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By Penny A. Bragg—
Do you know of a struggling marriage? More than likely you do. Satan is serving up marriages on a skewer and it’s tearing our nation apart.
Every troubled marriage has the hope of being a saved marriage. In our work as marriage missionaries, my husband and I have seen many miracles occur in these shattered relationships through prayer. As a result, we’ve refined our prayers to cover most of the issues that marriages in crisis face, using the acrostic CRISIS. The prayer suggestions and scriptures in this post are not listed in any particular order, however, I firmly believe each individual spouse’s intimate relationship with God (or lack thereof) is where crisis ends and reconciliation begins.
Conviction – Often times, there is an unwillingness on the part of one or both spouses to own up to their part of the breakdown. Regardless of what has transpired, pray for both parties to stop pointing fingers at each other and, instead, bring their own individual hearts before God in daily examination. May each spouse humble him/herself, confess their sins, repent, and ask God for forgiveness. If there is a “prodigal spouse” fleeing the marriage, pray that he/she would quickly get to the “bottom of the bottom,” come to Christ in repentance, and seek His forgiveness. Then, do the same thing with his/her spouse and family with a sincere heart and desire to change sinful patterns and divisive behaviors. Psalm 51, John 8:1-11, Romans 3:21-26
Resources – It is vital to equip willing spouses with biblically-based reconciliation resources. Many times, only one spouse is interested in working on the marriage Pray not only for the reconciliation resources needed, but that hearts would be open to using these materials, seeking God’s wisdom, and following a path toward reconciliation. 2 Corinthians 5:11-21, Proverbs 2:1-11
Intimacy – There is always an intimacy issue involved when a marriage is in crisis. Pray for both spouses to strengthen their individual intimate relationships with God. Pray that whatever forms of “counterfeit” intimacy have come into play in the marriage (such as addictions, affairs, idolatry, career pursuits, strongholds, etc.) will be acknowledged, and that a pursuit to discovering individual wholeness and healing in Christ be the highest priority. 2 Corinthians 10:3-5, John 4:1-28
Stability – Due to the emotional upheaval of a marriage in crisis, most routines, procedures, and schedules are completely disrupted. Pray for normal routines and procedures to take root, especially for the sake of the children involved. Pray for adequate rest, a balanced diet, exercise, regular school/work and church attendance to be established and consistent. If there are children involved, pray for their emotional stability and safety by “clothing” them in God’s spiritual armor through prayer. Romans 8:15-17, Ephesians 6:10-20
Intervention – When a marriage is in crisis, it is necessary to pray for intervention on several fronts. First, pray for the Divine intervention of our Almighty God to come against all forms of retaliation, harm, and/or plans for harm, division, divorce, etc. Ask God to restrain all the evil that Satan has launched to damage the marriage so the truth and love of God can miraculously intervene and pierce the darkness. Pray against a spouse making desperate attempts to pursue his/her prodigal spouse, and instead, to redirect that energy toward pursuing God. Finally, pray for both spouses to restrain from making emotionally-based decisions, listening to opinions of those who want to divide the marriage, and/or pursuing legal action. Pray that they would forgive one another. Colossians 3:12-14, Matthew 19:5-6, Malachi 2:15-17
Support – Pray for at least one godly accountability/prayer partner to come alongside each spouse to support the reconciliation process and provide wise counsel. Pray for a person who will meet with and mentor each spouse on a weekly basis to keep him/her focused on God. If one spouse has been abandoned, pray for the anchoring hope of Christ to support him/her as the battle wages long. In addition, pray for the establishment of a well-rounded support system to help shoulder the crisis, especially where emotional needs of spouses and children are involved. Proverbs 4:1-9, Hebrews 6:17-20, Romans 15:13
Remember, even when only one spouse wants to work on the marriage (which is often the case) let God work with the one heart He has. Many marriages have turned around because one spouse focused on God. NOTHING is impossible for Him!
Penny A. Bragg spent the majority of her professional career in the California public school system as a teacher, principal, and district administrator. Through the miraculous reconciliation of her marriage after an eleven-year divorce and a distance of 3,000 coast-to-coast miles, God led Penny and her husband, Clint, into fulltime ministry in 2006. Together, they serve as marriage missionaries—sharing their testimony of marital restoration across the nation and abroad during their 40-Day Marriage Mission Trips. Through Inverse Ministries, their non-profit organization, Penny and Clint have written extensively about the ministry of reconciliation including their upcoming book, Marriage on the Mend—Healing Your Relationship After Crisis, Separation, and Divorce (Kregel, 2015). In addition, Penny ministers to those who, like her, have experienced traumatic loss. Her book, “For Those Who Weep—A Grief Response Journal,” (Redemption Press, 2014) is available at www.ForThoseWhoWeep.com.