5 Hope-Filled Prayers for Your Marriage

by Jennifer O. White

During the difficult days of marriage, there is a very real temptation to focus on what is wrong, why it is wrong, and whose fault it is. This earthly focus can result in a hopeless state of mind. Hopelessness and discouragement makes us even more vulnerable to the enemy’s schemes to divide us.

Throughout the Bible, God offers us hope. He shows us over and over again that nothing is impossible when He is involved. He promises that we will experience peace when we keep our eyes on Him (Isaiah 26:3). Jesus literally spoke the words “Peace! Be still!” to a storm, saving the disciples’ lives while increasing their faith in His life-changing power (Mark 4:39).

Our task is to believe, to ask, and to resist doubting (Mark 11:23).

Praying according to God’s Word has been very effective in my own marriage restoration. Knowing I am asking something in line with God’s will for us gives me confidence and the courage to expect God to move on our behalf.

The following five Bible passages and prayers will help us to humbly refocus on God who is able to do infinitely more to heal sacred marriages than we can imagine.

  1. Remember Me

But God remembered Noah and all the wild animals and the livestock that were with him in the ark, and he sent a wind over the earth, and the waters receded. Genesis 8:1

God, I trust that You see me and know what I am going through. You saved Noah, his family, and the animals from the flood. You sent a wind over the earth and caused the waters to recede. I am waiting on Your winds of change, Lord.

Change me, Lord. Here is my heart. Cleanse me of impure motives. Reduce me to love. Let Your pure love be the driving force behind my words, my touch, and my tone of voice.

Change my perception. Help me to see myself and my spouse through Your eyes.

Reveal to us where we are making the situation worse by resisting Your leadership and disobeying Your commands.

Help me to wait prayerfully and expectantly for You to move in us and our circumstances.

  1. Encourage Me

Many are saying of me, “God will not deliver him.” “Selah” But you are a shield around me, O LORD; you bestow glory on me and lift up my head. To the LORD I cry aloud, and he answers me from his holy hill. “Selah” I lie down and sleep; I wake again, because the LORD sustains me. I will not fear the tens of thousands drawn up against me on every side. Psalm 3:2–6

Forgive me Lord for being discouraged by those who do not believe in Your power. The temptations to give up outnumber the billboards in the city.

But You, O Lord, are my encourager. Shield my heart and mind from discouragement.

Remind me of Your great acts of love for Your people.

You fed five thousand with one boy’s lunch. You transformed Saul from a Christian killer into Paul, a Kingdom builder. You are able to do so much more for our marriage than I have asked of You.

I rest my hopes on Your faithfulness. I will not fear based on what I can see with my eyes. I will trust in You, the unseen God, to shield me and my husband from reacting to the enemy’s schemes to divide us.

  1. Reward My Faith

Again he said, “What shall we say the kingdom of God is like, or what parable shall we use to describe it? It is like a mustard seed, which is the smallest seed you plant in the ground. Yet when planted, it grows and becomes the largest of all garden plants, with such big branches the birds of the air can perch in its shade.” Mark 4:30–32

God, You have promised that if I offer You a minuscule amount of faith, You will create something so much bigger out of it.

Today, I offer You my faith in Your ability to bring Jesus into this world from a virgin girl. I believe that You breathed life into Adam and made Eve from his rib. You transformed Zacchaeus from a crook into someone who wanted to give back four times what he had stolen.

I believe that You, O Lord, can turn our bitterness into kindness. You can transform our self-focused stubbornness into a “your needs come first” mindset.

You are able to restore us completely and allow our marriage to point others to Your perfect love for imperfect people.

Let my faith become sight, Lord.

  1. Heal Our Marriage

As Jesus approached Jericho, a blind man was sitting by the roadside begging. When he heard the crowd going by, he asked what was happening. They told him, “Jesus of Nazareth is passing by.” He called out, “Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!” Those who led the way rebuked him and told him to be quiet, but he shouted all the more, “Son of David, have mercy on me!” Jesus stopped and ordered the man to be brought to him. When he came near, Jesus asked him, “What do you want me to do for you?” “Lord, I want to see,” he replied. Jesus said to him, “Receive your sight; your faith has healed you.” Immediately he received his sight and followed Jesus, praising God. When all the people saw it, they also praised God. Luke 18:35–43

Lord, I want our marriage to be healed.

Let the healing begin with me. Have mercy on me, Lord, a spouse who has failed so often to demonstrate Your love.

I want to love my spouse the way You love me. Help me.

