If you haven’t read Part 1 of this series, I believe it would be extremely helpful to check it out, as well. This is such a deep desire in so many of our hearts as wives – that our husbands would pray with us. Prayer is an incredible blessing and an unspeakable gift of God. Private prayer and joint prayer in marriage, families, and among believers is our lifeline to God. I am the biggest proponent ever of husbands and wives praying together if possible.
I shared the survey results from my poll questions last Saturday in Part 1. We also looked at Scripture to see what examples of husbands praying with their wives we might find – and, the surprising thing was – I can’t find any examples in Scripture of husbands praying with their wives or a specific command that husbands should pray with their wives. Wow. This may be reason enough for us to pause and examine our expectations of our husbands as spiritual leaders and to reconsider what God’s definition of spiritual leadership might be.
Perhaps we can release our husbands and ourselves of some of our preconceived expectations and allow them grace, understanding, and freedom to lead and pray in the ways they believe God desires them to?
In the same way the Spirit also helps our weakness; for we do not know how to pray as we should, but the Spirit Himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words; and He who searches the hearts knows what the mind of the Spirit is, because He intercedes for the saints according to the will of God. Romans 8:26-27
How amazing is this?!?! The Holy Spirit prays in ways that go much deeper than words for us! 🙂
1. For the Men – do you ever pray without words? (39 men responded so far)
Yes = 67% No = 28%
2. For the Men – do you prefer to pray privately or out loud? (40 men responded so far)
I prefer to pray privately = 78% I prefer both equally = 23% I prefer to pray out loud with others = 0%
A WIFE WHO PREFERS TO PRAY PRIVATELY SHARES HER THOUGHTS:
I had a Christian boyfriend in my early 20’s who loved the Lord very deeply. He was a great guy. He was very talkative though, and that wore me out. I didn’t understand temperament differences, and he probably didn’t either. I recharge when I’m quiet or alone. He was energized by interacting a lot. He questioned my love for God because I didn’t always want to pray out loud together. Sometimes in general, I just wished he didn’t talk so much because he tired me so. I wonder if some men just don’t feel the need to pray out loud because they don’t have a need to vocalize like a lot of women.
I can tell you it doesn’t feel good to be questioned about how dear the Lord is to you based on this issue.
For the women whose husbands don’t pray with them and they wished they did, or whose husbands are unbelievers – I see that as a tremendous opportunity and “God appointment” to learn firsthand the sufficiency of Christ. Rejoice and be thankful for God’s purposes through the pain and pray not to waste it.
Disappointment can be seen as a call to greater personal prayer too, using the disappointment as a reminder to pray for our husbands’ needs instead of focusing on what we wish we had. We already have everything we need for life and godliness (2 Peter 1:3).
FROM A WIFE ABOUT HER HUSBAND’S PRAYER LIFE:
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. He clarified that he does use words when praying for every day issues.
FOR THOSE WHO MAY BE CURIOUS – SOME REASONS WHY HUSBANDS MAY NOT PRAY WITH THEIR WIVES:
- Some wives have been very critical of their husbands in the past about their praying. I know of one husband whose wife criticized him and he quietly decided never to pray with her again. I am not saying he should have decided never to pray with his wife – but I don’t think we realize how toxic our words of criticism about our husbands’ spirituality might be.
- Some husbands did not have any examples of someone praying out loud when they were growing up. It may not have been part of their family “culture.”
- Some husbands prefer to pray in private because they don’t feel right about their motives if they pray in front of someone – it feels like “putting on a show.”
- Some husbands are more introverted in personality and prefer silent praying.
- Some husbands apparently don’t pray with words – so praying out loud may be particularly difficult or foreign-feeling.
- Some husbands are too overwhelmed with emotions to be able to pray out loud.
- Some husbands may feel intimidated by their wives’ praying and feel that their own praying “isn’t as good.”
- Some husbands may not be right with God and if they prayed with their wives, their unconfessed sin would prevent their prayers from being heard anyway – and the whole thing would be an exercise in futility and hypocrisy.
- Some husbands and wives have very different styles of praying that the other person doesn’t like.
- Some husbands don’t agree theologically with their wives and praying together may cause more division and contention than unity.
- Some wives preach at or nag their husbands in their prayers if they do pray together, which is disrespectful. (Some husbands do that, too, unfortunately, which would also be disrespectful.)
- Some husbands are not believers or are deeply wounded spiritually and unable to pray because they don’t have God’s Spirit empowering them and are in dire need of healing in Christ themselves.
- Some husbands feel too disrespected or controlled by their wives to be willing to pray with their wives.
- Some husbands feel that their wives pressure them too much about praying together. Generally, men tend to react to pressure by pushing back against it and refusing to do whatever they feel pressured to do.
- Some husbands feel their wives look down on them if they only want to pray privately – and that makes them even less inclined to pray with their wives. The really scary thing is that they may even begin to doubt themselves spiritually and may pull away from God privately the more they feel their wives condemn them.
