Week 256: Marriages and the Death of a Child Please join us this week in praying for marriages that are dealing with the death of a child. Maybe nothing feels as abnormal and as out of the natural order as a child preceding parents in death. No parent expects it and no premarital counseling equips couples to deal with this emotionally-charged occurrence.
Though a child’s death can occur suddenly and without warning or after a prolonged illness, the end result is still a precious gift is gone. The effects of this loss can be devastating, even to the strongest marriages.
Married couples experiencing such a loss may never deal with a more difficult grief since this grief is often accompanied by guilt, even when there are absolutely no grounds for it. Groundless guilt is exceedingly hard on individuals since there is no wrong to correct and no blame for which to seek or give forgiveness. It is a guilt without relief, and unrelieved guilt can be extraordinarily hard on relationships.
One of the most difficult challenges of this experience is maintaining a strong marriage when each spouse is processing grief in a different way and at a different rate. One spouse may be able to re-enter the normal pace of life in a short time, while the other is still barely able to get out of bed. This imbalance can cause great tension, even causing the spouse experiencing prolonged grief to doubt the other really loved their lost child. This thought can drive a divisive wedge between the married couple.
Another difficulty of this life experience is the tendency of deeply grieving parents to cut themselves off emotionally from those who could supply needed support. It is easy for them to think no one else can understand what they are going through. It can also be hard for the grieving parents to be around other couples with healthy, happy children.
Finally, a spiritual struggle can rage even in the strongest Christian marriages as the grieving parents question why this tragedy visited them. This questioning can upset the very underpinning of a grieving parent’s faith. It can also lead easily to blaming self, blaming the other spouse or even blaming God.
Please pray this week that couples who are dealing with the death of a child will
- Seek the counsel of those who can help them understand the grief they are experiencing
- Be honest, open and transparent with God, not attempting to muffle their anguish for fear He will be displeased with them
- Be gifted by their Creator with a compassion for their spouse abundantly sufficient for the situation
- Be open to the compassion and care of their family and friends
- Arise to a new normal that allows them to re-enter life with vitality, unshackled by fear of the inevitable unknowns of life
- Be able to focus on the precious time they had with their child instead of the loss of the time they will never have
- Rest in the knowledge that their God is all wise and all loving
Tomorrow (November 9) will be a day of prayer for me. One of the things I intend to pray about is marriage. I would love for you to join me, even if only for a few minutes.
If you have a specific struggle in your marriage that could use some prayer, you are invited to comment on this post with your prayer request. (Or, if it’s too private to share in a comment, you can email me at [email protected])
Also, share ways that we can pray in gratitude for you. If you have taken any steps toward healing, that is worthy of prayer as well.
I encourage you to take a few moments to pray for the requests shared here. It is one of the wonderful ways women can support each other.
Note for husbands: Your prayer requests are welcome here. However, they will be heavily moderated in order to not overwhelm wives in volume or content. Even if your prayer request is not approved or if it is edited, know that I will be praying about your request anyway. (See my Guidelines page for more information.)
Image courtesy of Witthaya Phonsawat at FreeDigitalPhotos.net
As Hebrews 13:4 declares,
“Marriage is honorable among all,” A Bold Approach to Getting Marriedby Candice Watters
“For Sharon, the start of a new year was the beginning of a new way of thinking about being single. Instead of looking out with dread over a dateless landscape, she decided to approach 2006 differently. Her boldness made all the difference.
The List of 30I met Sharon at a Bible study where the topics of marriage and motherhood came up often. In our group of 13, four of the women were never married. Sharon was one of them. In her mid-twenties, she was still younger than the average age of first marriages, but she knew from her many still-single friends who were 30 and beyond that it was never too soon for a woman to be intentional.
“I remember in Bible study how you were talking one day about praying boldly,” Sharon said. “I was already praying for myself and my single friends. When I thought of it, I prayed for them. But talking to you helped me get serious about things.”
Sharon listed all her unmarried friends who desired marriage—30 in all—and on January 1, 2006, she emailed everyone on the list. She told them about her plan—a commitment from everyone on the list, to pray for everyone on the list—and asked them to join.
