Last night Geri and I shared God’s vision for Christian marriage (over against secular marriage) with our New Life FIRM small group of 18 people. Among other things, we talked about the necessity of bathing our marriages in prayer if our relationship is to become what God intends. Only God’s power and strength, accessed through prayer, can transform us so that our marriage vocations might become “signs and wonders” of the kingdom of God on earth. I promised our group that I would post the prayer Geri and I pray, separately and together, each day. I often include it in my morning Daily Office. Meditate on it. You may want to memorize it. I don’t necessarily pray these exact words each day, but the rich theology and vision contained here keeps me anchored in God’s high vision for a uniquely Christian marriage. (This is adapted from a pamphlet distributed by the Pastoral and Matrimonial. Read more.
Examples of dirty pain are found throughout Scripture. The Israelites wander for forty years in the desert due to their unbelief. Jonah finds himself in a stormy sea as he runs from God’s will. Abraham experiences years of pain after birthing Ishmael rather than wait on God. Much of our dirty pain in leadership comes from a failure to wait and listen to wise counsel. Hasty staff hires, half-formed plans, sloppy meetings, a turbulent spirit due to a failure to set boundaries, rushed sermons – are a few examples. We don’t learn in dirty pain because we are defending, denying, and avoiding. It is the pain of repeating the same mistakes. I know it well. Examples of clean pain are also found throughout Scripture. Jesus struggles with the Father’s will in Gethsemane. Paul’s pleads to remove a thorn in the flesh. Abraham climbs a mountain to obey God and sacrifice his son. Clean pain. Read more.