Prayer is one of the most tangible and powerful ways you can love your spouse and improve your marriage. The importance of it is often forgotten. This tendency to forget is probably because we haven’t had a deep revelation of what our prayers will do.
Firstly, before we dive into specifics about how to pray for our spouse, we need to understand that having powerful, effective prayers won’t happen if we are not treating our spouse right.
In fact, our relationship with our spouse and how we are treating them, will affect ALL of our prayers. So this is one to get right or all of our other prayers may potentially be hindered. It’s something God really cares about so we need to prioritize our marriage and our attitudes/actions need to be realigned if we are off.
1 Peter 3:1,7 NIV
Wives, in the same way submit yourselves to your own husbands so that, if any of them do not believe the word, they may be won over without words by the behavior of their wives…Husbands, in the same way be considerate as you live with your wives, and treat them with respect as the weaker partner and as heirs with you of the gracious gift of life, so that nothing will hinder your prayers.
You may be thinking, “How can I treat my spouse right when they treat me wrongly?”
You may have been very deeply hurt by your spouse. Maybe you’ve experienced hurt through unfaithfulness or an affair. But a choice to forgive will set you free. It is a process to work through, so allow God to work forgiveness in your heart by speaking it out by faith.
And when you’re struggling, pray! Praying will give you strength. Your love for your spouse and family is so connected to your prayer life. God will give you the power and strength you need but it won’t flow if you are not walking in love to people. When we’re fighting with people, especially with our spouses, we won’t want to pray. When we love each other and have patience we can easily communicate with God.
That brings me right to the second point, we need to understand that having powerful, effective prayers won’t happen if we are holding unforgiveness towards our spouse.
Mark 11:24-25 NIV
Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours.
And when you stand praying, if you hold anything against anyone, forgive them, so that your Father in heaven may forgive you your sins.
Now I’m NOT saying you need to have your life perfectly in order, and then you can pray. God knows we’re imperfect humans. You might not get it right every time. And that’s okay—continue to strive after God and you’ll find that walking in forgiveness and treating your spouse in love will become easier and flow naturally from the love of God in you. God wants to help you have the best marriage you can possibly have!
Once we’re treating our spouse right and walking in forgiveness, our prayers will be full of power and allow God to truly move in your spouse’s life.
Let’s dive into the 5 main categories we can pray for our spouse.
1. Their spirit: Pray for your spouse to have the ability to fellowship with God.
If they are not saved, pray for their salvation. Pray that they would realize their need for Jesus’ gift of salvation and be receptive to the Holy Spirit’s conviction. Pray that whatever has held them back from believing in Jesus, would be removed. And pray that their questions would be answered and understanding and faith would come to their heart that they would be saved..
If they are saved, pray for the softness of their heart toward God and the Holy Spirit. Pray that they will be receptive to conviction (teachable); that they would continue to hear God and respond. Also pray that they would be refreshed by God – being continually given new joy, hope, peace, and love.
2. Their mind: Pray for your spouse to have wisdom, understanding and discernment
Pray for that your spouse will have Godly wisdom, understanding and discernment(the ability to judge well). Pray that they would prioritize and act on God’s Word in their lives. Pray that their mind is renewed to God’s Word and that they perceive and consider choices through God’s lens. Ask God to protect their minds from attacks and temptation. Pray for your spouse to have purity from lust, financial idols, fear and stress, etc.
3. Their body: Pray for your spouse’s health and safety.
Your spouse may be fighting off a sickness or working at a perilous job; even if they’re not, pray for their protection and health. Also, give God gratitude for health and protection! (Actually, give thanks ALWAYS, no matter the circumstance.)
4. Their concerns: Pray for your spouse’s burdens.
When my husband is dealing with something difficult, it’s part of my role as his wife to cover him in prayer. We often pray together when facing a tough time, but I have to remind myself to pray for him in the Spirit on my own. This is what compassion is all about: taking on someone else’s situation and burdens as your own. Go to God on your spouse’s behalf, taking on their concerns as your own.
If you’re not sure what praying in the Spirit is, I encourage you to watch this message “Praying Without Fear”.
5. Their purpose: Pray for your spouse to fulfill their God-given calling.
Steve and I are one, and our purposes overlap quite a bit. By God’s grace, we are working together toward a common goal…most of the time.
Steve is also a unique, special, gifted, and anointed man with purpose specifically tailored to him. In fact, he’s God’s child before he’s my husband. As his wife, it’s my role to support him in his God-ordained purpose by encouraging him, watching his back, offering counsel, and most of all, praying.
If you would like an example prayer for you to pray over your spouse, the Bible has several!
You can find the prayers here:
I have used these powerful prayers to pray over my spouse and over myself as well. When you pray these prayers, I encourage you to personalize it by changing the words “you” to the name of your spouse.
Here’s a personalised example from Colossians 1:9-14 NIV:
I will not stop praying for (name of your spouse). I continually ask You God, to fill (name of your spouse) with the knowledge of Your will through all the wisdom and understanding that the Spirit gives, so that (he/she) may live a life worthy of the Lord and please You in every way: bearing fruit in every good work, growing in the knowledge of God. I pray that (name of your spouse) would be strengthened with all power according to Your glorious might so that (he/she) may have great endurance and patience, and give joyful thanks to the Father, who has qualified (he/she) to share in the inheritance of Your holy people in the kingdom of Light. For You have rescued us from the dominion of darkness and brought us into the kingdom of the Son Jesus, You love, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.