5 Tips to Pray More Effectively for Your Spouse

Does this seem like a “no-brainer”?  Well, it is and it isn’t. I’m sure many of you are praying for your spouse and marriage daily, and that’s wonderful!

Keep it up!

But what if you could pray more effectively?

Would you be interested in finding out how? Then read on … 
don't pray in the rain if you don't pray when the sun shines... Satchel Paige

Tip OneThank God for your spouse.

“Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near.” Philippians 4:4-5

Every time you pray, you have this great opportunity to thank God for something good you see in your spouse. For those of you who have really challenging marriages, it may come down to thanking God that s/he loves your children or s/he didn’t criticize you in the morning (not choosing to focus on the fact that s/he criticized you in the afternoon).

God will bless our humble seeking out of the blessings He gives us every day, but that we sometimes don’t pay attention to.

Tip Two – Express to God your trust in Him to solve your marriage mystery.

“Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.” Philippians 4:6

The Greek word for “present” in this passage stems from the idea of “revealing” something like in a mystery. We don’t know how to solve our own problems, so very often we worry instead. But God wants us to trust and rest in His ability to solve the mystery. And the best way to do that is to express your trust directly to God in your prayers.

Tip Three – Be specific about your spouse’s heart needs and not just behavior changes.

“ … but in everything …” (v. 6)

We are told to present “everything” to our Father in prayer. But very often we are way too general about this. We say things like, “help my spouse to treat me better” or “keep us from arguing.” Now, I’m not saying these aren’t good prayers, but they don’t focus on the character God wants to build in our mates.

I believe God wants us to ask for what our spouse’s “heart” needs, not what we may selfishly want our spouse to quit doing. (Refer to some examples of how Paul often prayed for the churches – Phlp. 1:3-11, Gal. 1:9, Eph. 1:15-23)

Tip Four – Pray more for yourself than for your spouse.

“Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.” Psalm 138:23-24

I know, I’m taking the liberty here since it doesn’t exactly say pray more for yourself  in this passage. But we are exhorted to pray this very heart-examining prayer … and when we do, I believe God reveals the sins we might miss otherwise.

What better way to pray for your marriage than to quit focusing on how your spouse is the problem, and focus on your sin against your spouse. And don’t forget to be specific here too!

I have to confess I’ve been praying this prayer a lot lately and God has been faithful to reveal my sins to me daily. Honestly, that’s probably the biggest step toward healing and helping my marriage than any prayer I might pray for my husband.

Tip Five – Ask your spouse how you can pray for him or her.

Sometimes the very knowledge that you want to pray for your spouse will be what God uses to soften your mates heart toward you.

So what prayer tip would you add to this list? Let us know!

Photo credit by ^@^ina (Irina Patrascu)

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Linking up with NOBH, New Life Steward Works for Me Wednesday and To Love Honor and Vacuum

  • Beth love this post 🙂 … I was prepping one yesterday — also with two hands — and when I saw this wondered, “OH MY WORD did I accidently post it?!” I love that we on semi-different paths, but in many other ways are in sync!

    • I see that happen all the time and I hope that you don’t feel like your post isn’t necessary or “new” to the topic now. I’m certain God has revealed some important points to you that I’ve missed and we all could learn from. But, then I think you are soon off to Cambodia, right? Maybe that’s a post that can be in the works for a smoother return to blogging! 🙂 Thanks so much for stopping by. We seem to be passionate about the same things, Amy, so that’s encouraging to me!

  • Beth love this post 🙂 … I was prepping one yesterday — also with two hands — and when I saw this wondered, “OH MY WORD did I accidently post it?!” I love that we on semi-different paths, but in many other ways are in sync!

  • Pray more for yourself… That is a good one. Great reminder. I’m pretty sure I do cause I’m always praying for myself. Many a blunder requires many a prayer!

    Another one that I might add would be simply to tell them that you’re praying for them. Perhaps that goes with asking them how you could pray for them. I’m thinking in terms of the spouse who isn’t comfortable sharing their prayer life. I think many couples are not far enough along on their journey to be openly sharing their prayer life with each other as that is the ultimate in intimacy. Just letting them know you’re praying for them (and not in a “Boy! I’m praying for your soul! kind of way) will help them feel more confident and comfortable to share.

    I say this because there are times when I’ve said this to Lenny through our journey as new believers and I could see the light go on and the care really land for him.

    • Thanks for adding a great point, Colleen. I thought about that too (that a spouse might not appreciate or feel comfortable being “prayed” for). It has to be handled with the right attitude that’s for sure! I just know that sometimes I pray for things that my husband Gary might want to tweak. So why not include him in the process! 🙂

      Thanks so much for coming by and adding to the discussion. I really appreciate it!

