For the entire month of February, I have prayed specifically for couples who are struggling in their marriage. I have prayed for them by name, I have wept over them and poured my heart out to God begging for the enemy’s stronghold to be removed from homes, families, and relationships. Some would say I pray in vain because marriages will always struggle — they have since the beginning of humanity. I can agree in part, but not the whole.
I agree that as long as we are in this world, we will have tribulation, trial, heartache, and struggle. Jesus told His disciples this before His ascension (John 16:33), and we know it to be true because we all suffer heartache and none are immune. Where I do not agree is that prayer is in vain. 28 days ago, my list of couples was 10. Today, it is 44. I didn’t go out seeking these names, they came to me. As I shared the burden God laid on my heart to pray, more and more couples contacted me and asked me to pray specifically for them, and I have. Some of them I’ve never met; yet, I know God knows them and He knows their heartache. So, I pray.
Healing and restoration doesn’t typically come overnight; it comes in incremental steps. When I see and hear of these healing steps, I rejoice and know that God is at work in relationships. For instance, I received word from one couple that they are going through counseling and things in their marriage are beginning to heal. Another couple is doing the same, and although they have not shared with me specific improvement in their relationship, it is most evident. A month ago, they were contemplating divorce — today, they are attending church together and obviously treating each other with much more respect. I received a text from a friend who thanked me for praying, because “things” in the home were much better. The amazing thing is this friend didn’t know I was praying for their relationship, but God knew what was going on behind closed doors, so He prompted me to pray. One couple experienced salvation, and their relationship is quickly turning around. Another decided to sit down together and talk through some issues they had “swept under the rug” for almost 25 years, and healing has begun. I received word that one couple has started fasting and praying together for answers in their relationship and for their family. They have never fasted and prayed together as a couple, but God is leading them to seek Him more aggressively than ever before in their marriage. This is why I pray.
Still, skeptics would want me to believe that these things would have happened even if I had not prayed. For this, I respond, “Perhaps, but why would I want to run the risk?” If I do not pray for those I love, who will? Running that risk is way too high a price for me — I’ll not bargain with the enemy, lay down my spiritual armor, and walk away. The risk is too much. There is hope and healing in the hands of a loving heavenly Father. He desires that His people pray. And I believe He burdens hearts for areas that He knows needs healing and restoration. Sometimes, He leads us to stand in the gap on behalf of those He loves. He has burdened my heart for my family, close friends, and now a whole list of people who need a touch of the Master’s hand. For this reason, I pray.
It is the last day of February, the love month. Every Thursday of this month, I have fasted, stayed quiet and still, isolated myself from others and prayed — list in hand. At 2:14 every day, my phone alarm has sounded, and I have knelt before my Father (at times, in some very public places) and laid names on the throne room floor, asking God to intervene. Some people have joined me in this effort, while others have probably questioned my sanity and become annoyed by the constant “2:14” reminder on Facebook. It is the last day of February, but God has not lifted the burden from this heart, so it is not the last day to pray.