Spiritual Disciplines of the Christian Life: Devotions in Marriage

A suffering marriage can be explained by many issues: lack of communication, squabbling over finances, a severe trial that has driven a wedge between the spouses, sharp personality differences, disagreement over childrearing, etc. But I wonder if most marriage problems, if not all, grow from one basic root: prayerlessness. Satan is working feverishly hard to break up marriages—is that not evident today? The devil knows well how quickly a marriage without prayer and scripture spirals downward.

Do you value your marriage? Search the scriptures with your spouse. Do you desire a strong relationship? Pray with your spouse. This is one of the disciplines of the Christian life.

Here are some practical guidelines for approaching this worship within marriage.

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Spiritual Disciplines of the Christian Life: Praying in Personal Devotions

I provide below some guidelines, this time for individual prayer. The list is not exhaustive. I encourage the reader to add more guidelines.

1. find a good place

2. choose the right time

3. color your prayers with God's Word

4. address personal needs

5. pray from the heart

Such a prayer life requires discipline. Such worship of God requires commitment and resolve. Consistent, heartfelt prayer is hard work, and not without its challenges, as any child of God will testify. But God will give grace. Pray for that grace—the grace to pray! Pray, for prayer is “the chief part of thankfulness which God requires of us; and also, because God will give his grace and Holy Spirit to those only who with sincere desires continually ask them of him, and are thankful for them” (Lord’s Day 45, A. 116).

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Spiritual Disciplines of the Christian Life: Challenges

We want to notice the internal and external challenges to this pursuit of godliness, and thus the need to persevere in these spiritual disciplines. I present here three such challenges (laziness, busyness, and the entertainment and technology craze); I am sure you can add to the list...

The calling of the Word of God is clear: as a good soldier of Jesus Christ, as one running the race of this life, persevere. Be disciplined, committed, and consistent in the study of the scriptures and in prayer. This is necessary in the life of the child of God—this concerns our spiritual health and strength! We must be strong to serve our God, strong to fight against sin, and strong to live faithfully in the calling that God has given to each of us.

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A New Year's Prayer

Come, Lord Jesus. 

We wait upon Thee as watchers wait for the morning. 

In the meantime, our God, establish Thou the work of our hands. Preserve and defend us over against all the onslaughts of the powers of darkness. Give us Thy grace to realize that with Thee we are always the victors. 

Use us, Thy willing servants, according to the talents entrusted to us, in the midst of our families, in the midst of Thy people, in a present evil world, wherever Thou dost place us, that we may in our small way be instrumental toward the coming of Thy kingdom and the glory of our Father's name. 

Keep us close to Thee, that in Thee we may experience close communion of life with our God, resting assured at all times, that, come what may, his is the kingdom, the power, the glory forever and ever. 

Come, Lord Jesus, according to Thy promise, that when all our works are burned as straw and stubble, Thy work in and through us may be our eternal reward. Yea, the work of our hands, establish Thou it. 

Yea, come quickly! Amen.

___________

This portion was taken from the latter part of the article that Cornelius Hanko wrote in the January 1, 1997 issue of the Standard Bearer.

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