  • Pray more for yourself… That is a good one. Great reminder. I’m pretty sure I do cause I’m always praying for myself. Many a blunder requires many a prayer!

    Another one that I might add would be simply to tell them that you’re praying for them. Perhaps that goes with asking them how you could pray for them. I’m thinking in terms of the spouse who isn’t comfortable sharing their prayer life. I think many couples are not far enough along on their journey to be openly sharing their prayer life with each other as that is the ultimate in intimacy. Just letting them know you’re praying for them (and not in a “Boy! I’m praying for your soul! kind of way) will help them feel more confident and comfortable to share.

    I say this because there are times when I’ve said this to Lenny through our journey as new believers and I could see the light go on and the care really land for him.

  • Pam

    Love love love the post, Beth.Thanks for writing it! I especially liked the focus on trying to see our part in the problems we have experienced.

    • Yeah, I think we can pray “more for ourselves” and it turns into a gripe session, but praying more about areas of sin and weakness that God wants to refine in us is so very important. It’s really been amazing what God’s been doing for me in this area of my prayer life and marriage. Thanks so much for your sweet words, Pam. It means a lot that you stopped by!

  • Pam

    Love love love the post, Beth.Thanks for writing it! I especially liked the focus on trying to see our part in the problems we have experienced.

  • LuAnn Braley

    My husband does not attend church. He can talk a good game though (due to righteous influence of his maternal grandmother’s 2nd husband – a Primitive Baptist preacher – in his youth). As I’m doing this whole blogging about praying for my husband thing now, it occurred to me, I could use a refresher as to what DH actually believed now. So, I asked him. (*gasp* I know, shocking idea, right?) He answered that he believed in a “Supreme Being”. I can work with that! I’m actually kind of excited. As a wife, I feel ‘entitled’ to share my beliefs with my husband, but I also want to show him respect and be sensitive to what he is open to hearing. I hope that makes sense.

    • Sounds like you are striking a great balance with your husband, LuAnn. It’s tough to know how to pray for an unbelieving or spiritually rebellious/apathetic spouse, but it sounds like you’ve hit the nail on the head … there has to be respect and sensitivity to our spouse no matter where they stand spiritually. Thanks so much for stopping by and sharing!

  • My husband does not attend church. He can talk a good game though (due to righteous influence of his maternal grandmother’s 2nd husband – a Primitive Baptist preacher – in his youth). As I’m doing this whole blogging about praying for my husband thing now, it occurred to me, I could use a refresher as to what DH actually believed now. So, I asked him. (*gasp* I know, shocking idea, right?) He answered that he believed in a “Supreme Being”. I can work with that! I’m actually kind of excited. As a wife, I feel ‘entitled’ to share my beliefs with my husband, but I also want to show him respect and be sensitive to what he is open to hearing. I hope that makes sense.

  • Lisa

    Really thought-provoking! Or shall I say, prayer-provoking?? I often find that I tend to pray more for character issues that bother me about my husband, rather than more important needs that God may have in mind!

    Thanks for the reminder!

    Lisa
    http://www.TheCourageousJourney.com

    • Yeah, that’s something I think we all fall into the habit of doing. I’m just hoping that some of these tweaks can make a difference for others. I know they have for me! Thanks so much for stopping by, Lisa. I appreciate it and am glad to get to know you a bit more through the blog hops!

  • I see that happen all the time and I hope that you don’t feel like your post isn’t necessary or “new” to the topic now. I’m certain God has revealed some important points that I’ve missed and we all could learn from. But, then I think you are soon off to Cambodia, right? Maybe that’s a post that can be in the works for a smoother return to blogging! 🙂 Thanks so much for stopping by. We seem to be passionate about the same things, Amy, so that’s encouraging to me!

  • Thanks for adding a great point, Colleen. I thought about that too (that a spouse might not appreciate or feel comfortable being “prayed” for). It has to be handled with the right attitude that’s for sure! I just know that sometimes I pray for things that my husband Gary might want to tweak. So why not include him in the process! 🙂

    Thanks so much for coming by and adding to the discussion. I really appreciate it!

  • Yeah, I think we can pray “more for ourselves” and it turns into a gripe session, but praying more about areas of sin and weakness that God wants to refine in us is so very important. It’s really been amazing what God’s been doing for me in this area of my prayer life and marriage. Thanks so much for your sweet words, Pam. It means a lot that you stopped by!

  • Sounds like you are striking a great balance with your husband, LuAnn. It’s tough to know how to pray for an unbelieving or spiritually rebellious/apathetic spouse, but it sounds like you’ve hit the nail on the head … there has to be respect and sensitivity to our spouse no matter where they stand spiritually. Thanks so much for stopping by and sharing!

