By Beth Ann Baus, Crosswalk.com
In Genesis 2:24, we're told, "Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and they shall become one flesh." Paul quotes this in Ephesians 5:31 and adds in verse 32, "This mystery is profound, and I am saying that it refers to Christ and the church."
The marital union of a man and woman is a mystery because it is a shadow of the coming marriage of Christ and his church. God's will for Christ and the church is to become one body (Gal 3:29; 1 Cor 12:13). Because God's will is for marriage to reflect Christ and the church, the husband and wife become one flesh.
Knowing that your wedding day is more than a well-dressed bridal party, flowers, and good food, it's more than appropriate to cover this special day in prayer. May the following prayers help guide you on your wedding day and in the years to follow.
1. A Prayer for God to Be Glorified
Father, thank you for the gift of marriage. Thank you for bringing us together so that we might partner together for this life. We pray our union will bring you glory today and for all the years you allow us on this earth. As we prepare for our wedding ceremony today, we pray your gospel will be proclaimed as the meaning of marriage is explained to our guests.
As we point to you as the giver of good gifts, we pray that you open the eyes and ears of our guests who don't know you. We want our wedding ceremony and our marriage every day after to point others to you and your goodness.
As we look forward to the fruits of our labor in planning this wedding, we pray that our focus will be on you and what you have given us. Allow us to focus on each other and the future we look forward to but keep us from forgetting what you have done for us and in us. Keep our eyes on you.
2. A Prayer for a Right Focus
Father God, we have waited for our wedding day with great anticipation. We have enjoyed the planning process, even in stressful moments. Now that all the details have come together and the day is finally here, we can hardly contain our excitement. We confess, though, along with our excitement comes a bit of anxiety. We ask that you would calm our nerves, remind us that this is not a performance but a celebration. Remind us that it isn't about everything going perfectly according to plan, but that we leave here today as husband and wife.
We ask that you would direct our focus on you, Lord. Remind us that the rest of our lives are not determined by this day and this wedding ceremony. Today's success is not the point. The point is what comes after this ceremony - the days, weeks, months, and years to come. Our growing together and growing in you is the goal, not a flawless wedding ceremony.
3. A Prayer for the Groom
Father, thank you so much for this woman you have given me as a wife. Thank you for calling me to marriage and for trusting me to lead a home as a spiritual leader. Lord, I confess the thought of that overwhelms me. I'm full of excitement but also fully aware that I don't know how to be a spiritual leader.
Help me to love this woman the way Christ loved the church (Eph 5:25). Give me the wisdom to lead her and to love her even when she isn't loveable. Because we're so full of excitement, it's difficult to imagine us going through hard times, but I'm sure those times will come. When they do, guide me. Help me to be a good communicator, to be quick to forgive and ask for forgiveness. Keep me from being harsh (Col 3:19) and to put her needs before my own (Phil 2:3).
It's easy to walk into marriage with little or no thought to the responsibilities that lie ahead. God, I ask that you continue to grow me up in my knowledge and understanding of you. Keep me pursuing you above all things; otherwise, I will never be the husband I want to be.
Help me to lead well so that it is easier for her to follow my lead. Help me to be a man deserving of her trust and respect. Give me a humble, gentle spirit that will allow me to lead by lifting her up and supporting her, rather than lording over her as the man of the house.
4. A Prayer for the Bride
Father, thank you for this man you have given to me to be my husband. Thank you for calling me to married life and entrusting the wife's role to me. There are aspects of this role that overwhelm me and, honestly, confuse me. As our culture tries to question and redefine gender-specific roles, I ask that you show me what you want of me. By your Holy Spirit, lead me to be the woman and wife that you intended. Remind me that Your Word is my standard, not the world (Rom 12:2).
Help me to love this man with the love you have shown me. Help me respect him even when he doesn't deserve my respect (Eph 5:33). Show me how to honor him and let him lead. Show me what godly submission looks like and give me the heart to follow his lead joyfully, not begrudgingly (Eph 5:22-24).
Please give me a gentle, humble spirit (1 Peter 3:4) so that I can support him rather than control him. Remind me to pray for him daily and to encourage his spiritual growth. Give me the tools to appreciate our differences as man and woman and to celebrate the strengths and weaknesses you've given us both so that we will complement one another as we build our life together.
5. A Prayer for the Joining of Two Families
Father, bringing us together is about more than the two of us. Our union means meshing our biological families, church families, and friends who function as family. Help us always to see the blessing in this union. Help us always to seek to please you first rather than feeling the tug of pleasing man.
We ask that we would be humble enough to listen to advice and counsel from those you have placed in our lives. We also pray that our marriage will reflect you and be an example to those around us. We ask for opportunities to grow in our own marriage and to help others grow in theirs.
We also ask that you would help us to leave and cleave (Eph 5:31). Old habits are hard to break, and going from single to married will take some adjusting. We ask that you would give us patience with one another as we learn to live together and to give each other the freedom to spend time with family and friends and to continue fostering those relationships.
6. A Prayer for Physical Union
Father, we thank you for the gift of sex. While this physical union can bring anxiety, physical pain, and frustration, we ask that you would give us patience, understanding, and good communication in this area.
We thank you for the areas where we have remained sexually pure, and we thank you for the forgiveness you offer in the areas where we have been impure. We ask that you erase past experiences from our minds and allow us to focus on one another as if we have never shared ourselves with anyone else.
Help us not to compare, to remember, to judge. Help us be satisfied, thankful, and joyful in what we can offer one another in our marriage bed. Give us a marriage bed full of joy, laughter, passion, and sweetness. Remove any fear, anxiety, or insecurities that creep in. Protect our marriage bed, Father. May we never seek sexual fulfillment elsewhere. And should health or life circumstances take sex out of the equation, we pray that you would still allow our marriage bed to be a place of joy, connection, and celebration.
7. A prayer for the Future
Father, as we look past this day and into the days to come, we pray for your blessing on our marriage. We pray that you would use our marriage to sanctify us and make us more like your son, Jesus.
While we look forward to many happy days, we know there are hardships and struggles to come. We ask that you would guide us and give us strength and wisdom to face whatever you bring our way. We ask that we would always glorify you in our responses to this broken world, our broken bodies, and our sinful natures. Let us both be quick to listen, slow to anger, and strive to out-serve one another. Give us the desire to work together for your kingdom. May our marriage be an encouragement to other married couples, those who long for it, and those who are called to singleness.
As we start our marriage strong, we ask that you would allow us to finish strong as well. We ask for many years together. Years that build us, grow us, and teach us to rely on you fully. May we always remember that we were never meant to meet one another's needs fully - only you can do that. Walk with us, Lord, as we face the days ahead.
As you prepare for your wedding day and the days after, may your hearts be ever bent towards:
Colossians 3:14-17, "And above all these put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony. And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body. And be thankful. Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God. And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him."
Beth Ann Baus is a wife and mother of two adult sons. She is a freelance writer and author of Sister Sunday, My So Much More, and His Power, Our Weakness: Encouragement for the Biblical Counselor. In her writing, Beth often pulls from her own experiences of abuse, anxiety, depression and OCD. Beth has a heart for homeschooling, women’s ministry, and is an ACBC-certified Biblical Counselor. She loves serving alongside her husband and pointing couples to the Word for strengthening their marriages and home life. You can find more from her at www.bethannbaus.com.