One does not have to be in pastoral ministry long to see the disconnect that can take place between the biblical teaching of marriage and what many marriages look like in the real world. To fight back against the tide of divorces and discontentment, there has been of late many great resources by seasoned pastors, such as Timothy Keller and Mark Driscoll, to aid in cultivating healthy marriages. In Water of the Word, Andrew Case discusses a helpful but often neglected area of marriage––prayer.
Specifically, Case focuses on the husband’s intercession for his wife. Cases uses Ephesians 5:25–26 (ESV), “Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her, that he might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word,” to point husbands to love their wives. It is crucial to “pray with all zeal and all knowledge for her” (8). This review will look at the two parts that make up this book.
The first section of the work is made up of an introduction and instructions. Both of these sections are vital to the book as they explain the theology behind the book as well as a way to use the book. In the introduction, Case begins by properly tying the relationship of husband and wife as a symbol of Christ and His Church. He writes: “Jesus Christ prays for us. He prays for His Bride. He sets the glorious example of the husband who never tires in making intercession for her. It is a breathless wonder, a staggering and stupefying truth. Are you a husband like Jesus? Do you want to be?”(7). Case then moves to one of the more helpful points of interced- ing for one’s wife, that is, a husband cannot give a wife everything she needs, only God can. He notes: “we are not God. There are many things a husband cannot do for his wife that only God can do. We are very small, very weak…therefore praying for her is not optional”(7). It is based on a desire to follow Christ and to love one’s wife that a husband must pray.
The way to read the book, as described in the introduction is to use the prayers as a “springboard” to bring intercession before God for one’s wife (10). The prayers themselves make up the vast majority of the book. Case bases each prayer on a passage of Scripture and includes the Scripture reference. He also gives a helpful scriptural index and bibliography which is well worth the price of the book. Beyond the Scripture references, about half of the prayers contain a thought provoking quote from a Christian leader.
The Water of the Word is a helpful devotional for husbands who are looking for a practical way to begin praying for their wives.