It never occurred to me before reading Isabel Anders’ new book how apt the ever-loved Prayer of St. Francis is for married couples. But Anders startled me to full attention with this prayer in the early pages of her fine collection of ancient and modern prayers, blessings and reflections – all presented “as potential guides for naturally incorporating prayer into a marriage.”
Think about it. God is petitioned in the Prayer of St. Francis to “grant that we may not so much seek to be consoled as to console, to be understood as to understand, to be loved as to love. For it is in giving that we receive; it is in pardoning that we are pardoned; and it is in dying that are born to eternal life.”
Don’t those lines relate rather directly to the needs and hopes of most married couples?
What I liked best about Anders’ “Blessings and Prayers for Married Couples” was its down-to-earth approach to spirituality for married couples. Here couples will find prayers to employ when making decisions, or after making a mistake, or when faced with money problems, or during a crisis.
“Teach us how to be not only more kind and tolerant of each other’s mistakes but also more understanding of each other’s occasional lack of judgment,” a couple might pray in words borrowed from Rene Bartkowski’s “Prayers for Married Couples.” In a prayer from Ruth Harms Calkin’s “Hold Me Close,” a weary couple prays:
“Please rest us. We’re thirsty. Give us Living Water! We’ve fallen flat on our faces. Pick us up! … We’d like very much to give up. Hold us very close.”
One of Anders’ own prayers, presented in the context of a reflection on the wedding promise to take each other “for better or for worse,” pleads with God for “continued strength and grace to remember the sun when it is not shining, to believe in God’s care and love when we cannot know outcomes, and to endure with each other through uncertainties and fears.”
Souls are nourished even by difficulties, Anders suggests. In this light, she comments that the vow to take each other for better or worse is “a necessary component to a loving commitment that can withstand the inevitable storms of married life.”
Anders structured her book around the promises couples make when they wed. Thus, for example, the book includes prayers and reflections related to the couple’s vow to have and to hold each other, to love each other in sickness or in health, or in good times and in bad.
What is meant by a couple’s promise to “have and to hold”? A prayer by Anders offers insight here. A wife and husband ask God to help them “learn to laugh together, to cry when needed, to pick ourselves and each other up from where we may have fallen – and to go forward together.”
Anders, an Episcopalian, is a longtime writer and editor in Tennessee whose works have been published by Catholic, Lutheran, Evangelical and Anglican publishers. Among her other books are “Simple Blessings for Sacred Moments” and “Becoming Flame: Uncommon Mother-Daughter Wisdom.”
She describes her new book as “a montage or tapestry of ‘marriage enfleshed,’” that is, marriage as it is embodied in the lives of actual couples. A hope of hers is that the book will serve as an opportunity for readers to remember the “points at which God has ministered” to them “as a family, as a couple, as an individual.”
Numerous passages in the book reflect on the workings of marriage. Does that mean it should be read straight through? It could be, I suppose. But the book’s real value lies in its usefulness as a continuing resource for husbands and wives who want to meditate on marriage and begin to pray within their marriage.
The book should make things easier for couples who find it awkward to pray together at home. For example, a couple’s wedding anniversary might be a good occasion to turn to an anniversary prayer by Anders that reads: “On this our wedding anniversary, we focus on the many blessings of our years together: the sharing of the cup of sorrow and joy …, the blessings that have exceeded all hopes.”
The prayer thanks God because through the oneness granted them in earthly flesh, a husband and wife “are more that the sum of two persons,” and when they pray, their “efforts are doubled.”
A number of blessings collected in the book seem appropriate for engagement celebrations, anniversaries and even times when couples face unique challenges. I particularly enjoyed these lines of a blessing from “9 Ways to Nurture Your Marriage,” by William and Susan Rabior:
“May the days of your marriage be joyous and rich. May you find shelter and safety in each other’s arms, respect and reverence in each other’s heart. May your friendship be faithful and firm, your trust total. And may you remain young at heart as you grow old together.”
About the reviewer
David Gibson is the former, now-retired editor of Origins, CNS Documentary Service.
Disclaimer: Book reviews do not imply and are not to be used as official endorsement by the USCCB of the work or those associated with the work. Book reviews are solely intended as a resource regarding publications that might be of interest to For Your Marriage visitors.
Wedding Blessings – Powerful Scripture Quotes
Marriage is a gift – an amazing blessing from God. Yet often, the greatest gifts in life are not always cherished the way they should be. Maybe because life gets busy, or we get hurried and distracted. Maybe because we start to take one another for granted. Or we disagree and let resentments hang on longer than they should.
Life gets hard.
