When I tell the story of God pursuing me, I usually tell how He miraculously answered my prayers for marriage … my parents’.
My parents’ marriage was often a battleground, the “D” word (divorce) brought up often. The summer before my 7th grade year, it felt inevitable. I headed off to church camp, worried sick that when I got back their decision to divorce would be final.
That week, I prayed like I’d never prayed before. I asked for God’s intervention—for Him to soften their hearts toward one another and to rescue their marriage from disaster. At the end of the week, I returned home to find the battle was over. Divorce was taken off the table, and the atmosphere in our home changed drastically from then on.
It was the first time I’d seen God answer prayer so vividly and monumentally. It was miraculous.
Prayers for Marriage
God doesn’t always give us what we ask for, even if we are asking for good things like the softening of a spouse’s heart. So in addition to my story of seeing God answer prayers for marriage, I’d like to give two quick reminders of why prayer is so important, regardless of the outcome.
First, prayer isn’t a cosmic “Instacart” where we fill it up with everything we want and hope it’ll be in stock. Prayer is so much more than just giving God our requests—though He does want that, too. In prayer, we orient ourselves to God. We remember He is God, our Heavenly Father, and we are dependent on Him for all things spiritual and physical. Without this realization, we will be crushed under the weight of relying only on ourselves and other fallen beings.
At the same time, God uses our prayers to make things happen. In the same way you might take an aspirin as a means to relieve a headache, our prayers are often among the means God uses to accomplish His will in this world. He can intervene in our lives through many means—a counselor, a marriage getaway, a tragedy, and/or through the prayers of His children.
God may or may not choose to heal your marriage, but it’s safe to say He wants you to pray for it. If your marriage is struggling, here are six prayers for marriage you can offer to God today.
6 Prayers for Marriage
1. Pray for your heart’s roots to grow down into God’s love.
Our temptation is all too often to focus our prayers on others: God, transform their hearts; Help them change. But the best place to start is often with our own hearts. Is my heart softened by Jesus’ lavish love? Is there space in my heart, having experienced God’s unending width and depth of love, to extend a more limitless love to my spouse?
Loving a person is not easy. To love day by day, moment by moment, even when it’s hard, takes divine empowerment. Scripture indicates that strength comes from experiencing God’s love deep in our hearts. Deep roots in God’s love will empower you to persevere through hard seasons, to stay dependent upon Him for His help and comfort, and to remember God’s power to accomplish infinitely more that we might ask or imagine.
Prayer: (Inspired by Ephesians 3:16-20)
Father God, I pray from Your glorious, unlimited resources You will empower me with inner strength through Your Spirit. Make my roots grow down into Your love and keep me strong. And may I have the power to understand, as all Your people should, how wide, how long, how high, and how deep Your love is. May I experience the love of Christ, though it is too great to understand fully. Then make me complete with all the fullness of life and power that comes from You.
2. Pray for the Spirit’s empowerment to live a life filled with sacrificial love, like Jesus.
As your roots grow deeper into God’s love, you can follow Christ’s example of sacrificial love. Your life can be filled with love, offering yourself—your time, your gentleness, your empathy, your service—sacrificially to your spouse. Reject the temptation to compare your sacrifices to your spouse’s. That isn’t the example of Jesus, who gave His life so we wouldn’t have to.
Remember: God’s kindness leads us to repentance (Romans 2:4). The same power of kindness exists between spouses.
God, I come to you as Your dear child. Help me to imitate You in all I do but especially in my marriage. Thank You for showing me what true love looks like through Jesus giving Himself as a sacrifice for me. Help me to love my spouse well and offer myself—my time, my gentleness, my empathy, my service—sacrificially for my spouse. And may my sacrificial love for them be a pleasing aroma to You, God. Just as Your kindness leads me to repentance, use my kindness to my spouse to soften their heart toward You and toward me.
