Husbands, let me start with a question: Are you doing pretty well in some areas, but realizing that your marriage can no longer take a back seat to your kids and other priorities?
When God transformed my life through an active and daily faith, He began to help me reorganize my priorities. Through this process, I was convicted that I was called to a higher standard than just being a “good guy” who goes to church. I realized that God actually calls me to be the spiritual leader of my home.
As men, it can be difficult to know how to be the spiritual leader of our homes. We may feel inadequate when it comes to our knowledge of the Bible. We may be uncomfortable praying out loud. We may not have had a good role model in this. We may not know where to start.
I suggest that the easiest and best place to start leading spiritually in your home is by praying for your spouse. Pray to God for your wife. Pray to God with your wife.
I have come to realize that spiritual leadership, like our expression of love in our homes, needs to begin toward our wives. We must love our wife by serving her and by praying for her, without the expectation of getting something out of it for ourselves. This is how Christ loves us. We are called to love our wives the way Christ loves us.
Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her (Ephesians 5:25 NIV)
In my marriage, praying together regularly has been a struggle. We each have different styles of prayer and different ways of relating to God. We do our devotions at different times of the day. Despite these differences, it is still very important for us to come together in prayer because it brings us closer to God and each other. It builds trust and intimacy in our relationship.
You may be like us. Perhaps, you don’t pray much together, other than at mealtime. Don’t condemn yourself, or your wife for it. Don’t become overwhelmed and think you have to commit to some big plan. Just start praying!
Let me share a personal story to illustrate this. Recently, my wife and I attended a Love Worth Fighting For marriage event presented by Kirk Cameron and Warren Barfield. The event served as a great reminder that husbands are called to serve and love our wives unconditionally. The night after the event, my wife and I attended a small gathering of people at church who were praying for one another. Most of the prayer-needs focused on physical issues. At the gathering, my wife mentioned that she needed prayer for some pain she has been having for over a year. As the night when on, I recalled the teaching from the Love Worth Fighting For event. I was convicted of two things: (1) do not let fear win over faith and (2) as the spiritual leader of my home and marriage, I was to pray for my wife as soon as we got home.
When my wife and I returned home from church, I shared with her that I wanted to pray for her personally, right then. I spent time praying for my wife’s areas of pain in a bold way, in an open way, and in a loving way. We prayed against the spirit of fear and we prayed for God’s Spirit of faith. As Jesus said many times, it is our faith that makes us well.
He said to her, “Daughter, your faith has healed you. Go in peace and be freed from your suffering.” (Mark 5:34 NIV)
I wish I could say that she was relieved of her pain, but she was not…not yet. But I know that God has answered our prayer. I know that God will honor my obedience to serve my wife through loving prayer. I know that God wants us to have faith. I know that God does not want our faith to be shaken. More importantly, I know that we can build on that time of intimacy with God and each other, which will make our marriage and our family stronger.
Have you ever prayed for your wife like this?
If not, I encourage you to try it. It does not have to be for physical needs. But I would encourage you, initially, to stay focused on her needs; something that she personally needs prayer for. Of course, praying for the kids, finances, and so on is also very valuable. However, praying specifically for her needs will do something different and powerful in your relationship. You do not need a bible verse, a plan, or anything special to do it. All you need to do is ask her what she needs prayer for and then say “Would you mind if I pray for that, together with you, right now?” Then, open your heart and pray to God for your wife. You both will be glad you did!