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LOVE THE LORD AND EACH OTHER
Dear Lord, thank You for the gift of love. We cannot know what love is without You. You are the very definition of love; perfect, holy, unconditional love. The depth and breadth of Your amazing love is limitless. Everything that You are and do is wrapped up in love. Thank You for sending Your one and only Son, Jesus, to display Your love among us. Because of Him, we can love You and love others.
Jesus, You laid down Your life for us so that we can experience Your love and do the same. As husband and wife, please help us to lay down our lives for each other. Help our love, affection, and intimacy grow and strengthen one day at a time, for as long as we live. Please teach ________ to love me the way You love the church — completely, expectantly, unconditionally. It's hard to fathom this kind of love, but in Christ and through the power and presence of the Holy Spirit, I know it's possible. Father, help us never forget that marriage involves great sacrifice. Remind us that, just as Your sacrifice was worth it, the sacrifices You call us to make are always worth the price.
Thank You for loving me so perfectly that I can know, experience, and extend real, agape love. Let my love for ________ be a reflection of how much You love him. Please teach me to express my love, not only through words but also through actions and daily decisions. I want my fiancé to know more of Your infinite, unfailing love because, through Christ, I love him the way You love us.
Lord, I pray that when he needs it most, You would remind him how much You love him — and that some of these reminders would come through the way I love him. I believe that the more we grow in our relationship with You, the greater our love for You and each other will be. Father, please help ________ to know You more, and as a result, love You more. Jesus, because of Your love, I pray that he would love me unconditionally and wholeheartedly. Help him to love the way You do, especially when it's hard. Lord, I pray that he would learn more each day how to express his love for me.
Heavenly Father, help us never lose sight of the depth and breadth of Your love. We need only look to the cross and the sacrifice Jesus made to remember the extent of Your love for all humankind. May our love for You and for each other grow daily as You continue to shape us into the image of Christ. You are and must always be our first love. Lord, help us to love You more than we love each other.
As 1 Corinthians 13:4–8 describes, I pray that our love for each other would be patient and kind, not self-seeking, boastful, envious, or easily angered. "Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth" (1 Corinthians 13:6). Yes, Lord, keep us from evil and help us to speak the truth in love. God, just as You have forgiven us, please help us to extend love through forgiveness, never keeping record of the wrongs we have done. I pray that, like Your love, our love will always protect, trust, hope, persevere, and never fail.
Ultimately, I pray that our relationship will be an expression and reflection of Your love.
And through our love, let others experience Your love.
In Jesus's name, amen.
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For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.
JOHN 3:16CHAPTER 2
LIFE PURPOSE AND PURPOSE OF MARRIAGE
Dear Lord, by the breath of Your mouth, You created us and filled our existence with great purpose. Apart from You, our lives have no meaning or purpose — we're just a heartbeat wrapped in flesh, waiting to draw the next breath. Without You we have nothing ... We are nothing. Thank You for giving us everything we need for life and godliness through Your Son, Jesus. He fills our lives with earthly purpose and eternal significance.
Lord, thank You for creating ________ in Your image. Thank You for saving him and grooming him into everything You long for him to be. Father, please help him to never forget that he was made for more; that he was made for You. Earthly success and achievements are different from eternal treasures and rewards, and the pursuit of them produces very different men. Help ________ to seek the eternal over the temporary. Lord, if my fiancé's understanding of Your purpose for his life is unclear, please reveal that to him. Because ultimately, his purpose, my purpose, and our purpose as a married couple is to love You, to love others, and to share the truth of the gospel with the world. What a privilege!
Heavenly Father, I pray that ________ would see the greater purpose for his life unfold through what You've created him to do and be. May he never doubt Your grand design and the specific gifts You have given him to serve You and others. Please give him the confidence and courage to fulfill Your will for his life. Whatever he does, help him to do it for You and Your glory! Protect him from wasting the gifts and talents You have blessed him with. If there are gifts he is unaware of, please reveal them to him that he might bring You glory through them. Help me to encourage my future husband and see him the way You see him, Lord. Reveal to me the gifts You have given him and help me to champion him in those areas of his life.
