I occasionally look back – always with fondness – on my engagement period to my husband.
It was a sweet time. One of excited anticipation and wistful daydreams, tempered by lots and lots of work. Between completing my degree, fulfilling the requirements for teacher licensure, student teaching, and planning a wedding – not to mention frequently making the six-hour round trip home from college to visit my beloved – I rarely had a moment to spare.
How I wish that I knew then what I know now: there is one needful thing, and it’s not working harder. It’s not doing more.
But unfortunately, the one needful thing is something that was lacking during that season of my life.
I wish I had prayed more – alone, with my husband-to-be, and even with others who cared about us and would’ve welcomed the opportunity to pray over us and our impending marriage.
If you’re engaged, I hope you’ll often take the opportunity to bathe your relationship in prayer by praying the Scriptures below. Because a wedding isn’t the finish line.
It’s only the beginning of a life devoted to serving your King together, as one.
And while that is a wonderful, beautiful venture, it’s no small feat, dear one.
Perhaps some of you will offer these prayers on behalf of an engaged couple you know and love. Thank you for your investment. Because time spent praying is never wasted time.
Prayers for Engaged Couples
Pray that you and your spouse-to-be would let your manner of life be worthy of the gospel of Christ, and that the two of you would be firm in one spirit, with one mind striving side by side for the faith of the gospel (Philippians 1:27). Ask the Lord to grant you even now a vision of the joint ministry He has planned for your marriage.
Acknowledge to the Lord that although your heart makes plans, the LORD establishes your steps (Proverbs 16:9). Ask Him to direct your path and that of your beloved, as you both trust in Him. Yield your will to His in all things.
Confess the truth that unless the Lord builds the house, those who build it labor in vain (Psalm 127:1). Share with God your heart’s desire that He would “build your house,” and be the foundation on which your home is established.
Recount back to God that without counsel plans fail, but with many advisers they succeed (Proverbs 15:22). Ask the Lord to place the right counselors into your life and the life of your betrothed; that He would give your advisers wisdom; and that He would grant you a teachable spirit.
Praise the Lord for the gift of His divine power which has granted you all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of Him who called you to His own glory and excellence! Revel in the His precious and very great promises granted to you, so that through them you may become partakers of the divine nature, having escaped from the corruption that is in the world because of sinful desire. Pray that you and your beloved would progress in spiritual maturity during the time of your engagement and in your marriage, making every effort to supplement your faith with virtue, and virtue with knowledge, and knowledge with self-control, and self-control with steadfastness, and steadfastness with godliness, and godliness with brotherly affection, and brotherly affection with love. For if these qualities are yours and are increasing, they keep you from being ineffective or unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ (2 Peter 1:3-8).
Ask that the God of endurance and encouragement would grant you to live in such harmony with one another, in accord with Christ Jesus, that together you may with one voice glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ (Romans 15:5-6).
Dear Heavenly Father, how good You are to give us the gift of anticipation about joyous occasions to come! Thank you for the person You have ordained for me to marry, and for directing our relationship thus far. I pray that you would continue to make your will known to us, in big ways and small, as we pursue your will together. We long to glorify you in our relationship, now and forevermore. It’s in the name of my Savior, Jesus Christ, that I pray. Amen.
This Joined by Grace prayer book introduces engaged and newly married couples to the rich traditions of Catholic prayer: how Catholics pray, texts of our most commonly used prayers, and a primer on devotions.
A warm invitation to the faith and a simple approach to Catholicism, Joined by Grace: A Catholic Prayer Book for Engaged and Newly Married Couples is a book for beginners and those who want to know more about Catholic prayer life. The book offers guidance about the ways to pray, background information on prayers and devotions, and simple how-to instructions. Family members and friends, as well as pastors, mentor couples, and others working in marriage ministries will find this a perfect gift for engaged and newly married couples.
Couples can learn how to pray spontaneously, offer thanks and praise, petition God, and express sorrow. There is guidance on blessings, praying with scripture, and liturgical prayer. The book also can be used to learn common Catholic prayers such as the Our Father, Doxology, and Hail Mary. Beyond the most essential Catholic prayers, the book offers insight and instruction for participating in the great devotions of the Church such as the Stations of the Cross, the Rosary, the Angelus, and Eucharistic Adoration. The last part of the book offers meditations on the seven sacraments as conduits of grace in our everyday lives.
