Mar 052020 0 Responses

What Jesus Prayed for Your Marriage

If you had one prayer for your marriage, what would it be?

  • Lord, let us love one another.
  • Lord, let us endure the hardships of life.
  • Lord, let us be healthy.

All of those are possible prayers. None of them are wrong. Yet, if Jesus prayed for your marriage, what do you think he would pray:

  • Father, make them know You.
  • Father, let them make much of Me.
  • Father, have them obey.

All would be possible. However, there is one prayer which few couples pray and even fewer consider that Jesus would pray for them. Yet it is a prayer we can confidently say Jesus would pray for us, because we know he did pray it for us. In John 17, Jesus prays and in that prayer, he says, “that they may have my joy fulfilled in themselves.” The “they” in the prayer is for His disciples. Specifically, it’s for the 11 disciples who were with him at the time, but it also applies to the disciples who could come, which includes those who follow Jesus today.

Jesus desired that his disciples would experience joy, both individually and together. If a husband and wife are followers of Jesus, it is God’s design for their marriage to be defined by joy. It’s not the only point for marriage, but it is a fundamental purpose of the relationship.

The relationship between joy and marriage is two-fold.

1. Marriage should benefit from our individual joy.

Like most issues, our first perspective should not be what we get out of marriage, but what we are bringing to it. Joy should first be considered as something we bring into our relationship rather than primarily being something we get from that relationship.

As a follower of Jesus, the joy present in my life is in no way dependent upon anyone else. That joy is solely a gift of God given to me through Jesus. If we don’t have joy apart from our relationship, how can we expect to have it in it? Far too often, people assume they lack happiness because their marriage is bad. What they fail to realize is that their marriage is bad because they lack happiness. The same is true for joy. It is far more our responsibility to bring joy into marriage than to expect to get joy from marriage.

2. Joy should be multiplied because of marriage.

While we bring joy into our relationship, it is also fair to expect to get joy from our marriage. A healthy relationship multiplies our joy. Our partner brings comfort in the times of suffering, connection in the moments of loneliness, and community in which we can share our successes. A good spouse challenges us to grow, encourages us to persevere, and supports us as we pursue our dreams.

At its best, there are few things better than a truly intimate marriage. No relationship is perfect, but even the struggles can add joy to our lives as we navigate the difficulties and as we learn to love one another even when we don’t agree. While there are seasons in which being with another person does not feel joyous, if joy is not an overarching characteristic of your relationship, something is wrong.

Marriage is a place for us to bring our joy and it’s also a source of joy. The fact that Jesus prayed for his disciples to have joy should impact how we view every relationship, including the marriage relationship.


Are you bringing joy into your relationship? Do you have such a vibrant relationship with Jesus that joy overflows from your life and you bring that sense of goodness into your marriage?

Is your marriage a source of joy? Is there an aspect of goodness and gratitude which you would not have if your marriage ended today?

If the answer to either main question is no, something is wrong. It doesn’t mean your relationship needs to end or you aren’t a true believer. It likely means you have failed to understand the centrality of joy to the Christian experience and its impact on every relationship.

Ask yourself, what is preventing me from fully experiencing the joy which Jesus prayed that I would have?

Ask your spouse, what is preventing us from fully experiencing the joy which should be ours because of God’s love for us?

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