Service of Prayer for Marriages and Worship Resources and Prayers for Marriages
Abbreviations used below:
UMH — The United Methodist Hymnal
TFWS — The Faith We Sing
A Service of Prayer for Marriages may be used in evening worship gatherings, retreats with couples, and other times of worship and prayer.
The planners and leaders should adapt the service in ways that honor the people in the particular context. Some groups may want to include visual or digital images, including pictures of the couples on their wedding day or iconic representations of Jesus at the wedding in Cana of Galilee.
(If at dusk or early evening a candle may be lighted before or among the assembly. All stand.)
Light and peace in Jesus Christ our Lord
Amen! Come light and peace.
Where love and charity abide
God is there.
Love is stronger than death
Floods cannot drown love,
and wealth cannot buy it.
Hymn or song
UMH 164 "Come, My Way, My Truth, My Life"
TFWS 2179 "Live in Charity" (Ubi Caritas), sung in Taizé style
The Lord be with you.
And also with you.
Let us pray:
Jesus, good wine of our existence,
you turn the water of our relationships
into the cup of blessing.
Here and anew bless wives and husbands.
Here and anew mend what is broken in [us/them].
Here and anew come into each marriage
as guest and host at love's banquet.
UMH 646 "Canticle of Love" (using response 1 or 2)
With the disciples of all times and places we listen for the Word among us.
Our ears and hearts are open.
Here read one of the following or have several readers read the readings with a time of silence between each. A bell may be sounded at the end of each reading as an invitation to silence.
1 John 3:18-24
1 John 4:7-12
1 Corinthians 13:1-7
1 Corinthians 13:8-13
With Mary, let us ponder and treasure the Word living among us.
Thanks be to God.
TFWS 2228 "Sacred the Body"
(The words may be read as a litany, men and women alternating stanzas. Then all may sing the hymn.)
Dismissal and Blessing
(Here the leader may use the "Dismissal with Blessing" on p. 127 of The United Methodist Book of Worship, or the following.)
The peace of the Most High be with us.
The mercy of the Crucified and Risen One fill us.
The love of the Spirit guide us on shared pathways.
The Three in One God unite us in the holy love.
The United Methodist Book of Worship (The United Methodist Publishing House, 1992)
- For a couple who are just married — p. 123 (from the Christian Marriage I service)
- Blessing for a couple just married or for any couple at a special time of renewal — pp. 125-124
- Marriage Anniversary Prayers — p. 138
- For purity — no. 522
- The collect for purity — p. 447
- For divorcing persons — p. 626
The United Methodist Hymnal (The United Methodist Publishing House, 1989)
For weddings and anniversaries or other times of celebrating marriage
164 "Come, My Way, My Truth, My Life"
549 "Where Charity and Love Prevail"
642 "As Man and Woman We Were Made"
643 "When Love Is Found"
644 "Jesus, Joy of Our Desiring"
645 "O Perfect Love"
646 "Canticle of Love" (responsory)
647 "Your Love, O God, Has Called Us Here"
For times of dealing with the blessings and struggles of common life in marriage
92 "For the Beauty of the Earth"
560 "Help Us Accept Each Other"
383 "This Is a Day of New Beginnings"
Prayer for a Troubled Marriage
God whose love is like strong eagle's wings
bearing us up in times of hurt and anger:
carry those whose marriages are falling and failing.
Break the cycle of blame, retaliation, and all words that wound.
Help each to come to the inner spring of hope.
Let each experience your strength and protection
so that both discover the courage
to be vulnerable instead of vicious.
In that vulnerable place make hearts open
to your purpose and love in this troubled time.
Guide them to do justice,
to love mercy and
to walk humbly with you,
even if it means keeping distance from each other
until the dust settles and the storm gives way to the light,
through Christ our Lord. Amen.
From the Book of Common Prayer (public domain)
This classic prayer of blessing for a couple at their marriage may also be used as a general blessing of a couple or adapted for blessing of several couples.
Most gracious God, we give you thanks for your tender love in sending Jesus Christ to come among us, to be born of a human mother, and to make the way of the cross to be the way of life. We thank you, also, for consecrating the union of man and woman in his Name. By the power of your Holy Spirit, pour out the abundance of your blessing upon this man and this woman. Defend them from every enemy. Lead them into all peace. Let their love for each other be a seal upon their hearts, a mantle about their shoulders, and a crown upon their foreheads. Bless them in their work and in their companionship; in their sleeping and in their waking; in their joys and in their sorrows; in their life and in their death. Finally, in your mercy, bring them to that table where your saints feast for ever in your heavenly home; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who with you and the Holy Spirit lives and reigns, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.
This general prayer for people in conflict is suitable for persons whose marriages are in conflict.
O God, you have bound us together in a common life.
in the midst of our struggles for justice and truth,
to confront one another without hatred or bitterness, and
to work together with mutual forbearance and respect;
through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
Prayers and litanies for World Marriage Day
Clickhere to read strong, positive, and affirming resources from a Roman Catholic context.
Daniel Benedict is retired from the staff of the Discipleship Ministries.