The baggage we bring along from our past doesn’t help much either. What worked for us as two individuals, coping with the everyday stresses of life, may not work so well when joined as “one.” We spin our wheels comparing our own marriage to the next one over, complaining about the problems; falsely thinking it might propel the other to action. We long for brighter tomorrows, but instead get stuck, in regret and hurt. We begin to drift away. And sadly, many times, we start looking for the nearest door marked “Exit.”
There’s a battle over marriages today, and the enemy would love nothing more than to destroy yours, and to bring.you.down.
Don’t let him win.
The enemy’s aim – to destroy. God’s aim – to build up.
In all of the talk about marriage, defending our views, or pointing out differences, we have to ask ourselves one question…have we prayed? I mean, really prayed, consistently, over time? And if we’re not, then who is?
God promises in Isaiah 55:11 that His word will not return empty, without accomplishing great things.
There’s no magic formula in praying verses and words, but there is power through the Spirit of God. And there’s power in His Truth to bring forgiveness, healing, renewal, and restoration – no matter how bad things may seem. His reach is big. His love is huge. His grace covers all.
Prayer + God’s Word = Power – the pathway for Him to do miraculous things.
40 Powerful Wedding and Marriage Blessings to Pray Over Your Spouse:
We praise you for your love and faithfulness. We thank you for huge grace. We thank you that you give us the power to love well. Thank you for my spouse. Thank you for the gift of marriage. Thank you that you’re for us; that you fight for us. Thank you that you are Redeemer, and you have good in store. We confess, some days, marriage gets tough, and we blow it – again. We ask that you would make us more like you. Please fill our marriage and lives with truth and cover it with blessing.
Lord, we pray for…
Adoration – “My beloved is mine and I am his.” Song of Songs 2:16
Belief – “Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved-you and your household.” Acts 16:31
Blessing – “He blesses the home of the righteous.” Prov. 3:33
Commitment – “Though one may be overpowered, two can defend themselves. A cord of three strands is not quickly broken.” Ecc. 4:12
Courage – “Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.” Josh. 1:9
Discernment – “And it is my prayer that your love may abound more and more, with knowledge and all discernment, so that you may approve what is excellent, and so be pure and blameless for the day of Christ.” Phil. 1:9-10
Encouragement – “Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen.” Ephesians 4:29
Endurance – “Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never ends.” 1 Cor. 13:7-8
Faithfulness – “Let love and faithfulness never leave you; bind them around your neck, write them on the tablet of your heart. Then you will win favor and a good name in the sight of God and man.” Prov. 3:3-4
Favor – “May the favor of the Lord our God rest on us, establish the work of our hands…” Ps. 90:17
Forgiveness – “Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.” Eph. 4:32
Friendship – “Two are better than one…if either of them falls, the one will lift up his companion.” Ecc. 4:9-10
Fruitfulness – “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.” Gal. 5:22-23
Generosity – “A generous person will prosper; whoever refreshes others will be refreshed.” Prov. 11:25
Gentleness – “Walk in a manner worthy of the calling to which you have been called, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love, eager to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.” Eph. 4:1-3
Grace – “Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone.” Col. 4:6
Health – “Gracious words are a honeycomb, sweet to the soul and healing to the bones.” Prov. 16:24
Hope – “For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you hope and a future.” Jer. 29:11
Humility – “Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others.” Phil. 2:3-4
Integrity – “Whoever walks in integrity walks securely, but he who makes his ways crooked will be found out.” Prov. 10:9
Intimacy – “Do not deprive one another, except perhaps by agreement for a limited time, that you may devote yourselves to prayer; but then come together again, so that Satan may not tempt you because of your lack of self-control.” 1 Cor. 7:5
Joy – “May your fountain be blessed, and may you rejoice in the wife of your youth.” Prov. 5:18
Kindness – “She opens her mouth with wisdom, and the teaching of kindness is on her tongue.” Prov. 31:26
Love – “May the Lord make your love increase and overflow for each other…” 1Thess. 3:12
Oneness – “They are no longer two but one flesh. What God has joined together, let no man separate.” Matt. 19:6
Peace – “May there be peace within your walls…” Ps. 122:7
Protection – “The Lord is faithful. He will establish you and guard you against the evil one.” 2 Thess. 3:3
Provision – “And my God will supply every need of yours according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus.” Phil. 4:19
Purity – “Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in your sight, O Lord, my rock and my redeemer.” Ps. 19:14
Purpose – “And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.” Rom. 8:28
Respect – “Let each one of you love his wife as himself, and let the wife see that she respects her husband.” Eph. 5:33
Self-Control – “For God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control.” 2 Tim. 1:7
Servant-Hearted – “As for me and my household, we will serve the Lord.” Josh. 24:15
Strength – “The Lord gives strength to his people; the Lord blesses his people with peace.” Ps. 29:11
Submission – “Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ.” Eph. 5:21
Thankfulness – “Pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” 1 Thess. 5:17-18
Trust – “There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear.” 1 John 4:18
Understanding – “Husbands, live with your wives in an understanding way…” 1 Peter 3:7
Value – “A wife of noble character who can find? She is worth far more than rubies.” Prov. 31:10
Wisdom – “Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it.” Prov. 4:23
Let your favor shine on us as we seek after you.