Lord, I pray that wherever You lead us, we would hear Your voice and follow. Whenever we get discouraged, remind us that Your plans for our life together cannot be thwarted. Help us to know that we are never alone. You walk with us, one step and one breath at a time as we accomplish Your will. Lord, help me to respect, support, and trust my future spouse; help me believe that You have a perfect plan for our lives. Where You lead us, we will follow.
Not only is there divine purpose in our individual lives, but in our marriage as well. Please teach us the greater purpose for our marriage. It's not about us; it's about You. Marriage is about glorifying You and making You and Your great love known. Lord, I pray that when people see us, they get a glimpse of Jesus and the way He loves the church. Marriage is one of the greatest displays of Your love, so help us to honor and respect that in every way. Let us not waver from Your plan for our lives together.
Lord, guard our marriage as You daily motivate us to pursue righteousness and holiness. Please keep our hearts and minds fixed on You, so that we can live out our purpose both as individuals and as one.
In Jesus's name, amen.
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We know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.
ROMANS 8:28CHAPTER 3
Lord, prayer is amazing! The ability to come and talk to You with my heart wide open, just as I am — it's a treasure beyond measure. Thank You for hearing me and always knowing exactly what I need. Thank You for listening to me and for working everything in my life together for good.
Prayer is a vital part of any Christian's life. Preparing my heart through prayer to become a wife gives me confidence that with you I can do this. Sometimes I feel overwhelmed because there is so much to pray about. When I feel this way, please remind me that You are sovereign and good. That every day, You are at work preparing me to become one with my husband through the covenant of marriage. Lord, help me to not be anxious; instead, help me to pray about everything and trust You completely.
Lord, our marriage will not survive without prayer. Teach us how to pray and seek You together. Help us passionately pursue Your presence. God, during hard times, please help us not only to pray for our circumstances to change, but to seek to be changed by You in the midst of our circumstances. Lord, shape our prayer life so that we don't just come to You in times of need, but also to thank You, to spend time with You, and to enjoy Your presence.
Father, I am so thankful that You're always listening. Please help us pray according to Your will and believe that an answer is coming in Your perfect timing. When we don't receive the answer we were hoping and praying for, help us to praise You anyway. Lord, Your ways are not our ways; Your thoughts are not our thoughts. Please teach us to trust You, even when we don't understand Your decisions.
Heavenly Father, please help me and ________ to pray consistently together as a married couple. I don't want a single day to go by that we aren't seeking You as one. Lord, give us wisdom and teach us how to pray for each other. Convict our hearts; make us aware of anything in our lives that might hinder our prayers. My heart's desire, Lord, is that my prayers are even more fervent when it comes to praying for my husband. Show me how to come boldly to the throne of grace on his behalf. Give me supernatural insight, so I can pray for him according to Your will about matters that he might not even be aware of. Remind us when we pray that nothing is too hard for You!
Thank You for the gift of prayer. Help me never to lose sight of the tremendous blessing and responsibility it is to pray for my husband.
In Jesus's name, amen.
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When you call on me, when you come and pray to me, I'll listen. When you come looking for me, you'll find me. Yes, when you get serious about finding me and want it more than anything else, I'll make sure you won't be disappointed.
JEREMIAH 29:12–14 MSG
Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
PHILIPPIANS 4:6–7CHAPTER 4
TRUTH AND THE WORD OF GOD
Dear Lord, thank You for Your Word, the truth that sets us free (John 8:31–32). If we know You and hold fast to Your truth, we can walk in freedom. Thank You, Lord, that in a world filled with lies, You are the truth and have provided a manual for life and godliness, Your Word, the Bible. Your Word is alive; it is living and at work in the lives of all who follow You.
God, I pray that You would renew ________'s mind with the truth of who You are and who he is in You. I pray that he would know the truth and that the truth would set him free to live for You wholeheartedly. Please continue to reveal Yourself to him as he seeks You daily through Your Word. Father, please hide Scripture in his heart so he can know You more, and so that he knows who he is in Christ. Your Word declares that this man, whom I love, is chosen and set apart, a child of the King of kings and Lord of lords. When he forgets, please remind him who You created him to be.
Lord, I pray that Your Word alone would be the anchor and foundation for our individual lives and our marriage. May we always use the sword of the Spirit to guard against the fiery arrows of the enemy.