- Some husbands do not feel safe being totally vulnerable spiritually with their wives. They may know that they will not receive grace if they were to reveal any temptations or sin issues with which they struggle.
- Some husbands don’t want to reveal anything that might be a reason for their wives to disrespect them or they may not trust their wives to keep their struggles/temptations/sin issues in confidence.
- Some husbands see their wives’ refusal to honor the husbands’ God-given leadership and see no point in praying together.
- Some husbands value private prayer much more than praying out loud with other people.
Gentlemen, if you know of other reasons why husbands may not pray with their wives at times, you are welcome to share.
ADVANTAGES I HAVE DISCOVERED OF PRAYING ALONE (you are welcome to share more benefits if you would like):
- It forces me to depend completely on Christ, not my husband. I personally really need to have to depend on Christ alone – not anyone or anything else. The minute I start to put some of my trust in someone or something other than Christ, I tend to trip and fall.
- I find that I can go much deeper spiritually when I pray and study God’s Word privately.
- I can be more honest and open with God when I am alone.
- I hear God’s voice much more clearly in private than when I am praying with others.
- There are times when one or both spouses have wrong motives when praying together would be sinful and unproductive.
- When I pray alone, I have to tear out the idol of praying with my husband if that is an issue for me and allow God to refine my motives so that I am praying just for Him.
- If my husband does pray with me daily, that does not guarantee that I will feel spiritually/emotionally connected to my husband or that our marriage will necessarily be stronger than if we don’t pray together daily.
- Prayer is not primarily about connecting with my husband, it is about connecting and being one spiritually with God.
- Private prayer and private Bible study is the most important part of our spiritual nourishment from what I see in Scripture.
It is easy to try to judge the “success” or “strength” of our marriage and our husbands by measuring how often we pray together. We want so much to be able to “check the box” – that yes, we prayed together – so we have a “good Christian marriage” and our husbands are “good Christian leaders.” But maybe that is not an accurate measure in God’s eyes?
Some of us have bought into the idea that our husbands “should” pray with us – that if they don’t pray with us, they are unspiritual and far from You. We love You. We love prayer. We love our husbands. We greatly value our marriages. We want to be close to You. We want to have godly marriages. We want to be strong spiritually as women and also as married couples. We acknowledge that prayer is a wonderful thing and that for couples to pray together willingly with pure motives is a beautiful and powerful spiritual act of unity. But help us not to place joint prayer in too lofty of a position in our hearts and minds. Help us not to judge our husbands’ spirituality if they don’t pray with us, realizing that You know their hearts in ways we can never begin to know them. We may not be able to judge accurately.
For many of us, myself included, it has been very eye opening to realize that Scripture doesn’t really talk about any husband or wife praying together specifically or give a particular command for husbands to pray with their wives. Help us to process this information by the power of Your Spirit. Help us to be willing to release our husbands of our expectations for them to lead in specific ways. Give us courage to repent if we have wrongly pressured our husbands to pray with us rather than encouraged them to pray in the ways that are best for them. Help us to extend grace, mercy, understanding, freedom, and blessing to our husbands in this area if there has been tension and strife over whether or not we pray together or have Bible studies together. Help us see the enemy’s strategy to bring division, contention, strife, and arguments through the issue of prayer (and many other issues). Empower us to stand firm against his plans to steal, kill, and destroy in our spiritual lives, our marriages, and our families. Let us see who the real enemy is and let us be completely and thoroughly equipped for the spiritual battle we all face daily that is raging around us. Thank you for the freedom You give us and our husbands in Christ! Thank You for taking this heavy weight off of our shoulders.
Let us become women of fervent prayer. Let us cherish our time with You alone in prayer and in Your Word. Let us abide in You and let Your Word abide richly in us. Transform us by the power of Your Spirit to become the women You command and desire us to be. Let us know You more and more. Let us discover the sufficiency of Christ. Let us tear out any idols or things we have set above You in our hearts. Cleanse us and make us holy in Your sight by the precious blood of Jesus Christ, our Lord. Let us submit fully to You in all things. Increase our trust and faith greatly. Let us love You with all our hearts, minds, souls, and strength. Use us to bless, honor, and love our husbands and children and those around us for Your glory. Draw our husbands and children to Yourself and let them also become people of fervent prayer and ever deepening faith in Christ. We trust each of them, these people we so dearly love, to Your sovereign, loving, holy hands.
In the Name of Christ,
We will look at spiritual leadership in Scripture in the next post. I couldn’t fit it all in this one. 🙂
If you long for someone to pray with you – you are always welcome to pray here with me! You can search my home page for “pray” and “prayer” and find many posts about prayer and many prayers to pray for yourself and your husband, as well as for the Body of Christ. My desire is to do a good bit of emphasis on prayer this summer.