Not everyone was enthusiastic. Some of her friends had to pray about praying before they agreed. To them it was such a bold, untried approached that they worried about putting God on their timetable or demanding something of Him. Others knew He was capable but wondered if He’d do it for them. Still Sharon went forward. “God put the idea on my heart and I was eager to follow through. James says, ‘we do not have because we do not ask,’ and I realized I didn’t want to be single simply because I wasn’t asking God for a husband.”
By February she had emailed out the official prayer list to the girls and except for one who declined the invitation to join, they were praying.
“Never had I heard of 30 women joining together like this to share their prayers, fears, challenges and joys as they went on dates, had failed relationships, etc.,” Sharon recalls.
There’s Bold, and Then There’s BoldIsn’t it dangerous to pray with such fervor? What if God doesn’t answer with a husband after all? Won’t it damage the faith of the pray-er? Those are the kind of questions I often hear from readers of Boundless, singles who wonder if it’s OK to pray with insistence, intensity, and passion for a husband. It’s like Sharon’s friend who wasn’t sure it was OK to spend a year praying for a husband for herself and her 30 single friends. She needed to pray about whether it was OK to pray about that. But that’s exactly the kind of praying Jesus told us to practice. (Think Bartimaeus and the Persistent Widow in Luke 18.)
I believe it’s worth the risk of disappointment to pray boldly. For all the damage done by two generations of feminist activism, think of the positive change that could come if a generation of women prayed faithfully for Godly marriages. When you pray, it changes you, transforming your character and making it possible to live daily like you’re planning to marry. But beyond that, such prayer can transform a whole community: families, churches, small groups, college campuses, workplaces, wherever the faithfully praying women spend their time. Imagine in the midst of our postmarriage culture, small counter-cultures springing up where marriage is honored, men are respectfully motivated, women are cherished, mentors are working on your behalf, purity is esteemed; in short, where everyone is striving for the set-apart life Paul described in 1 Thessalonians 3:11–4:8.
Bold prayer works. Just ask Sharon. By the time you read this article, she’ll be on her honeymoon.
An Update on the List of ThirtyOne of the most encouraging inclusions in Get Married was the story about my friend Sharon’s decision to ask 29 of her close friends to join her in dedicated prayer for husbands. The group of 30 agreed to begin in January of 2006. When they started, all of the women were single.
Since then, I’ve periodically checked in with Sharon for an update on how the women are doing. And as of her latest report, sent Sunday, the list of marrieds is growing.
As for the list from what I know from people there are 15 married, 1 engaged and 4 dating. It was fun looking through the list and thinking about all the women and the vastly different stories God has written for all of us. I wish more women could see it and experience it to know there is not just one way to meet a man, that there are still amazing men out there and they are well worth the wait, even if it takes into your thirties. Oh, and there are 5 babies and 1 on the way (as far as I know).
I was encouraged by her update. I hope you will be, too!”
This is my proposal:
I would like to start a prayer group/list of sorts similar to what Candice’s friend, Sharon did in the above story.
I would compile the list of those who are interested and post it.
The idea is a simple one: to commit to pray for marriage for yourself (if you so desire it) and for others who also desire it. As long as you are not married or engaged, you qualify! And if you are married or engaged, but desire to pray for others, you can! Just let me know and I will also give the list of names to you.
We will go by a first name, last initial basis. (ie. Jaclynn R.) and as updates or needed, I will compile those, as well as provide some encouragement from time to time I hope.
Please feel free to pass this on to friends.
Are you praying for a wife or a husband? The preceding marriage prayer is a suitable wedding prayer for you.
God is not only the Creator God but also the God who authored love and romance. The Scriptures begins and ends with marriage — of Adam and Eve and the Bridal body of Christ with Jesus Christ, the Lamb of God. And in-between the Old and New Testaments, godly men and women of the Bible tied the knot and
fulfilled God’s destiny for their lives together.
Marriage is more than a signed contract between a husband and his wife. It is a divine covenant with God as the third party. Marriage is a blood covenant being sealed when the hymen membrane in a woman is being broken and blood is shed for the first time during consummation. God has placed this institution in the society for married couples not only to procreate but to respond to His call to inhabit and take dominion over the earth and proclaim the gospel to the lost.
