Another day, another story of a crumbling marriage making its way to my ears, slumping my shoulders and squelching my spirit.
Another man falling for the lie that his family ought to be led with an iron fist and roaring tones rather than a loving hand and gentle admonitions.
Another husband believing the deceptive whisper, “She’ll make you feel so much better than your wife can.”
Another father enslaved by sin, shackled in a prison of his own making, practically helpless to offer his children the gentle strength and attentive wisdom they so desperately need from him.
Another man who has claimed Jesus’ name, and rather than walking in the freedom He died to secure him, is limping along through life. Gutted of purpose. Emptied of the glory God wants to filter through him. Drained of faithfulness. Righteousness. Strength.*
Heavenly Father, only You know the true depth of my heartache over this. Not just this particular marriage, but all of them.
My heart is grieved, Lord.
I’m grieved in that hard kind of way that feels like a twenty-pound weight lodged in my chest.
Your glory, Lord…
it’s being challenged.
Your Name sullied.
Your reputation at risk.
One of the hardest things, God, is that I feel so helpless.
Time after time I have to stand by and watch men destroy, shred-by-shred, families I dearly love.
And there’s not a thing I can do to stop them.
Except offer this prayer and a thousand others like it that honestly feel all-too-meager sometimes.
Meager…except for the grace of this promise:
“The effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much.”
James 5:16 (NKJV)
Would You please not let them be deceived about the state of their hearts before You?
If they’re not saved, let them not think they are. And if they are saved, impress upon their hearts that they belong to You, and that their bodies aren’t their own, but have been bought with a price.
Lord, if they’re harboring secret sin, please convict their hearts. And please let them not view Your conviction as something to flee. Help them to see it as the gift that it is – the extended invitation to run back toward an intimate relationship with You.
Give them tender hearts that are sensitive to Your Spirit, and willing hearts that surrender. Help them to agree with you about their sin, and to turn from it. Grant them a disgust for sin and even a righteous anger toward it, that they’ll be attracted to it no longer.
O Lord, strengthen them in their innermost parts. Please enable them to be strong in the Lord and in the power of Your might. Remind them, Lord, to put on Your armor, and grant them the grace to do so.
God, I beg You to let them abound still more and more in real knowledge and all discernment, so that they may approve the things that are excellent, in order to be sincere and blameless until the day of Christ; having been filled with the fruit of righteousness which comes through Jesus Christ, to the glory and praise of God.
Yes, Jesus. Help them grow in discernment and approve what is excellent, and run like the dickens away from everything else.
When faced with temptation, grant them the grace to seek the way out that You promised.
And the strength to take it.
And Father, the most important thing I could ask for them is that they would draw near to You. That they would linger long in Your presence, feasting on Your Word and falling to their knees in prayer.
Enable them to resist and overcome the innocent distractions and not-so-innocent indulgences that dampen their appetite for You.
May they thirst for You, panting after You as a running dear pants after the water it needs to sustain its very life.
And Lord, may You consume them with a love for You that is genuine and passionate and far more alluring than anything this world can offer.
I implore you, Father, to raise up Christ-following men who are devoted to You as their Master, and who lead their families first by serving them.
Men who walk in truth.
Men who love tenderly, sacrificially, and unconditionally even as they have been loved by You.
Men who seek justice, love mercy, and walk humbly with their God.
Father, even though it’s so hard to believe right now, I’m choosing to remember the truth that You will be victorious.
I’m choosing to remember that Your glory will not be ignored forever.
I’m choosing to believe that You’re caring for wives and children, tenderly healing their broken hearts and binding up their wounds.
And I’m choosing to believe that You are strongest, and that with You, nothing is impossible.
I stand with other believers who echo this prayer with me. We come before Your throne boldly, making intercession for these, our brothers.
We know that You hear. We believe that You’re strong enough to answer. And we trust that You’re kind enough to want to.
In Your precious name I pray,
*I realize that men are not the only ones who sin against God and their families in the way I’m describing. But men have been the perpetrators of several recent incidents in my personal life and in the public eye, and I believe that is why this prayer has been on my heart.