Many, if not most of you may never even have heard of the "National Day of Prayer." It was a tradition started at the very founding of our nation. Days of prayer were declared at odd intervals as the needs of our young nation grew urgent. However in the middle of the last century a yearly observance was declared and for a little over 60 years has happened on the first Thurday in May each year. Today is that day and there are somewhere between 40-50,000 celebrations happening from coast-to-coast.
I have a very special fondness for this celebration, as it was the day I first lost my heart to my husband. Long story short, we were working together on our church’s National Day of Prayer Event. I had recently lost my husband of 16 years to Melanoma (skin cancer). Steve had been single for about 8 years and was seeking the Lord’s will for his life. Neither of us was looking for a mate. Neither of us was "putting our best foot forward." We were simply working side-by-side on organizing this event at our church and in the process, as we prayed together and shared our care and concern for our nation, God began to knit our hearts together.
For me, it culminated on the National Day of Prayer as I heard this special man pray the hidden parts of my heart outloud for almost 3 hours. It was a precious and powerful experience — one that left me a little shaken and amazed. He was (as most men are) rather oblivious for a little longer! But eventually we both realized that the Lord’s plan was to bring us together. Prayer was the start and it has remained the foundation of our marriage ever since.
It was in this experience that the Lord taught me the incredible power of prayer to bring two people into an incredible intimacy and bonding. Since then I have learned a startling statistic. If you want to virtually divorce-proof your marriage, there are two very simple things that you need to do.
The first thing is to study God’s word together. By study, it doesn’t mean just go to church on Sunday, but read, discuss and learn together. Choose to apply its principles to each of your lives and your lives together.
The second thing is simply to pray together each day.
The divorce rate for couples that do these two things is less than 1%! In a world where marriages inside the church and outside have almost the same divorce rate, sometimes we can feel like it’s impossible to have a strong marriage. If we would be willing to do ANYTHING to have a good marriage, are we willing to do these two humble, simple, proven things?
If you and your mate have never prayed out loud together, I would encourage you to give it a try. It may feel a little awkward for a while, but if you keep at it and share your hearts with each other and with the Lord it will bring an incredibly deeper dimension to your relationship. We try to pray together at least once a day and often more often.
When not together, we pray over the phone. We pray for our kids and grandkids. We pray for friends. We pray for our President and leaders, we pray as we pass a homeless person on the street. When we see a harried mother and her out-of-control children in a store we will stop and pray for her rather than stand in judgement of her. When we’re so mad at each other we can barely stand to be in the same room (yes, that happens to us too!) we always choose to come together and pray for wisdom and for each other. It’s a powerful healing balm that continually strengthens our love.
Today is the 15th anniversary of the day I fell in love with my husband and the today Lord gave me the most precious and unexpected present. Steve’s training for a new job and it has required him to be away 5-6 days a week for 6 weeks and then it might continue in a similar pattern after that. It’s very hard for us to be apart as we’ve spent most of our married life together 24/7/365! I wasn’t expecting to be able to see him until Saturday sometime, but he was able to come home late last night and stay through early this afternoon. I had forgotten it was the NDP but he hadn’t and he found the Prayer event in Washington DC on TV. We had the joy of watching much of it together this morning! What a special treat it was, especially for my sad and lonely heart… God is so good to us!
If your marriage is a little (or a lot) rocky. Can I encourage you to start by praying for your mate? You might find it hard, but if you can start by praying blessings for them, praying for strength and wisdom for them and for God to change both of your hearts and help you to find the path forward, you might be surprised at how God can bring it to pass. If they won’t pray with you, still take the time and effort to pray alone. God answers prayer.
If you do not have a mate either by choice or by loss, ask God to provide you a special friend and prayer partner. The depth of friendship that shared prayer brings is a treasure I pray you’ll discover! And while you’re thinking about it, I’d like to encourage you to spend a few moments in prayer for our nation.
SCRIPTURE OF THE DAY: 2 Chron 7:14 if my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then will I hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and will heal their land. NIV
PRAYER: Lord, thank you for the nation you have placed me in. Your promises are for every land, every nation… you love each and every one. I pray that as big as the problems in our land can seem that you would help me to remember that you are bigger than all of them! Help our people to love doing right, hate doing wrong and most of all come to love you and your ways. Please heal our land of all that ails us. Make it a place of righteousness, love, joy and peace for the generations yet to come. AMEN