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May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in Him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit. — Romans 15:13
Once again my husband and I fall to our knees and plead to our living God for this hurting couple to have hope—because they have lost hope for their marriage. What to pray . . . what to pray . . . what to pray . . . we wonder, and turn to the only sure source of hope—Jesus Christ.
In his excellent book Before the Last Resort, Dr. George Kenworthy states: “. . . where should we start when we find ourselves in a hurting marriage that has left us hopeless, weak, and defeated? We focus on God, that’s number one. And, of course, we do this through prayer.” (p. 27)
In Appendix C, in the back of his book, we find a list of twenty-three Scriptures which Dr. Kenworthy suggests to be used in meditation and prayer for your marriage, a friend’s marriage, or any marriage you know of that is struggling. Problems may have come from the stress of deployment, or perhaps some other challenge. I have selected five from which to begin a battle in prayer against the enemy, Satan. The blank in each prayer is where you insert the name of the person or couple for whom you are interceding.
From Acts 26:18—“Lord, I pray that You will open _____ eyes so that _____ will turn from darkness to light, from the control of Satan to You. It is my heart’s desire that _____ may then receive forgiveness of sins and sanctification by faith in You.”
From Jeremiah 32:27—“Lord, as Your word came to Jeremiah, may I never forget that with You all things are possible. You tell us that ‘I am the LORD, the God of all mankind. Is anything too hard for me?’ We ask that this promise becomes reality for _____’s marriage—that you would bring _____ and _____ back together again and create oneness between them. We praise You for Your faithfulness to accomplish Your work in their lives.”
From Ephesians 3:14-21—“For this reason I kneel before the Father, from whom His whole family in heaven and on earth derives its name. I pray that out of His glorious riches He may strengthen _____ with power through His Spirit in _____’s inner being, so that Christ may dwell in _____’s heart through faith. And I pray that _____, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the saints, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that _____ may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God. And Lord, may _____ give You the glory for what You do, which is immeasurably more than we ask or imagine.”
From Malachi 2:15-16—“Lord, I believe that You made _____ and _____ one in flesh and spirit. Your word says that You hate divorce, so I pray that they would guard their marriage so that they would not break faith with each other and with You.”
From I Corinthians 13:4-8—“Lord, please remind _____ and _____ that their love for each other is to be patient, kind, not envying, not boastful, not proud. I pray that they would not be rude, selfish, or easily angered. I pray that they would not keep a record of hurts in their relationship nor would they delight in evil, but that they would rejoice in truth. Please let their love protect, trust, hope, and persevere. Lord, since Your love never fails, I pray that their love would never fail.”
God, through the redemptive work of His Holy Spirit, is in the business of saving and restoring marriages. If this is hard to believe because of the severity of the problems, Dr. Kenworthy challenges us to read this daily, from Ephesians 3:20-21:
“Now to Him who is able
Now to Him who is able to do immeasurably
Now to Him who is able to do immeasurably more
Now to Him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask
Now to Him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine
Now to Him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine according to His power that is at work within us,
To Him be the glory, Amen.” (p. 43)
Remember, “I am the LORD, the God of all mankind. Is anything too hard for me?” Jeremiah 32:27
Kenworthy, Dr. George, Before the Last Resort: 3 Simple Questions to Rescue Your Marriage (Little Rock: FamilyLife Publishing, 2005, 2008)
Questions to Share:
1. Pick one of the Scriptural prayers above and pray it for someone you know who is experiencing trouble in their marriage.
2. Pray Dr. Kenworthy’s prayer from Ephesians 3:20-21 together as a couple, if possible.