Sex and Prayer
Lord, give me added revelation about the value of a Christian marriage.
Read 1 CORINTHIANS 7:1–16
Now for the matters you wrote about: “It is good for a man not to have sexual relations with a woman.” 2 But since sexual immorality is occurring, each man should have sexual relations with his own wife, and each woman with her own husband. 3 The husband should fulfill his marital duty to his wife, and likewise the wife to her husband. 4 The wife does not have authority over her own body but yields it to her husband. In the same way, the husband does not have authority over his own body but yields it to his wife. 5 Do not deprive each other except perhaps by mutual consent and for a time, so that you may devote yourselves to prayer. Then come together again so that Satan will not tempt you because of your lack of self-control. 6 I say this as a concession, not as a command. 7 I wish that all of you were as I am. But each of you has your own gift from God; one has this gift, another has that.
8 Now to the unmarried and the widows I say: It is good for them to stay unmarried, as I do. 9 But if they cannot control themselves, they should marry, for it is better to marry than to burn with passion.
10 To the married I give this command (not I, but the Lord): A wife must not separate from her husband. 11 But if she does, she must remain unmarried or else be reconciled to her husband. And a husband must not divorce his wife.
12 To the rest I say this (I, not the Lord): If any brother has a wife who is not a believer and she is willing to live with him, he must not divorce her. 13 And if a woman has a husband who is not a believer and he is willing to live with her, she must not divorce him. 14 For the unbelieving husband has been sanctified through his wife, and the unbelieving wife has been sanctified through her believing husband. Otherwise your children would be unclean, but as it is, they are holy.
15 But if the unbeliever leaves, let it be so. The brother or the sister is not bound in such circumstances; God has called us to live in peace. 16 How do you know, wife, whether you will save your husband? Or, how do you know, husband, whether you will save your wife?
New International Version (NIV)
Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
If you are married, thank God for your spouse and pray for them; if you are single, ask God for grace to serve him and do his will.
If an alien from another planet landed on Earth and saw much of our advertising, the strange visitor might conclude that everything in our world revolves around sex. A new reader of 1 Corinthians might conclude something similar, but that is just how the Corinthian world functioned—and ours today. Paul’s response to an earlier letter from the church at Corinth should not be taken as “an exact blueprint nor a cut and dried legal code which we can neatly and unthinkingly follow” (Paul Barnett, 1 Corinthians), but as general principles to guide our thinking.
False teachers at Corinth against marriage itself abound, hence the opening salvo, probably a quote from the earlier letter, “It is good for a man not to have sexual relations with a woman” (1). In Paul’s mind, marriage is a bastion of stability against the prevailing immorality of society, as well as the guarantor of an environment where a husband and wife can fulfill their marital duty one to the other. Marriage (as well as being single) is also a gift from God (7). Churches today need to be more singles-friendly, too. God has a plan for us all, whether single or married, and he understands our needs.
A healthy marriage of two believers in which each seeks to meet the needs of the other is still a fortress against an immoral culture. Married partners are expected to talk together about their sexual needs (5) and their prayer lives too, establishing a connection between the sexual intimacy marriage offers and the closeness of two praying spouses. The believing partner in a marriage where one is not a Christian has more impact than is apparent (14). One should not underestimate the power of prayer and a Christian lifestyle (1 Pet 3:1,2).
If married, can you talk together about sexual needs and your prayer lives? If single, pray for the grace to see singleness as a gift (Barry Danylak, Redeeming Singleness).
Lord, thank You for Your gifts. May I always serve You through my Christian calling.