These are prayerful times, no doubt. Marriages, and people in general, all over the world have been horribly affected, and in some cases infected, by the Corona Virus. It’s a worldwide pandemic. And no one can predict when it will die off. For that reason alone, these are uncertain times, which makes it all the more pressing for us to look at them as prayerful times, as well.
In America, we also have some very important elections happening right now. Plus, there has been a lot of civil unrest. With the virus, the elections, and the civil unrest—along with other trials happening within families—we have a lot to take to the Lord in prayer. There are also additional tribulations happening throughout the world. That’s why we say these are prayerful times—for us ALL. We need to be praying for one another. God tells us in the scriptures (James 5:16) to “pray for one another” because “The prayer of a righteous person has great power as it is working.”
We have to tell you that our hearts are breaking as we see so many under distress. It’s disturbing within our spirits to see the trouble that the Evil One is stirring up throughout the world. Since the beginning of this year, abuse, addictions, divorces, and depression are all on the rise. God tells us in the Bible to “Pray continually.” And we are. We hope you are too. Joining together in prayer is one of the best things we can do to combat the forces of darkness. We’ll say it again… these are prayerful times. We are to be mindful of God and prayerful to God.
Disturbances Invite Prayerful Times
Also, this Pandemic may be a catalyst in causing disturbances within your marriage. Tensions are high because people have been losing their jobs, and are being quarantined within their homes. As a result, relationships can be strained. Some are hurting; others are failing. Here’s something that Pastor’s wife, speaker and author Esther Littlefield recommends:
“If you are experiencing disappointment in your marriage, you need to bring it to God. Lay down all of your hurt feelings, frustrations, and anger at His feet. He is always there to hear our cries. And He knows our hearts better than anyone else. Anytime I’ve dealt with disappointment in my marriage, I have turned to journaling my prayers to God. Writing out my concerns has been very therapeutic for me. And at the same time, I’m praying and asking God to intervene or change my heart.”
It’s important to:
“Ask God to protect your marriage from evil influences and temptations (like pornography) that can pull you and your spouse away from Him and away from 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 and pray them regularly. Ask God to help you and your spouse manage your time well so you can protect your time together.” (Whitney Hopler)
We love the suggestion that Cheri Fuller makes. We do this quite often—sometimes together, sometimes individually:
“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.”
Praying and Trusting
But what if we pray and God does things different than we think He should? Here’s something to prayerfully consider that Anne Peterson writes:
“What if things don’t turn out the way that we wanted? What then? Was putting our faith in God wasted? Did he choose not to answer? No. Sometimes God’s answer is ‘no.’ But we have to remember whatever the outcome, God is still involved. He tells us in Romans 8:28, that the answer we got was no mistake. God is not done yet. He has a bigger purpose than what is before our finite eyes.
“When I waited for the doctor to come in after I had an ultrasound, I was full of hope. I just knew that it was a miracle that I had not miscarried as I thought. So that week I waited for the ultrasound I was full of joy and faith. But when the doctor returned and said, ‘I’m sorry, Mr. and Mrs. Peterson, there is no baby.’ I had a decision to make, the same decision we all have to make when things do not work out, as we wanted them to. Would I stop trusting God or would I believe that he is still at work? The choice is up to us. I knew God was not done; I decided to trust Him.” (From the Crosswalk.com article, 10 Verses to Help in Times of Uncertainty)
It’s tough to trust in that type of circumstance, no doubt. But it is what God wants us to do. He also wants us to lean into Him—to draw strength from Him. Here are two scriptures concerning prayer when you face difficult circumstances:
“Look to the LORD and his strength; seek His face always.” (1 Chronicles 16:11) As we do this we are promised: “The LORD is near to all who call on Him, to all who call on Him in truth.” (Psalm 145:18)
Also, During these Prayerful Times:
It is tempting to let your mind park upon your concerns when your life is turned upside down. But be careful. It won’t help you to worry, fret, and obsess. So, to the degree that you can… be intentional where you place your focus. If you focus too heavily on the negative, you will be affected in a negative way. On this point, Tim Wright (no relation to us) makes some good points for us all to prayerfully consider in his article, Get Past the Upset: Praying is Just One Way. He writes:
“Chuck Swindoll was convinced that ‘life is 10% what happens to me and 90% how I react to it. And so it is with you…we are in charge of our attitudes.’ I believe that’s true and with all that is going in these times, it’s a really good truth by which to balance our emotions. Another way of looking at it is this: 9 times as much of what we feel is caused by the attitude we carry as causes out attitude. For sure, there has to be something happening for us to react to, so it’s not really a question of which comes first. But the way in which we choose—consciously or subconsciously—to react to the occurrence is our making, 9 times out of 10. And that just may be an underestimation!”
