Many helpful books have been published on the topic of praying for your spouse and your marriage, providing a myriad of wonderful resources. But for me, the most prolific prayers to pray are direct from the Word of God. One of my favorites is the prayer for spiritual wisdom and understanding found in the book of Colossians.
“And so, from the day we heard, we have not ceased to pray for you, asking that you may be filled with the knowledge of his will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding, so as to walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing to him: bearing fruit in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God; being strengthened with all power, according to his glorious might, for all endurance and patience with joy; giving thanks to the Father, who has qualified you to share in the inheritance of the saints in light.” (1:9-12) ESV
When I met my wife and we began to develop a friendship, I knew that I had arrived at the entrance of discovery into a life that exhibited these qualities. This woman has a reservoir of God within her and she consistently seeks for more.Being filled with spiritual wisdom and understanding and walking in a way that pleases God, is both a destination and an ongoing process. Thirty-seven years in, and I can still say the same.
We all inquire of God to know his will, pursuing direction in life, seeking to be a good steward of the resources he has given us. It’s certainly not wrong to inquire of God in this manner, but if that is all the depth of knowledge we acquire, we’ll be missing the abundance of revelation God has for us. I still pray about the important “details” of life, but I have learned that I cannot afford to neglect the “core necessity.”
“Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship. Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.” (Romans 12:1-2)
Living the surrendered life, resisting the pull of worldly culture, renewing my mind in God’s truth – this is the road of discovery, the path on which I will discern his will. It’s true when you’re single and still true after marriage.
When I found my beloved spouse, we connected on this common ground. It wasn’t just about finding a marriage partner, but more about finding a journey-mate with whom I could lock hearts in seeking the ever unfolding will of God. This has served as a solid core for our married life.
As we got engaged and then married, we prayed the essence of the Colossians prayer in many ways and forms. It has been our ongoing intercession for one another. I encourage you to give it a try. Insert your spouse’s name: Lord, fill _____ with the knowledge of your will. Impart spiritual wisdom and understanding. Empower _____ to walk in a manner worthy of you, fully pleasing you in all things.
What does a “pleasing life” look like? We are given four characteristics:
Bearing fruit, in my mind, is to fulfill an assignment from the Lord. Some assignments are seasonal, some lifelong. My roles as a husband, father, and grandfather, are lifelong commissions from God. The greatest fruit I can think of, is that people around me would become aware of the presence of Jesus in and through my life. “Now thanks be to God who always leads us in triumph in Christ, and through us diffuses the fragrance of His knowledge in every place.” (2 Cor.2:14, NKJV)
Increasing in the knowledge of God is both cause and effect of fruitfulness. It’s a wonderful cycle of renewal. Being filled with spiritual wisdom and understanding enables me to bear fruit which in turn inspires a fresh launch into wanting to gain greater depths of knowledge.
Endurance and patience are much needed, for the path of Christian maturity is often an arduous one. “Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.” (James 1:2-4) Perseverance is working on my behalf, helping me to mature. One thing that helps me categorize trials as joyful, is that I know I am pleasing to God when I don’t give up.
Giving thanks is a comprehensive act, a grateful posture, in response to being “qualified” by God. No need to search out if this is God’s will. It’s pretty clear. “In everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.” (1 Thess.5:18)
Let’s take the prayer for our spouse and expand it for our marriages:
Lord, fill our marriage with the knowledge of your will. Impart spiritual wisdom and understanding. Empower us to walk in a manner worthy of you, fully pleasing you in all things. Let our relationship be fruitful in every way and ever increasing in the knowledge of God. Strengthen our marriage in power that we might endure the challenges in life and in the midst of it all, enable us to joyfully give thanks.