Having borrowed, bought and scrabbled together some finery to wear, we went to our first American wedding yesterday. It was an evening affair (as per tradition here) in a beautiful old warehouse-style building. Groomsmen, bridesmaids, braces and beards as well as honest, sincere declarations and promises before God, and a crowd of family and friends. A simple, genuine ceremony for Jim and Janna, who were so clearly loved and supported by all who were there. We felt very privileged to be there.
Brotherly speeches and best friend’s addresses brought some tears, but for me, it was this Puritan Prayer read by the groom’s father that moved me. It manifests the richness, depth and wonder of marriage but firmly anchors it – and this wedding – in the plans and purposes and grace of God.
A slightly longer read, but worth it:
Oh God of love, 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 that “It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him a helper fit for him.” Now their joys are doubled since the happiness of one is the happiness of the other. Their burdens are now halved, as when they share them, they divide the load.
Dear Father, we would ask that you would bless Jim. Bless him as a provider of nourishment and raiment and sustain him in all the expectations and pressures of his daily battles. May Jim’s strength be Janna’s protection, his character her boast and her pride, and may Jim so live that Janna will find in him the haven for which the heart of this woman truly longs.
And dear heavenly Father, we would ask you to bless Janna. Give her tenderness that will make her great, a deep sense of understanding and sure faith in You. Give her inner beauty of soul that never fades; that eternal youth that is found in holding fast to the things that never age.
Teach Jim and Janna that marriage is not living merely for each other, it is two uniting and joining hands to serve You. Give them a great spiritual purpose in life. May they seek the kingdom of God and Your righteousness and the other things shall certainly be added unto them. Loving You best, they shall love each other the more, and faithful unto You, faithful unto each other they will be. May they not expect that perfection of each other that belongs alone to You. May they minimize each other’s weaknesses, be swift to praise and magnify each other’s points of comeliness and strength and see each other through a lover’s kind and patient eyes.
Now make such assignments to Jim and Janna on the scroll of Your will as will bless them and develop their characters as they walk together.
Give them a little something to forgive every day that they may grow in the grace of longsuffering. Give them enough tears to keep them tender, enough hurts to keep them human, enough failures to keep their hands clenched tightly in Yours and enough success to make them sure they walk with You. May they never take each other’s love for granted but always experience that breathless wonder that exclaims, “out of all this world, you have chosen me.”
And when life is done and the sun is setting, may they be found then as now, hand in hand still thanking God for each other. May they serve You happily, faithfully together until at last one shall lay the other into the arms of Jesus.
This we ask through Jesus Christ, the great Lover of our souls.
And all God’s people said