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Gentlemen – Would You Help Us Better Understand the Mechanics of Masculine Prayer?


I attended the first session of a Bible study about prayer this morning and we talked about the benefits of having a prayer journal. I LOVE journaling – it is the way I prefer to pray because writing things out forces me to stay focused and helps me cement what I am reading in Scripture in my mind. If I just hear something or read it in passing, I can easily lose whatever I heard. But when I write – I really tend to remember things better.

One lady made the comment, “I am visual. I hate the idea of journaling or writing my prayers. So I just write very short requests and I also keep pictures of people I am praying for.”

Light bulbs went off for me.

About two years ago, I did a series of posts about how husbands process emotions. I was amazed to learn that while some men think with words sometimes, other men tend to think in terms of formulas, images, pictures, or “silent movies” – especially about emotions or when they are trying to solve problems, it seems.

I began to wonder – is it possible that some of our men pray without words or with very few words when they pray privately?


Our brothers,

I would love to hear comments from you about if you pray without words and how that works, as best you can describe it, if you are willing to share. If you pray with words and would like to describe that process, I would be thrilled to hear about that, as well. And, I would greatly appreciate it if you might answer a few poll questions for me, please. There is no right or wrong answer here – no condemnation, no judgement, no criticism. I just want to better understand how Christian men pray

Ladies, feel free to ask your husbands about these questions if they are receptive to talking about them and then you may share their answers in the polls or comments if that is okay with them.

These questions are for men who are believers in Christ only, please. Thanks so much!

23 thoughts on “Gentlemen – Would You Help Us Better Understand the Mechanics of Masculine Prayer?

  1. Hello. I’ve been leading a men’s group reading through the book – The Power of a Praying Husband. We talked through the various situations. It always boiled down to three things:

    How to pray? It varied from guy to guy, but many of the men in the group struggled with praying out loud with their wives. It really required a different approach than they were used to taking than praying silently. It seemed that they didn’t want to mess up or look foolish. I don’t believe that this is an area where men are “naturals”

    Are our prayers selfish? We talked a lot about not praying to have God “fix” something that we didn’t like. Example – rather than praying for more sex…we talked about the importance of praying for the ability to love our wives greater with the goal of improving the intimacy across our marriage. The majority of the guys initially felt like it was very selfish to be praying for improvements in their sexual relationship with their wives. It’s the same with praying about our wives emotions. It is perfectly fine to pray about anything as long as the intention of the prayer aligns with loving our wives.

    What to pray about? I will admit that the booking helped guide us along. We talked about asking our wives the simple question: what can I be praying about for you today? It might seem like an awkward thing to ask, but we agreed that it is an important question to ask. When all else fails….we developed this list of things to be praying for:

    Thanks, Praise, and Blessings
    Pray for Today
    Pray for Forgiveness.
    Pray for Your Marriage
    Pray for your Wife
    Pray for Your Children

    I will say that my wife has been patient and very loving as I’ve developed my style. She was very careful to not assign what I needed to be praying about or how to be praying. She encouraged me to take a leadership role in this area.

    Ladies….if your husband isn’t a praying man, then pray for him. If he is or is working toward being a prayerful man, then simply encourage him. Let him know what is important to pray about for you.

    Guys….it isn’t always easy. It does require a little courage and openness. We don’t have to be Bible scholars. We don’t have to be eloquent. We just need to be sincere and intentional. If this is an area that has caused strife in your marriage, then be forgiving. Trust me…the oneness that you will develop with your wife and in your relationship with God will create benefits in ways you might not have ever imagined.

  2. I pray alone almost exclusively silently and conspicuously. The only exception really is meal blessings.

    One of my favorite styles of prayer is to say a prayer of surrender to the Holy Spirit, end with “speak Lord, your servant is listening” and then do my absolute best to not use words at all in my mind to “listen” in prayer. The purpose is to use NO WORDS. “Do not rattle on like the pagans.”

    I can’t tell if I’m anti-verbal, or if my wife needs to hear something a thousand times to comprehend my thoughts, but I always feel exhausted using words and she can never get enough. Verbalizing basic every day things can be tough, let alone something as intimate as a prayer.

    Prayers of petition are easiest to verbalize, such as a time when someone is ill and we want to pray for their health and wellness.