3. Pray for God to turn your ashes into beauty.
Are there places in your marriage with ashes, mourning, brokenheartedness, captivity, bankruptcy? Jesus came to bring beauty, gladness, praise, healing, freedom, and restoration! In this life, we experience Him doing this in the “already and not yet.” We know one day He will make every wrong right. We know His heart is for our joy and flourishing. Believing He is powerful to do any and every good thing, let us ask Him to bring restoration now. He is able.
Prayer: (Inspired by Isaiah 61:1-3)
God, thank you for sending Jesus to fulfill Isaiah’s words—that He brought good news to the poor, bound up the brokenhearted, set the captives free. And yet, in this “not yet” part of redemption, I still experience heartbreak, mourning, and a faint spirit in my marriage. God, I ask You to please replace these ashes with a beautiful headdress now, to give the oil of gladness instead of mourning now, to dress my spouse and I in a garment of praise instead of faintness of spirit now. May our marriage become an oak of righteousness, a planting of the LORD, that You may be glorified.
4. Pray for God to light up the darkness.
In literature (including the Bible), darkness represents uncertainty, unrighteousness, despair. Are there places you need God to light up the darkness? In your heart, in your relationship, in your family’s circumstances? Psalm 18:28 says, “You light a lamp for me. The Lord, my God, lights up my darkness” (NLT). The same God that created the world and everything in it and said, ““Let there be light in darkness,” has made this light shine in our hearts…” (2 Corinthians 4:6, NLT).
Creator God, You speak and it happens. You created light for our world and light in my heart. But darkness is casting a shadow over my marriage. (Take a moment to name any places of uncertainty, unrighteousness, deceit or despair). Lord, let there be light! Shine Your light of goodness, knowledge, warmth, purification. Where there is darkness in my heart, my marriage, my home, please light a lamp to chase the shadows away.
5. Pray for God to make the crooked places straight and to make your feet like the deer’s.
Sin taints every aspect of our lives this side of Heaven. It doesn’t take long for two humans, in a relationship as central as marriage, to see their lives go from straight and smooth to crooked and rough. The journey that used to feel like a stroll along a beach at sunset, suddenly feels like a free climb up a cliff. Relationships are dynamic and complicated, and different seasons take you and your spouse through different terrain.
God, the path my marriage is on feels slippery and steep, I need You to equip me for this terrain. Please make me as surefooted as a deer, able to navigate these heights without slipping. I also ask that you would transform this crooked path into a straight one! Lift up the valleys and bring down the mountains. Let Your glory be revealed in my marriage, Lord.
6. Pray the same power that raised Jesus from the dead will also resurrect your marriage.
“The Spirit of God, who raised Jesus from the dead, lives in you” (Romans 8:11, NLT). Sit with that a moment.
Jesus really did die, and the Spirit of God really did raise Him from the dead. That same Spirit lives in you, is at work in the world around you, and has the power to resurrect even dead things to new life.
Are you afraid to offer prayers for your marriage? Afraid your marriage is dead, terminally ill, or doomed? Nothing is too difficult for God (see Genesis 18:14). God—the Giver of Life, the Father of Lights, the Author and Finisher of our faith, the Creator and Re-Creator of all things, the Lifter of heads, the Bottler of our tears, the Molder of hearts—hears your prayers. Ask Him to do what only He can do: bring new life to your marriage.
God, nothing is too difficult for You. No heart is too hard for You. No rift is insurmountable, conflict too complicated, no sin unforgiveable, no person irredeemable for You. I believe You have the power to bring new life to my marriage. Help my unbelief (Mark 9:24). Where forgiveness feels impossible, help me forgive. Where hope feels irretrievable, help me hope in You.
Copyright © 2021 by FamilyLife. All rights reserved.
Laura Way serves with FamilyLife as a writer and lives in Orlando, Florida with her high-school-teaching husband, Aubrey, and their two vibrant young daughters. She and Aubrey lived in East Asia for seven years until relocating unexpectedly a couple years ago. She enjoys writing about becoming more fully human while sojourning through different places, seasons of life, and terrains of mental and spiritual health at hopeforthesojourn.com.