The enemy has no power over the truth. You are truth. You are life. Darkness and evil cannot stand against the words You have spoken. Lord, I pray that Your words would be so deeply hidden in our hearts, that we immediately respond to temptation and fear with the power of Scripture.
Heavenly Father, please help us to believe every word You have spoken. Help us to not only believe what You've said, but to act on it and obey. Help us to speak the truth in love — I pray that the words we speak to one another will be filtered through a heart that is hidden in who You are.
Your Word endures forever; it will never fail. Your Word is a guiding lamp for our feet and a light for our path (Psalm 119:105). I pray that ________ and I would allow Your truth to always light our way. Help us to love and obey You, to live according to the words You have spoken.
Heavenly Father, thank You for sending Your Son so that Your Word be- came flesh (John 1:14). You are the Word, and in You, we have everything we need. You are our lifeline! Please, Father, I pray that we would never lose sight of who the Word of God is. Remind us that these are not just words written and inspired by You, but that You are the Word!
This is the cry of my heart for the two of us:
But if I say, "I will not mention his word or speak anymore in his name," his word is in my heart like a fire, a fire shut up in my bones. I am weary of holding it in; indeed, I cannot.
In Jesus's name, amen.
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For the word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.
The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.
JOHN 1:14CHAPTER 5
Jesus Calling by Sarah Young is one of my all-time-favorite devotionals. In fact, Parker and I have the Jesus Calling app on our phones so we can access it at any time. Every morning after we read that day's message, we talk (or text) about what we learned. Usually our devotion discussions lead to even deeper God talks — which I love. If you're not familiar with Jesus Calling, the author writes messages to the reader as if from God's point of view. So, in that spirit, for Bride Challenge #1, you're going to write your fiancé a letter from God's perspective. Tell him what you think God would say to him right now as he prepares to be your husband. Try to imagine what would be on God's heart and what you think He might share with him as he plans to enter into the covenant of marriage.
Before you start writing, pray. Ask God to reveal His desires for your future husband so you can share His words and His heart. When you're done writing the letter, place it in an envelope and pray again. Pray that when your fiancé reads the letter, he will be blessed and encouraged, and then move deeper into the love of God and your love for him. Oh, and think of a special time to either send it to him or give it to him in person.CHAPTER 6
This is the day the Lord has made, let us rejoice and be glad in it! Every day is a gift. Especially your wedding day! And trust me, everyone will tell you this, but it really does go by faster than you think. So stop and appreciate every single moment — and that includes every moment leading up to the moment.
Bride-to-be, I know it can be overwhelming. And I'm sure you've said more than once, "Can it just be my wedding day already?" Trust me, I get it. My first meltdown happened during our second week of planning. However, one of the most important things I learned during the wedding planning journey was to be thankful for every single moment — even the stressed out, want-to-cry-all- day, ditch-all-the-planning-and-elope moments. Let's be honest, if you don't cry at least once while you're planning your wedding, are you sure you are actually getting married, and are you human?! (This is a great spot for a laughing emoji!)
This is my first and most important tip: give thanks. First Thessalonians 5:18 says, "Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus." All circumstances includes when your wedding dress doesn't turn out the way you hoped it would and you have to order new material to be shipped from across the world in order to make your dress into what you dreamed it would be. (Yes ... this happened.) All circumstances means thanking God when you're experiencing serious bride brain and can't focus on anything for more than ten seconds before shifting your attention back to song selections and seating charts. All circumstances means all circumstances. Oftentimes during our many months of planning and meetings, I purposefully stopped in the middle of everything and started whispering, "Thank You, Lord. Thank You, Lord." Because at the end of the day, without Him, marriage would not have any value or meaning. It wouldn't exist, because without Him, love does not exist. He is love.
During the wedding planning craziness, you might find yourself getting caught up in the mountain of details and everything else going on, especially if things aren't moving forward the way you hoped and planned. To keep your heart and mind focused on God, what He is doing, and the blessing and covenant of marriage, consider keeping a journal of moments throughout the journey. Write down exactly what you're thinking and feeling; record specifically what you are most thankful for. Trust me, you will forget the little "God things" that happened along the way. Write them down and thank God for them.(Continues…)
Excerpted from "Prayer and Planning for the Big Day"
Copyright © 2018 Jill Kelly and Erin Kelly.
Excerpted by permission of Worthy Publishing Group.
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