In this Marriage Insight we are going to give you some New Year prayer points you can pray on behalf of your marriage.
Most of us have heard (or made) arguments about the saying, “Put Christ back into Christmas.” Actually, we’ve heard quite a few heated fights over that issue. But how about putting Christ back into Christianity? That might sound a bit strange because you might think, “Of course, Christ is the center of Christianity.” But that’s often not what we’ve seen.
We hear from spouses quite regularly where they write, “My spouse is a Christian, but…” And then they go on and describe their actions that involve blatant adultery, abuse, and narcissistic issues—just to name a few. It makes us shutter to think that people call themselves Christians and yet they dishonor His name in such horrible ways!
As Cindy and I prayed for direction for how to end this year of Marriage Insights we felt the best gift we could give you is a pattern for how to change your marriage for the better. Remarkably, it all comes down to asking Christ to rule in your marriage. The steps to do so are all based on the formula to pray together.
New Year Prayer Points
The foundation for what we share came from the inspiration of the weekly publication, Cybersalt Digest. The challenge is to: Put Christ Back into Christianity. However, we are challenging you to take this a step further. Put Christ back into your marriage if you have left the mission of your first love—Jesus Christ.
Within this Marriage Insight we have added a prayer template and scriptures to help you. We encourage you to use this tool in your prayer time concerning your marriage to prepare for this New Year. Hopefully, your spouse will pray these prayer points with you. If not, lift them up to God in partnership with Him alone. God will honor your prayers together as a cord of three strands. But He will also honor your prayers when you come to Him alone, as you ask for His help.
You are to live for God whether or not your spouse does. You are to obey God and do things His way, even if your spouse doesn’t. As you follow Jesus Christ—to reveal and reflect His love, the following are some of the important things He expects of us. This is the first point in your yearend and New Year Prayers for your marriage. [You will find Jesus’ words in bold, and additional thoughts and prayer points below them.]
New Year Prayer Points Centering on Jesus’ Words
Jesus told us to:
– Love God.
In Matthew 22:37 we are told to love God, and follow His ways. This applies whether or not we are married. That is something we all know. However, if you love God, you will love your spouse in a way that goes beyond human love. And your actions will reflect God’s love. As God’s child He will teach you to love when your spouse is doing things that are not lovable.
With that in mind, here is your New Year prayer point that relates to Jesus’ words. If you are praying these prayers without your spouse’s partnership in doing so, adapt the verbiage. And whether or not you pray these points with your spouse, please feel free to adapt and/or expand upon these prayers:
“Heavenly Father, we are coming to You because we DO love you! Apart from You we can do nothing that is of much value. We recognize that the more we love You, the more we will naturally love each other. Please help us to interact with each other in such a way that pleases Your heart. When we are to show tough love, help us. When we are to apply grace and forgiveness, help us. And when we are to encourage and romance each other, impress that upon our hearts, as well.”
– Love Your Neighbor As Yourself.
The above words were recorded in Matthew 19:19. As it pertains to love, we saw the following definition on Crosswalk.com:
“Loving your neighbor means speaking kindly. To love your neighbor as yourself is to use words to build them up. Speaking words of encouragement to someone who is down is the most obvious example but there are others. We can be more intentional with our words by looking for and magnifying the good.”
Applying this definition to marriage here is our New Year Prayer Point:
“Heavenly Father, as we look at this definition help us to live it out in our marriage. Remind us to speak kindly and use words of encouragement especially when where one of us is down and needs to be built up. We realize that we need to be intentional in looking for ways to magnify the good in our relationship. Help us in this mission. Prompt us, empower us, and show us how to give each other the type of love and grace that You give to us.”
We’re told in Matthew 16:24:
– Take Up Your Cross And Follow Me.
Someone once said that taking up our crosses, as followers of Jesus Christ means we will walk down the “path of denial and self-surrender that Christ calls His followers to take.” This is especially difficult as it applies to marriage. It is difficult to let go of that, which WE want to do for the betterment of our marriage partnership. But that is what we promise to do when we take our marriage vows. Here is our New Year Prayer Point:
“Lord, as you also told us in John 15:12 we are to love in the same way You love us. You laid down Your life for us. In marriage that means that as a husband and wife we will lay down our lives for each other. We are to give up our self-centered rights to make sure the union of our marriage is stronger as a ‘cord of three strands’ with You in the center of it.
