If you’re in the middle of a tough season in your marriage today, know that you are not alone. In Christ there is light and hope and help, and there is no wound He cannot heal. In this article, Alissa Coburn shares encouraging Scripture for a hurting heart and 5 prayers for a broken marriage that have ministered to her personally during her own seasons of struggle and brokenness.
About four years ago, my husband Josiah and I drove to Williamsburg to pray over a marriage event and the couples who would be there in one week’s time. Instead though, we fought so hard we couldn’t bring ourselves to go into the prayer meeting, and in the hotel parking lot, I remember shouting the word “divorce” at him. It wasn’t my finest moment.
Maybe you’re in the middle of a tough season in your marriage, too, surrounded by an overwhelming number of your own ‘worst moments’ . Friend, you’re not alone. Today, I’d like to share with you some prayers for a broken marriage that have ministered to me deeply during my own seasons of brokenness.
Under each section, I will share several key Scripture verses and a hurting heart then a short prayer to help you begin praying those verses over your marriage.
5 PRAYERS FOR A BROKEN MARRIAGE
1. The Name of Jesus
Have you ever been in such a dark place, so empty and emotionally spent, that you can’t even think of what to pray anymore? I know the feeling. One time, I specifically remember being pregnant and in a heap on the ground, just sobbing. I felt like the Holy Spirit wanted me to get up on my knees and pray—”Just one more time,” He whispered into my heart.
“I don’t want to pray anymore!” I screamed back. “I’m tired of praying! I don’t even have any more words!” But, after a moment, when I realized lying on the floor wasn’t doing any good to my soul or my back, I yelled again, “FINE! One more time, but that’s it.” And as I got to my knees, the only cry that came out was “Jesus.” I sobbed it over and over again, and eventually added the word, “help.” That night at church, healing began for my husband and I. God knew our breakthrough was coming.
Praying the name of Jesus is a simplistic prayer, but the “name that is above every name” (Philippians 2:9) is powerful in its simplicity. If you’re so broken you’re out of words, try crying out “Jesus.” He knows the rest.
If you’re like me, you just saw the word Baal and you were immediately put on guard (as well you should be). However, while baal was a foreign ‘god’ with which Israel was unfaithful, the word is also a common word for ‘Lord’ or ‘owner’ in semitic languages, including Hebrew.
In 2 Samuel 5:20, David is surrounded by enemies, and after an assurance from God that He was with David, the Philistines were quickly defeated. And David said, “The Lord has broken through my enemies before me like a breaking flood.” Therefore the name of that place is called Baal-perazim.”
Our God is the Lord of breakthroughs. No matter how bad things look or how deep the darkness, He can break through.
Lord, you are Baal-perazim, the Lord and Owner of breaking through. You and You alone can burst through this wall of sadness and brokenness in my heart and in my marriage. Burst forth Lord! Bring Your living water and heal the places in my life and heart only You can touch. Break through, Lord! In Jesus’ name, Amen.
If you’re anything like me, waiting for the breakthrough is the worst part. I hate waiting. Because of that, particularly in the last couple years, God has given me quite a bit of practice. But waiting—especially in darkness, pain, and the unknown—is a spiritual skill we must develop in order to reach full maturity.
When I find myself struggling to wait for God’s guidance or deliverance, these are the verses I turn to:
“I waited patiently for the Lord,
and He turned to me and heard my cry for help” (Psalm 40:1, HCSB).
“I believe that I shall look upon the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living!
Wait for the Lord; be strong, and let your heart take courage; wait for the Lord (Psalm 27:13-14)!
“But they who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint” (Isaiah 40:31).
Here’s a little caveat about that last verse because it has frustrated me for years. In the toughest seasons of my life and marriage, I’ve looked at that verse and said, “I love You, Lord, and I’m trying so hard, but I’m so tired! I’m Yours, so I should be able to run and not faint, but I can barely walk, much less fly on wings like an eagle!”
But I’ve learned that the verse doesn’t say, “He who loves God and pushes forward endlessly toward the goal will never get tired.” It says we’re supposed to wait on the Lord—every day, in every season. I know it’s hard, and you might feel like you just can’t wait one more day for things to change, but wait on the Lord, and He WILL give you the strength and stamina you need.
Lord, my heart is so weary, and I’m so tired of waiting for things to change in my marriage. Please help me wait well. Please help me wait patiently even when my flesh cries out to push forward. Turn Your ears toward me, Lord, and hear my cries for help! Let me look upon Your goodness and feel Your life in me. Help me be strong and take courage! I want to feel the joy and energy of a life spent waiting on You, but I don’t feel like I know how. Help me God! In Jesus’ name, Amen.
