A few years ago in a North Carolina hotel room, God abruptly awakened me at 3:27 a.m. I know it was that time because the first thing I did was look at the clock!
God immediately made it clear I was to write down these three words: love, obey, and extraordinary. I stumbled out of bed and did as he instructed. Then the Lord told me that if I would love him and obey him, he would do extraordinary things through me. I immediately thought, What do you mean, Lord? What extraordinary things could I do?
I then saw myself at home in my living room, quarreling with my wife, Jill. In the middle of that tension I saw myself walk over, put my arms around her, and pray. God told me that this was extraordinary.
I’ve never forgotten that moment. From that day on, my ability to pray with, for, and over my wife became stronger — not because I love Jill (though I love her very much), but because my love for the Lord enables me to do things I normally couldn’t do.
Praying with your wife when you’re tired, stressed, feeling unloving, or just don’t want to put in the effort is possible only if your love for Jesus is foremost in your life. That love triggers a care for the things God cares about and an ability to do things that are abnormal apart from loving him. God calls those things, those desires, those acts extraordinary.
Dennis Rainey, president of FamilyLife, once stated that we need to bring back a popular slogan from the 1950s: “The family that prays together stays together.” If every Christian couple would pray together regularly, says Rainey, our nation would experience a spiritual renewal of historical proportions, including a dramatic drop in the Christian community’s divorce rate.
Couples who pray together enrich and strengthen their relationship. Surveys show that while the divorce rate for Christians is similar to non-Christians, couples who pray together have a divorce rate of less than 1 percent! Prayer forms a bond that is not easily broken. It is the most effective weapon you have against Satan, who comes to steal, kill, and destroy your marriage and family.
Praying with, for, and over your wife should be non-negotiable. Why? Because Jesus tells us to. Although he knows what we need before we ask, he still wants us to ask because it shows our utter dependence on him (Matthew 6:8-13).
Praying with, for, and over your wife should be non-negotiable.
As a husband, you are responsible for the spiritual growth of your wife. Praying with and for your wife unites you spiritually before God at a level he intended. Prayer is the key to everything; it is the “conduit through which all the power and provision of God flows,” according to Bible study teacher and author Jennifer Kennedy Dean.
How to Begin
So how does a man go from never praying for or with his wife to taking the first step? First, it is God’s love that gives you the desire and strength to do it. Spend time with the Lord, getting to know him and learning to love him.
Also, recognize you have an enemy that utilizes all his resources to keep you from doing something that will help your marriage become one that glorifies our mighty Lord and will influence generations to come.
Here are some steps to help you start on what will become a life-changing event.
- Pray alone for a time.
- Lie down or sit with your wife, touching her gently while praying silently. When done, say, “Amen” out loud.
- As you get more comfortable, say a short prayer audibly, maybe two or three sentences.
- Continue sharing more of your heart with God as you hold your wife.
- Gradually invite your wife to share her thoughts and prayers as well.
- Eventually, you and your wife will yearn for that special time with God, sharing your most intimate thoughts, struggles, and triumphs.
Scripture Prayers for Your Wife
Here are some sample prayers to follow:
May (wife’s name) worship you with wholehearted devotion and a willing spirit for you, Lord. Search her heart and understand every motive (1 Chronicles 18:9).
Enable (wife’s name) to obey you with all her heart, soul, strength, and mind (Luke 10:27).
Draw (wife’s name) close to your heart, so that her heart will be filled with you alone to make her pure and true (James 4:8).
I pray that (wife’s name) will trust in you, Lord, with all her heart, to acknowledge you in all her ways, and not to lean on her own understanding. Thereby, you promise to direct her in wise choices (Proverbs 3:5-6).
Enable (wife’s name) to understand and experience how wide and long and high and deep your love really is, so that she may be filled up with all the fullness of God (Ephesians 3:17-19).
Lord, please allow no root of bitterness to grow in (wife’s name) heart that would cause trouble in her relationships (Hebrews 12:15).
Lord, open (wife’s name) mind to see you in the Scriptures and receive your truth. I pray that she will not be conformed to the world, but transformed by the renewing of her mind, so that she will be able to discern and accept your good, pleasing, and perfect will (Luke 24:25; Romans 12:2).
I know that a good wife is worth more than jewels. Help (wife’s name) to mature as a woman of noble character with our family having full confidence in her. Strengthen her to do our family only good all the days of her life. Give her joy as she serves our family with willing and diligent hands in routine chores. Give her wisdom and grace in all business dealings. Develop in her the inward beauty of a quiet and gentle spirit. May she enjoy the respect of others because of the fear of the Lord upon her (Proverbs 31:10-31, 1 Peter 3:4).
Help us both to walk in the light of Jesus, so that we may have unbroken fellowship with you and each other (1 John 1:7). Enable both of us to honor you by submitting to each other (Ephesians 5:21). Give us patience, faithfulness, and encouragement, and help us to live in complete harmony with the attitude of Christ toward each other (Romans 15:5). Keep us both vigilant to guard against any separation of spirit between us.
Let me prize (wife’s name) and love her as Christ loves his bride, the Church, and unselfishly give myself for her so that she might be holy and blameless before you (Ephesians 5:25-28). Teach me how to nurture her and cherish her and treat her respectfully as a joint heir of the gift of life in Christ Jesus, so that my prayers will not be hindered (1 Peter 3:7).
A Note to Wives
Ask your husband to pray for you. Encourage and affirm him when he attempts it. That is being a helpmeet at its finest. Memorize 1 Corinthians 16:13-14 and let this be your guide: “Be on your guard. Stand firm in the faith. Be courageous. Be strong. Do everything in love.” Be aware of where Satan might attack. The Bible is your authority and foundation. Read it, memorize it, and let it penetrate your heart!
Become an inviting wife, through prayer, by putting Jesus on display to your husband. It’s a privilege and a responsibility to go before the Lord on behalf of your husband and pray mightily for him, especially when you do not feel like it! Your husband is not your enemy, Satan is! Fight the right battle through prayer. One of the greatest ways to fight is to pray for, with, and over your husband. Ask him EVERY DAY “How can I pray for you today?” The impact of that very question has the power to reach the depths of your husband’s soul.
It takes courage to pray when you don’t feel like it and when you feel the enemy’s attacks. But you must! Maintain your strength through prayer; it will equip you to forgive, to pursue intimacy, and to persevere. Doing it all in love sums it up!