Just over a week ago one of my best friends, Gary, married his fiancé, Alison. I was given the great honour of opening their beautiful wedding ceremony in prayer. Below is an unedited copy of my prayer. I considered how to make it fit for general use but to have done so would have been to rob it of what, I feel, makes it special: that is concerns one of my best friends and was written for his wedding day. Please feel free to make use of this prayer, in whole or in part, as you pray for your marriage or the marriages’ of your friends (all you have to do is substitute the names!).
As we celebrate the marriage of Gary and Alison we begin by thanking you for sending your Son, Jesus, into the world as it’s Lord and Saviour to rescue his Bride, the Church. He is the epitome of all to which a Bridegroom strives; as one who, in life and in death, poured out his life on behalf of his Bride.
We are grateful that for those of us who belong to you in Christ, as his Bride, he is our perfect Bridegroom. Who, having left the beauty of heaven, humbled himself, becoming like us by taking upon himself complete humanity so as, in concert with his complete divinity, to make complete atonement for our sins and in so doing make us his radiant Bride without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish but instead: perfect, holy, and pure.
We praise you that after making atonement for sin Jesus returned to heaven in victory as our sovereign King who reigns over the whole universe and works all things together for the good of his Bride, the Church.
We thank you for establishing the covenant of marriage for our joy and your glory. And for the profoundly mysterious way earthly marriage reflects Jesus’ relationship with the church, his Bride, and our relationship, as the Church, with our Bridegroom, Jesus.
Today we are especially thankful for our friends Gary and Alison as they embark upon life’s greatest, most challenging, most rewarding relationship into which a man and woman can enter together. As they commit themselves to one another we ask for your blessing to rest on their lives, on their marriage, and on their new family. We ask that they may know the incomparable riches of your grace, expressed in your kindness to them in Christ. We ask that they would make you their refuge in the storms of life and so experience your peace which transcends all understanding, and will guard their hearts and minds in Christ.
We ask that just as you have rescued Gary and Alison from the penalty of sin, that you would continue to deliver them from its power until the day when you finally save them from its presence. Our prayer for them is that, by your grace, you would shape them into harmonious partners in their fight against sin; strengthening them as their love for you and for one another deepens as they read Scripture and pray together, as they sacrificially serve one another, and as they share their lives with their family and friends.
Finally, as we join together in celebration of the joys that lie before Gary and Alison on this their wedding day we eagerly long for the Wedding of the Lamb and of his Bride; and for that greater, eternal day of celebration, the Wedding Supper of the Lamb, when we, together with all our brothers and sisters in Christ throughout all of time, will forever be with our perfect Bridegroom on a new earth in which all sorrow, injustice, and death will have been undone.
To the praise of your glorious grace, which you have freely given us in Christ.