My husband stood across from me, weariness resting heavily on his shoulders like a sweater knit with iron chains. I could see it in his eyes, his face, his posture: defeat.
He was working long hours and going weeks without a day off, but still couldn’t get ahead. Management seemed to be working against him, and the harder he fought to prove himself, the more ground he lost.
My heart ached for him, and I was angry. Everything within me wanted to defend and fight for him, but calling your husband’s boss and telling him off is frowned upon, probably for good reason.
Instead, I fought for him the only way I knew. I stood in front of him, all 5’3” of me measured up to his broad, 6’5” frame. I looked him squarely in the eyes and said the same words to him he’d once said to me: “This cannot steal your joy.” Then, I placed one hand on his heart and the other on his head and prayed over my husband.
I prayed for strength, comfort, and deliverance. I prayed for his spiritual, mental, and physical health. I prayed for joy.
I continued to pray for him every day—while he was at work, or by laying a hand on his back and praying over him at night in bed. Sometimes I prayed aloud, but often it was done in quiet hours after he left for work or he’d fallen asleep.
Over the next week, I saw a change in his demeanor. Despite the fact that everything at work remained the same, he was different. He was drawing his strength from God and his identity was solidifying. It was a beautiful sight to behold.
Prayer for one another is one of the most powerful acts in our marriage—but for us it wasn’t always this way. When we were first married eight years ago, we prayed, but hardly ever out loud and certainly not with or over one another.
We heard pastors and Christian marriage experts recommend praying together, but it just seemed too awkward. Plus, one of us would have to start, and neither of us seemed willing to lay our internal spiritual world out before the other.
Then, it changed. I don’t remember how or who started it, but every now and then, we would pray together. After we started attending and hosting marriage events, the prayers became more frequent. Now, we serve as prayer leaders for a local marriage getaway, and we’ve learned to embrace and elevate the power of praying for our spouses.
PRAYER SURROUNDS AND PROTECTS
In Genesis, God repeatedly created and called His creation “good.” However, after God’s creation of Adam, He saw something that was not good: Adam was alone. He said, “It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make a helper fit for him” (Genesis 2:18). And so, God created Eve alongside Adam—our first picture of biblical marriage.
Today, the term ‘helper’ is deemed a weak word. Many times, ‘helper’ or ‘helpmeet’ is portrayed as a glorified assistant or sidekick, but its true meaning is deep and rich.
The Hebrew word for ‘helper’ is ‘ezer.’ It is used 21 times in the Old Testament. Two of those instances refer to the creation of Eve. However, the remaining 19 refer to God as our helper.
‘Ezer’ is a noun and comes from the root verb ‘azar,’ which gives depth to the usage. Strong’s Definitions says it’s a primitive root that means to surround, protect, or aid. Wilhelm Gesenius’ “Hebrew-Chaldee Lexicon” says, “The primary idea lies in girding, surrounding, hence defending.” Ezer has warrior connotations and is one used to describe our God. Helper is a powerful word.
Thus, if we are given the charge by Paul in his letter to the Ephesians to put on the armor of God and go to war against the spiritual forces of evil, to “pray at all times in the Spirit with every prayer and request, and stay alert in this with all perseverance and intercession for all the saints” (Ephesians 6:18, HCSB), it stands to reason that we should fight first for the one we were designed to help, surround, and complete.
PRAYER SUPPORTS OUR LEADERS
In his first letter to Timothy, his young protégé, Paul urges him to teach the people of Ephesus “…that petitions, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for everyone, for kings and all those who are in authority, so that we may lead a tranquil and quiet life in all godliness and dignity” (1 Timothy 2:1-2, HCSB, emphasis added).
Wives have been created as equals to their husbands in value, gifts, and spiritual power. Nevertheless, in our homes—as in other organizations—there is a hierarchy of authority. God’s Word is clear on this: “Wives, submit to your own husbands, as to the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife even as Christ is the head of the church, his body, and is himself its Savior” (Ephesians 5:22-23).
