Welcome to Day #4 of the marriage series! Today, we hear from the saints on the role of prayer between a stressed-out couple.
4. Pray for your family in times of crisis.
If you’re in crisis, now is the time for prayer.
“At the time of darkness, more than anything else, kneeling is helpful.” St. Isaac the Syrian
And St. John Chrysostom:
“Prayer is the place of refuge for every worry, a foundation for cheerfulness, a source of constant happiness, a protection against sadness.” St. John Chrysostom
I know it sounds obvious if you’re religious, but how we pray makes a big difference. To do it properly, let’s first consider what prayer is and what it isn’t.
You see, I’ve wondered a lot of times and I’ve heard a lot of friends wonder, if God is God, and God is unchangeable, how can we lowly humans change his mind with our prayers? Why should he allow it? And what does that say about God’s original decision? Was it a bad one, and is his judgement poor sometimes?
What my priest shared with me once is that prayer doesn’t change God; it changes us. Prayers for other people to see and admit their errors are useless. We must first change ourselves.
St. Porphyrios, who is a favorite of ours, can take it from here:
“Pray for others more than for yourself. Say, ‘Lord Jesus Christ, have mercy on me,’ and you will always have others in your mind. We are all children of the same Father; we are all one. And so, when we pray for others, we say, ‘Lord Jesus Christ have mercy on me,’ and not, ‘have mercy on them.’ In this way, we make them one with ourselves.”
He also says this (in reference to bringing up children, but I think it applies here, too):
“Pray and then speak. That’s what to do…if you are constantly lecturing them, you’ll become tiresome and…they’ll feel a kind of oppression. Prefer prayer and speak to them through prayer. Speak to God and God will speak to their hearts.”
Lord, have mercy.
The writer in me is inclined to write for three more paragraphs, but it’s a series on the saints’ wisdom, after all, and they kinda do it a lot better than I do. So I’m gonna call it a day. Come back tomorrow; we’ll address the topic of forgiveness–and not just eventually arriving at forgiveness, but defaulting to forgiveness with your spouse.