Beginning on Monday January 31st, there will be a new prayer guide everyday to help you pray for the marriages in our church. You can see the guides here or on our Facebook page.


2 TIMOTHY 4:7-8: "I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Henceforth there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, will award to me on that day, and not only to me but also to all who have loved his appearing."


At what was likely the end of Paul's life, he was able to look back with confidence that he served the Lord well. Paul was likely never married, so maybe that made things a little easier, but married people can still learn a great lesson from him.

Paul lived a life of looking forward so that he may see success in looking backward. He knew that death would bring the ultimate reward in being with Christ, but he was aware that the longer he was on this earth, the more opportunity he had to serve him. That's why he said, "To live is Christ, but to die is gain..." (Phil 1:21).

Interesting that he also describes marriage as symbolic of the love between Christ and Church. To live a Godly marriage then, is also Christ. It's an opportunity to serve Him everyday! If you do, you both will one day be able to look back at your marriage and say together, "We fought the good fight, we finished the race, we kept our faith."

Dear God,

Thank You for the chance to pray over these last 21 days. We see what a beautiful gift marriage is to us, and we ask that You help us to remember to not take it for granted. We will undoubtedly fail ourselves, each other, and You, but we ask for grace, mercy and forgiveness as we try to do better each day. For the struggling marriages in our church, give them endurance and patience. Use Your church to walk with them and to give them hope. Help us all to remember the blessing of a family, and help us to walk in Your light.

We pray this in Jesus' name, amen.


MALACHI 2:16: “For I hate divorce,” says the Lord, the God of Israel, “and him who covers his garment with violence,” says the Lord of armies. “So be careful about your spirit, that you do not deal treacherously.”


I once visited a website that tried to explain why divorce is okay for believers. The basic concept is that whatever it is that makes someone want to get a divorce is the real problem, and a spouse should be able to walk away. You know, just like the Church sometimes must turn away someone living in sin. They also said that the idea of God hating divorce is an "archaic and incorrect interpretation of Scripture."

First, the idea of walking away from a believer who is living in sin always has the goal of restoration at its heart. I have never seen a couple get divorced with hopes of restoration. They often "leave room for the Lord to work," but I've never seen that intent.

As for this verse in Malachi, the old interpretation is not incorrect; it's just unclear what the appropriate interpretation is. Ancient written Hebrew doesn't have all the "filler" words that English does, and so that verse has "God", "hate", "divorce", "man" and "wife". It could very well say that, "God hates divorce," but it could also say what the ESV says: “For the man who does not love his wife but divorces her, says the Lord, the God of Israel, covers his garment with violence, says the Lord of hosts."

Even if that doesn't say God hates divorce, He doesn't speak too fondly over the person who chooses to get divorced!

The reality is this: if you're going on websites like www.howcanchristiansgetdivorcedwithoutgettingintoublewithgod.com, you're not looking to God for guidance. You're looking for a way out by technicality because you likely already know what you want. Problem is you also likely understand that it doesn't line up with what God says.

Divorce might be a way to gain temporal happiness, but it's not the way to seek holiness. If you're not in that place to want things to work, get help. Pray, read the word, get counseling, include the church, include your life group, and be willing to change and help your spouse to improve. It takes work, but a strong marriage is totally worth it.

Dear God,

We know that You have designed marriage to be a beautiful thing. In broken marriages, we know the problem is us, and not Your design. Help us to turn from wanting to quit, and turn towards You. Help us to genuinely live out our faith even when it is most challenging. Help us to seek Your truth, even when we don't like it.

We pray this in Jesus' name, amen.


PROVERBS 31:10-12: "An excellent wife who can find?  She is far more precious than jewels. The heart of her husband trusts in her,  and he will have no lack of gain. She does him good, and not harm, all the days of her life."


How many men have wonderful, talented, excellent wives, and have completely ignored the fact that she is probably the most valuable thing he has?

Anything we have in life has the ability to lose its value in our eyes. Our cell phones aren't as cool as they originally were, our cars don't show our status like the used to, and even our faith in God loses it's excitement. The truth is, the value hasn't been lost in those things as much as we have lost our ability to recognize it.

