Day 8: Orginal 50 Days of Pray Revisited

DAY EIGHT
Today’s devotional is by Sheldon MacLeod he works at Crandall University as the Assistant Vice President (Students & Enrolment) & Registrar.

Love is one of the things most misunderstood, and taken for granted, within the culture around us. When love approaches marriage, that marriage is increasingly seen as a temporary moment of elation followed by years of drudgery that begins with fingers crossed behind wedding veils and cummerbunds in the faintly inarticulate wish that they’ll be the couple that “makes it”.
When I was in pastoral ministry full time, and even when I’m asked now, performing a wedding ceremony is always filled with mixed emotions for me, but for none of the reasons, one may think obvious. Over the years I have seen the marriage and the promise to God, and their spouse, take a back seat to almost everything else.
Too often the couple pays more attention to the endless details of the wedding than they do the critical preparation for marriage. An inordinate thought is given to the venue and lighting and photography, to the placement of the bridal party, to the little nuisances that will make “their day” special from all others. The world’s values of planning a stunning event creep into the hearts of well-meaning couples who move towards the “big day” like extras on The Walking Dead, staggering through a daze of invitations, floral arrangements, dress and tie colours, venues, meal servings, and where they will seat that awkward uncle. Too often people forget that the big day is followed by a big lifetime of work, and joy, and aggravation, and stress, and blessings, and on and on. Too often people prepare for the big day and forget that the real preparation should both precede and follow the big day, and focus more on life than on the icing on the cake.
This prayer, an adaptation from Dr Louis H. Evans’ Marriage Prayer for Bride and Groom, is a simple yet profound reminder for all of us of the beauty of love. It is an expression for ourselves or for others. It is a prayer for friends to pray excitement, for couples to pray in promise, for the hurting or frustrated to pray in hopefulness, for the broken to pray for restoration, for the single to pray in anticipation. It is a prayer that reminds us of the value of love and the fact that love, in all of its many forms, is a gift from God. It is a reminder that the icing on the cake is actually more about God and another person than it about just the icing on the cake.

Father in Heaven, thank You for this husband, ______, and wife, _______, and their commitment to Christian marriage. As we look ahead, we pray that their future will never lack the convictions that make a marriage strong.
Bless this husband, ______. Bless him as provider and protector. Sustain him in all the pressures that come with the task of stewarding a family. May he so live that his wife may find in him the haven for which the heart of a woman truly longs.
Bless this wife, ______. Give her a tenderness that makes her great, a deep sense of understanding, and a strong faith in You. Give her that inner beauty of a soul that never fades, that eternal youth that is found in holding fast to the things that never age. May she so live that her husband may be pleased to reverence her in the shrine of his heart.
Teach them that marriage is not living for each other. It is two people uniting and joining hands to serve You. Give them a great spiritual purpose in life. May they seek first Your kingdom and Your righteousness, knowing that You will sustain them through all of life’s challenges.
May they minimize each other’s weaknesses and be swift to praise and magnify each other’s strengths. Bless them and develop their characters as they walk together with You. Give them enough hurts to keep them humane, enough failures to keep their hands clenched tightly in Yours, and enough of success to make them sure they walk with You throughout all of their life.
May they never take each other’s love for granted but always experience that breathless wonder that exclaims, “Out of all this world, you have chosen me.” Then, when life is done and the sun is setting, may they be found then as now, still hand in hand, still very proud, still thanking You for each other.
May they travel together as friends and lovers, brother and sister, husband and wife, father and mother, and as servants of Christ until He shall return or until that day when one shall lay the other into the arms of God. This we ask through Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior, the Great Lover of our souls. Amen.

Rev. J. Sheldon MacLeod
February 2015

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