“Heavenly Father, we confess that we don’t always ‘take up’ our crosses of self-denial! But we are committed to do. This means that we will model our marriage to each other and to others after Your example. Help us, strengthen us, and fortify our marriage as we follow Your ways.”
We’re told in Matthew 18:21-22:
– Forgive 70 X 7.
This is one of THE most important principles to employ in your marriage. First, we have to realize Jesus wasn’t saying we had to forgive someone only 490 times. If it was only 490 times Cindy would have exhausted them a long time ago. Or if Christ had to forgive me only 490 times I would have burned through my forgiveness before I was 5 years old.
We are to never keep score as to how many times we have forgiven our spouse (or anyone, for that matter). The other important part of forgiveness is that once we’ve forgiven our spouse we are not to bring that sin up again. God is our example in this. We are to model the words of Isaiah 43:25, “I, yes I, am He who blots out your transgressions for My own sake and remembers your sins no more.”
Here is our marital New Year Prayer point on this issue:
“Heavenly Father, we commit to Your mandate to be generous in forgiving each other. When one of us sins against the other we will come humbly before You first. We will then go to our spouse, confess our sin and sincerely ask for forgiveness. We will also work not to repeat that sin again. And then, we, who have been forgiven, will never take that grace for granted. Additionally, as we extend grace and forgiveness to the other, remind us not to bring it up again.”
Then in John 8:7 we are told:
– Whoever is without sin can cast the first stone.
It’s easy in marriage to focus on our spouse’s sin. But when it comes to ours, we gloss over it giving excuses. The same goes for our spouse. However, we dismiss that fact. In our honesty, as we look at this issue, here is our New Year Prayer Point:
“God, as you told us, ‘For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.’ (Romans 3:23) With that in mind we come as a couple asking for you to help us in the coming year not to focus on our spouses sin but rationalize our own. Help us to see each other through Your eyes of compassion and forgiveness. We join You in our commitment to stand strong on this important point.”
More New Year Prayer Points?
Jesus tells us as recorded in Matthew 7:12
– Treat Others The Way You Want To Be Treated.
We love this definition of what this means. It comes from an Uncommon Sense post. We are to “Treat others the way we want to be treated, even when we highly doubt that they will do it in return.” We are to commit to “be a person of our word always, and to not let people [our spouse] down.” Our commitment should “go beyond the level of kindness and generosity that others have ever seen or have come to expect.” We are “to give people one more chance than we may even feel they deserve.”
Now, when we apply this to marriage—that is especially difficult. But this is what Jesus told us to do. Just because we’re married to each other, it does not give us a license to be unkind. And it does not mean that we can treat our spouse in ways that we don’t want to be treated. Our New Year prayer point?
“Oh Lord, we long to be a couple that does not let each other down. Help us to treat each other in the same way we want to be treated. Perhaps even better? We acknowledge that being honest, kind, and generous with each other is important. Help us to give each other one more chance than we feel we deserve.”
In Luke 6:27-28 we are told:
– Love Your Enemies.
Your spouse is NOT your enemy! He or she may act like it sometimes, but that does not change our vow that we made to God and to him or her. We promised to “love, honor, and cherish…”
“Heavenly Father, sometimes we treat each other more like enemies than marriage partners. We don’t want to do that. Help us to continually remember that we’re on the same team. As marriage partners we are on Your team. As a result, we are stronger when we interact with each other in cooperation as a ‘cord of three strands.'”
In Matthew 5:14-16 Jesus said:
– Let Your Light Shine.
Put simply, light is shining through our lives when our actions reflect the nature of Christ. His love, compassion, and forgiveness will be evident. If you, as a couple, put into practice what Jesus tells us to do, His light will shine so brightly other people will be drawn to Him.
“Oh, Jesus, if Your light is dim or is not shining in us, Help! Help us so that as others observe our marriage, they see You. Even if Your light is nearly out, we know all we have to do is ask and You will bring the changes needed. It’s our prayer that a year from now, as others observe our marriage, they will want to know our God. Draw them to Yourself. And please use us to do so.”
