The Right Way to Use Prayer to Rebuild a Struggling Marriage

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Prayer is a great thing, and it can change things. However, many people have the wrong idea about prayer. They see it as a magic pill to resolve the problem. Some think that if you pray the “right” prayer, pray hard enough, or believe in a positive result, then the result you want will happen. It doesn’t work that way. 

The right way to use prayer to rebuild a struggling marriage is first to understand that God can’t be manipulated. There is no magic formula that forces Him to save your marriage. God can only do what we allow Him to do; part of that is allowing prayer to work within your heart and change you. 

Read further to understand more about how prayer can help rebuild a marriage that is struggling. 

What Is Prayer?

Prayer is pretty simplistic in the definition. It’s talking to God. Communicating with God isn’t so different than talking to a best friend or a parent. You share your heart and your struggles and ask Him to help you deal with them in an acceptable way. 

The reason why prayer sometimes fails people is because of one of two things. Either they are just reciting a prayer they heard is supposed to work, which is kind of like a ritualistic spell when you think about it, or they don’t allow it to change them internally. 

They want the other person to change. They want the situation to change without putting effort into it themselves or accepting responsibility. That isn’t an earnest prayer but a selfish prayer. It is a prayer that not only will God not answer but can’t answer because He is holy. 

How Does Prayer Work?

Prayer works when you are willing to let God do whatever He wants in your life and your partner’s life to accomplish His will. It’s wanting the best for your partner as well as yourself. It works when you offer true repentance for your role in the situation and ask God to make you a better person even if the situation doesn’t change. 

All of this takes some profound faith to do. After all, it could be that your spouse loses their job after your prayer. Losing a job can initially make life harder on you. You may feel like God allowed the opposite to happen after you prayed.

Yet, all of it could be a part of God’s plan to heal your marriage by moving both of you in a different direction. The key is how you look at the situation.

Internalizing Prayer

Praying for a spouse to change while you are unwilling to do so does no good. That idea is rooted in ego, resentment, and unforgiveness. The first step to successfully praying for a struggling marriage is to admit you have sinned too. 

It may not be an overt sin like addiction or adultery, but unforgiveness, harsh words, and pride are sins too. You must set those aside. 

You must also be willing to let God work through you to rebuild a struggling marriage. This is important not only for the person praying for their marriage but anyone praying for a struggling relationship. 

Allowing God to work through you isn’t always easy. We must consciously decide we will follow God’s desires rather than our own. That means sometimes doing the hard thing like apologizing.

Understanding Certain Truths

Before you begin in prayer, you must recognize some truths that you may be struggling with, including:

  • You have no power over your mate and your marriage.
  • You may have unrealistic expectations contributing to the problems in marriage.
  • The only one you can change is yourself.
  • It may be up to you to take the first step to reconcile.
  • God still expects you to meet your spouse’s needs in marriage.
  • The answer to prayer doesn’t come in sin.
  • It will take time to rebuild your trust and friendship.

Some of this is self-explanatory, but a few of these need further explanation. You may be angry with your spouse, but that doesn’t negate your marital responsibilities. You are still responsible to God for your part in the marriage. 

That includes providing for the household, fiduciary integrity in finances, providing for your spouse’s emotional and physical needs, and helping manage the home. Continuing to do these things is challenging if you still have unforgiveness and resentment. 

You may experience a temptation after praying for your marriage. The answer to prayer never comes in sin. That person flirting with you isn’t the answer to your prayer and isn’t your way out. 

Anyone praying for their marriage and continuing to honor God in marriage must realize that their commitment will provoke God to honor you and answer your prayer. 

Prayer and Fasting

Many people find that fasting works well with prayer. Fasting does several things. First, it solidifies your commitment to God over the situation being prayed over. Second, it puts your heart in perspective regarding the situation. 

Turning down a meal because your marriage is more important to you, in effect, makes your marriage a priority in your life. That, in itself, can change things. 

Fasting doesn’t just happen. Start small with one meal,  assuming you are physically healthy enough to fast.

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Seek Help

Many books exist to help those who are struggling with marriage issues. The book “The Love Dare” is an excellent place to begin because it takes you through ways you can overcome a struggling marriage with purposeful activities that change your mindset and improve intimacy along with prayer. 

The movie “Fireproof” goes along with the book and can offer some inspiration and insight. 

You may need help to deal with marriage issues while you continue to pray. Those who feel they need extra support to help their marriage should consult with their pastor or seek a counselor by phone, online, or through a certified marriage counseling service.

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