Thank You, LORD, for the awesome message of Christmas:
You stoop down to make us great. (Psalm 18:35, NIV)
How incredible! This is precisely what You did through the stunning miracle of the Incarnation.
You stooped down beneath the stars, beneath a low stable door, entering our world to enter our lives.
You stooped to wash our feet.
You stooped to lay Yourself down upon a cross so that we could rise up into the greatness of knowing You face to face.
Lord, would You help us to flesh out that same Love in our marriages? Please birth in us the willingness to stoop to make our spouses great. Show us how to humble ourselves, laying aside our “garment” of prideful self-centeredness and picking up the “towel” of joyful service.
To do that, we need insight into one another’s true needs; we need discernment to know how to minister well. We relinquish our foolishness and weakness so that we can be filled with Your wisdom and power.
Thank You for the examples of Mary and Joseph in the first Christmas story.
A Prayer for Wives
… God sent the angel Gabriel to Nazareth, a town in Galilee, to a virgin pledged to be married to a man named Joseph, a descendant of David. The virgin’s name was Mary. The angel went to her and said, “Greetings, you who are highly favored! The Lord is with you.”
Mary was greatly troubled at his words and wondered what kind of greeting this might be. But the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary; you have found favor with God. You will conceive and give birth to a son, and you are to call him Jesus. He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High.
“How will this be,” Mary asked the angel, “since I am a virgin?”
The angel answered, “The Holy Spirit will come on you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. So the holy one to be born will be called the Son of God. … For no word from God will ever fail.”
“I am the Lord’s servant,” Mary answered. “May your word to me be fulfilled.” Then the angel left her. (from Luke 1:26-38, NIV)
LORD, we pray that You would enable us to follow the example of Mary. Help us not to be afraid but to know that, if we belong to You, we are highly favored by You, and You are with us. Help us to say each day, “LORD, I am Your servant. In this marriage, I am Your servant.”
When Your plan seems confusing, even impossible, help us to trust Your goodness. As You have promised, LORD, bless us with deep happiness as we believe that You are a faithful Promise-Keeper (Luke 1:45). LORD, give us rejoicing spirits, overflowing with praise (Luke 1:46-47).
A Prayer for Husbands
The birth of Jesus Christ came about this way: After His mother Mary had been engaged to Joseph, it was discovered before they came together that she was pregnant by the Holy Spirit. So her husband Joseph, being a righteous man, and not wanting to disgrace her publicly, decided to break the engagement quietly.
But after he had considered these things, an angel of the Lord suddenly appeared to him in a dream, saying, “Joseph, son of David, don’t be afraid to take Mary as your wife, because what has been conceived in her is by the Holy Spirit. She will give birth to a son, and you are to name Him Jesus, because He will save His people from their sins.”
When Joseph got up from sleeping, he did as the Lord’s angel had commanded him. He married her but did not know her intimately until she gave birth to a son. And he named Him Jesus. (from Matthew 1:18-25, HCSB and NLT)
LORD, we pray that we would follow the lead of Joseph. Chosen by You, may we be “the body armor of God’s righteousness” for our marriages (Ephesians 6:14, NLT). When we feel betrayed or offended, help us not to react out of our own understanding, but to listen to Your voice just as Joseph listened to Gabriel. Enable us to trust You as You speak to us through the Scriptures.
We pray that we would excel in caring for our wives, even when we feel that our own desires are not being met. Like Joseph, may we protect our families, both spiritually and physically. May we be sensitive to the leading of the Spirit, and quick to respond when we hear Your instructions.
A Prayer for Both
Help us, like both Joseph and Mary, to be listening for Your voice. Help us to yield up our own ambitions quickly and to press fully into Your will, confident that You are a trustworthy God. Your love for us is unfailing and fervent. Your wisdom is complete, and Your power is unlimited.
LORD, we pray that You would protect our marriages from all evil, just as You miraculously protected Mary and Joseph. Direct our paths, and help us to trust You, even in unfamiliar and uncomfortable circumstances.
So [the shepherds] hurried off and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby, who was lying in the manger. When they had seen him, they spread the word concerning what had been told them about this child, and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds said to them. … The shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things they had heard and seen, which were just as they had been told. (from Luke 1:16-20, NIV)
Shepherds came to see what You were doing in the lives of Mary and Joseph, and they left amazed, unable to contain their wonder at Your marvelous work. LORD, would you do that in our marriages? Would You help us to hold You in our marriages so that others behold You? Would You please work in our homes so that others see something so fantastic that they are awestruck in Your Presence and full of praise for You?
Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart. (Luke 2:19, NIV)
LORD, make us aware of the things that You are doing in our marriages. And make us aware of all the things within our spouses that we should be treasuring. By Your Spirit, cause us to marvel and give thanks.
Thank You, God-with-us, for stooping to make us great. Thank You for helping us this Christmas to do the same for our spouses.
As we kneel in service to our spouses, we bow in worship and adoration before You.
Be sure to join us every Thursday for our weekly prayer call as we “fight on our knees” for marriages and family.
All photos are from the movie The Nativity Story.
This article, slightly modified, first appeared on StartMarriageRight.com.