More New Year Prayer Points
Based on Matthew 25:34-40; Luke 14:13 and Luke 10:30-37 Jesus told us to:
– Feed the Hungry …Visit Those In Prison …Clothe the Naked …House the Homeless …Welcome the Foreigner …Care For The Sick.
We lumped all of these into one category as a prayer point. Marriage experts have seen that serving together in a mission/passion can strengthen a marriage. We aren’t talking necessarily about a full-time ministry. But Jesus admonishes all of His followers to do something to help those in need. If you don’t feel one of the above is your calling just go to your pastor. We’re sure he can think of a dozen or more areas you can serve in as a couple that would help in your church or community.
Somehow, it draws us closer together when we serve out our passion in partnership. It gives us a mutual goal to work on together. So our marriages improve as we help the lives of others improve!
We discovered a long time ago that all God is looking for is an open heart and a couple that is willing to say, “Yes, Lord Yes, to Your will and to Your way.”
“Father in Heaven, in obedience, we want to answer Your call to help others. And we want to do this together. Open our eyes and our hearts so we don’t miss Your calling. Show us how we can best serve You in serving others. As a result, we know our marriage partnership will grow. May we be Your human hands, feet, voice, eyes, etc. to a world that needs Your help!
We are told in Matthew 5:59 and 1 Peter 3:9:
– Do not Return Evil for Evil.
It’s human nature to want to give back to our spouse any “evil” that he or she gives to us. That is our sinful bent. However, that is not what Jesus tells us to do. We are to do the opposite and let Him take vengeance instead. So, on that note, here is our New Year prayer point concerning this issue:
“Lord, You know I am prone to sin. As a matter of fact, we are both prone to sin. When our spouse hurts us, we want to hurt our spouse back. That may come naturally to us, but we know it is not Your will that we do so. Too often we do that, which we know we shouldn’t. Help us Lord. We are weak in this area of our life together. Help us! Strengthen us, and empower us to supernaturally do Your will. We lean upon You for help so we do not hurt each other in return.”
Additional New Year Prayer Points
In John 13:34-35 Jesus said,
– Love One Another As I Have Loved You.
Loving our spouse is what we started out doing on our wedding day. But are you loving your spouse “as unto the Lord?” Are you showing your spouse the type of love that Jesus has shown us?
“Heavenly Father, we know that You are our supreme example in how we are to love each other. You have given us Your example of how to love one another. Plus, Your very name is Love. No one can teach or empower us to love like You can! Help us Lord. We love You. And we continually need for You to help us to love like you do!”
In Matthew 28:19 Jesus said:
– Make Disciples.
How do we make disciples within our marriage? Here is the New Year prayer point on this matter:
“Our gracious Father, please help us to be aware of that fact that we are not islands unto ourselves. We are to make disciples throughout the world, AND within our own home. We know that we need to S.T.O.P. sometimes and See The Other People. Help us to be better aware of others that You bring our way. Remind and empower us to continually reveal and reflect the love of Christ within our marriage relationship.
“May we always remember that You want to use us to draw others to Yourself! The love we show each other is one of the vehicles You want to use. Help us to participate with You in YOUR Kingdom work.”
The Last But Not Least New Year Prayer Point
Finally, in John 16:33 Jesus tells all of us:
– Take heart, I have overcome the world!
To grow a good marriage, you need to be over-comers as Jesus is an over-comer. You will have all kinds of sinful thoughts come into your minds that you will need to deny. Don’t feed thoughts that you don’t want to grow. Don’t drag Jesus into actions He does not want to be involved in. And don’t entertain the enemy of our faith in doing things that God would hate. Instead, when you are prone to sin, go to Jesus. Let Him lead you out of temptation. Ask and then look for the way of escape. Jesus overcame first, so He could lead the way for us to walk in victory.
“Jesus, may we never forget all that You sacrificed so we could live and love and be eternally loved. And may we never forget that You want us together, to be over-comers. Where we are lacking, and where we are bent on sinning against You and our spouse, help us to be over-comers. Help us to not lose heart when things go in discouraging directions. Strengthen and help us to persevere even through the worst that comes our way! With You as our strength, we can make it through anything that happens. And in the end, may our marriage be one of Your shining lights in a dark world of divorce and defeat!”
All of this we pray in Jesus’ name… Amen!
Steve and Cindy Wright
— ADDITIONALLY —
To help you, 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:
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