It's vital that we don't allow that to creep into our marriages. It's important that we recognize the things we can trust our spouse with, the gains we've felt from them, and the good they do for us. Thank God we have found our spouse!

Dear God,

Thank You for our spouses, and the husbands and wives that are so valuable in our church. Help us to appreciate the good things in our marriages and the benefits we reap. We certainly don't deserve the abundant blessings we receive from You through them, and so help us to value the wonderful gifts in our lives.

We pray this in Jesus' name, amen.


GENESIS 2:18: "Then the Lord God said, “It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him a helper fit for him.”


Adam must have been insanely desperate for a helper. Imagine your entire existence being completely solitary; no contact with another human ever. It certainly wouldn't be good. Some of you introverts may disagree, but God sure didn't think it was good.

Then Eve came along and the worst of Adam's problems went away. How spoiled are we when we forget how valuable companionship and partnership is? Unfortunately, it hits us all from time to time, and that's why we fight to be thankful for the help.

Dear God,

Thank You for the strength that comes from two people working together. Help us to remember that our spouse helps to fix the problems that come from being alone, and help us to be thankful for the gift that our spouse is. Thank You that two people in a strong marriage helps to make Your church stronger.

We pray this in Jesus' name, amen.


EPHESIANS 5:25-28: Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her, that he might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, so that he might present the church to himself in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that she might be holy and without blemish. In the same way husbands should love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself.


Although we already addressed husbands loving wives in detail during the sermon that started this prayer challenge, it's something we should continue to pray for. I know women don't always like to hear that God requires submission, but that command pales in comparison to the requirement for husbands to love like Jesus.

How exactly does Jesus love? He is patient and full of grace, even to the point where He will lay down His life. What's His motivation? Simply to make His bride better. Look at what this verse says: Jesus gave Himself up, He's cleansing her with the Word, and presenting her in splendor...

Husbands, are you willing to give yourselves up? Do you spend time reading the word with your wife? Do you make an effort to present her in the best light possible? If not, you have some work to do!

Dear God,

Please help the husbands in our church to learn about sacrifice. Give them the motivation to be encouragers and protectors of their families. Teach them more about Jesus, and remind them that He is our example. We know they can never meet His standard, but for Your sake and that of the marriages in our congregation, help us to make progress.

We pray this in Jesus' name, amen.


EPHESIANS 5:22-24: Wives, submit to your own husbands, as to the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife even as Christ is the head of the church, his body, and is himself its Savior. Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit in everything to their husbands.


Most Christians know that Scripture says that wives are to submit. Honestly, many non-Christians know about this verse too. While it might not be the most pleasant verse to read, it's important to remember that God put this verse in Scripture for a reason: He wants wives to submit to their husbands.

Since we're taking time to pray, this is a fantastic topic to seek God about. Clearly this is not always natural, and so it takes intentional effort and cooperation to seek the Lord in this.

Dear God,

Please help us with this command in Scripture. Mould the wives hearts into a willing state of obedience to You, and submission to their husbands. Mould their husbands into men that are easier to submit to because they strive to love like You. Give each of us patience as we undoubtedly will fail to meet Your standards.

We pray this in Jesus' name, amen.


1 JOHN 4:19: "We love because he first loved us."


On Valentine's Day, it seems that love is in the air. Everyone is buying gifts, eating chocolate, and making reservations at fancy restaurants. It's funny though, because when you talk to people about why they do it, there's this feeling that people do it because "they have to."

In 1 John though, we learn that we don't just love others because "we have to." Instead, we love because we are moved by the love that Christ first had for us. It's not an act of compulsion, but an act of our hearts being moved by the impossible love that God shows us.

It's important that our love always look this way, but even more in our marriages. We don't simply love our spouses because we have to, or even because they love us first. We love them to the best of our ability as a result of Christ's boundless love.

Dear God,

A we celebrate the idea of romance today, teach us more about loving others. May the marriages in our church be reflections of Your love, even in the midst of challenge. Give us a passion to love like You.

We pray this in Jesus' name, amen.


SONG OF SOLOMON 3:4: "...I found him whom my soul loves. I held him, and would not let him go..."


