Devotions for a Sacred Marriage, Day 12: The Preyer

Be self-controlled and alert. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.1 Peter 5:8

Previous generations of Christians may have paid too much attention to the devil, but our age tends to pay him too little heed. The severe truth is that Satan hates your marriage and makes its destruction a nearly daily aim.

It is said that while Francis of Assisi prayed for his Order, “by divine revelation he saw the whole Place surrounded and besieged by devils, as by a great army.” Much to Francis’s satisfaction, the demons couldn’t find a place to enter, until one of the friars was stirred to anger and began to plot revenge on a brother. “As a result, the gate of virtue being abandoned and the door of wickedness being open, he gave the devil a way to come in.”

Francis called for the offending brother and confronted him. The brother confessed that he had, indeed, been making vengeful plans; he repented, and the gate to hell slammed shut.

While many today might snicker at such a “primitive” worldview presented in a classic book written almost seven hundred years ago, our modern naïveté concerning spiritual realities is at least as pathetic. When we quarrel with each other; hold resentments; allow bitterness to simmer; play petty games of control, manipulation, and revenge, we do, in fact, open up the door to spiritual beings who seek to destroy the holy family God has called us to create.

Jesus taught constant vigilance when he told his disciples how to pray. The Lord’s Prayer includes these words: “And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one” (Matthew 6:13). Notice, Jesus didn’t say, “deliver us from evil” but from “the evil one.” Jesus told his followers to regularly petition God so that they wouldn’t fall prey to the evil one’s schemes.

A married couple’s relationship is the inner fortress in a cosmic spiritual battle. This fortress is not limited to just a man and woman; it also protects the children who result from that union. Even more than that, it protects generations of grandchildren and great-grandchildren, who will be influenced by their ancestors.

With so much at stake, can we afford to be lackadaisical? Dare we forget that a powerful, pernicious being has made it his aim to wreck what God is trying to build? Even worse, are we cooperating with his agenda? By our actions, whether physical (flirting with an office mate, viewing pornography, getting so busy we have little or no time to work on our marriages) or spiritual (refusing to forgive, holding a grudge, neglecting to build spiritual intimacy), are we foolishly and recklessly putting our marriages at risk?

Because Satan exists, we must remain vigilant over our souls and our relationships and refuse to provide any open doors that can invite Satan to work his wiles. One “little” thing, left untended, can be nursed and built up to become a major issue.

Flush out all of it today. Ask God to give you a forgiving heart, a loving heart, and a pure heart. Keep moving toward your spouse. Ask God to close any doors you have foolishly left open. Guard what God has given you; give Satan no place to enter.

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