A few months back I wrote in depth about how to pray with your spouse. In those posts I covered the mechanics of prayer and we used the Lord’s prayer as our blueprint. I’d encourage you to re-visit those posts briefly, especially if you’re feeling stopped up in how to start a prayer habit in your marriage.
For this post, however, I’d like to remind myself (and of course, readers!) of the power of praying for your spouse. For christians, the power of prayer is something we readily acknowledge but too often forget in practice. This tendency to forget is probably because we haven’t had the deep revelation of what prayer is and why we do it.
Let’s start with that…
3 Principles of Prayer
If nothing else, this (very) quick study of prayer will set a baseline for this post. I also hope it reminds us of the purpose and power of prayer as well as our position as those who pray (wow, look at all of those P words).
Here are some important things to remember about prayer as those who are in Christ:
- We have access to God through Christ
Jesus paved the way and cleared the lines of communication. It’s only through Jesus that we are “acceptable” to God. This is not because God is mean, but because He is holy. I’d imagine us approaching God without Jesus would be like throwing a lit match into a hurricane – there’s just no way the match wouldn’t be snuffed out. Jesus is the titanium globe surrounding our match as we’re hurled into the hurricane. Jesus covers us with his righteousness through grace (fancy word: propitiation).
Scripture: Hebrews 7:25-28, Romans 8:34
- We can influence God’s actions
I almost didn’t include this point because it’s such a complex thing to say. However, from what I’ve learned, been taught, and observed in the Bible (and in modern history), God listens and intercedes based on prayers of His people. Even if the converse is true (we cannot influence God’s actions), it would really have no bearing on whether or not we should pray… but that’s a discussion for a different blog! Let us humbly assume we can talk to God and sway His heart through praying. (Note: our hearts must be aligned with His. That is, we don’t change God’s mind however we want, God changes His mind because He’s a loving Father).
Scripture: James 5:16, 1 John 5:14
- God listens and answers
When you pray to God, your prayers are heard. There are many passages of scripture which explain this, but it’s important we don’t take it for granted. The “God answers prayer” part is what can cause immature believers a crisis of faith – being immature is fine but staying immature isn’t. We may get frustrated when our prayers are unanswered. But, note that the Bible never says “God will always do what you ask no matter what”. God always answers, just not always with what we want. (“No”, and “not right now” are answers too).
Scripture: 1 John 5, Hebrews 4
Ok, so we’re hopefully on the same page about prayer. Given our role as God’s children – and in intimate relationship with Him – prayer has staggering implications on our marriages! So how should I pray for Selena? How should you pray for your spouse?
5 Ways to Pray Intentionally for Your Spouse
As I’ve stated before, I’m not exactly a black-belt in praying. Selena is much better at it than I am – she’s a great communicator and I tend to under-communicate. She’s even written about 10 Ways to Pray for Your Husband (I love that woman so much…!)
I’ve found it helpful to follow a logical progression for how I cover my bride with prayer. I like to start inside and work outward. As you pray for your spouse, make sure to pray for:
1: Their Heart
I don’t mean their physical heart, but their general softness of heart toward God and the Holy Spirit. Pray that they will be receptive to conviction (teachable); that they would continue to hear God and respond. Also pray that they would be refreshed by God – being constantly given new joy, hope, peace, and love. Ask God to protect their heart from attacks and temptation (Matt 6).
Just knowing that Selena covers me in prayer for my purity of heart (lust, financial idols, stress) gives me great confidence that she’s in my corner, fighting for me.
2: Their Mind
Wisdom and discernment. God has given us these incredible organs called “brains”. We can think, reason, and decide. Everyone makes decisions every day; pray that your spouse makes wise decisions big and small. Pray that they have a renewed mind, one that perceives and considers choices through God’s lens.
It could be said that the mind sees options and outcomes, but the heart chooses the right one (see #1 above). Pray for your spouse to have clarity of thought and focus as they go about their day – whatever task they’re putting their hands to, may it be completed wisely and diligently!
3: Their Health and Safety
Your spouse may be fighting off a sickness or working a perilous job. Pray for protection and health. Also, make sure to give God plenty of gratitude for when health and protection are evident! (Actually, give thanks ALWAYS, no matter the circumstance).
4: Their Concerns
When Selena is dealing with something difficult, I cover her in prayer. We often pray together when facing a tough time, but I have to remind myself to contend for her with God on my own. This is what compassion is all about: taking on someone else’s situation and burdens as your own.
Go to God on your spouse’s behalf, taking on their concerns as your own.
5: Their Purpose
Selena and I are one, and our purposes overlap quite a bit. By God’s grace we are working together toward a common goal… most of the time.
Selena is also a unique, special, gifted, and annointed woman with purpose specifically tailored to her. In fact, she’s God’s child before she’s my wife (whoa, heart check!). As her husband, it’s my role to support her in her God-ordained purpose by encouraging her, watching her back, offering counsel, and most of all, praying.
So we’ve briefly covered some principles of prayer. It’s safe to say my review is not exhaustive. Make sure to dig into God’s word on your own to build up your prayer life, your faith, and your understanding about why you pray. You don’t need to know every theological detail about prayer to participate.
Just talk to God – He’s your loving Father who loves to hear from you. Ask God to show you how to pray, and remember your role as a prayer. As you pray, also remember your role as a spouse. You are in covenant with your husband or wife, and you are in covenant with God.
There’s power in the covenant you have with God, and one of the most beautiful aspects of that covenant is the ability to pray.
What is one thing you pray for regarding your spouse?
Is there a specific prayer request you’d like the Fierce Marriage community to pray for?
Please let us know in the comments below!
Top photo by Jeff Marsh