I want to be a vessel of Your love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control in _____’s life. Use me.

I want to love in such a way that ____ is inspired to praise You. Glorify Yourself in me, Lord.

  1. Make Me Brave

Joshua said to them, “Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged. Be strong and courageous. This is what the LORD will do to all the enemies you are going to fight.” Joshua 10:25

Lord, I want to be filled with Your courage and strength. I want to live by every word that comes from Your mouth and speak boldly about what You can and will do.

The threats against my marriage are wimpy compared to Your great power.

Joshua put his godless enemies to death. He listened to Your voice and obeyed You.

You gave him authority to accomplish Your will. He commanded the sun to stand still, and You made it happen for the glory of Your name and the protection of Your people. 

Teach me, Lord, to exercise the authority You have given me. Train me to hear Your voice and respond without hesitation.

Make me brave. Use me to war against the enemies of our marriage in prayer using the Sword of Your Spirit.

I believe You are able, Lord. Please help my unbelief.

With faith in Jesus’ blood and righteousness, I pray.

Amen

wedding dresses AU

Jennifer O. White is an author, speaker and artist passionately encouraging women to depend on God through prayer and His Word. She is the author of Prayers for New Brides: Putting on God’s Armor After the Wedding Dress. Don’t let the name of the book fool you. Every wife who wants God to do more in her marriage will find it a great devotion and prayer guide.

Jennifer also offers Marriage Armor for the #PrayingBride and Prayer Greeting Cards.  Today she is offering us the opportunity to purchase her cards (which are showcased in the beautiful pictures above), which are prints of her original art with a prayer and Scripture, at 25% off with the coupon: #prayingbride. Start shopping now at jenniferowhite.com/shop.

The Returning by Rachelle Dekker – Book Review

I was given this book by Tyndale Publishing Network with the wonderful opportunity to review it however I wished. All opinions are my own. 

Glorious Summary of “The Returning” by Rachelle Dekker – derived from the back of the book, for who can summarize it better than the book itself? 

“They say the Awakening is coming.
That she’s the key.
But can she find her identity in the light
Before she perishes in the dark?

Twenty years have passed since Carrington and Remko Brant’s baby, Elise, was kidnapped and they were forced to leave her captive in the Authority City. Though they fled with the Seers far from Authority reach, they’ve never given up hope of rescuing their daughter from the man who betrayed them. Now Authority President, he’s ushered the city into a new era of “peace”—one where the Scientist Roth Reynard’s Genesis Serum has eradicated all memory of emotion or rebellion.

But the mysterious Aaron and his Seers are once again on the move, threatening the illusion the Authority has worked so hard to build. As the Seers send seven chosen warriors to rescue Elise and bring restoration to the Authority City, the lines are drawn for a final battle between light and darkness. The key to ultimate victory may rest within the strangely powerful girl who has felt forgotten but was never abandoned—a truth she’ll need to wage war against the powerful forces of evil. ”

My Thoughts:

This book is the third installment of the series.

Upon receiving this book, I wasn’t aware of the previous books at first until I started to read and do some research. I quickly made it my goal to dive in to the series and read all three books before reviewing “The Returning“.

I sped through the books, all whilst trying to do them justice. I found my self-ordained task to be effortless, as these books drew me in, much like her father’s books have always done since I was a little girl. In case you all didn’t realize, Rachelle Dekker is the daughter of the esteemed Ted Dekker, who is also a famous Christian fiction author.

The Returning” came at a perfect time in my life, and I found it to become much more than just an ordinary book. It quickly began re-awakening a lot within my spirit! I even confess that my dreams have become impacted by the words of Truth and Life within these pages written by Rachelle Dekker.  

The words spilled throughout “The Returning” coaxed, soothed, and called to my soul.  Words from the book that cascade over every chapter, and consequently resonates and lingers within the deep cavernous recesses of my weary soul. Words such as, 

“Remember what I call you, beautiful daughter.(pg. 226)”

“Remember who you are. Your identity lies in me alone, and I see you as blameless. Beautiful, perfect daughter. (pg. 226)”

“Remember who you are. You are the light of the world. (pg. 227)”

“Take heart, See beyond what is in front of you. Hear the call; remember who picked you, crafted you, held you through all things. (pg. 230)” 

As a soul who has lived through much abandonment and rejection in earthly terms, and is on a long road of healing and erasing the lies with His truth about who I am, these words were more meaningful to me than I can adequately describe. It was as if Yeshua Himself was speaking directly to me throughout this whole series, and specifically this book, “The Returning“.

