep them from public view. Mark your calendar and in thirty days tell each other how you have prayed and see what God has done.” (Patrick M. Morley)
Again, by doing this, you are defeating the enemy of our faith in separating us.
“The Bible is an ideal prayer manual for couples. When you pray Scripture, you use passages of God’s Word to form prayers. When you pray a verse back to God, it becomes the cry of your own heart, and you can be assured that you’re praying in God’s will.” (Cheri Fuller)
You can do this as a couple or as an individual spouse. Any scripture that shows you how to live is a good scripture to pray over your marriage. Just personalize it as God shows you. Here’s an example that you can use as a couple:
“Read Romans 12:2 as a couple and make it your prayer today: Lord, please give us the strength to not conform to the pattern of this world when it comes to our view on marriage. Transform us as individuals and as a couple through the renewing of our minds. Give us the desire to choose what is right and pleasing in your will as we seek to cherish one another. Amen.” (Gary Thomas)
And then, here are a few more thoughts you can use when you are fighting with prayer:
“A Cool Tool for praying for your spouse: Please feel free to use or modify this for your spouse’s needs… Sunday = pray for his/her Spiritual walk. Monday = pray for his/her Moods and Mental health. Tuesday = pray for his/her Thought life. Wednesday = pray for his/her Weaknesses to be healed. Thursday = pray for his/her Time usage. Friday = pray for his/her Friendships. Saturday = pray for his/her Sexuality.” (Lori and Paul Byerly, from The-generous-wife.com article, “Cool Tool”)
Also, take note:
“If your marriage has grown stale, look in the mirror and ask God how He can use it to transform the person looking back at you. If you have let bitterness seize your heart, stop praying for your spouse to change [unless there’s abuse] and ask God to change you. Most marriages can survive temporarily ‘falling out of love.’ But you’re headed for disaster if you ever let yourself fall out of repentance.” (Gary Thomas)
And then, here is a prayer you can use as an outline to pray for that, which concerns you:
“Our Father in Heaven, we need Your guidance. When we start to talk, we get defensive. We each want to prove our point. We know You don’t care about our point. Who’s right or wrong doesn’t matter to You. We know it’s all right for each of us to have opinions—even different opinions. But we ask You to give us an extra portion of love today that will lift us above our differences, that will give us peace. We really want this peace; we don’t want to be pinning blame on the other person.
“Why do we do this? Is it because we are protecting ourselves? Oh, Father embrace us and forgive us so we can move on in love. In the Name of the Father, the Son, and Holy Spirit, Amen.” (Florence Littauer)
We hope all of this is helpful. As we’ve said, we have experienced precious times with God and with each other when we have prayed together. And just knowing that we pray for each other brings added blessings.
Closing Thoughts As You are Fighting with Prayer:
Someone once said, “If your day is hemmed with prayer, it is less likely to unravel.” And that can be so true. We’re told in God’s Word that the “effectual, fervent prayer” of those who are righteous “avails much.” May we never forget that fighting with prayer is one of the best things we can do for each other!
Cindy and Steve Wright
— ADDITIONALLY —
To help you further, we give a lot of personal stories, humor, and more practical tips in our book, 7 ESSENTIALS to Grow Your Marriage. We hope you will pick up a copy for yourself. (It’s available both electronically and in print form.) Plus, it can make a great gift for someone else. It gives you the opportunity to help them grow their marriage. And who doesn’t need that? Just click on the linked title or the picture below:
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