If you’re looking for a way to strengthen your marriage and improve the atmosphere in your home, praying for your spouse is a wonderful place to start. Attending marriage seminars, reading marriage books and working with a Christian marriage counselor are all great ideas, however, there is no substitute for praying for your spouse.
But how should you pray for your spouse? Falling down on your knees and saying, “God, please make my husband put his dirty t-shirts in the hamper” may not be the best course to take. Similarly, spending your morning going to God in prayer and saying, “help my wife to stop burning the casserole” isn’t exactly the core of God’s heart for marriage.
If you’re looking for a way to take your marriage to the next level, start by earnestly praying for your spouse. No, there is no Bible verse that explicitly states that you should pray for the person that you’re married to. However, we can draw from different verses and come to the conclusion that God expects us to pray for the person we’ve committed our lives to on earth. For instance, Paul told the Ephesian church that husbands should “love their wives like Christ loves the church” (Ephesians 5:25). Since we know that Christ serves as an advocate between His Church and God (1 John 2:1), we can deduce that we should pray for our partners.
Understanding how to pray for your partner can help us bring a divine strength into our marriage.
Start by Praying for Yourself
This may sound like a selfish idea, but when we say praying for yourself is a good place to start when praying for your spouse, we’re not encouraging selfish prayers. Instead of praying for God to bless you, ask the Holy Spirit to help change you.
Romans 12:2 (TPT)
Stop imitating the ideals and opinions of the culture around you, but be inwardly transformed by the Holy Spirit through a total reformation of how you think. This will empower you to discern God’s will as you live a beautiful life, satisfying and perfect in His eyes.
The culture around us has painted a very bleak picture for marriage. With divorce so rampant, it’s not hard to figure out why. Society’s view of marriage is skewed. When you watch TV shows, you generally see an ungodly version of marriage where spouses are in constant combat with one another. While it may make for an entertaining 30-minute TV show, it’s not how God wants marriage to work. Paul says that we should “stop imitating the ideas and opinions of culture.” That includes the way that we view marriage.
In order to stop imitating ungodly ideas, we have to be “inwardly transformed by the Holy Spirit through a total reformation of how we think.”
When you ask the Holy Spirit to reveal areas in your life that need to change, get ready for things to become uncomfortable. He will reveal things that you need to work on to become a better spouse. Once He has brought those things to light, start lining up your thoughts and actions with God’s Word.
Pray for Unity
Ecclesiastes 4:9-12 (ESV)
Two are better than one, because they have a good reward for their toil. For if they fall, one will life up his fellow. But woe to him who is alone when he falls and has not another to lift him up! Again, if two lie together, they keep warm, but how can one keep warm alone? And though a man might prevail against one who is alone, two will withstand him-a threefold cord is not quickly broken.
Once you’ve asked God to help you identify areas in your life that aren’t in submission to His guidance, begin praying for unity in your marriage. In the book of Ecclesiastes, Solomon, the wisest man who ever lived, pointed to the need for unity.
When your marriage is unified, you and your spouse can begin picking each other up when one of you falls. Praying for your spouse doesn’t mean that they will become a perfect person. However, you’re not perfect either. That’s a tough pill to swallow, but it’s true. When one of you stumbles and falls, the other partner can pick them up.
This verse also points to the importance of keeping God at the center of your marriage. While two are better than one, Solomon also notes how a “threefold cord is not quickly broken.” It’s been said that marriage is a 50/50 proposition, but that’s simply not the case. Instead, it’s a 100/100/100 agreement. A successful marriage involves both partners giving 100% to the long-term success of the union. Additionally, God will be 100% involved in your marriage if you ask Him to be.
Pray for Love
Philippians 1:9 (ESV)
I continue to pray for your love to grow and increase beyond measure, bringing you into the rich revelation of spiritual insight in all things.
Do you remember how you felt on your wedding day? If you were the groom, let your mind go back to how you felt when you saw your bride standing at the far end of the aisle. Were you ever more in love than you were in that moment? If you were the bride, go back to the feeling in your heart when you saw your groom standing there beside the officiant, waiting for you to come and stand beside him. The amount of love and excitement that you felt may have moved you to tears.
Did you know that your love was supposed to grow from that point on? Your wedding wasn’t the pinnacle of your marriage. Instead, it was just the beginning. The way that you felt on that day was supposed to be the launching point for the love that you would feel years in the future.
The stresses of daily life can make it easy to feel like you’ve “fallen out of love.” However, that’s not God’s design for your marriage. In this verse to the Philippian church, Paul tells us that love can increase and grow beyond marriage.
Ask God to point your heart to your spouse and your spouse’s heart toward you. When the love in your marriage grows, your marriage will fulfill God’s plan for it.
Pray for Compromise
Ephesians 5:21 (ESV)
Submitting to one another out of reverence for Christ.
When we hear the term “submission,” we automatically recoil. Afterall, submission means weakness in our minds, doesn’t it? That idea couldn’t be further from the truth. When Jesus prayed in the garden the night before His crucifixion, He submitted His will to the will of the Father (Matthew 26:39). Was Jesus weak for doing this? Absolutely not. Was Jesus somehow less than God because He submitted His will? Not in the least.
Similarly, when we make our desires less important, we aren’t acting in weakness. Instead, we are operating in God’s design for marital unity. This doesn’t mean that you have to give your spouse everything that he or she wants. Instead, it simply means that you are preferring your spouse over yourself.
When you pray for your marriage to become a place of compromise, you are opening the door for God to truly work in the union. Compromise is at the heart of God’s design for marriage. When you prefer your spouse and your spouse prefers you, it’s easier to keep falling in love all over again.
A large part of praying for your spouse involves asking God to bring these principles to life in yourself. It also involves exhibiting those traits of unity, love and compromise. Praying for your spouse isn’t all about God changing the person that you married. Instead, it’s about allowing God to change the dynamics of your marriage. Ideally, your spouse will join you on this path of marital prayer and he or she will allow the Holy Spirit to change them while He changes you.
A Closing Prayer:
God, I want a marriage that is in accordance with Your will for us. Help me to be a better spouse and show my partner the love that he or she needs. Bring unity into our marriage, help us to fall more in love every day and help us both to compromise in our constant pursuit of Your plan for us. In Christ’s name, Amen.