I am at a point in my life where I am dealing with a lot of pain and addressing the numerous lies I have believed that have written my personality and self-belief system and fueled my self-hatred and immense feelings of shame.  I have lived as a creature of fear…  but that is NOT who I am!

That is not my identity…

That is not my soul. 

I must call forth the Truth of who I am and REMEMBER.

 

I was leery of this book at first as it seemed almost like a cheesy bible study with a fiction aspect to it, but the more I read and processed, the more I fell in love and realized that I was meant to read this book… and it is anything but cheesy! I resonate a lot with Elise and Carrington in this book, especially with their battles with fear and self-doubt. Elise, even on a deeper level, as she battles with rejection, abandonment and feeling worthless. My adoption and personal life are a testimony of those struggles, as well as His restoration.  

Some of this book confused me at times. Questions such as, who is Aaron supposed to represent? (This is answered below in an interview with Rachelle Dekker by Tyndale Publishers).  Where do these powers exactly come from and how do they manifest?

These were answered more as I read deeper into the book and had self-reflection.

I definitely encourage readers to not be afraid to challenge and ask questions when they read!

A true author will answer your secret questions as you go deeper, or at least guide you on the path to find the answers within yourself… I found this to be very much true in the affirmative with Rachelle Dekker. She is a truly gifted author, in my honest opinion. 

It is intense how palpable the light and darkness (darkness specifically) is in this book, but it speaks to me because I love to see the world with an allegorical eye and it helps redshift my focus back to the reality of our world… peel back the mask of lies and numbness and face the spiritual battle and awakening right before me every moment of my life. 

I just LOVE the quote at the beginning of the book about the mask, which I’m not sure if my reader’s remember, but I have been going through a lot of soul work in being genuine, vulnerable and removing “the mask” in which I find myself hiding behind way too often in a false hope of achieving the veneer of “perfection”, which just leads to living a lie. 

This Quote by Kara Dekker goes as follows – pulled from the beginning pages of the book “The Returning“:

Do you know who I see behind this thick glass?

A distorted image I call me.

But do I really know the person behind the bask, the body, the facade?

For you see, all I’ve ever known is how to attempt to be perfect

And when I fail, my mirror gets darker until all I see is filth. 

Disappointment.

We all live in tainted glass that consumes us.

But do we have to?

What if I decided to wipe my mirror clean?

Pull a lamp string to bring in light.

Forgive myself for my mistakes…what happens then? 

What if I chose to shatter my mirror altogether,

Believe in my beauty and worth and step beyond the 

Fragmented glass

I’d have to live in a world with flawless glass,

Where I never hated myself, never hated others.

Wouldn’t that be a world? 

-Kara Dekker

Interview Questions for Rachelle Dekker by Tyndale Publishers:

Rachelle Dekker -Dreamer, Writer, Child of the Light
  • What themes are explored in this book? Identity is something I am always exploring, so that’s no different in The Returning. But in this novel, I took a really hard look at forgiveness and how that relates to our journey of discovering who we really are.
  • You talk about the power of belief in the book. What is the purpose of faith, and what makes faith so powerful in people’s lives? Belief and faith are everything. We form our own realities. We make judgments based on the past and what we think the future will bring; then we shape our idea of what we are capable of around those beliefs. Imagine if we truly believed we were infinite sons and daughters of the creator. How different would the world look then? When we believe and have faith in who the Father calls us, then the world looks pretty different.
  • Aaron is a somewhat mysterious character throughout the series. What is he supposed to represent and what kind of spiritual leader is he? I like to leave this one open, which I know isn’t really the answer you want. I want the reader to decide who he is to them. For me he’s a guiding light, an angel maybe, a representation of the spirit who communicates with us and leads us. He can be many things—mostly, though, he’s a great way to hear truth.
  • How do you hope this book will resonate with your readers? I hope, as with both of the other books, that the reader sees themselves in the characters and that the story causes them to look inward. To ask hard questions like, Who am I? What am I capable of? Do I see myself the way the Father does? Can I? I hope it challenges their idea of identity and then gives them hope to see themselves and others more clearly. Because that’s how these stories have impacted me, and we are all really just the same.

 

I mean really… NOTHING beats curling up on a couch, in front of a blazing fireplace and reading a book that captures the imagination and soothes the soul. *swoon*

Summary: 

If you are looking for a Christian fiction book that will take you on an adventure of the imagination as well as a self-reflection and growth journey of the soul… then I highly recommend this book! It is just marvelous! I can’t wait to read more from Rachelle Dekker. I am so glad she answered her calling to be a writer, as I am sure she has already touched many lives. I know for sure, her writing has indeed touched my life.