Casting Our Anxieties
It’s not that we can’t look at the negative; it’s just not healthy to park upon it. God knows this. That is why He tells us to cast our anxieties upon Him “because He cares.” He can take it; we can’t. This takes real discipline to take our focus off of that, which is hurting us. But it’s important to do this sometimes. If we don’t, we can get sucked into the holes of anxiety and depression. And how will that help anything?
God tells us:
“Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Finally, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things. What you have learned and received and heard and seen in me—practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you.” (Philippians 4:6-9)
Do you see it there? Twice God tells us to watch our focus and to leave our requests with Him. If we do that—His peace will guard our hearts and minds and will be with us.
All of this has led us to join millions of others who are praying 2 Chronicles 7:14. Every night and/or every morning at 7:14 we pray those particular scriptures. It has been a precious bonding time as a bonding time between both of us, and God—as a “cord of three strands” joining together as one.
We read the scripture and pray whatever God impresses upon our hearts for our marriage, our family, our community, our nation, and the world of people God has entrusted to us.
A Prayer for Prayerful Times
Steve put together a prayer for those of you who would prefer to have something written. We highlighted the scriptures in red. Please feel free to use, change, or expand upon the prayer itself in any way. We hope this inspires you in your prayer life.
Looking to God During Prayerful Times and Beyond
Heavenly Father, in these prayerful times it’s easy for us to get caught up in circumstances around us. These can distract us from what’s most important: Our relationship with you, our spouse and our family. Please help us to concentrate on our faith and not fear. So, we come now and stand on your promise from:
2 Chronicles 7:14-15:
“If My people who are called by My Name humble themselves and pray…”
Dear Lord, we thank you that the moment we asked Jesus to be our Lord and Savior, we have been called by your name. As Christ followers we assume the position of humility before you.
“…And seek My Face…”
God, we seek Your face to guide and help us through the many difficulties we find ourselves in.
“…And turn from their wicked ways…”
Jesus, please reveal any wicked thing our lives—in my life—that keeps me/us from experiencing your blessing. We want to confess it to You right now.
“…Then I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sin…”
Thank You for not only forgiving our sin and our sins, as we confess them to You, but also for creating new hearts within us. We are told in Psalm 51:10 that You will renew a steadfast spirit within us. Thank you!
“…And I will heal their land.”
Lord God, we are so grateful that You want to heal not only our land and our country, but also the environment of our marriages and homes as well. We need your help so desperately. We can’t do it on our own.
Additionally, we hold fast to your promise in 2 Chronicles 7:15: “Now my eyes will be open and my ears attentive to the prayers offered in this place.” To this we say, Amen!
During these prayerful times, now and in the future, remember:
“Prayer is a powerful tool in any marriage. But it’s too often put on the back burner as a last resort. Pull prayer to the forefront of your marriage. Seek the will of God in all that you do. And give Him the glory for all that He has done!” (Darlene Schacht)
“Devote yourselves to prayer, being watchful and thankful.” (Colossians 4:2)
We hope you will join us in this mission together.
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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