Early this week, a reflection on gratitude by our worship pastor stirred a deep passion within me. His email came as I was between discussions with several women about their marriages. It was a fairly typical day. I answered emails in the morning, met a woman for lunch and had two painful phone calls in the afternoon. All of those conversations involved marriages that could be radically transformed if even one person in the marriage chose to go to God with a spirit of generous — even undeserved — gratitude for her spouse.
Why do I know this? For two reasons, I write confidently today.
First, Jesus modeled that gratitude preceeds a miracle. As Pastor Jon pointed out, John 6:11 says “Jesus then took the loaves, gave thanks, and distributed to those who were seated as much as they wanted. He did the same with the fish.”
Second, my own marriage is living proof that God uses a mind focused on good things to change hearts and revive broken or hurting relationships. Several years ago when Larry and I were in the midst of a very dark season in our marriage, God used a song about gratitude to convict me of a thought pattern that was darkening my attitude and slowly stealing the joy from my marriage. There will be another time for me to share details of things Larry and I learned through that experience. For now, I plead with those who are struggling in marriage to trust God’s Word on this point.
Whether your marriage is good, great or gross today, please thank God for your spouse, pray and believe for better days. Allow this prayer to begin a healing and growing work in your soul and invite God to break through every obstacle to complete wholeness by the absolute authority of Christ and through the power of His shed blood!
A prayer for your own marriage—
JEHOVA RAPHA (God my Healer), I am coming into another holiday season with mixed expectations. In some ways, I’m hopeful that this will be an unusually special Christmas season for my family. In other ways, I’m afraid of being hurt or disappointed (again). I want to believe that what Jesus modeled about gratitude is a key to transformation in my own marriage. Please use my attitude with You to unlock new potential in my marriage starting today and continuing throughout the holidays this year. I confess that I tend to cling to all the reasons why my husband/wife doesn’t deserve my gratitude and I even get angry and impatient with You when I fail to see progress in our relationship. But I am willing to make this a new day, Lord. When I am tempted to complain, prompt me with some reminder and stop the flow of my critical words (1 Corinthians 10:13). Please soften my heart toward my husband/wife and show me how to trust that you will comfort, strengthen and enlighten me when I am vulnerable. Help me to keep pondering the lovelier things about my spouse (Philippians 4:8-9). Cause that focus to bear the fruit of gratitude in my thoughts, words and deeds (Colossians 3:17). Thank you, God, that as I bring more of my focus on You this holiday season, instead of on all the things I wish were different, You will reveal Yourself and many (not just me) will be blessed. Please make it so, Lord! AMEN
Something to pray for a friend’s marriage—
JEHOVA RAPHA (God our Healer), many are coming into the holiday season with mixed expectations. I have some friends who are hopeful that this will be an unusually special Christmas season for their family. I also have friends who are afraid of being hurt or disappointed (again). I believe that what Jesus modeled about gratitude is a key to transformation in the marriages of people I care about. Please increase the spirit of gratitude within my friends’ marriages and use that to unlock new potential starting today and continuing throughout the holidays this year. Forgive them for clinging to reasons why their husbands/wives doesn’t deserve their gratitude. Forgive them when they get angry and impatient with You and encourage them with they fail to see progress in their relationships. Give them a willingness to make this a new day, Lord. When they are tempted to complain, prompt them with some reminder and stop the flow of their critical words (1 Corinthians 10:13). Soften their hearts towards each other and show them how to trust that you will comfort, strengthen and enlighten them when they are vulnerable. Help them to keep pondering the lovelier things about their spouses (Philippians 4:8-9). Cause that focus to bear the fruit of gratitude in their thoughts, words and deeds (Colossians 3:17). Thank you, God, that as we collectively bring more of our focus on You this holiday season, instead of on all the things we wish were different, You will reveal Yourself and many (not just me) will be blessed. Please make it so, Lord! AMEN