Excerpts from the
Couple Prayer Series
"Generations will reap what you sow"
We hope that this final Handout of the Couple Prayer Series will be a blessing to every couple
in that it casts the blessings of Couple Prayer into a larger light for all of us.
Of course, we especially hope it will be a blessing for those raising children or grandchildren.
Please give thoughtful consideration to the promise, “Generations will reap what you sow.”
Keep this sheet. Read it in the months and years ahead, recognizing again and again what God has begun in you, and why.
Consider that generations are involved in your commitment to pray together as a couple today.
This gift is not just for you, and it’s not just for now.
Your children are involved. Your grandsons and granddaughters are involved. Your great-grandchildren are involved. Wheels have been put into motion for times and places and people beyond your vision; times and places and people well beyond any present sighting of what Couple Prayer might mean to you today.
The whole family of your son or daughter may be brought into the heart of God thirty or forty or fifty years from now through what God has put into motion over the past six weeks in you and in your marriage-relationship through Couple Prayer.
The mission that your great-grandchild may live out someday to bring a million people to God in some given place, in some given year, may literally have already begun to turn and move slowly forward through the prayers you prayed together yesterday, even for a few minutes, as simple as those prayers might have been.
We cannot see with certainty all the hidden plans of God, or measure his movements. But we do know with absolute certainty that God is calling us to pray together as married couples. And we know that no prayer is ever shared in faith and in love without altering the balance of the activity of God.
So this is our appeal to you, and our final prayer for you, in closing this Series: “Fan into a flame the gift of God that is in you.” (2 Timothy 1:6)
Fan into a flame this extraordinary free gift that God has spread out before you in Couple Prayer.
Don’t let that flame burn out, not for as long as you live.
Generations will reap what you sow.
"The great leap forward is Couple Prayer"
From Session One: "The Blessings of Couple Prayer"
The great leap forward toward seeing all that God has in mind for you and your marriage -- all that God knew and intended that your marriage was meant to be, even from Day One -- is praying together as a couple. It's making the decision that your pressing in together for the company of God in shared prayer for even a few minutes every day is as important to you as brushing your teeth, or answering the phone, or watching TV, or checking your email, or going on the internet, or any of the other things that we all do without fail every single day simply because they’re important enough to us that we've decided to make them a daily priority.
Jesus says “only one thing is necessary.” (Lk 11:1) Only one thing. And that is to step away from all the busyness crowding into our daily lives and simply spend a few minutes of our time focused on his company, focused on telling him what’s in our hearts, and focused on listening to what it is he has to tell us.
And the blessings of taking those few minutes each day to focus on the company of God with our spouse even go beyond the extraordinary fact that God responds to our prayers.
When we make the choice to pray together every day, even for a few minutes, we find that every single factor proven to make marriages better and stronger and more satisfying increases dramatically. Intimacy levels soar. Mutual respect, faith, marital satisfaction, trust, communication levels, everything soars. It’s like a tapestry; it all gets better because it’s all connected, one improvement interwoven with and strengthening all the others like the strands of the cord spoken about in the book of Ecclesiastes. “While one may be overpowered and two may defend themselves, a cord of three strands is not easily broken.” (Eccl 4:12) Three strands, as in you, your spouse and God, together in Couple Prayer.
Discovering in real-life ways more and more of what your marriage was always meant to be is a gift beyond words. Being able to make those discoveries through something as easy and gratifying as sharing the warmth and intimacy of a few minutes of Couple Prayer every day is a miracle.
"Beg God for revelation"
From Session Four: "Praying with Scripture Together"
When Jesus was asking his disciples who they thought he was, Peter answered, “You are the Christ, the Son of the Living God.” Jesus replied, “Simon son of Jonah, you are a happy man! Because it was not flesh and blood that revealed this to you but my Father in heaven.” (Mt 16:16,17 NJ)
Scripture is the mother-lode of resources for our prayers, but one thing we’d ask you to consider when you go to the scriptures together is this: the thing that was such a blessing to Peter on that important day was not just about Peter getting educated. What Peter was being blessed with was revelation! It was like Jesus was saying, “Wow! No human being could have told you that, Peter. That was an insight from the Father! What a happy man you have a right to be! God the Father, personally, just gave you a gift of revelation!”
Peter experienced a priceless gift in the middle of that conversation, a gift through which the Father “opened Peter’s mind” so he could understand a much deeper reality than simply being educated by other people could ever have revealed to him. (Just as the disciples themselves were given a gift of revelation by Jesus, when, after talking with them about the prophecies concerning his death and resurrection, “Jesus opened their minds to understand the scripture.” Lk 24:44)
Education draws from what people have experienced, and it’s wonderful. It allows us to take points we want to learn more about and pin them down on a board for analysis like insects in biology class. But it’s about human experience leading to another human experience. Helpful, yes. Also limited.