    I’ll be honest, I don’t like praying in groups. That might be wrong, it might be a vice, but I really don’t like it. I find myself judging others, and I assume others are judging how I pray if it’s my “turn.” It’s distracting and I feel like it’s not even prayer.

    Does that make sense?

    1. I read Paul’s after I posted mine, and it triggered another thought about content of prayer.

      This is probably true for everybody, but at the outset of a pain, annoyance, or emptiness I’m feeling, my prayer typically begins as a selfish thought. Part of living in a ‘fallen world’ is that we have an emptiness inside of us we’re always trying to fill.

      As you begin to casually pray over a day… week… month… year… If you quit talking and wait for God’s instruction, you find that God (inaudibly) aligns your will to match His. That’s the power of not “rattling on.”

      Where a prayer might start out as “My wife has neglected me severely and I need her. Make her love me!”

      It’ll eventually evolve into praying that God’s will be done. Then you start to feel what God’s will might be, then all the sudden you’re praying completely altruistically for the other person, and hoping God rains down his blessings and stirs up the Holy Spirit in the other person, and you’re praying that they find the same comfort and joy in God that were able to find in the process.

      1. AnonyMan,

        I love this. Isn’t God amazing the way He can change our hearts from self-centered to God-centered? You explained the process so beautifully.

        Thank you! You have a gift with words, even if you don’t like to use them a lot. 🙂

        1. AnonyMan,

          I’m so glad that God has drawn you to Himself, my brother! I hate that you suffered so much – but to be close to God and to fellowship with Him – that is the most amazing treasure there is in the universe! I praise God for all that He has done and all that He will do in your life. And I thank God that He has been willing to use me to be a little part of that healing in your life. 🙂 God is so good!

    2. AnonyMan,

      Oh! I have attempted being totally silent in my mind and totally still before God, just seeking to listen. I have to say – that is a REALLY tough thing for me to do. But I want to be able to do it more and more!

      I have a feeling that you are verbalizing something here that a number of husbands and wives probably experience. I love words and could talk constantly all day every day. My husband – not so much. I know that too many words weary him. So, this is going to sound really weird and counterintuitive to other wives, I would guess – but – I have learned that a lot of what feels like “love and respect” to my husband is to hold myself back a good bit. If I let myself do whatever I wanted to – I am sure I would smother him with attention, affection, words, emails, texts, flirting, etc… I would also easily overwhelm him with all of the deep discussions I love to have and wanting to have tons of “meetings,” “plans,” and “goals.” I love to analyze our relationship and myself and try to figure things out. I can be way too intense sometimes – and probably hard to live with because of that. I have to very purposely focus on WAY less words – so that he can be more at peace. 🙂

      I know that he has no idea how much mental, emotional, and spiritual strength it takes to hold back all of the attention and words I want to give him – but I am thankful for the opportunity to die to self and to attempt to love, respect, and honor him in ways that actually are meaningful to him. I still have much to learn!

      I agree – prayers of petition are some of the easiest to verbalize.

      Thank you for sharing how you feel about praying in groups. There is definitely a “motive” issue with groups that you don’t have to worry about when you are praying alone. Very important points, my dear brother!

      Much love in Christ!

  3. April, my (thought) prayers will be very pithy throughout the day, certainly not in complete sentences but with the awareness that God knows who or what I’ve just been thinking about, followed by a quick prayer that directs my attention to Him and asks for His attention to the person/issue. It’s as if my brain spends an indeterminate amount of time composing an essay or a memo or a pro and con list to route to my mental “file,” but then my spirit engages and makes God the recipient of the thought memo. This all happens much more quickly than it could be spoken or described and obviously is entirely private, which is simply more comfortable. I think wives need to avoid the mis-perception that prayer is only prayer when it’s spoken, in complete sentences, pursuant to an outline or acronym or program, lasts a certain amount of time, happens in a specific place every day and at a certain time, is or can be written down in a journal, and so on. Not demeaning such prayers at all, but that’s not the only way to pray and probably isn’t even the most common way to pray. But it is a way that can be described and kept track of, which means the danger is that it’s a way we can be proud of and tell others about and be self-righteous about. Put that on top of what is probably a predisposition for a wife to be critical of her husband’s spirituality, and you have trouble.

