A Guest Blog Post by Yvette Lewis of https://yvettelewis.wordpress.com/
The Intimate Act of Intercession: Three Reasons My Husband Loves It When I Pray for Him
“Will you please pray I fall asleep?” This whisper in my ear is a familiar one. It comes from my husband, who is pulling me close to him, requesting that I intercede for him as we settle into bed for the night. He likes to hear me pray Bible verses about God giving us rest, and he often falls asleep while I’m still praying. But sleep is only one of the many things my husband likes for me to pray about on his behalf. He just loves it when I pray, and he always has.
Prayer has been a vital characteristic of our marriage since before it even began. After we first met, the man I would eventually marry prayed about approaching me for almost 18 months before he ever asked me to go out with him. And I prayed for two months before I agreed (bless his patient heart)! Once we began to date, prayer became a consistent part of any time we spent together as we sought to understand if marriage was in our future. Of all the sweet things he said to me when he proposed three months into our courtship, this one remains vivid in my mind after twelve years of marriage:“I want to share life and life decisions with you.” To him, that means staying close to God and each other through a life of prayer.
Don’t misunderstand. We are in no way super-spiritual prayer experts. We’re not full-time church ministry leaders. We’re regular people who simply believe what the Bible says about the importance and power of prayer in the lives of believers in Jesus Christ. We certainly don’t have a perfect prayer life, but we do have a persistent one, thanks in large part to my husband’s commitment to daily prayer and his passionate desire to hear me intercede for him.
Recently I asked my husband to articulate what it means to him when I pray for him. His answers didn’t surprise me, but they did reinforce my belief in the importance of praying for one’s spouse. Your spouse may not seem to perceive prayer as an expression of love the way mine does. He may never have communicated a desire for you to pray for him as overtly as my husband has. Nevertheless, I think you may find these things are true of your husband as well when you act as his intercessor.
Below are the three reasons my husband loves it when I pray for him:
My intercession for my husband gives him a great measure of comfort. When I asked him why he likes it so much when I pray for him, his first answer was, “I have faith in your prayers because you have faith and fruit in God.” In other words, he trusts me to seek God in faith about the things that concern him. He trusts me to be his companion in prayer. He confides his thoughts, hopes, worries, and dreams to me, knowing I will keep his confidences and share their weight as we carry them to the Father in prayer together.
He draws comfort from being able to trust me like that. He draws comfort from my willingness to come alongside him in prayer. Moreover, he is encouraged in his own faith by seeing the fruit of faith in my life and by hearing my prayers of faith on his behalf. Though his ultimate source of comfort and peace is Christ alone, much of the beauty of the God-given gift of marriage, for him, is the comfort of having his wife at his side to seek the Lord with him.
To my husband, my intercession for him is a form of help that he values deeply. As you might have deduced from our story, both of us take decision-making seriously, knowing some choices we make can have far-reaching, long-lived consequences, for better or worse. Above all else, my husband wants to follow God’s will for our lives, so we pray fervently for God’s guidance when we are faced with circumstances requiring such decisions. Concerning this, my husband told me, “You understand me and you understand God, so your prayers help me align to God's plan and will for me.”
By that, he means I try to pray for God’s will by praying in line with God’s Word. When my husband hears me pray God’s Word over him or over our circumstances, he says it helps him see God’s perspective a little more clearly. As his wife, I know my husband’s strengths and weaknesses intimately, so I am in a unique position to cover him in prayers that encourage him and help him to remember the principles and promises of God that speak to the decision or the circumstance that concerns him. The Holy Spirit is the true Counselor, but when the Spirit uses me to help my husband through biblical prayer and counsel, my husband truly appreciates it because his heart's desire is that we please God as we share life and life decisions.
The final reason my husband gave for loving it when I pray for him is that “it helps us both grow closer to God and then closer to one another.” I agree with him that praying for each other and with each other is a key factor in the intimacy of our marriage. Of course, we know the same is true of our relationship with God. When we draw near to him in prayer, God promises to draw near to us to listen and to speak. We cannot have a growing relationship with Christ if we never pray.
Likewise, praying together in marriage binds us to each other (as well as to God) in ever-deepening intimacy. It is difficult to feel distanced from my husband if I am hearing his heart and mind laid bare—and if I am pouring out mine to him—as we share requests and pray regularly. It’s impossible to maintain a hard heart toward my spouse if we are earnestly interceding for each other’s needs while keeping God and his Word our focus.
Song of Solomon 2:15 exhorts us to “catch…the little foxes that ruin the vineyards,” meaning marriage partners must deal decisively with the small problems that can make big mischief in a marriage. Praying for one another is a powerfully effective way to keep the “little foxes” out of our marriage by keeping our intimacy vibrant with God and each other. My husband feels closer to me and to God when we are praying together and when he knows I am interceding for him. And since our prayer life is reciprocal, I experience the same benefits my husband loves so much.
How to Become an Intercessor
Maybe you wish your husband wanted these things. Maybe you long to be valued as a prayer partner and to be prayed for by your spouse. Maybe your marriage is so far from ideal you can barely imagine having a civil conversation, much less ever having a prayer life together. I can assure you that my marriage is far from flawless, today or any other day, and I can encourage you that we have come through disappointment and heartbreak verging on despair in our marriage several times.
The truth is, God’s design for marriage begins with Christ in the supreme place in our hearts and lives, and our marriages only thrive when we are each seeking hard after God and being obedient as individuals. It’s also true that God desires to do a work of grace in our marriages beyond anything we could dream or imagine! But above all and before all, we each must look to Christ and find in him all the love, all the grace, all the comfort and help and intimacy our hearts need. A loving, praying, God-honoring spouse is a good thing, but Christ alone is more than sufficient to meet our every need regardless of the state of our marriages at any given time.
Change begins in us. You can become an intercessor and benefit from a powerful prayer life, whether your husband is a person of prayer or not. These are my top three tips for becoming an intercessor in your marriage:
Stop and pray. If your husband voices a concern in conversation, stop in the moment and pray aloud if possible. Touching him while praying adds to the intimacy and is certainly biblical! If you cannot pray aloud with him, pray silently and then let your husband know you are praying for him and will continue to pray about what concerns him.
Initiate prayer. Ask your husband in the morning if you can take a moment to pray for him, and intercede for his day briefly. If he can’t stop to pray, ask how you can be praying for him today, then let him know that you prayed for him with a text or a note, or in conversation once you are together at the end of the day. If nighttime is a better time to ask for his requests, ask how you can pray for the next day.
Schedule time to pray. If your husband is willing, choose a set time to pray together so you can make it a habit. If it’s easier, start with once a week and try to slowly work up to daily time. My husband and I don’t always manage to pray aloud together each day. Especially since having children, some days spiral out of control first thing, or we drop into bed too exhausted to stay awake and pray together. However, scheduling a time to pray makes it more likely we will actually do it.
Schedule time for your personal Bible study and prayer time as well. Find tools to help you grow in your prayer life, small step by small step. The goal is to make prayer for and with your spouse a habit. Remember, God has not made any of us the prayer police, so give grace and stay positive, even if you are the only one praying at first. Be encouraged by God’s promises and become an intercessor!
“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.” Jeremiah 29:11-13
These are my three favorite books to have on hand when I pray. Each one has helped me grow in my prayer life by teaching me how to pray biblically on a variety of topics.
The Power of Prayer to Change Your Marriage by Stormie Omartian; Harvest House, 2009
Prayers That Avail Much: Commemorative Edition by Germaine Copleand; Harrison House, 2008
Praying God’s Word by Beth Moore; B & H, 2009