“Criticism is something we can avoid easily by saying nothing, doing nothing, and being nothing.”
I have been praying for my daughter's future husband since long before I met him, but now that "he" has a name, "Paul," my prayers are changing. Paul loves Jesus and I believe he loves my daughter. When I tell people my daughter got engaged, they will often ask, "do you like him?" I will often somewhat jokingly say, "I keep trying to find reasons not to, but I failed in that endeavor." Paul loves Jesus and I am very thankful for that. You might say that prayer has been answered. So what do I pray for now?
I pray for perseverance. The key element for a long term, successful marriage is not communication methods, conflict resolution skills, or enjoying the same activities. The key element to a long term, successful marriage is perseverance. I don't wonder whether or not the marriage between Catrina and Paul will have difficulties. I am certain it will. I am also certain some of those difficulties will be caused by the fallenness of both of those people just as my marriage to my wife for the last 25 years has had difficulties caused by me and my wife. The reason my wife and I remain married and love each other is because we have persevered. We have remained committed to each other when it would have been easier to quit. Forebearance, as the NIV translates it, is one of the fruits of the Spirit in Galatians 5:22. The Greek word that is translated, "μακροθυμία" this word literally means "state of being able to bear up under provocation, forbearance, patience" (BDAG). That's the first thing I pray for.
I pray for a high capacity to forgive. As I stated earlier, both Catrina and Paul are fallen and sinful people even if they are redeemed by the grace of God. An unwillingness to forgive will cause resentment toward one's spouse. I pray they will employ what the apostle Paul says in Col. 3:13, "Bear with each other and forgive one another...Forgive as the Lord forgave you."
I pray they will sanctify each other. That's a religious word, more specifically a Christian churchy word. Nevertheless, it is the right word. I understand that it is only through the work of the Holy Spirit in their life that through the blood of Jesus Christ that they will be sanctified, but if their marriage is a godly one (I believe it will be) they will spur one another on toward love and good deeds and each one will make the other better (Heb. 10:24; Eph. 5:22ff).
I pray for for ministry. I don't know if they will ever go into full time, vocational ministry or not. I don't necessarily pray for that to happen although I would welcome it if the Lord wills. I don't even pray that they will volunteer at a church, although I hope they do. What I pray for is ministry that flows from their love for Jesus and their desire to see the world make peace with God so that none would perish. This reflects God's heart for the world (John 3:16; 2 Peter 3:9). I pray their home will be a place where the presence of God is evident and their lives together will reflect the love and grace God has shown them.
I pray for many more things as well, but whatever happens in their lives together, whatever struggles they face, whatever hurts they experience if they are able to do these four things I will be ecstatic.
William Arndt et al., A Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament and Other Early Christian Literature (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2000), 612.
John Byrne is a pastor who has been spouting off his opinions his entire life (just ask his mom). This little blog is his venue for continuing in this tradition.