When I was a girl earning my badges in the kids’ program in my home church, I had to memorize the whole chapter of 1 Corinthians 13 in the King James Version.
But I hope it really stuck…you know? Not the rote memorization, but the revelation of what love is. God loves us this way. And He says even if we’re performing the most outrageous acts of self-sacrifice and service and we’re not doing it out of love, then it’s just meaningless drivel.
So, I’m praying for the next two weeks through this “Love Chapter” for my marriage because I want it to be meaning-full and I want it to reflect God’s love to the world around us. Perhaps you will be praying for your own marriage, too?
Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails. (1 Cor. 13:4-8 NIV).
Day One, Love is Patient:
Lord, today let us respond with patience and show each other grace. We know that no one changes over night and none of us is perfect. We make mistakes. We forget, we grow careless, and we become distracted by life and stress. Please let us be patient with each other, with our marriage, with our circumstances, just as you are so patient with us. Help us not to push, nudge, or give up on each other, but instead may we give each other room and grace to grow more like You.
Day Two, Love is Kind:
God, it’s too easy to forget the simple beauty of kindness. We can neglect courtesy and consideration. Help us to be thoughtful and kind to one another, showing each other respect and attention in our words and deeds. Stir our hearts to remember the small things like holding doors, making phone calls, performing acts of service, putting the other’s needs above our own. As it says in Ephesians 4:32, may we “be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave You.”
Day Three, Love Does Not Envy:
Lord, As it says in The Message, “Love doesn’t want what it doesn’t have.” Let this be true of us. Help us appreciate the gift you’ve given us in this marriage and in each other and cultivate contentment and gratitude in our hearts. We don’t need to compare our spouse or our marriage to anyone else’s. Instead, thank You for the marriage You’ve given us. Please remind us throughout the day of all the reasons we fell in love in the first place.
Day Four, It does not Boast, it is not Proud:
Jesus, at that Last Supper with Your disciples, You bent so low and You poured that water over their grimy feet. You, Our Savior, came “not to be served, but to serve” (Matthew 20:28). May we never be too proud to serve one another in the humblest of ways. We might think, “That’s his responsibility; that’s her job.” In our selfishness, we might feel like we’ve given so much already and how could we give any more? But we bend low today. We lay down our rights and our pride and choose to serve our spouse just as You served us.
Day Five, It does not dishonor others:
God, may we show each other honor in all we do and say. Guard our mouths. May our words be used to encourage, praise, and build one another up, not tear each other down, find fault, or trample all over each other’s feelings. When we’re with others, don’t let us fall into those traps of complaining about marriage or our spouses, but instead let the way we talk about one another help others to know the beauty of marriage the way You designed it.
Day Six, It is Not Self-Seeking:
Father, we live in a “me first” world. We’re told to “look out for number one” and to take care of ourselves above all. But that is not Your way. Jesus “made himself nothing” and humbled himself, choosing “even death on a cross” for us—for me (Philippians 2:6-8). Today, let us choose Your way over the world’s way: “Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others” (Philippians 2:3-4).
Day Seven, It is Not Easily Angered:
God, forgive me for the times I’ve reacted in anger instead of responding with grace. And so often, too often really, we can make the smallest issues into the biggest deals. Help me not to be easily angered. Today, may we overlook petty offenses and minor bothers. Redirect our vision to focus on what is good rather than what we think is wrong. Remind us of what is important and learn to let the inessentials pass by unnoticed.
Day Eight, It Keeps No Record of Wrongs:
Lord, if You kept a record of all my sins, I couldn’t stand up under the weight of them all. I’d be buried in accusations and proof of my failures. But You show grace. May we likewise extend grace to each other, as it says in 1 Peter: “Above all, keep loving one another earnestly, since love coves a multitude of sins” (1 Peter 4:8). If we excel at anything in this marriage, may it be at forgiveness. When Satan tries to drag all that trash up from the past, we ask that You help us choose forgiveness instead, choose to let it go, choose to move toward one another instead of apart, choose to rebuild trust, choose moving on.
Day Nine, Love Does Not Delight In Evil, but Rejoices With the Truth:
God, help us rejoice with our spouse when they rejoice and mourn when they mourn. Let us be a place of refuge and safety for them when they share their struggles, fears, emotions, hopes and dreams. Help us to “have each other’s back” all the time and to be such a team that we delight and take pleasure in what is good and true and battle together against what is evil and wrong.
Day Ten, Love Bears All Things (ESV, NKJV):
Lord, we are so thankful that when there are burdens to bear, You’ve called us to bear them together. As it says in Your Word, “Share each other’s burdens, and in this way obey the law of Christ” (Galatians 6:2 NLT). May we bear all things together. May we carry each other to the cross and help each other each day. If one of us is weak, may the other be strong in You.
Day Eleven, Always trusts:
God, build trust in our marriage. Create that environment of honesty and truth. But more than that, may we always trust You to care for us and to guide us. We know that start to finish, this marriage, our lives, our family is in Your hands. We know You are trustworthy, so faithful and full of merciful, loyal love for us. We pray that our home and our marriage reflect that to those around us.
Day Twelve, Always hopes:
Lord, we don’t want to ever lose hope. We know that You have a plan and a future for us as individuals and as a couple, and we thank You for that. Thank You that You never give up on us and we pray that we never give up on each other. Each morning, let us wake with hope for a new day, for fresh starts, and for the work that You want to do in us.
Day Thirteen, Always Perseveres
God, remind us during the hard days, when we’re hurt or angry, tired, frustrated, or broken, that You are with us. Help us to persevere through every season of difficulty. Draw us together during those times instead of letting circumstances drive us apart. Where there is distance, bring intimacy. Where there is bitterness, bring reconciliation. Where there is coldness, bring passion. Where there is pain, bring healing.
Day Fourteen, Love Never Fails
Father, Your love for us doesn’t fail. You just never give up on us. Thank You for that unfathomable and astonishing love when we are so unworthy. We pray that our marriage will grow ever more beautiful each day, not fading, not failing. In every single season, we pray that You will help our relationship thrive. Teach us how to avoid the pitfalls in communication, in intimacy, in finances, in conflict, in friendship, in parenting and in every way so that we will always be putting on love, which binds every other virtue together in perfect unity (Colossians 3:14).
Will you join me in praying for your marriage for 14 days? If you would like a printout of these prayers to place in Your Bible or journal or maybe on your fridge or bathroom mirror, you canclick here for the free printable!
Originally posted MAY 2, 2014
Heather King is a wife, mom, Bible Study teacher, writer and worship leader. Most importantly, she is a Christ follower with a desire to help others apply the Bible to everyday life with all its mess, noise, and busyness. Her book, Ask Me Anything, Lord: Opening Our Hearts to God’s Questions, is available now! To read more devotionals by Heather King, click here.
Copyright © 2014 Heather King