With Father’s Day celebrations recently, I reflected on praying for my husband through the seasons of our life together. Many blogs, posts, memes, and media stories have shown up over the last week: thought-provoking ones, some that were inspiring, funny ones, and some that brought sadness too. Friends have posted photos and appreciation of both their own fathers and their husbands, as the father of their children.
Thinking back over the 28 years since I met my husband, my prayers for him have changed a lot from the simple heart-felt prayers of a young girl in love, as I have prayed through good times and hard times. I am not one of those amazing, godly, prayer warriors. I know and strongly believe that prayer is powerful and a vital part of my growth as a Christian, but I also know that my flesh is weak and I can be lazy. My mind is prone to wander, especially as a busy mom juggling all the different aspects of family life. Daily focused prayer time is not something that comes naturally to me, but I have received some godly advice, developed some good habits, and learned Scripture verses that have been helpful to me over the years and I’d like to share these with you.
- God’s Word is full of prayers that I have prayed over my husband. Psalm 112 is one in particular that comes to mind. This Psalm describes the life of a godly man, starting with, “Blessed is the man who fears the Lord, who finds great delight in his commands.” This is an important prayer to start with. Sometimes we are tempted to go straight to, “Please, Lord, fix this in my husband and do it quickly!” Let us not forget to pray that his faith and relationship would continue to grow deeper and stronger each day. This is the best foundation for the leader of your home. Many of the verses and phrases in Psalm 112 bring to mind specific seasons in our lives. For instance, verse 4 says, “even in darkness, light dawns for the upright,” so I prayed my husband would be strong in integrity through a tough work situation, and that “he will have no fear of bad news; his heart will be steadfast, trusting in the Lord” (vs. 7). God answered those prayers in a mighty way after we survived a “Job season” (as in the book of Job!).
- Praying with my husband encourages me to pray for We’ve made a habit of starting the day in prayer together. 15 Minutes with God for Couples, the devotional by Jim and Emilie Barnes, suggests that in addition to focusing prayer each day of the week on a different child, that we also take a day to focus on prayer for each other. This has been a great habit for us and spills over into my personal prayer life.
- Sometimes having a structure to my prayers has worked well, especially after a lazy period. I might take a week to pray through a Psalm, the fruit of the Spirit, aspects of the Father’s Mandate, or use a book such as Power of a Praying Wife. It is tempting to be so needs-focused that I forget to bring my husband before the Lord to build him up and just be thankful for him.
- And as for that “wandering mind” problem – I was encouraged once at a GEMS session to not feel badly about our active mama minds. The suggestion was to have a notebook next to you as you prayed in which you could jot down distracting thoughts that came to mind and then continue praying. Then the concern that you would forget the issue or idea will not completely derail your devotional time with the Lord.
I have seen the power of answered prayer and how it has brought such richness to our marriage. This spurs me on to keep working at it. Now with 3 young-adult sons, it leads me to reflect on praying specifically for them as fathers of my future grandchildren. My husband did not grow up in a Christian home, but both my grandmothers committed to praying for their grandchildren and their future spouses. Our family is stronger because of their prayers, and I want give that precious gift to my grandchildren too.
Linda and Jeff Gage have 4 children ages 16 to 23. They have lived in New Zealand and Missouri and are now living in the heat and dust of Riverside, California. Jeff is a Professor of Nursing. Linda is transitioning from homeschool teacher back to nursing, working with new mothers and babies. They have used GFI principles in their own family from the birth of their first child and have mentored many families over the years through teaching classes and providing Contact Mom support. They are now also using the principles to support young and at-risk parents.