Praying for Your Spouse
Are you comfortable praying out loud? Out loud alone with your spouse? Voicing prayer with and for our spouse can produce anxiety because it carries with it a spiritual nakedness. Praying makes us vulnerable, placing our hearts before another person, not to mention God. But praying together also opens a door of spiritual intimacy and is vital to having a strong faith-centered relationship. So how do we move past the vulnerability?
First, just do it. This may seem a trite phrase, but it carries some wisdom. Praying out loud is a learned skill, and practice makes perfect. It is better just to get started, to try imperfectly, learning and growing along the way, than it is to avoid the challenge all together. The effort will not be lost on your spouse as they see you reach out and attempt to bring spiritual intimacy to your relationship.
Second, try a formula. An ACTS format can be a great way to pray. Adoration, Confession, Thanksgiving, and Supplication (ACTS) is a wonderful guide for praying together. Begin with each of you sharing something awesome about God--what causes you to marvel in awe and adoration? Next move to confession and lament, being honest about how you are broken as you come before your perfect God. As you move from confession, the natural response is to give thanks to a God who loves us despite our sinfulness and forgives us for all of our shortcomings. Finally, supplication is asking God to care for your concerns. These four types of prayer give you something to talk about as you talk to God together.
Third, remember as you pray for your spouse that you are not praying at your spouse. Your prayers are always directed to God and not directed toward your spouse. Asking God to help your husband to be less of a jerk, or to help your wife to be more thrifty is really aggression at your spouse, not lifting them up to God.
Fourth, ask your spouse how you can be in prayer for them and listen well to their requests. Even if there are no big concerns on your spouse’s heart, there are still things that you can be praying for them each day.
- Pray for God to give time nurturing their faith walk. May they have time spent having their heart encouraged and their spirit refreshed. Ask God to make himself know to your spouse, that they would find God sightings throughout their day.
- Pray for God’s spirit to cultivate his gifts in the life of your spouse. Thank God for gifts that are abundant in your spouse and ask God to give them opportunities to use those gifts for his service.
- Pray that their lives would reflect God’s holiness. That they would be an example for others of how to honor God in their character.
- Thank God for the gift of your spouse and ask God to equip them for them in the roles that they perform each day as spouse, child, parent, employee, etc. Ask for God to give opportunities to use the gifts he has given to serve others and be a blessing in their day’s activities.
- Thank God for your spouse’s faith and ask for his Spirit to use them for his glory. Pray for opportunities to be a part of working in God’s kingdom that others would be enriched and invited deeper into faith because of them.
- Pray for wisdom and guidance for following God’s leading. Discernment to know when to persevere through challenges and when God might be pointing out a different path.
- Pray for Spiritual protection as well as physical safety as they face the challenges of each day.
Fifth, pray scripture. Let the Bible guide you as you learn to pray for one another. Look at the words that Paul prayed for the churches that he was ministering and pray them for your spouse. Hebrews 13:20-12 says, “Now may the God of peace, who through the blood of the eternal covenant brought back from the dead our Lord Jesus, that great Shepherd of the sheep, equip you with everything good for doing his will, and may he work in us what is pleasing to him, through Jesus Christ, to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen.” The Lord’s Prayer is a great guide as well. “Lord, may your will be done in my spouse’s life on earth as it is in heaven.”
Spiritual intimacy can feel intimidating at first, but it is worth the effort. Every other area of intimacy in your marriage—intellectual, emotional, and physical—will feel the ripples of your investment in prayer.
By Steven Koster
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