In this contemporary day and age, the original intent of God for marriage has slowly been forgotten because of the propensity of man towards divorce, legal separation, annulment, illicit co-habitation or living-in, homosexuality, sexual perversion, pornography, and fornication. Those in the Christian circles are not exempted from all these.
However, there are still Christian men and women who are keeping themselves pure and holy while waiting for the right and the best godly
Praying for a Wife
spouse for them. Many of these godly bachelors and bachelorettes have been praying for a wife or husband and fasting to seek the will of God for their lives. Perhaps, you are one of them—patiently waiting and eagerly expecting that one day, you will meet the one God has for you since the foundations of the world.
Do not lose hope because if God has placed a desire in your heart until now to marry a spouse, experience sexual intercourse, and bear children, then be assured that they can happen in God’s appointed time. Begin to pray wedding prayers for your future husband or wife everyday, blessing him and praying for his protection and goodwill. You may list down Bible verses to declare as prayers for him daily and thank the Lord for him even though he has not arrived yet in your life. Thank God in advance for him. You may listen to God for his specific qualities or character and pray them through.
Then, for the practical side of it, prepare yourself for your meeting and for the marriage you have so long been praying for. Take care of your body and make yourself presentable, neat, and clean because any moment could be the day that he will come. Become emotionally stable, mature, and strong in your spirit as marriage is not as easy as you think it will be. Organize your life and make preparations to become a wife or husband. Learn how to cook, clean, fix household stuff, work efficiently, and handle finances. The moment you prepare yourself seriously for marriage, perhaps the faster your spouse will appear before you.
Continue on praying for a spouse and allow the Holy Spirit to renew your mind with God’s Word daily and take control over your will, emotions, and heart. Guard your heart at all times as not all prospective men or women is the right one for you. It takes a strong discernment to know and to choose God’s best for your life. Do not settle for anything less. You will know the perfect spouse if you are attuned to the voice of God, rested in His presence, and know His perfect will. The result of love is beauty and life. If this person is imparting beauty and life in you and you are at peace, in joy, and excited then this can be God’s spouse for you.
It is important that you have an accountability partner like a trusted pastor or spiritual mentor or a close friend to consult with the matters of the heart. God is the one who gives a man his wife and He speaks to the man and woman that they are meant for each other and the biological and spiritual family in the church or ministry will confirm it.
You may have prayed many prayers before. You may use this prayer for marriage as a guide —
Our Father God, you know the deepest longings of my heart. How I yearn for someone to be with, to talk to, to love me, and to share my life with. I have spent countless nights crying out to you to bring the right person and ordain our meeting. Instill in him the sense of urgency to find me. Let him long for me as well and speak to him that it is me you have chosen for him. Prepare us now in all aspects of our lives and set us free from anything that binds, ensnares, entangles, and addicts us. Remove the wrong people from our lives and cut all our ungodly soul ties from our past relationships and even our emotional or romantic entanglements now with other persons. I ask You, Lord to mold us to be a responsible and committed spouse for each other that our marriage will last for as long as we live. I pray for him that You will protect my spouse and deliver him from all temptations. Give me to someone who will honor me and respect me, love me, cherish me, and take good care of me. I am praying for the best and right spouse for me, the one you planned for me to marry. Order our steps so that our paths will cross in Your beautifully ordained time. Orchestrate events for us to find each other. Keep us pure and holy at all times even when no one is watching because indeed You are. I bless my spouse that he will become who You called him to be. I bless his spirit, soul, and body to be whole. I plead the blood of Jesus over both of us and everything concerning us. Thank you Jesus for this desire to marry and the hope and excitement to enter into this sacred union with You. Have Your way, Lord. In Jesus’ name. Amen.
God is our Husband and Maker. Accept His invitation to be the lover of your soul. Love God first and then when He knows that you are completely His, He will give you the man or woman of your dreams because by then God knows that He is your first love even though you have an earthly partner to share the rest of your life with. If you learn this, God will give you the desires of your heart because it is He who placed those desires as you delighted in Him. Every time you feel discouraged and hopeless about getting married, go back to this marriage prayer and be encouraged.
Here is another Prayer for a Husband for you.
Here are some other prayers that may be helpful to you
Jeremiah 29:11-13 Prayer
Prayer for Wisdom
Prayer of Faith