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.
Before bedtime, some couples may look to saying a prayer together that send their request to God for a long standing marriage that will last for years to come. Thanking Him for the goodness in our lives is just one way to rekindle romance and love. Here is a look at some great bedtime prayers for couples.
You are Lord over all creation.
Everyday we are surrounded by the miracle of life.
Your creativity bursts across the skies at sunset, it emerges from spring buds that bloom.
Thank you for the beauty of marriage.
Like three streams that merge into one single river, you are journeying with us.
You are the creative, restoring current that runs through our relationship.
May we stand strong in our friendship like a tall oak tree.
May we pull together through the different seasons of our lives so that we become closer.
May we ride out the storms and rest in the fair weather.
May we care for one another, so that we blossom and bloom as individuals.
May we have your vision as we soar above the everyday to glimpse the kingdom of heaven.
May we learn the truth of real beauty as we change and age together.
And may we reflect your love, hope, and truth that you have poured into our union.
Thank you that through your strength and grace we are able to love, care and provide for our loved ones and the wider world.
Dear Heavenly Father,
Thank you for this life, for the gift of love, and the blessing of our marriage. We give you praise for the joy you’ve poured into our hearts through this love, for the contentment of family, and the happiness of our home. May we always treasure the experience of loving each other in this holy union.
Help us to remain forever committed to our vows, those we made to each other, and to you, Lord.
We will need your strength daily Lord, as we live together with the goal of following and serving you. Develop within is us the character of your Son, Jesus, that we might love each other with the love he demonstrated—with patience, respect, understanding, honesty, forgiveness and kindness.
Let us always be a support to one another—a friend to listen and encourage, a refuge from the storm, and most importantly, a warrior in prayer.
Holy Spirit, guide us through the difficult moments of life and comfort us in our grief. May our lives together bring glory to you, our Savior, and testify of your love.
In Jesus’ Name.
Grant that I and my spouse may have a true and understanding love for each other. Grant that we may both be filled with faith and trust.
Give us the grace to live with each other in peace and harmony.
May we always bear with one another’s weaknesses and grow from each other’s strengths.
Help us to forgive one another’s failings and grant us patience, kindness, cheerfulness and the spirit of placing the well-being of one another ahead of self.
May the love that brought us together grow and mature with each passing year. Bring us both ever closer to You through our love for each other.
Let our love grow to perfection.
O Lord, Holy Father, omnipotent and eternal God, we give you thanks and we bless your holy name.
You created man and woman in your image and blessed their union, so that each would be for the other a help and support.
Remember us today.
Protect us and grant that our love may be in the image of the devotion and love of Christ for his Church.
Grant us a long and fruitful life together, in joy and in peace, so that, through your Son and in the Holy Spirit, our hearts may always rise to you in praise and goods works.
Heavenly Father, I thank you for my husband. I thank you for all that he does on a daily basis to keep our family stable. I pray that you would continue to grace him to do all that you have purposed for him to do, and that your will for his life would be made clear.
I pray that you would grant him wisdom and knowledge so that he can make Godly decisions in our home, and at his work place. I pray that he would find favor wherever he goes, and that he would be a blessing to everyone he meets. Help him to be a Godly husband to me, and a Godly father to our children.
Let him be a man of influence for you. Let others look upon him and see the hope of your glory. Enable him to see himself as you see him, he is more than a conquer, and he can do all things through your strength. Father, silence all other voices in his mind, and his social circle that would tear him down and give him confidence and boldness in you Lord.
Help him to come to know you more and more every day, and to seek your face and not the approval of man. Teach him to hear and follow your voice, in Jesus name, Amen.
Heavenly Father, I pray on today that you would help me to be a better wife to my husband. Teach me your ways oh Lord so that I may know them, and so that you would be pleased with
Help me to show my husband honor as unto you Lord, and encourage him in all that he does. Help me to submit to his authority and not rebel.
For to rebel against him, is to rebel against you. Give me discernment Lord to know what to say, how to say it, and when not to say anything at all. Fill my mouth with good things so that I can build him up with my words.
Let me be that safe, soft place that he can rest on when the world has beaten him down. Let me be the lifter of his head. I thank you for making me a suitable help meet for him. Thank you for making me a Godly wife, so that you may be glorified. In Jesus name, Amen.
Father God, I thank you for my wife. I thank you for all that she does on a daily basis to make sure our home runs smoothly. I pray that you would continue to give her grace, and that she would not ever feel overwhelmed.
I pray that she would know her worth and her beauty, show her that she is fearfully and wonderfully made. Let her know that you have a plan to prosper her, and not harm her. Let her know that she does have a future and hope through you.
Reveal to her your perfect plan for her life so that she may do only that which is pleasing to you. Help her to prioritize, and give her the boldness to say no when she needs to. Let her be the Godly woman you are calling her to be, and a Godly mother to our children. Give her strength to stand firm, and press through the hard times in her life.
Help her not to be anxious about anything but to always make her request known to you by prayer. Draw her into a closer relationship with you that she may truly know you as her Father, her source. Speak to her in times of quietness and always direct her path as she places her trust in you. In Jesus name, Amen.
Father God, help me to be a better husband to my wife. Teach me how to make her my number one priority and demonstrate to her her true value. Let my actions and decisions be trust worthy, and fair. Show me how to listen to her and welcome her counsel in my times of decision making.
Make me aware of any plan, or scheme the enemy has launched against my wife so that I may stand against the adversary by the power of your might. Help me to be a lover of your word so that I may fight the enemy’s attacks with your word!
Teach me not be overbearing where she is concerned, and never demanding. But instead show me how to demonstrate your perfect love to her. Help me to love her as you love the church. In Jesus name, Amen.
Here is a look at a great bedtime prayer to help you relax before resting for the night. This will reassure you that God is looking after you and send you a peaceful rest.
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.