Several weeks ago, a few of our young adult wives asked one of our senior adult wives to come and talk to their coffee group. “What are the secrets to a long and happy marriage?” the young wives wanted to know. After more than sixty years of marriage, the older woman did seem to be an expert. The conversation began politely enough. There were stories about how the wives had met their husbands and pictures of children were passed around. The young ladies were attentive to the lessons of life their older friend was bringing them about the place of humor in the marriage, the price of commitment, the realities of mutual support, but the conversation stopped when the woman who had been married more than 60 years asked her young friends one question.
“Tell me how you pray for your husbands.”
According to the senior adult who called me later in utter dismay (“Mike, when I asked them that question, they just looked at each other and then, one by one hung their heads”). She couldn’t believe that these young wives didn’t pray for their husbands. “Every day, our husbands leave our homes and go to battle,” she told them. Quoting Ephesians 6, where Paul implores the Ephesian church to pray, that after putting on the whole armor of God, he would be able to stand and preach as he should, she told the young wives they were sending their husbands out to the battle without the covering and support of prayer. Forget everything else, she told them, start praying for your husbands.
I wish I had been there. From what some of the young wives told me later, their older friend did everything but call them down to be baptized!
But she has a point, doesn’t she? So, let me ask the question our older friend has already asked, “Do you pray for your spouse?” Have they heard you pray for them? Prayer, by its very nature is extremely intimate and there is nothing like having your name lovingly called to Christ in prayer. I know this from personal experience. For me, there’s nothing quite like hearing my wife, Jeannie, pray for me. She knows me better than anyone else. She knows what I’m dealing with. Hearing her thank God for me and then, lay out my concerns as she prays for me is deeply and profoundly moving in ways that I just can’t explain.
But something else happens when you pray for your spouse. Because prayer is a conversation, this is the moment when Jesus and you can talk about your spouse. It’s in these moments you’ll begin to understand the how the Master created them, the great purposes He has for their lives and why you were brought into your spouse’s life. You will understand and appreciate your spouse in ways you never did or could because, honestly, Jesus will reveal things to you about your spouse in prayer you can’t find anywhere else.
How do I know this? It happened to me. Several years ago, the Lord called me to a deeper prayer life. One of the things that happened in this prayer time was I started praying for Jeannie. Not just the “please bless Jeannie” prayer, but really talking and LISTENING to Christ about her. The result? I began to love and enjoy her in ways I had never done before. The difference was so profound that Jeannie asked me to tell her what had changed.
I was embarrassed to tell her it all changed when I began to pray for her. “What happened when you prayed for me,” she asked.
“Jesus told me you were one of His favorite people and He had entrusted you to me.” Hearing that will change the way you love your spouse.
So, let’s get back to the original question, “Do you pray for your spouse.” If you don’t, start. If you do, don’t stop…