In Jesus’ name,
You may also want to read our prayer to use during a wedding ceremony: A Prayer to Pray At Weddings
Debbie McDaniel is a writer, pastor’s wife, mom to three amazing kids (and a lot of pets). Join her each morning on Fresh Day Ahead’s facebook page,http://www.facebook.com/DebbieWebbMcDaniel, for daily encouragement in living strong, free, hope-filled lives.
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I wrote this prayer for all those who are alone and looking for a suitable life partner. Many have asked for prayers concerning marriage. I pray that this year, your wishes and dreams are fulfilled by God Almighty as we lift up our every desire daily, through Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
Prayer: Searching for a life partner
Almighty Father, We pray for all those waiting and searching for life partners. You know the deep longings of their hearts and You know what is best for them in life. Lord, help them as they desire a good companion in life.
If it is Your will, guide them Lord, to the partner You have chosen for them. Give them the wisdom and direct them in their pursuit to choose the right person.
Everyone deserves a loving and God-fearing partner, for a happy life. We ask You to remove all obstacles in their way and perfect everything for them.
Guide them to the right person
Lord, You said that it is not good for man to be alone. We ask You to listen to the hearts looking for a life partner. Put their yearning for marriage in the right perspective. Lead them to the one You choose and reveal Your plans for them so that they prepare themselves better.
Lord, teach and guide them to seek You first and to learn to give love more than expecting to receive it. Help them to remember that whatever journey their life leads them on, You are always present, always offering companionship, and always filling their deepest need.
Fill them with love and understanding
At all times, may they observe quiet prayer-time and turn to You in all joy and afflictions. May each of them address their areas of weaknesses and be strengthened in Your love and light.
We pray that understanding and loving each other be their utmost desire and may they believe in a marriage that ends only when death do they part.
Genesis 2:18 Then the LORD God said, “It is not good for the man to be alone; I will make him a helper suitable for him.”
Proverbs 18:22 He who finds a wife finds a good thing and obtains favor from the LORD.
See also: 7 Powerful Prayers for Marriage Restoration
Prayer for the man searching for a wife
Lord, I pray for a woman of God, beautiful in heart, mind and soul. May she be faithful, loyal, sincere and noble in her thoughts and deeds.
Grant her patience. Let her be filled with love, humility and understanding for me and the family we will commit.
Give me wisdom to make and keep her happy and feeling protected. May she be one fearful in Your sight and be a woman faithful to prayer, praise and worship for You our God.
Let her heart be not worried or afraid of her past which is history and may her present self be in Your way of life. May she be devoted to prayer, family life and know the values of a family of God.
Peter 3:7 “You husbands in the same way, live with your wives in an understanding way, as with someone weaker, since she is a woman. And show her honor as a fellow heir of the grace of life, so that your prayers will not be hindered”
Lord, help me assure my woman that I am responsible and able to provide for her needs. Help me prove that I am a gentleman and God-fearing and would be able to take care of her and protect her in all aspects of life, in good times and in bad.
May I daily make amends in all my shortcomings and make myself ready to give myself wholly and truly to a relationship.
May I grow in deeper love for You, my God, which will allow me to grow deeper in my relationship with her. Amen.
Prayer by the woman for a husband
Lord, I pray for a God fearing, humble, gentle, faithful and loving man. May he be one filled with respect for women and protect them in all harm, trouble and afflictions. May You come first in his life and may he be one who leads a family to God.
Lord, I am willing to accept a man despite whatever his past is. May he come fully done away with his old bad habits. May His past be history as we take each other from the day we come together in a relationship.
In the same way, I pray Lord that he too will not see the old me but as someone good and renewed in Your hope and blessings. May my past never be a hindrance to living my present life as a wife as I make amends to my old self and give myself wholly and truly to him.
Colossians 3:18 “Wives, be subject to your husbands, as is fitting in the Lord”
Help me understand that You Lord are the Godhead of the family and my man, the head of the household. Help me to submit myself truly and wholly to him in my family life.
May I give him due respect as head of the family. I commit myself to understanding and helping him in all aspects of life as he provides for the family.
Oh Lord and our God, be first and foremost in all decisions and promises we make as husband and wife. We pray this prayer and lift up our heartfelt desires in the blessed name of Jesus, Amen.