June 2, 2010

A Marriage Prayer

Give him boldness and wisdom to rebuke and exhort me when I am unfaithful to Your Word, when I neglect prayer, fail to redeem the time, speak carelessly, walk foolishly, fail to hope in You, seek great things for myself, become anxious about tomorrow. Do not let him cease praying for me when I am beset with the fear of man, the cares of the world, or the love of money.

I read. Close my eyes. Sigh. Open my eyes.

I re-read.


I want to pray. I do. My mind wants to make this prayer one of my heart. But my heart is desperately sick. It causes the hairs on the back of my neck bristle. It bucks against being tamed. It triggers the innate self-preservation mechanism.

Why should I make these words my own? How can he notice my sins and call them out? He's a sinner himself. He should examine the plank in his own eye before plucking out the speck in mine. There's absolutely no need to invite rebuke. Besides, he doesn't have the right...

I squeeze my eyes shut against the voice of the deceiver, the one who works to convince me of rights and entitlements that have nothing to do with the unshakable Kingdom. In 17 years, I have never uttered such a prayer. Shouldn't I leave well enough alone?

Yet I am resolved to be different. To grow. To stretch. To learn. To pray that my husband will do the same.

The clutch of my palm relaxes, and I set it free. The desire to control, to judge. I see the lines of my hand running deep, mere imitations of the scars He bore. Scars that give Him alone the right to control, to judge. And He has established this covenant of marriage, this protective covering.

In His wisdom and care, He has given me a husband who will not crush my heart in judgment. I can trust him with my heart, just as I trust the Maker of my heart. I said "I Do" to a man who knew my faults and pledged to love me in spite of them. Oh, how he has!

In the quiet still, I know the truth of the matter. It is only the sound of my voice speaking that I fear, as if that would somehow make the words more true. For though I have never prayed these words, my husband has obeyed them. Even when I have not obeyed them, he has. Thank You, Lord. He has.

I bow my head. The words feel uncomfortable on my lips. My heart quickens, tries to resist. I press on as I begin to pray...

holy experience