At the very least, I encourage you all to check out her book at this link for more information! You won’t regret it!

Amazon Link (hardcopy and kindle formats available): “The Returning” by Author: Rachelle Dekker.

As always, my kindred spirits,

May you be awakened and renewed by His love for you every morning,

Rebekah Clark

Top 5 Tips for a Happy Marriage

Top 5 Tips for a Happy Marriage

9 years ago today I walked down the aisle to Pacbell’s Cannon and began the adventure that is my life as a Wyoming Girl turned Coastie Wife! It’s been a lot of crazy and a lot of fun, and I can’t wait for the next 50 years of life with my Bob. So here are my top 5 tips for a Happy Marriage in celebration of today!

Also! Just wanted to add a little note to encourage those of you who might *not* feel so happy right now, and that’s is that the biggest tip outside of these is that even happy marriages have un-happy times. That’s the nature of being married and living this thing we call life!

1. Always, always, Stay friends — Spend time together, laugh, joke, play with each other. just make sure that your spouse is your very best friend. During the crazy, insane, hard times that will pull you through like nothing else ever possibly could.

Proverbs 18:24
A man of many companions may come to ruin, but there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother.

2. Fall back in love. Go back from time to time and look at pictures from when you were dating/engaged, go back and re-read your love letters to each other, look at cards, look at presents etc from that time period. Remember WHY you fell in love and chose to spend your life with this person. I have a “Bob album” where I keep all these kinds of things. It makes it easy any time I’m feeling sappy like a few “Awwwws”

1 Cor. 13:7 & 8 Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never ends.

3. Comparison is the thief of joy. You’ve probably seen this quote floating around and that’s because it’s SO good and SO true. Never ever ever compare yourself or your marriage to other couples. Everyone can put on a pretty face or gush about each other on Facebook but you have NO idea what’s going on behind closed doors. Just wish them all the best and hope they have as amazing of marriages as it looks like they do–and work your hardest to keep yours amazing and strong as well. Also realize that each couple is faced with their very own and very unique set of challenges in their marriage. Holding your husband or yourself up to them is an unfair measuring stick for everyone and will leave you feeling unsatisfied or pridefully vain. If you must compare, compare YOU and only you to the instructions laid out in scripture.

James 3:16 ESV For where jealousy and selfish ambition exist, there will be disorder and every vile practice.

4. Be careful little mouth what you say. Other than perhaps your Godly mentor that you share all your life/spiritual struggles with do not EVER speak badly about your spouse in a public way online or off. Be careful of even little things that can under-cut them and wound them. They are already super insecure (we ALL are) so always build them up!

Eph. 4:29 Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear.

5. Find Godly resources on marriage and read, read, read, and re-read them.I have an entire pinboard called Happily Ever After that I use to keep track of amazing blog posts and our bookshelves are full of Christian marriage books-not because we’ve ever had a bad marriage, but just because we want to be so sure to keep having an *amazing* one! Other resources that I love are here:

#1 The Bible — I mean–really. Should go without saying, but I’ll say it anyways. Did you know you can even download it for free for your e-reader or read it online in ESV? Check it out!

Favorite Blogs:

To Love Honor and Vacuum — an amazing blog! She deals a lot with marriage and also wrote the book A Good Girl’s Guide to Great Sex   which is in my very narrow “must read for every married woman” category

The Peaceful Wife — Oh! What a blessing this blog has been to me!! Seriously–she speaks the truth about marriage from God’s word and I always go away convicted, blessed, challenged and refreshed!

Carla Anne — if you’re a wife whose husband has to be gone for long lengths of time for any reason you NEED to aquatint yourself with Carla Anne’s site–and also her book Married Mom, Solo Parent

Favorite Books: (in addition to the two above ^^^)

For Women Only –This book really is everything your husband wishes you knew about him–but would die before telling you himself, or simply doesn’t “get” that you don’t “get”! As I said–this is one of only three books I’d call absolutely MUST HAVE marriage books! It’s a short, easy read but wow, what an amazing little book it is!

Created To Be  His Helpmeet — I feel like I need to give a “disclaimer” now as there are several things about the Pearls that I do NOT agree with and have seen since the time I first posted about this book. In fact most of the other Christian authors I love to read who write about marriage dislike the Pearls very much. This book for me, however, was my “lightbulb” book. It helped me to open my eyes to so many things in my marriage and I am so very grateful to it. Also her chapter about the three different kinds of men changed my life–if you ONLY get it to read that one chapter, it would be worth it in my eyes.