  • Yeah, that’s something I think we all fall into the habit of doing. I’m just hoping that some of these tweaks can make a difference for others. I know they have for me! Thanks so much for stopping by, Lisa. I appreciate it and am glad to get to know you a bit more through the blog hops!

  • Lisa

    Me too! Thanks for being brave enough to write about some tough subjects!

    Lisa
    http://www.TheCourageousJourney.com

  • rboerner

    I have really been focusing more on Tip 4 lately and I am simply amazed at how much God has shown me and grown me! I think sometimes when I focus on what my husband needs to change then I become frustrated and can’t really hear what God is calling me to do or be in our relationship. Thanks for these simple reminders!

    • Yeah, I think it’s always better to focus on what God wants to do in our own hearts. When we do that, we are starting from a yielded point–where God can really work. When we pray for our spouse, it’s not always a “yielded” place for God to work. And God’s a gentlemen and never forces Himself on others. I think you and I are experiencing the same things, Becky. And for that I am so grateful that God has brought you into my life–more completely, my friend!

  • Charlene Blevins

    As part of Step Foru–pray for yourself–you may want to include asking God to help you to love your spouse in the way that you should. I prayed that many times during difficult times in my marriage when I honestly wansn’t sure that I still loved my husband as much as I should, or in the way that I should. I felt I had a selfish love, always looking at what HE brought to ME in our marriage, and seldom the other way around.

    • Yes, Charlene. That’s exactly what God has shown me as well. I feel like when I open myself up to God’s examination, He reveals to me just how I’m hurting my marriage and that’s when the real redemptive work can begin.

      Thanks so much for stopping by and adding to the discussion!

  • Great tips Beth, right now I am praying more for myself, for God to make me a helpmeet indeed.
    Thanks a lot for the tips, I find them very useful.
    Have a super blessed day!
    Love

    • Thanks so much for stopping by, Ugochi! I really appreciate your encouraging words, my friend!

  • Thank you for sharing your wisdom, Beth. I especially appreciate the tip to pray for yourself more than for your spouse. So often I’ll begin a prayer for God to change my husband’s heart about an issue, only to sense conviction that maybe my own heart is the culprit. That’s part of the beauty of prayer, though, isn’t it? I do love those verses from Psalm 138. Blessings to you and your family!

    • Yeah, Becky, it’s funny how prayer works that way–convicting us more than those we pray for! 🙂 I guess God is definitely in the business of removing the “logs” rather than giving us permission to remove the “speck” in our spouse’s eye. Thanks so much for your encouraging words, my friend!

  • Gaye @CalmHealthySexy

    Thank you, Beth. This post is a great reminder to me. I have been lazy and neglectful in praying for my husband and my marriage.
    Gaye

    • Yeah, I speak to myself first and foremost in my posts. It’s been a good reminder for me to pray in the right way as well. Thanks so much for coming by, Gaye!

  • Gaye @CalmHealthySexy

    Thank you, Beth. This post is a great reminder to me. I have been lazy and neglectful in praying for my husband and my marriage.
    Gaye

  • Yeah, I think it’s always better to focus on what God wants to do in our own hearts. When we do that, we are starting from a yielded point–where God can really work. When we pray for our spouse, it’s not always a “yielded” place for God to work. And God’s a gentlemen and never forces Himself on others. I think you and I are experiencing the same things, Becky. And for that I am so grateful that God has brought you into my life–more completely, my friend!

  • Yes, Charlene. That’s exactly what God has shown me as well. I feel like when I open myself up to God’s examination, He reveals to me just how I’m hurting my marriage and that’s when the real redemptive work can begin.

    Thanks so much for stopping by and adding to the discussion!

  • Thanks so much for stopping by, Ugochi! I really appreciate your encouraging words, my friend!

  • Yeah, Becky, it’s funny how prayer works that way–convicting us more than those we pray for! 🙂 I guess God is definitely in the business of removing the “logs” rather than giving us permission to remove the “speck” in our spouse’s eye. Thanks so much for your encouraging words, my friend!

  • Yeah, I speak to myself first and foremost in my posts. It’s been a good reminder for me to pray in the right way as well. Thanks so much for coming by, Gaye!

  • This is such a great reminder. So often I remember to pray for everyone else but myself, and I’m the one that needs prayer the most. Praise God for your dedication to praying diligently for your spouse.

    • Yes, prayer has made all the difference in our marriage, Hannah. So glad you got something from this post. I appreciate your support and encouragement here!

  • This is such a great reminder. So often I remember to pray for everyone else but myself, and I’m the one that needs prayer the most. Praise God for your dedication to praying diligently for your spouse.

  • Yes, prayer has made all the difference in our marriage, Hannah. So glad you got something from this post. I appreciate your support and encouragement here!