During my three-year separation from my husband, God opened my eyes to the fact that I was not just fighting a physical and relational battle for my marriage, but a spiritual battle as well. Breaking through spiritual strongholds to find the victory of a renewed marriage required a powerful outpouring of prayer.
For those who are in a similar battle and want to enlist God's help to fight for your marriage, you must start by recognizing the enemy who wants to destroy your marriage and realize this enemy is not your spouse. It's the same enemy who not only wants to crush us but wants to undermine our God and all he has planned for us. Ephesians 6:12 says, "For our fight is not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, and against spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places."
But how do we fight against an enemy we can't even see? An enemy who lies to us and is set on the destruction of marriages?
Our first act of spiritual warfare is to acknowledge the mighty one who leads the battle, the Creator of the universe and the Lord of hosts. If we want to win the battle, we must know our commander and follow Him. We must fix our eyes on him and the power he is able to give us. And we do this, according to Psalm 100:4a, by entering "into His gates with thanksgiving, and into His courts with praise."
Yes, if we truly want to enter into God's presence and hear His voice, if we want to pierce the darkness and shed the earthly scales that envelop our minds and hearts, if we want to experience His power to defeat the enemy, the path to this profound blessing of God is by entering through the gates of praise.
As earthly beings formed from dust, it's hard to transcend the physical world with all its enticing and demanding sights, sounds and smells so we can connect with a God who often seems remote and unavailable to the physical senses. When we praise God, we remind ourselves of who he is: "For you, O Lord, are Most High above all the earth; You are exalted far above all gods" (Ps. 97:9).
When words of praise form on our lips, we magnify God. As He becomes larger, the enticements and demands of the world become smaller and less significant. That is when we can enter the presence of God.
In praise, we acknowledge the Lord is higher than the heavens—higher than our problems, fear and Satan or any of his plans. We become stronger, not because we are personally stronger in and of ourselves, but because God is stronger within us. With His strength, God gives us courage to stand against the enemy.
Praise as a Weapon
Praise is a powerful weapon that not only brings us healing, but penetrates the darkness around us and begins the work of dismantling the enemy's plans. When Paul and Silas praised God in prison, the gates sprang open, and their chains came loose (Acts 16:25–26). When King Jehoshaphat and his soldiers went to war by praising God, the mighty enemy armies that threatened them were defeated (2 Chron. 20:12- 21).
As you approach God's throne with a hurting heart to fight for your marriage, you may be in so much pain that praising God is the last thing you feel like doing. You want to question God, to ask Him why, to tell Him what you want. You may even be mad at God.
But at times like this, if you can lift your voice in praise instead of giving into your fleshly emotions and your right to feel discouraged and forsaken, it becomes a sacrifice pleasing to God.
Praise not only opens us up to more of God and His presence, but as we enter his gates, we experience His love more intimately. As God is magnified in our hearts and minds, He brings healing to our brokenness. The realization that this mighty God who holds all things together is also our loving Father who wants to bless his children and give us the desires of our hearts is almost too much to fathom.
Praise to Break the Silences
Finally, praise can break through silences. When you praise God, He is near. He is with you. He is in you. He inhabits our praises (Ps. 22:3), and you are more open to hear his voice. In the middle of praising God, you may hear God speaking to you in the still, quiet places of your heart as the Holy Spirit begins to break through the strongholds that have kept out the light. God may give you a word of encouragement, a word of direction or a new clarity about your situation.
During a special morning of praise when I was listening to worship music and praying about a painful situation, God opened my eyes to his larger purpose. As I allowed God to take his sovereign place as King in my heart and emotions, God showed me how to pray for these circumstances and for those involved.
The power of praise is a mystery, but for the children of God, it is a personal weapon that brings the powerful God of the universe to their rescue. When you praise the name of our mighty God, He goes before you into battle.
(Adapted from Fighting for Your Marriage While Separated by Linda W. Rooks, ©2019 New Growth Press.)
Linda W. Rooks, the author of Fighting for Your Marriage While Separated, knows what it's like to fight for your marriage. After being married for more than 20 years, she and her husband were separated for three years before reuniting. They have now been married over 40 years. Today, not only is their marriage thriving, but together they lead a crisis marriage class in Central Florida. As a freelance writer, Rooks' writings have appeared in many national publications, and she has appeared on TV and radio across North America. The Rookses have two married daughters and five grandchildren.
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