In the Song of Solomon (or Song of Songs), we see Solomon grow in relationship with his love. At this point in Scripture, she exclaims to him that she "found the one whom her soul loves," and she refuses to let him go.

How terrible that we forget how exciting every touch used to be for a couple. Many relationship experts recognize the importance of touch and the way it can change feelings. Touching your spouse in an argument can calm both of you. Daily touching encourages healthier behaviors.

If you're married, remember to be thankful for finding that person that you love all the way down to your spirit, and never let them go!

Dear God,

Remind the husbands and wives in our church of the excitement that should exist between them. Grow our relationships so that it is more than just a fleshy contract, but a spiritual joining. Remind us to love and hold each other, and to never let go.

We pray this in Jesus' name, amen.


HEBREWS 13:4: "Let marriage be held in honor among all, and let the marriage bed be undefiled, for God will judge the sexually immoral and adulterous."


The writer of Hebrews gives us a very important lesson on the intimacy of marriage. Sex is reserved for the marriage bed, not because God doesn't want us to have fun, but because marriage deserves to be honored.

Too often we view sex as a personal need to be filled, but actually God wants it to be a sacred, honored part of a covenant marriage. This isn't just a lesson for those who are currently married, but also for people who are shacking up, who are home-wreckers, and who are looking to hook up on the weekend. That sanctity deserves honor and respect from us all.

Dear God,

Help us to keep our views of intimacy where they belong. Help those marriages in our church that are being polluted with affairs, pornography addictions and selfishness. Help us to honor marriage, including the most intimate parts, because we desire to honor You and Your creation.

Thank You for the gift of the marriage bed. May we be appreciative and respectful.

We pray this in Jesus' name, amen.


ECCLESIASTES 4:12: "Though one may be overpowered, two can defend themselves. A cord of three strands is not quickly broken."


In Ecclesiastes we learn that strength in numbers is a real thing. When we are alone, we are weaker. However, when two become one, we become stronger. Then Solomon talks about the power of three.

So does that mean having kids is the way we're meant to grow stronger in marriage? Actually no. The third person in this cord that is woven for strength is God.

Without God in our marriage, at best we can defend ourselves. But how much more are we protected when husband and wife come together with God at the center?

Dear God,

Be the source of strength in our marriages. If there is any marriage in our church that is setup on two people - or worse: setup on two individuals - teach us to come together to rely on You.

Make us to recognize our weaknesses, and our need for each other to be on the same page. Help us to cling to You when we desperately want control. Thank you for Your infinite grace and mercy.

We pray this in Jesus' name, amen.


1 PETER 3:7: Likewise, husbands, live with your wives in an understanding way, showing honor to the woman as the weaker vessel, since they are heirs with you of the grace of life, so that your prayers may not be hindered."


Peter gives some heavy revelation in this short verse. Not only does he point out that a wife is the "weaker vessel," he suggests that as a result of that a husband should honor her. The Greek here refers to the wife literally as "the feminine one," and the idea of honoring a woman because of this would have been radical in Peter's day.

Crazier, for all of our differences, Peter recognizes that husbands and wives are heirs together. Weak, strong, feminine, masculine... God has given all believers an inheritance, and those attributes change nothing. We are all brothers and sisters in Christ. And so, husbands must honor their wives.

This is incredibly important to God. So important in fact, that prayers from a man who dishonors his wife will be hindered. Sadly, some men have such a low regard for prayer that this isn't enough motivation, but for strong Christians this is deeply encouraging. Yep, honoring your wife is that important!

Dear God,

Please encourage the husbands in our church to honor their wives. For any man who isn't doing so, shake Him into realizing his responsibility to care for God's more fragile creation. When husbands fall short, give women patience and grace to wait for their honor. When wives fall short, give men the patience to still honor them for all they are worth in Your eyes.

We pray this in Jesus' name, amen.


JAMES 5:16: Therefore, confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person has great power as it is working."


C.S. Lewis said, "Friendship is born at that moment when one person says to another, 'Wait, you too? I thought I was the only one!'" There are connections made when people go through similar things. It seems obvious then, that we would want to share the things we're going through with other people so we can connect and heal.

But we don't usually work that way. James tells us to do two things: confess and pray. How many times do we go through something alone when it's completely unnecessary? How often are we not covered in prayer simply because we won't speak?

