I'm feeling battle weary," my friend Cindi told me the other day. "My husband and I are dealing with so many issues right now—family conflicts, health problems. I wake up every morning and just try to put one foot in front of the other."
I know that battle-weary feeling. Seventeen years of marriage have taken me—and my husband!—to our knees more times than we can count. A box of used prayer journals hides on the top shelf of my bedroom closet. Ragged-edged Scripture cards lie next to the phone. Sometimes I deal with so many struggles, I wonder if I'll exhaust my "grace quota" with God.
Sometimes life's troubles squeeze the joy from even the strongest marriages. Financial setbacks add up; the doctor reports grave news; even the incessant demands of children can overwhelm a couple.
I'd often wondered if the Bible offers any practical suggestions to pray through the challenges my husband and I faced. In all honesty, I looked often to the New Testament, but I've never been a strong student of the Old Testament. The stories of all those kings fighting one another always seemed irrelevant to my life.
So I was surprised when I discovered help for my marriage from an unlikely character in the book of : Jehoshaphat, king of Judah. While his battles were against enemy nations and the kings who led them, I found his approach helps my husband and me contend with the trials we meet in the 21st century.
Communal prayer is powerful
In 2 Chronicles 20, Jehoshaphat learns that an enemy army was ready to make war on Judah. This greatly alarmed the king, obviously. Fear is a normal reaction—whether you're a soldier or a secretary.1