  4. My husband said there are times when he prays that he is so overloaded with emotion, and so overloaded with thoughts that his entire mind shuts down and he has no way to verbalize his prayers. He says in those moments he just lifts his hands and senses the Holy Spirit interceding.

    This is coming from a highly articulate man who sells and negotiates for a living.

    He also has Master’s Degrees from seminary, so it’s not that he doesn’t know what to pray.

    After knowing my man since 1984, THIS was truly enlightening!!! Wow.

    1. Robert’s Wife,

      Wow. Thank you so very much for sharing. I would love to share this in the post today anonymously – if you think that would be alright. 🙂 VERY helpful!

        1. He clarified after I left the comment that he does use words when praying for things that are every day issues.

  5. First let me start by saying thank you for this blog. It means more than you will ever know.

    I can’t speak for other men, but here are a few things about how I pray myself.

    – I am not comfortable praying in public. (Matt 6:6)
    – I do not have a formula for a prayer. (Matt 6:7)
    – I have conversations with him, praising the good things he has done for us, marvelling at how beautiful the gifts he’s given us are… especially the gift that is my wife.
    – I generally do not ask for anything. My father knows what I need better than I do, and I trust him to provide as he will. (Matt 6:30-32)
    – When I do ask for something, I ask for love, patience, understanding, forgiveness, or to soften my heart and humble me so that I can forgive others.
    – I pray for other people, especially my family. God gave me a beautiful life, I don’t feel I have the right to expect/ask/demand more than that.

    Words aren’t always needed. God knows my heart and mind, undoubtedly better than I do myself.

  6. I pray about an hour a day at home (sometimes more or sometimes less). In the morning and before bed. I am not married. I pray out loud and sometimes silently. Sometimes I just “listen” after my opening and wait for the Holy Ghost to move……and sometimes there is a long period of silence (45 minutes once).

    I will pray openly with anyone who needs prayer, at work, on the street, in line at Walmart.

    At church I fall on any man who takes the Mercy Seat (altar) to pray with them. I take the Mercy Seat myself too, almost every week……and it’s not just for personal sin. It is for glorifying God and thanking Him as well.

    Many in my church consider me a “prayer warrior” and I am grateful that I am thought of this way, but I am looking to up my prayer life further.

    1. seventiesjason,

      Thank you so much for sharing the details of your prayer life with us. May God continue to take you (and all of us) much deeper with Him!

  7. I don’t know if all men pray the same….I know that a vibrant prayer life will develop a level of intimacy with God that many men may not be used to. A man most probably would want to get used to that in private before he shared that with his wife.
    A man’s prayers also might be more goal or action oriented at first…”God, bless me with this,” or “God, do this for me.” As time goes on though, we discover that God is much more interested in relationship. He wants you to know Him, not just serve Him.

  8. My words for prayer are very short,especially after discussing someone’s problems. For example, “prayers for you and your family” my thought process goes something like this, That person needs God, needs God’s guidance,help, and intervention. I’m not going to tell God what to do through prayer, and God has been listening to our conversation,already knows the details,and may have sent me to be their for this person all ready, so why have to put it all into a well said, laid out plan, when We need god’s help in the first place! Just by saying “,Prayers for you” means I’ve already been thinking, God needs to help you,and he knows my thoughts.
    My wife and I go to marriage counseling, she wants me to pray more. I respond, prayer is an personal thing,and that to many people ” show off” with their memorized words skills,and that is not what prayer is for! Our councilor seemed taken back by this, he is a man with great word skills. So reading what other men think is very helpful.
    My thoughts about God, go into overdrive when I am outdoors, admiring his creation,and when I am stunned by the accuracy of his word,and human behavior!

    1. omalleyfineart,

      I really appreciate hearing your masculine perspective and how you approach prayer. This is helpful. Jesus had very strong words for those who pray to show off or only to impress people. I think a number of men feel the way you do. It’s important for us, as women, to understand that there are men who love God and value prayer but who don’t always want to pray out loud. That doesn’t mean they don’t have faith or don’t love their wives or don’t love prayer.

      I love hearing about how you think so much about God when you are in nature. And about how His Word impacts you.

      Thank you so much for sharing, my brother!

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