A Call to a Week of Prayer for Marriage (w/ Prayer Guide)

On March 26 and 27, the United States Supreme Court will hear arguments in two cases regarding the issue of same-sex marriage. Few issues rise to this level of importance.

These two cases will do much to answer the question for how marriage is going to be viewed in the United States for the foreseeable future. On Tuesday, the Court will hear arguments in Hollingsworth v. Perry (Prop. 8). In this case, the Court is being asked to decide the fate of Proposition 8 in California. At stake is whether or not the people of California can define marriage in their constitution as only the union of one man and one woman.

Photo: Couple praying with Bible

In a worst case scenario in deciding Hollingsworth, the Court could rule unconstitutional the definition of marriage as only the union of one man and one woman, repudiating two and a quarter centuries of American jurisprudence in which marriage has been defined and regulated by each state, not the federal courts. Every state that has passed such laws would be affected. It would also be going against several millennia of the Judeo-Christian definition of marriage.

Pray with us: Monday, March 25, Tuesday, March 26, Wednesday, March 27, Thursday, March 28, Friday, March 29, Saturday, March 30, and Sunday, March 31.

On Wednesday, the Court will hear arguments in United States v. Windsor. That case deals with the constitutionality of section three of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA). The Windsor case creates the possibility that the Court could overturn DOMA in its entirety. DOMA is important at many levels. For one, it protects states that do not support same-sex marriage from being required to recognize same-sex marriages that have been performed in states where the practice is legal.

For another, it provides a standard definition of marriage for all federal programs, assuring that only heterosexual marriage is recognized across all federal government programs. It also provides protections for federal workers from being forced to violate their consciences regarding marriage. If DOMA is overturned, military chaplains will be especially vulnerable to pressures to accommodate an expanded definition of marriage in their ministries.

We also take very seriously the significance of this issue in the eyes of God. God created marriage. At humanity’s beginnings, God created and designed marriage to be only the union of one man and one woman (Genesis 2:18-24). Jesus affirmed this divine intention for marriage (Matthew 19:4-5). No other relationship is marriage.

The rearing of children is one of God’s obvious intentions for marriage. God affirms and understands the need for children to have both an engaged mother and father in their homes. Same-sex marriage will drive a wedge between marriage and God’s intention for the rearing of children (Ephesians 6:1-4).

We should not think that our nation will escape God’s judgment if we redefine what God has already defined. We are certain that the omniscient and omnipotent God is aware of our nation’s debate about marriage and that He is watching what we do. As the Supreme Court hears the arguments on this crucial issue, we ask you to join us in prayer. Below is a simple seven day prayer program to guide you in your prayer time. We implore every Christian to join us for this important period of prayer.

Download the PDF of this Prayer Guide.

MONDAY, MARCH 25:

  • READ Genesis 2:18-24; Proverb 2:6; Matthew 19:4-5
  • PRAY for our Supreme Court Justices by name:
    • Chief Justice John Roberts
    • Associate Justice Antonin Scalia
    • Associate Justice Anthony Kennedy
    • Associate Justice Clarence Thomas
    • Associate Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg
    • Associate Justice Stephen Breyer
    • Associate Justice Samuel Alito
    • Associate Justice Sonia Sotomayor
    • Associate Justice Elena Kagan
  • ASK God to help the justices understand the importance of God’s design for marriage as the union of one man and one woman. Ask Him to give them wisdom to understand the importance of the upcoming hearings on Prop. 8 and DOMA.

TUESDAY, MARCH 26:

  • READ Exodus 4:12
  • PRAY for the hearings in the first case, Hollingsworth v. Perry.
  • ASK God to give the attorneys arguing for Prop. 8 wisdom, clarity of thought, and the right words to speak so they can present their arguments in a logical, persuasive manner. Ask God to help the Supreme Court justices recognize the logic of their arguments and the weakness of the arguments opposed to Prop. 8.

WEDNESDAY, MARCH 27:

  • READ Job 38:36
  • PRAY for the hearings in the second case, United States v. Windsor (DOMA).
  • ASK God to give the attorneys arguing for DOMA wisdom, clarity of thought, and the right words to speak so they can present their arguments in a logical, persuasive manner. Ask God to help the Supreme Court justices recognize the logic of their arguments and the weakness of the arguments opposed to DOMA.

THURSDAY, MARCH 28:

  • READ Isaiah 5:18-25
  • PRAY for the justices as they reflect on the previous two days of hearings.
  • ASK God to bring to their minds an understanding of the strength of the arguments in support of Prop. 8 and DOMA and the weakness of the arguments in opposition.