To find out more about the Joined by Grace marriage preparation program visit JoinedbyGrace.com or check out the Joined by Grace Starter Pack.
, CP Contributor
| Friday, October 14, 2016israel Hougton and Adrienne Bailon pose at their Parisian-themed co-ed wedding shower hosted by West Hollywood eatery Fig & Olive, October, 2016. | (Photo: Instagram/happilyeverhoughton)
Adrienne Bailon revealed to PEOPLE magazine at her Parisian-themed co-ed wedding shower hosted by West Hollywood eatery Fig & Olive, that she and her fiance Israel Houghton are saving themselves for marriage.
As she was getting ready for her wedding shower this past Saturday, which is featured exclusively in the current issue of the magazine, Bailon said that she will be shedding happy tears on her wedding day.
“I was getting so emotional,” she tells PEOPLE.
The exclusive coverage disclosed that Bailon and Houghton have decided to go the traditional route and are “saving themselves for marriage.”
The happy couple enjoyed their co-ed wedding shower but the mainstream entertainer said that she can’t wait for her big day later this year.
“I’m so excited,” she continued. “I can’t wait to marry my best friend.”
Up until this interview Bailon has never flat out said that she and Houghton were abstaining from sexual intimacy until marriage. However in a recent episode of “The Real,” after she shared that she and the popular worship leader are in premarital counseling with her pastor, the co-host assured that she believes sexual intimacy is designed for marriage.
In August, Houghton shared an Instagram picture of Bailon’s hand in front of the prestigious Eiffel Tower in Paris, sporting a massive engagement ring.
“I have seen and felt the essence of God’s grace through the life, the kindness and the courage of this woman. I’ve seen her attacked, lied about, wrongfully accused, mocked, laughed at, and misunderstood. But, I’ve also seen the shining example of the eagle she is that rises above the cacophony of the noise of ignorants- I’m learning from her example. She loves Jesus. She loves her family. She loves people. Even the ones that don’t love her back. I pray God give me that same grace in my life. I’ve taken a giant leap of faith in asking her to share life with me forever and to give me a shot at getting it right this time… She has graciously granted my request… She said yes. Thanks Be To God. Thank you @adriennebailon for graciously loving me,” Houghton captioned the photo.
At the top of the year, Houghton publicly announced that his marriage of some 20 years was legally over and despite the naysayers, the singer is giving marriage another shot. News of Houghton, 44, and 32-year-old Bailon’s romance first surfaced when she was photographed in a bikini on a beach in Mexico with the Lakewood Church worship leader (currently on indefinite leave) in March. What started as rumors stemming from tabloid photos that Bailon and Houghton were dating were quickly confirmed. Bailon initially stayed mum as the photos circulated and Houghton was the first to address the rumors.
“I met Adrienne Bailon a bit over 2 years ago, we worked together & became friends… Our circles connected & we remained good friends. From a friendship, as two single adults we have very recently begun to explore a dating relationship,” he confessed in a Facebook post.
The new romance sparked controversy because Houghton publicly repented and addressed his divorce in an open letter posted on Facebook not long before dating Bailon. “It is with a collective heavy heart that we announce that after over 20 years of marriage and a long separation, Meleasa and I are officially divorced,” he wrote.
“Several years ago I failed and sinned in my marriage,” he confessed. “Though this is new to many, it is not new to us as we have been working through this for over 5 years. Although we tried, the challenges in our relationship have proven too much to overcome.”
Bailon was pegged as the reason for Houghton’s divorce when the beach photos surfaced, but the actress maintained that she didn’t even know him at the time of his personal failure, and said that the public blaming her for a marriage ending was “hurtful.” Houghton has since taken leave of his role as worship leader of Pastor Joel Osteen’s Lakewood Church but is still out doing concerts.
Houghton and Bailon first worked together on the 2013 flick produced by Houghton, “I’m in Love with a Church Girl.”