Worth Owning/Reading:

Five Love Languages by Gary Chapman — a very popular book that added another layer to the love and understanding in our marriage–a great one to own!

The Language of Love and Respect — another good read!

The Love Dare & The Respect Dare are both worth owning and doing! Oh and watch Fireproof with your spouse for a date if you never have!

Proverbs 15:22 Without counsel plans fail, but with many advisers they succeed.

Are you happily married? Please share your favorite tips and best advice in a comment below!

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Mom Seeks God by Julia Roller Book Review

It seems only appropriate that I’m writing this review about a week late. You see–last Monday (as in April 28th) I came down with THE flu–you know, not the bad cold, or the “oh I think that this might be the flu” bugs–but the read bon fida Influenza A. I know for sure because I thought that I might have a sinus infection again–so I went into the walk in clinic where they tested me, which is how I found out it was the “real deal”. I promptly “call in sick” (which is not an easy task to do when you work from home) and spent the rest of the week in a huge bundle of misery and pain either on the couch or in my bed.

You see–when you’re a Mom life in general can be a challenge–trying to seek God in the middle of all the utter chaos? Well some times it can feel nearly impossible!

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AHA by Kyle Idleman

AHA by Kyle Idleman Book Review

 

AHA: The God Moment That Changes Everything by Kyle Idleman is a book that takes the (what can sometimes seem) overly familiar parable of the Prodigal Son and shows through multiple real-life examples just how modern and relevant this tale is today—for “sinners and saints” alike! The title stands for Awakening Honesty and Action – and goes through how important each step is for a change to be long lasting and true. One step while not paired with the other two is common but makes it so that real change never happens.

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Return to Me by Lynn Austin

Brautkleid Spitze

Return to Me by Lynn Austin

I’m not sure how an avid reader like me somehow missed the memo–but until recently I was unaware that there was actually a wide variety of Biblical Fiction to choose from! I’ve always loved Biblical fiction and really enjoyed stories like Ben Hur and The Bronze Bow, and even wrote a short biblical fiction story of my own for young authors when I was in elementary school!

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Preschool Book – Bumper Wipe Clean Activities

Preschool Book Bumper Wipe Clean Activities
I can’t say no to anything that = educational + Bible! So I happily signed up to review this great wipe clean book. All adorable kiddos, squiggly lines, and extra markers are my own.

As I’ve mentioned before my favorite kind of preschool activity books are the write-on, wipe-off kind! Not only is it much easier for kids to be able to master things when they’re able to repeat them, these books, when made well, are perfect for passing along to siblings!

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Jennifer by Dee Henderson

Jennifer by Dee Henderson
Legalese Nonsense: I love reading–even more I love it when I get sent books to read and then get to give you my thoughts on them! Since companies love it too I was sent a copy of Jennifer in exchange for my nitpicky thoughts which are, as always, all my own!

Jennifer by Dee Henderson

Thanks to my Mother-in-Law a few years ago I was introduced to the O’Malley Series by Dee Henderson. She gave me the books to read through and I laughed, smiled, and zipped through them quickly. After I finished the series one thing that bothered me.  I felt that since Jennifer O’Malley was such a central character to the entire plot of the series it was a shame that we got to see the love stories of the rest of the family–but we completely missed hers other than the few times it’s represented throughout the series.

Because of this sentiment I was so happy when I found out that Dee Henderson was coming out with Jennifer’s story–the story behind the series. I was also curious how much it would include, when it would start and stop, and how the relationship between Jennifer and Tom would begin.

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Firsthand by Ryan & Josh Shook

Firsthand by Ryan & Josh Shook
Legalese Disclosure Nonsense: I love to read so places like Blogging for Books are some of my favorites! They sent me a copy of Firsthand so I could read it and share my thoughts with you. All late night, earmarked pages, and ponderings of spiritual matters are my own.

Firsthand by Ryan & Josh Shook

I was blessed in that I spent virtually all my life growing up in church. Sunday morning, sunday night, church camp, youth group–you name it, I was there! And while this was a huge blessing for me, it also is super easy to fall into a rut when you’re spoon fed “the right answers” your whole life. It’s easy to see church as a chore and Christianity as one big long list of what you can do and what you can’t do. So when I heard about Ryan & Josh Shook and their book Firsthand: Ditching Secondhand Religion for a Faith of Your Own I was eager to read it because I was sure I’d be able to relate!

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