FRIDAY, MARCH 29:

  • READ Proverbs 21:1-3
  • PRAY for the justices as they wrap up their week.
  • ASK God to bring the justices into a personal situation that both reaffirms and puts a human face on the importance of God’s definition of marriage for adults, children, and society.

SATURDAY, MARCH 30:

  • READ Deuteronomy 6:5-9; Psalm 127:3-5
  • PRAY for the families of the justices.
  • ASK God to help the justices remember the positive contributions their fathers and mothers have made to their own lives. Ask God to watch over the justices and their families.

SUNDAY, MARCH 31:

  • READ 2 Chronicles 7:13-14; 1 Timothy 2:1-6
  • PRAY for the spiritual livelihood of the justices.
  • ASK God to visit each of the justices and speak His words of comfort and conviction to them. Ask Him to bring someone into each of their lives who will remind them of their accountability before God for their own souls and for the sake of the nation. Ask Him to work in a powerful way to bring them to Himself through faith in Jesus Christ if they have never trusted Christ as their Savior. Ask Him to grant a special outpouring of His Spirit on each justice so that they may all be reminded of His love, His power, His presence, and His compassion. Ask Him to convince each justice to uphold His definition of marriage.

Thank you for joining us in this week of prayer. May God hear us and grant our petitions on behalf of our nation. May He restore His blessing on our land.

Dr. Richard Land
President
The Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission
Southern Baptist Convention

Dr. Barrett Duke
Vice President for Public Policy and Research
The Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission
Southern Baptist Convention

Download a PDF copy of this Prayer Guide.

Further Learning

Learn more about: Family, Marriage, Sexual Purity, Homosexuality, Citizenship, , ,

14 Comments

1 On Mar 22, 2013, at 8:52am, Ralph Ringenberg wrote:

Agree wholeheartedly & will pray

2 On Mar 25, 2013, at 7:29pm, Marj. Benedict wrote:

There are many important things on my prayer list for this week, but I believe that defending marriage and begging God on behalf of our nation will be at the top of the list.  Thanks for giving us a plan to aid in our praying.

3 On Mar 26, 2013, at 12:05am, John DeWitt wrote:

Thank you for your stance on this important issue. I pray that every Christian will stand for our Lord’s truth in ALL aspects of life. “Render therefore to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and to God the things that are God’s.” (Matthew 22:21) If Caesar (in this case the Federal Government) wishes people to reject God’s Law, then it is rendered exactly what it attempts to force upon the people - corruption and failing society. However, if we Render to God what is His, we may not escape hardship and difficulty at the hands of the State - but we’ll surely be pleasing our Lord far more than an unGodly Government. And please remember that many of our duly elected State Governments, and their people (particularly in the Midwest and South), are attempting to stand up for Truth - perhaps we should be standing with them by nullifying unconstitutional and unGodly decrees.

4 On Mar 26, 2013, at 11:54am, Mr. O wrote:

Thank you for this prayer guide.
My only issue with this is that there is no prayer for those who are “trapped” in this lifestyle, additionally there is no prayer for the institution of marriage as whole.

Imagine if the world would truly see God’s true intention for marriage between a man and wife and operate at its best, then even if there was laws that supported same sex marriage many would not move forward with it because they see what God’s intention of marriage looks like. This generation has so many poor examples of marriage—high divorce rate, only for a purpose to have an elablorate wedding/social event to be glamourized on television,etc. It is sad in our society, that we have difficulty in arguing that male/female marriages are ideal because of the high divorce rate.

5 On Mar 26, 2013, at 2:46pm, Brett wrote:

“We should not think that our nation will escape God’s judgment if we redefine what God has already defined.” (From the link)

I’m more afraid of the judgment that comes from God for not defending the rights of His children. I once stood against homosexuality, but Christians who used Scripture like Matthew 19 to defend heterosexual marriage with no regard for Christ’s true message of marital sanctity have made realize how embarrassing that stance was.

We can defend an institution and turn our back on people, and Jesus seemed to reserve a special sort of anger for the religious folks who did so. Or we can admit we don’t know God’s Will and pray earnestly for divine revelation, and God forgive us if we err on the side of defending His children’s rights.

As a former member of the Wesleyan Church who still remembers it fondly, I fear God will indeed judge it. I fear the world will move on without it because it failed to serve God. Maybe I will pray that I am wrong.

