Prayer Focus for Fast - Day 2

Relational Health
Ephesians 5:22-33

Maybe you are married. Maybe you aren't and don't want to be. Maybe you aren't and do want to be. Regardless, our lives have been and are being profoundly impacted by marriages for better or for worse. Our families, churches, communities and broader culture are being shaped by the beauty of marriage or it's corruption. So today, we're going to pray for our own marriages, the marriages of those around us and for our capacity for deep friendship and meaningful connection more generally. There are things here for consideration for the married and unmarried alike. Here are some things to consider:

  • What is God calling me to change in order for me to be the kind of man or woman whom God would want to entrust His son or daughter to for marriage?
  • What fears, expectations, insecurities or resentments do I need to confess and release in order to move forward in healthy relationships?
  • What patterns in my life (attitudes, thoughts, behaviors, habits, relationships, etc) are undermining my capacity for connection and intimacy?
  • How do my words and attidues and actions uphold and reinforce God's purposes of marriage in general?
  • What dysfunction exists in my marriage (or closest friendships) because of my sin and selfishness for which I need to repent to the Lord and to my spouse or friend?
  • What about my spouse do I need to express appreciation for and honor, which I too often ignore or even criticize?
  • What is one thing God is calling me to stop for the sake of my marriage this year, and one thing he is calling me to start doing to serve my spouse and build up my marriage this year? Or, if you are not married, what is something God is calling me to stop in order to nurture healthier relationships, and one thing I need to start doing cultivating healthier and deeper community?

Marriage is the source of great hurt and great hope in our lives. That's because God intended it for the glorious purposes of making the gospel visible in a human relationship (hope), but sin targets those most important relationships for destruction (hurt). Nobody backs there way or falls into a good marriage. It takes hard work and dogged determination and the help of the Spirit.

Regardless of your own marital status or the state of your marriage, we all need healing from broken human relationships and help with how to move forward in a better way. What if we forgave those who have hurt us the most? What if we stopped demanding so much of those closest to us? What if we stopped picking them apart in order to start building them up? What if we stopped exepcting more from them, and started giving ourselves more to them? What if God wants us to minister more to our spouse rather than criticize them? And what if we all worked to build up the marriages around us? What if we encouraged and challenged and upheld the sanctity of marriage in our friendships and the counsel we give, reinforcing God's purposes for marriage rather than settling for our own preferences for marriage?

These are the things we're praying toward today. That Jesus would be more visible through our own marriages and the marriages around us, and that our approach to relationships would take on something of the beauty of the gospel.

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