If you’re like most people, your chats with God are usually about stuff going on in your own life.
Now, there’s nothing wrong with that! James 5:13 (NIV) encourages us to talk to God in bad times and in good: “Is anyone among you in trouble? Let them pray. Is anyone happy? Let them sing songs of praise.”
But James 5:16 also calls us to pray for one another. And that includes your spouse. You may already pray with your spouse,but we’re talking about praying for them on your own time. If you’re like lots of married people, you might not do this as much as you should.
Maybe you’re so used to everything being “we” and “our” that you forget that each of you has separate prayer needs.
Maybe you assume your spouse will ask for prayer if they need it.
Maybe your spouse is the last person you think to pray for, because you’re busy praying for everyone else.
Maybe you rely on yourself to fix the things about your spouse that prayer could heal.
Whatever your reason, if you aren’t intentional about praying for your spouse, you’re missing out on giving them one of the best gifts you can give!
Ephesians 5:28–30 calls us to love our spouses like we love ourselves. And since we pray for ourselves, praying for our spouses makes sense.
But the truth is it can be a struggle to start. So where do you begin?
First, ask your spouse specifically how you can pray for them. This goes beyond, “God, bless my wife,” or “Bless my husband.” You might be surprised at what you hear! Be prepared for their prayer requests to address their own desires, concerns or hopes—apart from your own.
For example, maybe you’ve been asking God to show you the best way to parent your kids, and you’ve assumed you were praying this on behalf of your spouse, too. But really, they’re already pretty confident that God’s got that! They could really use God’s help balancing their work and home life—something you had no idea they were struggling with.
Talking about prayer needs with your spouse can teach you so much about them! It can open the doors to a deeper connection—and ultimately a stronger marriage.
Once you know what you’re praying for, you need a plan of action. Choose times to pray for your spouse apart from any prayer time you already share with them. Maybe during your time alone with God, or as you pause during the busyness of the day. Whenever you schedule it, make it a regular part of your week.
There are also lots of resources available that guide you through the process of praying for your spouse. Some even give you prayers to pray each day if your spouse doesn’t share anything specific. You can find these at Christian bookstores near you.
As you begin to pray regularly, get ready, because a few things will probably happen. First, you’ll see God work in and through your spouse as they draw closer to Him. Second—and maybe more surprising—you might notice a change in yourself. You’ll draw closer to God too as your heart aligns with His desire for your marriage.
Praying for your spouse is powerful! Sure, you want God to answer those prayers and work in your spouse’s life—but it’s likely to completely change your life, too.