Prayer, Plain and Simple

Prayer, Plain and Simple

Shining a Light on our Communication – A Prayer for Marriage

posted by Mark and Jill

The teaching of your word gives light,
    so even the simple can understand. (Psalm 119:130 NLT)

The Word gave life to everything that was created,
and his life brought light to everyone.
The light shines in the darkness,
and the darkness can never extinguish it. John 1:4-5

This month we are discussing communication in marriage. Words are an important component of communication. It’s very difficult to say anything without them, and they certainly come in handy when it comes to making a point or trying to be understood. God’s words illuminate. They shine truth on the world and lend understanding. That is why it is so vitally important in a marriage (if both are believers) to come together to study God’s Word. We encourage you to begin this exciting adventure together if you haven’t already. Morning works best for us; Mark brews us some coffee, we sit and study on our own and then simply share what the Holy Spirit spoke to our hearts that day. It has become the very best part of our day.

Something about this habit has enhanced our love for each other. It’s as though Jesus’ prayer is working: “May they experience such perfect unity…” (John 17:24) Covenant unity within marriage is something worth fighting for. The devil himself certainly agrees, and he has done everything to shake up, mess up, and beat up our love for each other. But greater is He who is in us! When we come together around the Word, there is light. My sin is illuminated, and repentance changes everything. Truth is illuminated, and our decisions can align to the new revelation. Faith is illuminated, and we take up the challenge to flee from fear. Walk into the light together, and enjoy the benefits of the Word!

Father,

Illuminate our marriage with your Word. It’s so very dark in this world, but as soon as we open up your Word light shines, hope arises, and circumstances change. Battles are just so much easier to face when we face them together, armed with your promises, running toward you, strong and secure. We receive new revelation today as we determine to seek you with all our hearts. Thank you for the joy that walking in your ways can bring. Our own way of living life apart from you was so hopeless and futile and disappointing and traumatic. But in your light, we see light. You are the light of the world. Shine in us, through us, and around us today.

IN JESUS’ NAME, AMEN!

Found in Translation

posted by Mark and Jill

As he considered this, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream. “Joseph, son of David,” the angel said, “do not be afraid to take Mary as your wife. For the child within her was conceived by the Holy Spirit.” …When Joseph woke up, he did as the angel of the Lord commanded and took Mary as his wife. (Matthew 1:20,24)

This month we are dedicating our blog to the subject of communication in marriage. Sometimes communication breaks down, and we need outside help to move forward, out of misunderstanding. This was the case for Mary and Joseph. Joseph simply didn’t believe the outlandish story that Mary was telling him, and it was a deal-breaker. Mary was unable to convince Joseph that she was telling the truth. I can imagine that she called out to God – always the best option for those of us that find ourselves cornered. God heard her prayer and sent an angel to clarify things and to confirm Mary’s words.

For those times when we just can’t get through to one another or we are having trouble trusting each other, we cry out to God. He will hear us when we pray if we pray from hearts that are pure. An angel saved Mary and Joseph’s marriage. Perhaps an angel will save yours.

Our Father,

We ask that you would intervene in our relationship, that you would help us to believe in one another and trust one another. Please translate for us when we simply don’t have the words to say what is at the core of our hearts. Send your messengers to help us in the form of counselors, friends, family or even angels. We receive your help from on high, for we know that you value our covenant even more than we do. And we volunteer to be angels on behalf of others that need encouragement in their communication. We make ourselves available to pray for and help our friends in their pursuit of successful marriages, for we know that that is your will for our lives. 

