Are you looking for something hopeful to cling to as you close out this year and enter into the New Year? You may even need hopeful prayer starters to lift up to God. Actually—us too! Life hasn’t been easy for us in 2020. But all in all, we can testify that God has been faithful. Perhaps you can claim the same thing. Or perhaps you have a different take on all that has happened this year—especially as it pertains to your marriage.
There’s no doubt that this has been a challenging year for relationships! We can only imagine what some of you have had to go through this past year. Maybe it has stretched your faith close to the breaking point. As a result, you dread what may be ahead in this next year.
But we want to encourage you to NEVER GIVE UP, especially on God. One of my life verses is Galatians 6:9…”Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.” Cindy and I have had to cling to that promise a lot this year. We have had to continually “turn our eyes upon Jesus” as the song lyric goes. It has been difficult, but we’ve had to be purposeful in NOT letting “the things of earth” take up too much of our attention. Because when we do, our whole outlook on life becomes bleak. Instead, we have had to be very intentional in turning our focus on the “hope that is in Christ Jesus.”
We may not understand much of what God is doing and is allowing. But that shouldn’t stop us from focusing our hope in Him. After all, this IS a faith walk we’re traveling on, within this side of heaven! We can rest assured that God DOES understand it all. Our part in all of this is to put our faith in HIM, and pray for the wisdom and help He can give us. Together:
“Let’s commit in the New Year to changing our normal way of doing things. Let’s purpose to grow in maturity and godliness this year. And let’s humbly ask God to help us in ways we haven’t been able to help ourselves. Nothing is impossible with Him. He loves to make His name great by changing us in ways we could never change on our own. If we do, God will be glorified, and our marriage will benefit greatly from it.” (Debi Walter, from Theromanticvineyard.com)
So, as we head into this upcoming year we want to offer a few prayer starters and promises from God’s Word. They can help you (and us) prepare for what God has for us in the coming year. Cindy and I encourage you as a couple to pray through each point. However, if your spouse will not pray with you, don’t let this stop you. Petition God with all of your heart—as a representative for your marriage.
Also, please know that you can use these prayer starters as just that. They can be starting prayer points that you can use. But then you can go from there. Elaborate as you so feel led. And as you read the accompanying scriptures feel free to pray whatever is on your heart to God. So here are your prayer starters:
This is a HOPEFUL and THANKFUL PRAYER after a hard year:
God, we thank you for your sustaining power that got us through a difficult year. Help us not to dwell on the past. We’re told: “Remember not the former things, nor consider the things of old…” We are to look to the future because we are told: “Behold, I am doing a new thing; now it springs forth; do you not perceive it? I will make a way in the wilderness and rivers in the desert.” (Isaiah 43:18-19)
Even in the midst of pain and difficulties You gave us this promise: “Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles…” (2 Corinthians 1:3 NIV)
So looking ahead to this upcoming year we hold onto this promise: “For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” (Jeremiah 29:11)
We are hopeful as we pray for GOD’S STRENGTH and EVER PRESENT HELP:
Oh Lord, we confess that at times we don’t feel like we can go on another day. However, we know it’s not OUR strength, but yours that will truly empower us. So, we stand on this promise: “He gives power to the weak, and to those who have no might He increases strength.” (Isiah 40:29 NKJ)
Sometimes it helps if we remember the simple things. “Jesus loves me this I know, for the Bible tells me so. Little ones to Him belong. We are weak, BUT HE IS STRONG!” Thank you, Jesus for your strength. We depend upon this strength to get us through this next year.
We pray this hopeful prayer for GOD’S WISDOM for the coming year:
Jesus, we realize that that the “knowledge” and “wisdom” of man will never be enough. That’s why we need to remember, “If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him.” (James 1:5 ESV)
May we always come to you FIRST when we need this wisdom! “My purpose is that they may be encouraged in heart and united in love, so that they may have the full riches of complete understanding, in order that they may know the mystery of God, namely Christ, in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge.” (Colossians 2:2-3)
This is our hopeful prayer to ANCHOR OUR LIVES in GOD and BUILD OUR LIVES on His promises:
Heavenly Father, remind us that we need to anchor our souls in you. We have this hope as an anchor for the soul, firm and secure. (Hebrews 6:19) And we need to build our lives upon Your firm foundation. In Ephesians 2:19-20 it says that we are “God’s people and also members of His household, built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, with Christ Jesus himself as the chief cornerstone.”
With life’s challenges and pressures, it is our desire to KEEP CHRIST FIRST:
Lord, we confess it is all too easy to push you aside. Too often we ignore the time we desperately need to spend with You. We put other things and other people ahead of spending time with you.
Help us to remember you are waiting for us. You will never leave or forsake us. We can rest assured, “When the righteous cry for help, the Lord hears and delivers them out of all their troubles.” (Psalm 34:17) So, help us to remember to keep you first—just like You always keep us as a first priority. And even if we don’t sense you are there—you are. Your word promises us this is true. My feelings are not dependable; but your word is! For you are our Living Word!
This is our hopeful prayer that God will help us OVERCOME WORRY and FEAR:
Lord Jesus, it’s so easy to be overcome with worry and fear when we look at our circumstances. Fear can easily grip our heart when we take our eyes off of You. When this happens, help us to cling to your promises. “Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 4:6-7)
“Fear of man will prove to be a snare; but whoever trusts in the Lord is kept safe.” (Proverbs 29:25) “So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous hand.” (Isaiah 41:10)
A hopeful prayer for UNITY and PEACE in our home:
Heavenly Father, remind us that the enemy of our faith wants to tear our family apart. We need Your unity and peace to saturate our home. Please give us Your peace even in the eye of the storm. As it says in Your Word, “I appeal to you, brothers and sisters, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that all of you agree with one another in what you say and that there be no divisions among you, but that you be perfectly united in mind and thought.” (1 Corinthians 1:10)
And, “Finally, brothers and sisters, rejoice! Strive for full restoration; encourage one another, be of one mind, and live in peace. And the God of love and peace will be with you.” (2 Corinthians 13:11)
We found this prayer (written by Marshall Segal), which sums up what we hope for. May it be the prayer of your hearts as well.
“My new prayer, over every other prayer for next year, is this:
‘Lord, teach me more about yourself than I already know. Humble me with all that I do not know. And make what I do know more alive and real in my heart and life. Lord, help me see more of you than ever before.'”
Please know: “we have not stopped praying for you and asking God to fill you with the knowledge of His will through all spiritual wisdom and understanding. And we pray this in order that you may live a life worthy of the Lord and may please Him in every way: bearing fruit in every good work, growing in the knowledge of God.” (Colossians 1:9-10)
“God, who has called you into fellowship with His Son Jesus Christ our Lord, is faithful. I appeal to you in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that all of you agree with one another so that there may be no divisions among you and that you may be perfectly united in mind and thought.” (1 Corinthians 1:9-10)
Steve and Cindy Wright
— ADDITIONALLY —
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 to do so:
If you are not a subscriber to the Marriage Insights (emailed out weekly)
and you would like to receive them directly, click onto the following: