Bible Verses to Pray for Your Marriage

MAY WE LOVE….

  • John 15:12-13 ESV
     “This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you.13 Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends.
  • Colossians 3:14 ESV
    And above all these put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony.
  • 1 Corinthians 13:4-7 ESV
    Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogantor rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful;it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.
  •  1 John 4:7-8 ESV
    Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God, and whoever loves has been born of God and knows God. Anyone who does not love does not know God, because God is love.
  • 1 John 4:19 ESV
    We love because he first loved us.

MAY WE FORGIVE….

  • Proverbs 24:29 ESV
    Do not say, “I will do to him as he has done to me;
        I will pay the man back for what he has done.”
  • Ephesians 4:32 ESV
    Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.
  • Colossians 3:12-14 ESV
     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. 14 And above all these put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony.
  • 1 Peter 4:8 ESV
    Above all, keep loving one another earnestly, since love covers a multitude of sins.

MAY WE HONOR ONE ANOTHER….

  • Romans 12:10 ESV
    Love one another with brotherly affection. Outdo one another in showing honor.
  • Hebrews 13:4 ESV
    Let marriage be held in honor among all, and let the marriage bed be undefiled, for God will judge the sexually immoral and adulterous.

MAY WE WORK TOGETHER….

  • Ecclesiastes 4:12 ESV
    And though a man might prevail against one who is alone, two will withstand him—a threefold cord is not quickly broken.
  • Philippians 2:2 ESV
    complete my joy by being of the same mind, having the same love, being in full accord and of one mind.

MAY WE SHOW KINDNESS….

  • Ephesians 4:2-3 NIV
    Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love.Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace.

 MAY WE SPEAK WITH GRACE…

  • Proverbs 15:1 ESV
    A soft answer turns away wrath,
        but a harsh word stirs up anger.
  • Ephesians 4:29  NIV
     Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen.

MAY WE SEEK GOD ABOVE ALL….

  • Proverbs 3:5-6 ESV
    Trust in the Lord with all your heart,
        and do not lean on your own understanding.
    In all your ways acknowledge him,
        and he will make straight your paths.
  • Jeremiah 29:11 ESV
    For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare[a]and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.
  • Matthew 6:33 ESV
    But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.
  • Romans 5:2 TLB
    For because of our faith, he has brought us into this place of highest privilege where we now stand, and we confidently and joyfully look forward to actually becoming all that God has had in mind for us to be.

WHAT BIBLE VERSE(S) ARE YOU PRAYING FOR YOUR MARRIAGE?  JOIN IN THE DISCUSSION AND SHARE WITH US!!

30 Bible Verses on Hope

verses-on-hope

  • Job 14:7-9 NASB
    “For there is hope for a tree,
    When it is cut down, that it will sprout again,
    And its shoots will not fail.
    “Though its roots grow old in the ground
    And its stump dies in the dry soil,
    At the scent of water it will flourish
    And put forth sprigs like a plant.
  • Psalm 31:24 NIV
    Be strong and take heart,
    all you who hope in the LORD.
  • Psalm 33:18
    But the eyes of the LORD are on those who fear him,
    on those whose hope is in his unfailing love,
  • Psalm 33:20-22
    We wait in hope for the LORD; he is our help and our shield. In him our hearts rejoice, for we trust in his holy name. May your unfailing love be with us, LORD,   even as we put our hope in you.
  • Psalm 39:7 NIV
    “But now, Lord, what do I look for?
    My hope is in you.
  • Psalm 43:5 NASB
    Why are you in despair, O my soul?
    And why are you disturbed within me?
    Hope in God, for I shall again praise Him,
    The help of my countenance and my God.
  • Psalm 71:5 NASB
    For You are my hope;
    O Lord God, You are my confidence from my youth.
  • Psalm 71:14 NASB
    But as for me, I will hope continually,
    And will praise You yet more and more.
  • Psalm 119:81 NIV
    My soul faints with longing for your salvation,
    but I have put my hope in your word.
  • Psalm 119:114 NIV
    You are my refuge and my shield;
    I have put my hope in your word.
  • Psalm 146:5 NIV
    Blessed are those whose help is the God of Jacob,
    whose hope is in the Lord their God.
  • Psalm 147:11
    the LORD delights in those who fear him, who put their hope in his unfailing love.
  • Proverbs 10:28 NASB
    The hope of the righteous is gladness,
    But the expectation of the wicked perishes.
  • Proverbs 13:12 NASB
    Hope deferred makes the heart sick,
    But desire fulfilled is a tree of life.
  • Proverbs 23:18 NASB
    Surely there is a future,
    And your hope will not be cut off.
  • Jeremiah 29:11 NIV
    For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.
  • Lamentations 3:25
    The LORD is good to those whose hope is in him, to the one who seeks him;
  • Romans 5:2-5 NIV
     through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand. And we boast in the hope of the glory of God. Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope.And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us.
  • Romans 8:24-25 NASB
     For in hope we have been saved, but hope that is seen is not hope; for who hopes for what he already sees? But if we hope for what we do not see, with perseverance we wait eagerly for it.
  • Romans 12:12 NIV
     Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer.
  • Romans 15:4 NIV
    For everything that was written in the past was written to teach us, so that through the endurance taught in the Scriptures and the encouragement they provide we might have hope.
  • Romans 15:13 NIV
    May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.
  • 1 Corinthians 13:13 NIV
    And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.
  • Ephesians 1:18 NIV
    I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in his holy people
  • Colossians 1:27 NIV
    To them God has chosen to make known among the Gentiles the glorious riches of this mystery, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory.
  • 1 Timothy 4:10
    That is why we labor and strive, because we have put our hope in the living God, who is the Savior of all people, and especially of those who believe.
  • Hebrews 6:198-20 NIV
     God did this so that, by two unchangeable things in which it is impossible for God to lie, we who have fled to take hold of the hope set before us may be greatly encouraged. We have this hope as an anchor for the soul, firm and secure. It enters the inner sanctuary behind the curtain, where our forerunner, Jesus, has entered on our behalf. He has become a high priest forever, in the order of Melchizedek.
  • Hebrews 11:1 NASB
    Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.
  • 1 Peter 1:13 NIV
     Therefore, with minds that are alert and fully sober, set your hope on the grace to be brought to you when Jesus Christ is revealed at his coming.
  • 1 John 3:3 NIV
    All who have this hope in him purify themselves, just as he is pure.

Why The ‘Best Mom Ever’ Is In Need of Mercy

“Thanks, Mom.  You’re the best mom ever.”

It was a casual minivan conversation.  She climbed up into her seat after preschool.  I promised to make her a peanut butter and jelly sandwich with strawberries and pretzels for lunch.

She bestowed on me the title of “Best Mom Ever,” clicked her seatbelt, and then asked if she could play on my Kindle.

But two days later, I am still thinking about the mercy of this.

psalm116-1

Photo by Viktor Hanacek

I may be a good mom, a making-an-effort-mom, an intentional mom, an organized mom, a take-this-seriously mom….

…but I am not the “Best Mom Ever.”

I have those days.  (Don’t we all?)

I grow weary.  I snap.  I grumble over dirty dishes and toilets.  I push too hard.  I hold on to things when I need to let go.  I feel distracted or selfish.  I forget.

This girl, though, this tiny encourager in the minivan seat behind me, doesn’t give me what I deserve or merit or earn.  She overlooks the faults and failures.

That’s what mercy does.

Mercy says, “You deserve judgment, discipline, and second-class status….but I choose not to give you what you deserve.”

And this is how I’ve learned to pray.

Lord, have mercy.

That Pharisee stood all bold and confident in the synagogue, booming out those prayers.  “God, I’m so righteous.  God I’m so worthy.  I’m not like those other people, the riff-raff and the sinners.”

But that tax collector dropped his eyes low:

“God, have mercy on me, a sinner” (Luke 8:13 NIV).

Have mercy on me, Lord.

And that blind man begging by the side of the road heard that Jesus was passing by and what could he cry out?  That he deserved healing?  That somehow he had suffered long enough and had earned a miracle?

No, he screamed it out so Jesus could hear this one desperate cry over the noisy chaos of the mob:

“Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!  (Luke 18:38 NIV).

This mercy prayer is what Jesus loved, the one that caught His attention and made Him pause, turn aside, and deliver.  Lord, have mercy.

Even Daniel, this man so righteous in the Baylonian world of unrighteousness, knew he couldn’t pray because of his own merit.

We do not make requests of you because we are righteous, but because of your great mercy (Daniel 9:18 NIV).

So I pray this also about situations for others and situations for me: Lord, have mercy on me!

This is no manipulative mantra, no magic incantation.  It’s not the words themselves that matter.

It’s the attitude of my heart.  God delights in the humble.  He shows compassion to the needy.

And it’s right here where I recognize my utter dependence on Him that He shows His glory most clearly.

God, I know what I’ve already been given—mercy and grace, so much grace. You have been good to me.

And I know I can’t come here asking for Your help because I’ve worked this hard or because I am this good.  Not because I’ve tried to obey or because I’m righteous.  Not because I’ve spent this much time in Your Word today or got down on my knees when I prayed instead of praying with my eyes open while I’m driving.

There’s no holy act that could earn me the right to ask this….

No amount of “good” that makes me “good enough” to request Your favor or Your blessing.

And yet, I pray simply because You are merciful.

Scripture says God hears my prayers, but the answers don’t seem to come and it feels like He’s not even hearing me.

Am I being too bold?  Am I asking for too much?  Are there far more important things on His agenda?

Am I complaining too much and should I just settle for less and be grateful for what I get?  Am I too needy?  Too demanding or spoiled?

But then this.

I open up my daily Bible reading and start to run right through that Psalm for the day and at that first verse I sit stunned.  I read it over and over again:

I love the Lord, for he heard my voice;
    he heard my cry for mercy.
Because he turned his ear to me,
    I will call on him as long as I live (Psalm 116:1-2 NIV).

He blows this fresh wind of mercy over me and He fills my hyperventilating lungs with His very own breath of hope and life.

I still can’t see the answer to my prayer.  I don’t see the solution or the end.

But I know this—He hears my cry for mercy.

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

 

Ask Me More…Where were you?

She said her dad didn’t love anybody.

Not her mom.  Not the kids.  Nobody.

That’s what the girl told my daughter.  And that’s what my daughter told me.

My daughter struggles to understand this invasion of innocence.

We adults slowly learn to cope with the ugly truth about how sin distorts, taints, and breaks.  How this world is hard sometimes, hurtful and messy.

But she’s not accustomed to the pain yet or desensitized to the sadness, so her heart aches for her friend and she struggles with questions and brings them to me:

What does that mean? How come her family isn’t together any more?  Why does that happen to families?  Where will she stay?  Will she still see her dad?

Pain often provokes our questions, too.

There’s something about tragedy that stirs up doubt and wondering.  We want to wrestle with the beasts of injustice and sorrow, trying to make sense of it all with logic and defeat them with some philosophical musings.

But we just don’t know.

We can’t always see why this happened or how it will all work out or what good could come of any of it or what God is doing in the midst of the rubble.

In Scripture, it’s Job that engages in this fight.

We gloss over his pain so quickly as Christians:  Job was a good guy who had bad things happen to him.  Lots of bad things.  Blah blah blah, yeah yeah yeah.

“Bad things” hardly.

His property destroyed, his servants killed, his own body festering with sores, his wife grown bitter, his friends on platforms of self-righteousness……maybe those are “bad things.”

Yet, every single one of his children was killed at once in a freak accident.

If you’ve cradled your own baby in your arms, stroking his cheek with your finger, cooing baby talk, tickling her baby belly, rocking and swaying and humming sweetly, then consider Job’s loss.

Seven sons, three daughters—-dead like a snapping of the fingers.job19

How could he ever breathe again?  No wonder he just wanted to die himself.

So, he ponders and postulates and asks God to explain Himself.  He longs to put God on trial and pose the questions with God on the witness stand.

“Where were you?” Maybe that’s what Job longed to ask God and have answered.

Yet, God never answers all of Job’s questions, not in this life anyway.

Instead, God lets Job pour out all of that bitterness and hurt, knowing perhaps that what we need most in sorrow is the opportunity to be sorrowful.

Then, God responds, not with answers, but with questions.

Lots of lots of questions.  Chapters and chapters of questions.  Pages and pages of questions.  Just about 60 in all.

But here’s the bottom line:

Where were you when I laid the foundation of the earth?
Tell Me, if you have understanding… (Job 38:4 NASB)

Was Job there when God parted the seas from the land or set the birds in the sky or there as He makes the sun to rise and set every single day as faithfully as our faithful God?

Does Job even know how God makes it rain, or feeds the lions, or transforms water into ice?

The questions bring Job to this place where he looks in a mirror and sees his own limitations.

I don’t know. 

What else could he say?

What else to answer but this:

“Behold, I am insignificant; what can I reply to You?
I lay my hand on my mouth.
“Once I have spoken, and I will not answer;
Even twice, and I will add nothing more”  (Job 40:3-5 NASB)

So, I confess this to my daughter, “I don’t know, baby girl.”

Sometimes there’s not much else to say.

Yet, there were two things that Job did know:

“As for me, I know that my Redeemer lives,
And at the last He will take His stand on the earth.  Job 19:25 NASB

and this:

“I know that You can do all things,
And that no purpose of Yours can be thwarted.
Job 42:2 NASB

Maybe we don’t always know the answer to “why” or “what now” or “how could this be…”

Still we know this:

Our God lives and will return one day in victory to redeem us and to redeem this broken world.

and

God can do anything  There’s nothing too insignificant to escape His notice and nothing too difficult for Him to handle.

When God asks us questions, we might not always know the answers, but we know He does.  That’s the simplicity and the challenge of faith.

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 © 2013 Heather King

Renew, Revive, Restore Us Again

I could recognize the discouragement. The perpetual fatigue in the face and in the slumping of the shoulders, not extreme, but ever so slightly burdened down low.

It was clear in the mechanical activity, not the joyous friendliness of cheerful service like before. Now my friend moved from point A to point B, task one to task two, not smiling, just doing because doing is what needed to be done.

I recognized the discouragement because

I

Have

Been

There

Before.

We who have been weary can see the signs in others, the trudging, the exhaustion, the worn out soul fraying at every edge and held together with patches and slipshod stitchery.

So we come alongside our friends, our Christian sisters and brothers, those whose burdens we’re supposed to remove so they can walk free and unencumbered for a time.  We remind them of God’s goodness, His grace.  We encourage them in their efforts, cheering them on with reminders to persevere and not give up and yes, there will be a harvest in time, and no, it isn’t all in vain.

How do we know?  That’s what they might ask.

Oh my friend, how I know.psalm51

Because contrary to what you might have heard or expected, the Christian life isn’t all easy and Christian service isn’t all joyfully inspiring and pouring out to others out of an overflow.  Sometimes we’re emptying out the last few drops from our own parched souls, not knowing what to do when we’re dehydrated and depleted and still others hold out needy hands for more.

Yet, we know this also.

We pour out…everything….and He pours in anew.

You might think you’re alone in this, stumbling over your own weaknesses, serving to exhaustion, not seeing the reward or the gain or the purpose or the point.

Yet, the prayers of saints long before teach us that others have desperately needed to be renewed, revived, restored.

The Psalmists prayed:

Will You not revive us again
so that Your people may rejoice in You?
(Psalm 85:6 HCSB)

and

Restore our fortunes, Lord,
as streams renew the desert.
Those who plant in tears
will harvest with shouts of joy.
They weep as they go to plant their seed,
but they sing as they return with the harvest  (Psalm 126:4-6 NLT)

and

God, create a clean heart for me
and renew a steadfast spirit within me.
 Do not banish me from Your presence
or take Your Holy Spirit from me.
 Restore the joy of Your salvation to me,
and give me a willing spirit (Psalm 51:10-12 HCSB).  

Their prayers would be unnecessary, meaningless even unless they felt the need for the renewing, the reviving, the restoring work of God in us.

We need the grace again, the joy again, the steadfast spirit again, the life again.  That’s what they asked.

That’s what we need, too.

Eugene Peterson wrote:

Nothing suffers from time quite so much as religion.  The skeletal structure of obedience becomes arthritic, and the circulatory system of praise becomes sluggish.  The prayer ‘revive us again’ keeps the body of Christ youthful and responsive to every new mercy and grace in God (Praying With the Psalms).

So we offer to help carry the cross for a time through this valley and we remind them of the hope and the promise as we travel along together.

We tell the fullness of our testimony, not just the revival, the renewal, the restoration after the fact…not the destination without the journey or the end result without the in between.

No, we remember that we were worn out and limping and God renewed us.

We were dead and hopeless and God revived us.

We had lost everything and God restored us.

God did this for me, that’s what we say.  And He will do this work in you, too.

And we pray, of course we pray.

We ask God to fill them right up again, fill their own parched souls so they are overflowing. We ask for strength anew and energy for each day, for reminders of the vision and reassurance of the harvest.

God’s plan isn’t for us to walk through discouragement alone, not any of us. How could we ever survive it, after all, if we thought we were the only ones and that somehow we must be here because of our own fumbling and faltering?

But to know others have been there, have made it through, and have traveled back to tell us the good news and to pray for us along the way…that’s the grace God gives for a wearied soul.

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 upcoming book, Ask Me Anything, Lord: Opening Our Hearts to God’s Questions, will be released in the Fall of 2013!  To read more devotionals by Heather King, click here.

Copyright © 2013 Heather King

Devotions From My Garden: Peppermint in the Spring

Let my prayer be counted as incense before you,
and the lifting up of my hands as the evening sacrifice!  (Psalm 141:2)

I bought it on a whim and I’m so glad I did.