We all have an opportunity to change that everyday.

Dear God,

I know that there are people who are hurting in our church. Whoever they are, please give them the strength to speak up about what they're going through. When they do confess it, give our church the kindness and compassion needed to walk with them. Now that/next time - I'm in a difficult situation, give me courage to make confessions to my brothers and sisters as well.

We pray this in Jesus' name, amen.


COLOSSIANS 3:12-13: 12 Put on then, as God's chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience, 13 bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive."


Something that should be a theme in every marriage is forgiveness. There is no other relationship that makes a person's shortcomings so obvious, and yet is so heavily dependent on grace. When things get tense, it's unavoidable that forgiveness is key to making things work.

That doesn't mean it will be easy though. That's likely why Paul advises us to dig deep and remember how much more the Lord's ability to forgive is essential for us to maintain a relationship with Him. As such, He also requires us to do the same for our spouse.

Dear God,

Thank You for Your wild forgiveness. We know that we have fallen further short than we can even begin to grasp, and yet Your grace is so much bigger. We gladly and thankfully accept Your forgiveness with such joy.

As You have forgiven us, please help us to do the same when others do wrong to us. Give us patience and grace that is fueled by Your unending love.

We pray this in Jesus' name, amen.


PROVERBS 18:22: He who finds a wife finds a good thing and obtains favor from the Lord."


How many of us have been blessed with good wives, and never really take the time to be thankful to them. How many more also miss the opportunity to be thankful to God for that gift?

It's important to remember that we cannot control other people. Try as we might, people are free to choose what they will. That's why we should be thankful when we are blessed that way. It is truly a gift that we should not ignore.

It would be wise them to set aside some time to think about that goodness. How often does your wife do things that you benefit from? How often is your wife encouraging? How often does your wife show grace when you cross a line? Those gifts show how your wife may truly be a good gift from God.

Dear God,

Wives are such a gift to us. Please help us to recognize the good things in them, and show us how to be an encouragement. We are truly thankful that You would find favor in us, although we certainly don't deserve it. Teach is to love and appreciate our lives well.

We pray this in Jesus' name, amen.


EPHESIANS 4:32: Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you."


If you're old enough, you might remember the little blue sticker on VHS tapes from Blockbuster that said, "Be kind, please rewind."

Why was that sticker there? Of course, it was to help the next person who wanted to watch Ace Ventura, Addam's Family Values or Jaws as soon as they popped it into their VCR (or maybe just the person who worked at the store who had to sit there and rewind them all before putting them back on display. Essentially, they were asking one person to think about the next.

That's one of the greatest missions in marriage, putting the other person's needs before your own. One of those needs is forgiveness. In marriage, we see the best and worst of each other. When the pendulum swings toward the ugly side, that person needs forgiveness just as the other has needed.

Sometimes we have to let things go to get back to moving forward. Instead of being stuck on the faults in front of us, let your spouse return to a place of grace. Don't hold a grudge or get revenge. Be kind, let them rewind.

Dear God,

Thank You that Your Son so willingly came to show us grace and forgiveness. Thank You also for the chances to show replicate that by showing kindness and grace to others. Help us to let things go that we don't need to hold onto, and help us to ask for forgiveness when we need to; even if it's difficult.

We pray this in Jesus' name, amen.


GENESIS 2:24: Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and they shall become one flesh."


This passage in Genesis is the very one that Jesus uses to describe why divorce is so painful. In order that man would separate this bonding before God, we would have to tear the flesh of one creation apart.

Do you ever think about how strong a bond marriage actually is? The two individuals no longer exist - the bond is that powerful. In a culture that emphasizes the importance of "you," it's easy to dislike this truth. However, God would want us to embrace and celebrate the change and the bond He creates between us.

Dear God,

Forgive us for focusing so much on ourselves, and help us to remember that marriage has made two people become one. We thank You for Your creative design, and the incredible change You make in us.

We pray this in Jesus' name, amen.


GENESIS 2:23: “This at last is bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh;

she shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of Man.”


Imagine being Adam. Not only did he get to see the wonders of nature as we see them: trees, rivers, birds and the sun; but he was able to see them in their purest form. No sin had crept in to cause vegetation to die or pollution to fill the sky. Everything was more beautiful than we can imagine.