Revelation is something different. Revelation doesn’t submit itself to human analysis because revelation isn’t drawn from what “flesh and blood” has learned through human experience. It’s about God's “opening our minds” so that we can understand things very much outside humanity’s limited channels. It’s about what Paul wants us to realize when when he tells us that what God is doing for us in Jesus are “things beyond the mind of man.” (1 Cor 2:9) These are, he goes on to say, things so far beyond our experience that they “can only be understood by means of the Spirit.” (1 Cor 2:14)
This is a breathtaking gift. Just to be able to grasp the fact that what almighty God wants to reveal to you and your spouse, personally, in ways that are literally deeper than spoken words, are things “beyond the human mind, all that God has prepared for those who love him” (1 Cor 2:9 NJ) is a breathtaking gift.
Beg God for revelation. That's what we certainly suggest. When you sit down together with the bible to pray, pray first for revelation. Ask God to let something in the scripture you'll read on that day break open for you in deep and even life-changing ways. Because when God lets us cross that line, when we can move from the stuff of human education -- as wise and helpful as that may be – into a moment of revelation, everything is touched; our spirit, our insight, our discussion, our prayer, our marriage, our family, our whole lives.
“The word of God is alive and active…sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the separation of soul and spirit and joints and marrow…discerning the very thoughts and intentions of the heart.” (Heb 4:12) "For the word that comes from My mouth is true. It is My promise. It is irrevocable.” (Is 45:23 NJ)
"The importance of forgiveness"
From Session Six: "Praying for the Power to Forgive Together"
The Lord’s Prayer, which Jesus taught his disciples and the Holy Spirit has preserved so that God can also “teach us how to pray,” is a model so wise and complete and focused that it’s been presented in God's Word for every generation since Jesus and will be for every generation still to come.
That being the case, it means something very important to us that there is just one thing that Jesus chose to include in this extraordinary prayer as being "our part of the deal," so to speak, in our relationship with God. That is, we're going to forgive. “Forgive us our sins as we forgive those who sin against us.” (Lk 11:2)
Everything else in the Lord’s Prayer is our acknowledging God and asking for God's help. Everything but this: “…as we forgive…”
Jesus could have added "...as we love.” Or "...as we act justly." Or "...as we give to the poor." He could have added a whole list of activities tied to the Ten Commandments or to the Sermon on the Mount. But there it is. Only "...as we forgive..."
And the reason, we want to suggest, is this: Jesus held forgiveness up for special attention in that place and that time because forgiveness is why Jesus came. It is what Jesus is all about. It is the core of his entire ministry on earth. It is his heart.
In Jesus, Forgiveness was made flesh and dwelt among us.
And so forgiveness was Jesus’ constant appeal, his constant activity, his constant focus. He lived it, he taught it, he begged it, he commanded it, he modeled it, he gave it to others even when no one was even asking him for it. It was the first gift the Holy Spirit gave to his disciples when Jesus breathed on them and prayed (Jn 20:23) and it was the forever-gift that he gave to us when he sacrificed his life so that “…sins may be forgiven.” (Mt 26:28)
That’s why we focus so directly on “Welcoming the Power to Forgive” in the closing session of the Couple Prayer Series.
Forgiveness frees the forgiver. Forgiveness makes change possible. Forgiveness lets our lives proceed with new business. Forgiveness frees us from somebody else's nightmare.
We can go to any analyst, any counselor, any psychiatrist or psychologist, any wise friend we may have -- we can line them up and click right through them, one-by-one, right down the line -- and not a single one of them will ever be able to give us the power to forgive. The best any of them can do for us, if they're very skilled, is to help us identify why we find it hard to forgive. They can't give us the power to be free from unforgiveness.
But Jesus can. And Jesus wants to. And Jesus will. If we let him.
He'll not only forgiveness for our sins, but he'll give us the power to forgive, as well. The power to pray every word of the Lord’s prayer from our heart. The power to forgive those who sin against us, and even the power to forgive ourselves, which is a miraculous freedom virtually every one of us desperately needs.
"When the Son of Man sets you free, you will be free indeed." (Jn 8:36)
In response to suggestions from visitors to this site, the following excerpts offer brief sightings into a few of the main presentation themes
in the Couple Prayer Series. We hope you'll find them meaningful. We hope you'll find them helpful.