Years ago, I was filling my garden with herbs.  I bought the tiniest pots of rosemary, lavender, sage, thyme, oregano, basil, parsley and chives for $2 each and just hoped they’d grow larger over time.

Then, as I left the garden center one day I walked by another table of herbs.  I thought there’d be nothing among those leaves to entice me—now the proud owner of herbs I knew how to cook with and some I didn’t.

I almost passed by without even looking, but as I did a breeze blew through and I caught the hint of the most heavenly scent ever.

It was a tiny pot of peppermint.

I fell in love.

Over the years, some of those miniature $2 herb plants have overtaken my garden.  The rosemary has invaded the entire back left corner.  I keep cutting it back and still it grows undeterred.  The basil last year towered over my six-year-old daughter and made me crave Italian food every time I climbed the steps to my back door.

Then there’s the peppermint.  It quickly spread and overtook every available space in the right corner of my garden plot.  Now, as I sit here typing away next to an open window, I can smell the scent of fresh peppermint even with the gentlest breeze.

I’m pretty sure heaven smells like peppermint.  And if the aroma of heaven is sweeter than that, it’s aromatherapy at its greatest.

There’s no “if” about it, though.  We know for sure that God has His own brand of Scentsy and His own favorite aroma.

And believe it or not, it’s sweeter than fresh peppermint dancing in a spring breeze.

The Bible tells us that in heaven there are “golden bowls full of incense, which are the prayers of the saints” (Revelation 5:8) and that:

“Another angel came and stood at the altar with a golden censer, and he was given much incense to offer with the prayers of all the saints on the golden altar before the throne, and the smoke of the incense, with the prayers of the saints, rose before God from the hand of the angel” (Revelation 8:3-4).

Our prayers are being mixed with incense and wafted before God’s throne all the time.  It’s the cries of our heart and the pleas for grace, the humble praising of His name, and the intercession on behalf of others that fills the throne room.

They are a continual offering to God, a sweet-smelling sacrifice that brings God joy.

This, then, is truly my heart’s desire.  I want to smell nice for God.

Sound foolish?  Perhaps it seems silly at first.  And yet, what I really mean to say is that I want to be pleasing to Him.  I don’t want to be the foul odor among the incense of the saints’ prayers. I don’t want to be the one lone stench among the sacrifices offered up to my God.

I want Him to receive my prayers with pleasure and to take joy in the life I offer to Him, in the planned prayer times spoken at my table, in the heartfelt cries I send up to heaven without premeditation, and in the thousands of conversations and the running dialogue I carry on with Him every day, all day.

This isn’t a mystery, either.  We aren’t left to guess what life-scents God enjoys and which of those He finds distasteful and nauseating.

In Exodus and Leviticus we read that the sacrifices burnt on the altar before God could be a “pleasing aroma” to Him (Exodus 29:18, Exodus 29:25, Exodus 29:41, Leviticus 1:9, Leviticus 1:13 . . . ).

When offered with obedience, these burnt offerings brought God pleasure.

Yet, God told the Israelites “if in spite of this you will not listen to me, but walk contrary to me . . . I will lay your cities waste and will make your sanctuaries desolate, and I will not smell your pleasing aromas” (Leviticus 26:27, 31).

Lives of disobedience and idolatry became the stench of garbage and death before God.  He held His nose at their offerings and didn’t receive their sacrifices.

So when you choose to obey Him, even when it doesn’t make sense and doesn’t fit into your five-year-plan, you are spraying on the perfume of the God-life.

When you pray with humility, when you commune with Him continually, and when you offer up praise, your prayers drift through heaven like peppermint on a breeze and like the candles making my living room smell like honeysuckle on a summer’s eve and my bedroom like gardenias in bloom (my favorites!).

This has become my prayer for today and the days ahead, that the life I lay on the altar before God, the offering up of my actions, my words, my thoughts, and the hidden motives of my heart, will be acceptable to Him.  And that the prayers I place at the feet of His throne are a pleasing aroma of incense to my God.

With David, we pray:

Let my prayer be counted as incense before you,
and the lifting up of my hands as the evening sacrifice!  (Psalm 141:2)

and

Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart
be acceptable in your sight,
O Lord, my rock and my redeemer (Psalm 19:14)

Amen.

More Devotions From My Garden:

Heather King is a wife, mom, Bible Study teacher, writer for www.myfrienddebbie.com 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.  To read more devotionals by Heather King, click here.

Copyright © 2012 Heather King