6 On Mar 27, 2013, at 12:32pm, Stephen Hartman wrote:

Stop hiding your hate, fear, ignorance and bigotry behind the word of God.  You have NO RIGHT to define my life with my partner of 19 years. 

7 On Mar 27, 2013, at 12:59pm, Justin wrote:

Keep religion OUT of Government or PAY TAXES!!! Organized religion has caused more death & destruction on this planet than anything combined all under the name of someone’s GOD. When did religious beliefs give you the right to be a BIGOT? If you are against Gay Marriage, don’t get one. You all claim to be religious when all you are is a bunch of backward, hate filled, bigots. You say your bible says Gay Marriage is a sin? Wonderful, now show me where it says so in the constitution???!!! Keep religion OUT of Government or PAY TAXES!!!

8 On Mar 27, 2013, at 1:06pm, David wrote:

I find it curious that Gen 2:18-24 doesn’t specify that, for man not to be lonely, he must exclusively choose a woman. Some 3-4% of men find companionship with other men, which is not prohibited in this passage. The Matthew reference only relates back to Genesis and condemns divorce. Ephesians has no applicability whatever.

Why do you not mention David’s relationship with Jonathan in 1 and 2 Sam? And Jesus’ healing of the centurion’s slave and servant, do you think the slave only cleaned armor and polished boots? Why are you so hung up on homosexuality, when Jesus clearly condemned divorce and did not judge those who loved others as themselves?

9 On Mar 27, 2013, at 2:25pm, Michelle Roberts wrote:

Jonathon and David had a friendship and nothing more than that. God’s word never condones homosexual behavior. Jesus said that in Mosaic law divorce is allowed in certain instances to protect those involved. In Malachi it says that God hates divorce, but it also says God hates when a man covers his garment with violence.

10 On Mar 27, 2013, at 9:39pm, Della wrote:

Thank you ERLC for giving us a guideline on how to pray this week.

11 On Mar 28, 2013, at 1:51pm, David wrote:

Michelle, you fail to understand 1 Sam 18:1-4, 19:1-7, 20:1-17, and especially 20:30. I submit that you will not find in Scripture a more blatant reference to the intense nature of David’s and Jonathan’s relationship, specifically its sexual component, than in that last passage. As if to cement our understanding of this relationship, read the poem at 2 Sam 1:19-27, taking special note of verse 26.

Read, mark, learn, inquire of legitimate Biblical scholars, and inwardly digest God’s Word. S/he does not withhold his/her love of those who express their love with persons of the same gender.

12 On Mar 28, 2013, at 2:11pm, Michelle wrote:

I have read it and I still disagree. David’s great temptation was Bathsheba who was a woman. He gave in to that temptation and committed adultery with her. His friendship with Johnathon was NOT sexual. This is where our society is confused. Deep love and affection for someone does not have to be romantic. There is agape love which Jesus and His disciples had. Jesus did not sin.

13 On Mar 28, 2013, at 3:20pm, David wrote:

Michelle, I don’t think you did what I asked in so short a time. Don’t blame your own confusion on society. Society follows the Spirit. Give the Spirit time to work in you. It took the Spirit over 30 years to get through to me. Open your heart to others who see with the same integrity.

The issue is love. God is love. For Christians, God’s love is expressed through Jesus on the cross. Jesus commanded us to love one another. We are taught not to judge others, consequently, we cannot state that God “never condone[s] homosexual behavior”. Reflect on the Centurion, two Gospels mention him.

OK, David was beguiled by Bathsheba. he was bisexual! He is the quintessential human, Scripture has taught us to love us faulty humans.

Consult other sources. Engage the community of faith, not just your own pastor, congregation or denomination. Be faithful to Paul’s call to “test everything”. There is much to be discovered about God’s love, which exceeds all bounds of our human knowledge.

14 On Mar 30, 2013, at 10:24pm, Kris wrote:

I find it increasingly difficult to accept sweeping judgements by those “in charge” of our Churches. Christian does NOT mean that you think this way, or that you must. I’m in my 30s, and finding that most Christians below the age of 40 don’t believe as you “voted”.

I also find it strange that the other types of “biblical” marriage are not mentioned here… And I think there are eight types?  Including multiple spouses, marrying your rapist and concubines for God’s leaders. Why?

I pray that our church leaders focus their “money for morality” on things such as “traditional” marriage in our own walls and address the rampant divorce rate. And then teach our children that while we may have ideals, all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God and to love families, just as they are- not as we judge them to be.

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