Sermon Illustration: The Wedding Prayer
Every time I have an opportunity to officiate a wedding, I do my best to include a prayer I found many years ago from Al Jackson (full disclosure: this is only one of many things I have “borrowed” from him!). And, every time I pray this prayer over the married couple, I am asked – without fail – where they can get a copy of the prayer.
Preacher, the next time you have the chance to lead out in a wedding ceremony, I highly recommend praying this over the couple at some point in the service. Not only will it bless the couple, but others will want the prayer to pray over their own marriage and/or others needing the truths it reveals.
Heavenly Father, You have established marriage for the welfare and happiness of mankind. Yours was the plan and only with You can we work it out with joy. You have said, “It is not good for man to be alone. I will make a helper suitable for him.” So we look to You to provide what _____ and will need to have a magnificent marriage.
BLESS _______. Bless him as a provider of nourishment and clothing. Sustain him in all the pressures of this world. May his strength be her protection, his character be her pride, and may he so live that she will find in him the haven for which the heart of a woman truly longs.
BLESS ______ . May she seek not for her adornment to be external only, but that her heart would be adorned with the imperishable quality of a gentle and quiet spirit which is precious in Your sight. Develop in her a tenderness that will make her great, a deep sense of understanding and a great faith in You.
TEACH THEM that marriage is not living merely for each other; it is two joining hands to serve You. Help them resist the evil one. And give them a great spiritual purpose in life. May they seek things which are above, for if they seek first Your kingdom and Your righteousness, the others things will be given them as well.
Now make such assignments to them in Your will as to develop their character as they walk together. Give them enough tears to keep them tender, enough hurts to keep them humane, enough adversity to keep their hands clenched tightly in Yours, and enough success to encourage them in their walk with You.
May they remember that they are insufficient in themselves —that human love breaks down—and that there is never a point in life at which they will not need You in their relationship. May they not expect of each other the perfection that belongs only to You.
May they minimize each other’s weaknesses, be swift to praise and magnify each other’s strengths, and see each other through kind and patient eyes.
When life is done, may they be found then as now, hand in hand, still thanking You for each other. May they serve You happily, faithfully together, until at last one shall lay the other into Your arms. This we ask through Jesus Christ. AMEN.