Prayers for Marriage Restoration and Other Key Takeaways from the Covenant Keepers Annual Conference

Over the weekend of July 24 & 25, God was doing something new. At Covenant Keepers (a restored marriage ministry), we would typically be welcoming many guests in Charlotte, NC, for our annual conference. On a "typical" year, we would all be enduring the mid-summer heat traveling between the hotel and Steele Creek Church of Charlotte to enjoy a weekend of teaching, prayer, and fellowship with other believers who are standing for the marriage. But we all know that 2020 is not a typical year.


'Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past. See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland. '

Isaiah 43:18-19 (NIV)

Isaiah reminds us that God works for the good of those who love him (Romans 8:28 NIV) and will take something, not of Him, such as a pandemic and turn it into something that brings hope, healing, and restoration for His Kingdom. That is precisely what happened. As the leadership of Covenant Keepers fasted and prayed about this year's conference, we heard from the Lord, 'Then he said to his disciples, "The harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few."(Matthew 9:37 NIV)

Being transparent, as all of the news broke about COVID-19 and the impact of the global pandemic, we wondered what He meant about a harvest and how He would manifest a harvest when nobody could travel to Charlotte, NC. But just as He sees to it that "hopeless" marriages are restored, He guided Covenant Keepers through our first-ever, annual virtual conference all delivered through video conferencing. What we experienced was astonishing – higher than 400% attendance growth year over year!

Those that attended the 2020 Covenant Keepers Virtual Annual Conference were treated to 2 days of breakthrough teaching on what the biblical definition of what marriage is, the difference between covenant and contract, how to break free from false identity curses that we carry into our relationships, how to use a season of separation or divorce to draw nearer to God, and practical tools we can use to promote inner healing when our spouse returns. We also were encouraged by testimonies of miraculous marriage restoration when all our spouses wanted was out!

Let's unpack some of the key takeaways that will help you develop your prayers for marriage restoration from the teachings of some of the world's top speakers on marriage and family.

Pastor Koji Bell, Covenant Keepers

Koji Bell, Covenant Keepers
Pastor Koji Bell's sermon opened about the Kingdom's power of the tongue. Referencing 'The tongue has the power of life and death, and those who love it will eat its fruit. 'Proverbs 18:21 (NIV), Koji shared the lifelong impact that words can have on our lives. Contrasting a personal story of life-giving words that propelled Koji into God's call on his life and the wounding caused by poorly chosen words from a high school gym teacher, attendees learned how to pray and break free to walk in the identity God has for you. Participants learned how to break free of the lies we inadvertently carry into our marriages.

Paul & Cynthia Beck

Paul & Cynthia Beck
Paul & Cynthia Beck shared a powerful testimony of breaking a generational curse of abandonment and being still in the presence of the Lord during a difficult season of strife and separation. Attendees of the conference learned how to abide in the Lord and have peace even while your spouse is trying to walk out of the marriage and seek divorce. Despite many efforts to decide to divorce easy by baiting arguments, both Paul was able to love his wife as Christ loved the church. In this beautiful testimony, Cynthia demonstrated the fruit of her walk in Christ as she ensures that 'Her husband is respected at the city gate, where he takes his seat among the elders of the land. 'Proverbs 31:23 (NIV). For many that participated, this was a highlight of the conference. Just watching how a restored marriage looked at each other was enough to fill your heart with hope.

Charlyne & Lori Steinkamp, Rejoice Marriage Ministries

Charlyne Steinkamp, Rejoice Marriage Ministries
Charlyne Steinkamp of Rejoice Marriage Ministries blessed attendees with practical, biblically-based principles that teach anyone how to pray for their marriage. Charlyne washed the audience with the Word of God through countless scripture references that speak to the permanency of marriage. She advised on who we can talk to about marriage stand and how to avoid discouragement that may be given by our closest friends, family members, and fellow church members to "just move on."

Charlyne reminded us that despite a difficult season of separation and divorce, we must always carry Joy. It is a choice. 'Rejoice in the Lord always; again, I will say, rejoice. Let your reasonableness be known to everyone. The Lord is at hand; do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. 'Philippians 4:4-7 (ESV). Even though we may not see it, God is working on your behalf on the other side of the mountain. To hear what it is like from a prodigal's perspective, pick up the Prodigal Pack by Bob Steinkamp at https://www.rejoiceministries.org/.

Craig & Jan Hill, Family Foundations International

Craig & Jan Hill, Family Foundations International
Craig & Jan Hill of Family Foundations International went back to the core of defining what the bible says about marriage. Starting with Mark 5, Craig reminded us that Jesus could heal anyone – even our spouse. Also, if the worst kind of demon spirit afflicts them, we can imagine. Craig offered us not only the hope that Jesus died explicitly to forgive the sins of our wayward spouse but also brought about a revival in the community through the power of testimony. The message here is that your restored marriage will bless you in that you have your spouse back in your life again, but it will change others' lives through the power of your testimony. Deana and I can both agree with that. Never did we think our restored marriage testimony would have the impact that it has. The takeaway is that your stand for your marriage is more significant than just your marriage, family, or finances. It will be used to take ground for the Kingdom and restore hope for generations.

