Not too long ago, I realized that most of my prayers for my husband centered on me and my needs. They stemmed more from my selfishness. I prayed he would come home on time, prayed he would get the bonus we hoped for, and prayed he would watch the kids so I could sleep in. I even prayed that God would change all the things that frustrated me about him. No doubt, my prayers for my husband were seriously lacking.
It was in reading Paul’s prayers to the churches in Ephesus, Colossians and Philippi where I learned the heart of prayer. Paul’s prayers centered on the spiritual growth of the people he was writing to. For example, “I keep asking that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the glorious Father, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and revelation, so that you may know him better. I pray also that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints, and his incomparably great power for us who believe” (Ephesians 1:17-19). Paul essentially prayed through the gospel. He prayed for the power of the gospel to change and transform the believers he wrote to. While Paul certainly prayed for God’s provision and for other practical needs, the core and foundation of his prayers for others centered on their walk with Christ.
I want to pray for my husband the way Paul prayed for the New Testament churches. And indeed, sometimes I actually pray through the prayers of Paul. But I also want the gospel to be the foundation of all my prayers, including those of my own design. I want to pray for the gospel to be at work in my husband’s heart each day. I want to pray for the gospel to be the lens through which he views all of life. And I want him to be strengthened and empowered by the truths of gospel as he lives out God’s calling for him.
Praying for the gospel to be at work in my husband’s heart and life is transforming, not only for him, but for me as well. I learn to let go of trying to change things about my husband and trust in God to do the changing He desires. Focusing on the gospel in my prayers changes the posture of my heart from relying on my strength to resting in the power of God’s grace. As I pray for the gospel to be at work in my husband’s heart, I am also reminded of how much I too need the gospel each and every day. It also reminds me that all of life is a gift of grace and that prayer is the entrance into receiving that grace.
In an effort to focus on the power of God’s grace to be at work in my husband, I came up with a list of suggested topics to pray through, one for each day of the month:
- Pray for him to apply the gospel to his life each day.
- Pray for him to grow deeper in faith.
- Pray for him to trust in God during times of uncertainty.
- Pray for him to love God above all other things.
- Pray for a passion for God’s Word.
- Pray that God would reveal to him the idols in his heart.
- Pray for a greater awareness of sin and of his forgiveness through Christ.
- Pray for a desire to serve God by helping those who need the love of Christ.
- Pray for him to be a witness in his place of work.
- Pray for him to forgive others just as he has been forgiven.
- Pray for him to resist temptations that arise in his workplace.
- Pray for a desire to be a godly spiritual leader.
- Pray for him to honor God in his use of money.
- Pray for him to honor God in his use of time.
- Pray for him to honor God in his speech.
- Pray for growth in his prayer life.
- Pray for the fruits of the Spirit to grow in him.
- Pray that God would protect his mind and heart from evil.
- Pay that God would use him in the advancement of the Kingdom.
- Pray for his friendships, that God would help him to develop and keep godly friendships that encourage him in the gospel.
- Pray that he would have a growing desire to show God’s love and grace to the children.
- Pray that he would live each day as if it were his last, to God’s glory.
- Pray for your marriage, that you and he would grow closer to each other.
- Pray that your marriage would reflect the love of Christ with the church.
- Pray that Christ would be the center of your relationship.
- Pray that the two of you would be united in parenting.
- Pray for opportunities to serve the Kingdom together as a couple.
- Pray for opportunities for you to be an encouragement to your husband.
- Pray for greater grace and understanding between the two of you.
- Pray for greater communication between the two of you.
- Pray for your own heart, that you would love, honor, and respect him.