I consider myself a very pragmatic person; I don’t want to be surprised by anything negative, so I consistently analyze my perspective to ensure I’m being realistic. This makes me an excellent advisor in certain situations, but horrible at hope—for me. I can hope all day for you.
Nevertheless, as followers of Christ, we are called to believe He can heal in the face of death and lead us to victory in the face of defeat. We are called to be people of HOPE.
One of my favorite Scriptures about this is in Romans 8, but if you’re going through hard times in your marriage (or any other area), I suggest just reading the whole chapter until it’s ingrained deeply into your soul. Here, though, are the passages I suggest that are specifically related to hope or belief when it’s hard:
“For in this hope we were saved. Now hope that is seen is not hope. For who hopes for what he sees? But if we hope for what we do not see, we wait for it with patience” (Romans 8:24-25).
“Not only that, but we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us” (Romans 5:3-5).
“May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope” (Romans 15:13).
“Why am I so depressed?
Why this turmoil within me?
Put your hope in God,
for I will still praise Him,
my Savior and my God” (Psalm 42:11, HCSB).
“And Jesus said to him, ‘If you can’! All things are possible for one who believes.’ Immediately the father of the child cried out and said, ‘I believe; help my unbelief’” (Mark 9:23-24)!
Faith Refined Through Hard Times
Going through hard times in our marriages is far from fun, but as we go through them, our faith is refined like gold and hope grows large, despite the desperation of our circumstances—or, in fact, because of it. “All things are possible for one who believes.”
God, I admit my hope that You can or will heal my marriage is waning. I know that I’m supposed to be able to hope in You, despite circumstances, but I’m struggling! I do believe that all things are possible through You, but I also need You to help the areas of my heart that are stuck in unbelief. Help me hope in You, Lord! Shift my mindset from one of flesh, which sees only what’s right in front of me, to one of the Spirit within me, who knows You are in control and can heal my broken marriage and shattered heart. Help me praise You, knowing that I can put all my hope in You! In the name of Jesus I pray, Amen.
In seasons of marital brokenness it’s sometimes hard to hope that you can ever be healed again. Maybe that’s where you are—lying broken in the bloodied battlefield of your home, feeling like Humpty Dumpty, shattered beyond all recognition. But there’s no wound our God can’t heal.
After He brought His people out of slavery in Egypt, He promised He would be Jehovah Rapha: ‘the God who heals them’. The Israelites were not faithful, and many times they were broken as a result of their own sin, but God always came to heal them. He is faithful. Finally, He sent His son Jesus, and through His death and resurrection, we are healed!
If you and your spouse will humbly hand your hearts over to the Great Physician, He can heal you and your marriage.
“He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, that we might die to sin and live to righteousness. By his wounds you have been healed” (1 Peter 2:24).
“Bless the Lord, O my soul,
and all that is within me,
bless his holy name!
Bless the Lord, O my soul,
and forget not all his benefits,
who forgives all your iniquity,
who heals all your diseases,
who redeems your life from the pit,
who crowns you with steadfast love and mercy,
who satisfies you with good
so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s” (Psalm 103:1-5).
“Then they cried to the Lord in their trouble,
and he delivered them from their distress.
He sent out his word and healed them,
and delivered them from their destruction” (Psalm 107:19-20).
“He heals the brokenhearted
and binds up their wounds” (Psalm 147:3).
Lord, You alone know the depths of my brokenness. I don’t feel like this can be healed, but I know feelings are liars. I know You can heal me, God. Help me open my heart up to You to heal it. Show me the areas I’m holding back from You and give me the strength and humility to hand them over so that You can mend my heart so it’s better than new! I pray the same thing for my husband, Lord. Heal his wounds, and heal our relationship! Make us stronger than ever! In Jesus’ name, Amen.
MOVING FORWARD IN HOPE
After experiencing the pain of divorce from our first marriages (both to non-believers), my husband and I vowed the second time around would be different. We had a passion for having a godly marriage before we were even engaged, and because of that and our deep love for one another, we stepped into a common trap: We thought marriage would be easy. We were so wrong it’s almost laughable.
We’ve been married for more than a decade now, and we’ve experienced some seasons of exultant joy and spiritual fortitude and some of utter brokenness and despair. That day in the parking lot was a bad day in a dark time at the end of an awful year. If you’re in one of those seasons now, may I offer you some encouragement:
There is hope. God knows the darkness you’re facing. But in Christ, there is light and hope and help. You are never alone.
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