In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

What Do You Do With the Mad That You Feel?

posted by Mark and Jill

Many people say, “Who will show us better times?”
Let your face smile on us, Lord. (Psalm 4:6)

A couple weeks after we were married Mark and I wrote a song called, “He Smiled On Me.” The lyrics reflect what was on our hearts in those early days of marriage over thirty years ago…

He wakes the morning with a song
he gives a love that binds up two
He calms the angry rebel sea
He gave His love though wrath was due
And there He smiled on me
Somehow He smiled on me*

That was the time when love was strong, able to overcome every little foible in the other, every little irritation. In fact, little irritations were cute and amusing in those glorious day, the honeymoon season. What joy. But the hard work soon sets in, and the stresses come, and the bills pile up, and the first baby arrives, and sleep eludes you, and pressures bear down. Suddenly the one you were meant to love most becomes the scapegoat for all your frustrations. Amusing turns to annoyance. Annoyance to anger. Anger to avoidance. How in the world do you avert this trap?

As we enter the fourth decade of our covenant, Mark and I are finding (albeit slow in coming) that God is changing our hearts, teaching us to love each other as we did when love was new and fresh. Psalm 4 gives us a hint as to how this is accomplished:

Don’t sin by letting anger control you.
Think about it overnight and remain silent. (Psalm 4:4)

In other words: when you are ticked at your spouse, keep your mouth shut. Don’t speak in angry tones the first inflamed words that come to mind. Take a breath. Sleep on it, and discuss it in the morning when you are calm. We are also told to not let the sun go down on our wrath. That would mean, then, that when necessary we must place the conflict on the shelf  until we can take a fresh look at it in the morning. Meantime, we continue to walk in love, continue to walk towards each other in relationship. I’m here to say, it’s possible! Anger was my greatest vice, and God in His mercy is conquering it as I receive His forgiveness and grace. He will do the same for you!

Our Father,

We can’t do this without your help. In the heat of our debates, we often lose our love footing. We say things we don’t mean. But our words mean something. Our words have power to devastate. Please teach us to fear you, to obey your Word, even when it is hard. At the core of it all, Lord, we need you to transform our minds through your Word. We need you to align our hearts with Your character. So we set ourselves to value your Word above all else, together as a couple and individually. Your Words are our life, the lifeline of our marriage. We commit ourselves to follow them and to love you first with all of our hearts. Let Your Kingdom come to our marriage. Let Your will be done in our hearts. 

In Jesus’ Name. Amen. 

*Copyright 1983 Mark and Jill Herringshaw, ASCAP

The State of the Heart Address

posted by Mark and Jill

My child, pay attention to what I say.
Listen carefully to my words.
Don’t lose sight of them.
Let them penetrate deep into your heart,
for they bring life to those who find them,
and healing to their whole body.
Guard your heart above all else,
for it determines the course of your life.
Avoid all perverse talk;
stay away from corrupt speech. (Proverbs 4:20-24)

This month in our blog we will be focusing on communication in marriage and relationships. Three of the top stories in the news today have to do with domestic violence, each of which ended in unspeakable pain. How did the course of these relationships turn from destiny to disaster? Proverbs 4 sheds some light on an important issue:  the heart. The state of our hearts determines our destiny as well as the health of our relationships. Let us ask God for His guidance and His wisdom that we may learn to communicate in godly ways.

Our Father,

I open my ears to Your wisdom, to hear what you are saying and what you have said in your word pertaining to my heart and my destiny. You have instructed me to make it my highest priority to guard my heart. And in the context of Proverbs 4, I see that guarding my heart can begin with paying attention to Your word and paying attention to my words. 

Lord, I want to guard the heart of this relationship that you have given me. So I begin today with hearkening to your Word, to your wisdom. I make it my aim today to pay attention to the words that come out of my mouth. I ask that they would be helpful for building up my partner, not in tearing down. May my words breathe life. May they bring encouragement and instill confidence and hope. I make it my priority, my highest aim, to listen to you, and I determine that my words will stand in agreement with your words. In doing so, I will guard the heart of this relationship and the course of our destiny.

In Jesus’ Name, Amen. 

Are you stalled in your marriage? Have you forgotten what attracted you to this relationship in the first place? Our Marriage Intensive is designed to renew your vision and return you to joy in your purpose and life together: http://giantworldwide.com/mjh-marriage-intensives

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