Craig also shared the biblical distinction between a marriage contract and a marriage covenant. If you were married and spoke the vows that contain "to have and to hold from this day forward, for worse, for poorer, for poorer, in sickness and health, until death do us part," guess what. You made a covenant. Covenants are not conditional and are not broken by a lack of performance. It is only dissolved by one thing and one thing only – death. Craig spoke directly from his book Marriage: Covenant or Contract, which can be purchased from https://familyfoundations.com/.

Mark & Maureen Sandford, Elijah Rain Ministries

Mark & Maureen Sandford, Elijah Rain Ministries
Mark & Maureen Sandford of Elijah Rain Ministries understood that marriage separation and divorce could cause big wounds. Mark shared the importance that inner healing can have on us. During this time away from our spouse also gives us a unique moment in time to work on wounds caused during the separation and divorce and the trauma that happened before we were married that may color our perspectives. Using a powerful analogy of using a red see-through film, Mark & Maureen courageously shared difficult moments from their childhood that caused their marriage to fall into vicious cycles of Maureen being critical to Mark, Mark, then withdrawing, which caused Maureen to feel unloved and abandoned. Because Mark's withdrawing was a coping mechanism, he learned early in life and Maureen's previous experiences of abandonment; they were trapped in a cycle tearing them apart.

But God wins! Through their ministry, Mark & Maureen help people break unholy inner vows that we may have created to deal with our trauma. These vows hold back healthy marriages and may have impacted your marriage. Praying through these vows and breaking agreements will release bonds in the spiritual realm that may just be the key to unlocking your marriage restoration. Mark & Maureen Sandford offer a variety of useful resources from their bookstore, including Letting Go of Your Past.

What The Experience Was Like

Attendees of the conference were full of praise for the conference. Participants shared:
  • "This conference has been tremendous BLESSING, thank you!"
  • "God is a God of Hope Romans 15:13, and this conference has given hope!"
  • "Thank you all for the inspiration and blessings prayed over us all!"
  • "Thank you to all the teachers, the ministry team, and covenant keepers for a wonderful, anointed conference."
  • "A huge huge huge THANK YOU to all the speakers and Team. It's such a privilege to have so many people willing to help us in the stand and walk."
  • "Wonderful conference. Much revelation."

Beyond the great takeaways and truth spoken by the speakers of the conference, there was a life-giving ministry happening after each session. All participants of the conference were offered opportunities to join virtual break out sessions attended by the speakers and official Covenant Keepers facilitators and group leaders to unpack further what we just learned and pray for one another. Only in a Covenant Keepers conference do you get this kind of "one-on-one" time with conference speakers, authors, and preachers. It's kind of like having a backstage VIP pass to have fellowship with your favorite speaker.

Many of you have asked about on-demand video access to the conference sessions, and I am pleased to announce that we will have this available soon for purchase. Monthly giving partners with Covenant Keepers will receive a deep discount on the on-demand versions of the conference session for playback and further bible study. If you have already registered for the live conference, you will receive a discount for on-demand videos. Suppose you missed this conference and would like access to the recorded sessions. In that case, we will provide you with an opportunity to register and watch the on-demand version of the conference at the regular conference rate. We are actively working on the on-demand version right now, so stay tuned and register for our newsletter so you can be the first to know.

Ready To Join A Small Group?

We also have an important update if you wish to join our small group bible studies happening all over the world through video conference. We are currently seeing record requests for our award-winning video-based small groups to support those standing for covenant marriage. The sheer volume of applications causes a slight delay with our response time to place you into one of our groups. We sincerely appreciate your understanding and patience. Have faith that Jesus will see you into the group He has handpicked for you at the right time. In the meantime, we have extended free access to resources that can help you start your restoration journey. Start with our resource center, and when you register with Covenant Keepers, we'll start you on a seven-week e-mail program that will walk you through the initial steps of getting involved with Covenant Keepers.

Thank you to all of our speakers, leaders, volunteers, and prayer intercessors that made the 2020 Covenant Keepers Virtual Annual Conference a tremendous success. Our God is so faithful! He said harvest, and he delivered a harvest. We are praying for thousands of restored marriages all across the nations, and we believe that YOUR marriage will be amongst the first to be healed and fully restored! Do you believe it? We do!

God bless you, and God bless your marriage!
Koji Bell is a Co-Director of Covenant Keepers, Inc. together with his wife Deana. Koji started his married life like many others. He focused on climbing the corporate ladder, tried to achieve financial success, served on leadership teams at church and worked to be the best husband and father he could be. After being hit by a drunk driver, life spun out of control and his marriage went in crisis. Then he chose to surrender his life to Jesus and everything changed. Today, Koji walks in victory humbled by his call to ministry and this new season of abundant blessing and service. Koji is a licensed Pastor and is a graduate of Dove | Hopewell School of Ministry.

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