Our husbands have authority over us, and we are to submit to their leadership unless it runs contrary to the Word of God. Therefore, our first priority should be to cover these leaders in prayer and intercession, thanking God for them. We should ask God to give our husbands wisdom, courage, integrity, and honor. We should ask for God’s protection over them, physically and spiritually. When our husbands lead with God, a “tranquil and quiet life” is far more accessible.
PRAYER HAS PERSONAL BENEFITS
Finally, praying for your husband is praying for yourself. Adam, upon seeing the lovely creation that was his helper and wife, said, “This at last is bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh; she shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of Man.” The author of Genesis then continues the thought, saying, “Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and they shall become one flesh” (Genesis 2:23-24).
We are one flesh. Their battles are ours; we win together and lose together. Nothing affects them that doesn’t affect us. If Jesus told us to love our neighbors as ourselves (Mark 12:31), then praying for the man who is one with us is even more imperative.
GETTING STARTED IN PRAYER
“It’s the start that stops most people.”
Don Shula, former Miami Dolphins Head Coach
Change is hard, and it’s easy to get derailed by the details. Therefore, to begin the practice of praying over your husband, I recommend starting small and being consistent.
If this is a new discipline, you find it intimidating, or are afraid you’ll forget to follow through, attach praying for your husband to another habit you’ve already established. It could be as simple as praying for him when you’re brushing your teeth, cleaning the kitchen, or driving to work.
If you’re already in the routine of praying for your husband but want to grow in it, try praying over him out loud if he’s comfortable with it. Pray over him before bed or before he leaves for work in the morning. Your prayers don’t have to be fancy or complicated—simply talk to your Father and ask Him to bless and keep your husband, His son.
As with any practice, the more you pray over your husband, the more proficient and comfortable you’ll become.
When Jesus delivered “The Sermon on the Mount,” He provided very clear instructions on how to pray. He said we shouldn’t do it pridefully, to impress others, or over-complicate our language—our Father knows what we need. He also gave us a sample prayer, the Lord’s prayer, found in Matthew 6:5-14. In it, Jesus praises God and asks for His will to be done here as it is in heaven. He also makes four specific requests that can be adapted as we pray over our husbands:
Give him what he needs for today.
Forgive him and help him forgive others.
Lead him away from temptation.
Protect him from evil.
If you want to expand beyond those ideas, praying Scripture over your husband (or anyone else for that matter) is a great place to start. In his description of the armor of God, Paul lists the Word as our only defensive weapon against Satan. Jesus Himself used the Word of God against Satan when He was tempted in the desert. Here are some specific Scripture starting points as you pray for your husband:
Spiritual Health / Insight (Ephesians 1:17-19, Ephesians 3:16-19, Colossians 1:9-10)
Discernment / Wisdom (1 Kings 3:9, Proverbs 19:20, Philippians 1:9-11, James 1:5)
Armor of God (Ephesians 6:10-17)
A Man of Integrity (Psalms 101:2, Titus 2:2)
As Leader of the Wife and the Household (Ephesians 5:25-26, 1 Peter 3:7)
Physical Strength / Honoring His Heart and Body (Proverbs 17:22, 1 Corinthians 6:19-20, 3 John 1:2)
Protection From and Overcoming Temptation (Matthew 6:13, 1 Corinthians 10:13)
Healthy Life of Intimacy (Proverbs 5:18-19, 1 Corinthians 7:3-5)
As a Father / Spiritual Leader (Psalms 103:13, Proverbs 20:7, Proverbs 22:6, Ephesians 6:4)
Work (Psalm 90:17, Philippians 4:19, Colossians 3:23)
As you study the Word, ask the Holy Spirit to show you verses to pray over your husband. The author of Hebrews said “the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart” (Hebrews 4:12).
Prayer is a powerful weapon at our disposal. It has the power to change our homes and communities—our world and our legacies. Let’s make effective use of it as we fight for our husbands before the throne of our heavenly Father.
“Do not be slothful in zeal, be fervent in spirit, serve the Lord. Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer” (Romans 12:11-12).
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