And yet, when Adam saw Eve for the first time, his heart must have leapt in his chest! He exclaimed, "This at last...!" Even in the midst of perfection, the reality of a friend, partner, and lover gave him new excitement. He didn't question whether she was right for him, or whether he'd like being with someone else more. He was purely grateful for the gift of his other.

May we all appreciate our partner in this life, and not be spoiled with thoughts of other options in people or in lifestyle.

Dear God,

Help us to remember the pure joy of marriage. How great a gift that we shouldn't be alone, and that you have made another to live these lives with us. Help to to remind others when they forget, and help us to seek the ones for which you have sealed to us in marriage.

We pray this in Jesus' name, amen.


PROVERBS 5:18: Let your fountain be blessed, and rejoice in the wife of your youth...


The beginning of a romantic relationship is wonderful. Lovers seem to float around, almost weightless as they desperately ponder every detail of their new interest. Then, when time passes, we begin to notice annoying habits, ugly personality traits, and even the things that used to be adorable become detestable.

Sometimes we long to have those first moments again, and it seems the only way to do that is to start over again - with someone new that is. Sadly, in making that decision we have no idea the sweetness of longevity that we are missing. Scripture tells us to avoid those temptations, and instead rejoice in the wife of our youth. Enjoy the richness of youth when it is present, and relish in the rich rewards of loving someone until this life is over.

Dear God,

Thank You for the seasons in our lives. We're grateful for young romance, we're grateful for years of growing together, and we're grateful for years when we can look back together with joy in how You've blended our lives together. Let us never take the gift of our spouse for granted.

We pray this in Jesus' name, amen.


Song of Solomon 2:10-11: My beloved speaks and says to me: “Arise, my love, my beautiful one, and come away, for behold, the winter is past; the rain is over and gone.


Marriage is guaranteed to bring challenges and trials. Two imperfect humans trying to navigate the struggles of this world in perfection is obviously impossible. But what about those moments of sweetness? How many opportunities do we miss to enjoy the simplest things in life together?

In Song of Solomon, his beloved is thrilled to simply enjoy the season of Spring together. It may not be Spring for us, but don't we have just as many simple things to enjoy with our own beloved spouse?

Dear God,

There are so many things in life that we can enjoy with our spouses. Help us to slow down and appreciate the small things. Teach us to live simpler and to be satisfied with they great gifts we have. Remind us that the people we share these things with are even greater gifts.

We pray this in Jesus' name, amen.


1 PETER 4:8: Above all, keep loving one another earnestly, since love covers a multitude of sins.


There is a sense of permanence when it comes to sin. When you commit a sin against someone, you can't put the genie back in the bottle so to speak. And yet, Scripture tells us that there is one thing that covers even a multitude of sins: love.

That makes sense. After all, it was the love of God that covered our sins. But do you ever consider that when we sin in marriage, the repercussions are best handled when they are responded to with in love? Even the worst sin cannot destroy a marriage when the effects of love go to work in forgiveness, kindness, compassion and honesty. Let love dominate every facet of your day.

Dear God,

We are grateful for your great love for us. As we reflect on the power that lies in that love, help us to live a similar love in our marriages. We know we will sin against each other and against You, but please teach us to respond to our own sin with repentance, and the sins of others with grace. Help our love to dim the effects of sin as we remember that Your love destroys it permanently.

We pray this in Jesus' name, amen.

DAy 1 - Trusting God

PROVERBS 19:21: Many are the plans in the mind of a man,
    but it is the purpose of the Lord that will stand.


On one hand it's easy to fall into the world's definition of marriage. On the other, it's easy to get discouraged if we feel like the only one's that want to honor God with our marriage. In truth, we can find confidence in knowing that no matter how much we mess things up, God's purpose cannot be stopped. We have all the reason in the world to trust God, so enter the world today with confidence!

Dear God,

Thank you for Your love and awesome power. Help the married people in our church to remember that You are God and You are in control. Help us to surrender our will to You, as You deserve our everything. Teach us to begin by trusting You with our marriages.

We pray this in Jesus' name, amen.