Yesterday I was asked by a dear sister, “How do you pray for your husband? I know that I’m not supposed to pray, ‘Lord, please change him.’”
I lament because I don’t feel that I answered well nor did I give scriptures to support my claim. So, I’ve spent some time this morning looking up the word “pray.” First, I’ll tell you my response to this dear sister, and then I’ll put the scriptures in.
My response to this dear sister was that, “You absolutely can pray that the Lord change him you can see that he obviously isn’t walking in the light of the Word and has no close relationship with Jesus. The Lord desires that everyone would turn from their evil, sinful ways and yes you can pray for that in someone else’s life. Also, as I stated last week about Abraham putting his one and only son on the alter for a sacrifice, I too have been placing my husband, my marriage and even myself on the alter for the Lord. I rarely put my husband on the alter without putting myself on the alter too. I told her that many times a day I stop and pray to the Lord, and actually say, “Lord, I put my husband on the alter, my marriage and myself. All my anger, frustration and bitterness and all negativity.”
That is what I said to her and this is what I was meaning when I said that. The thoughts and emotions behind it are more of a “giving up” to the Lord control of my life, my desires and my wishes. It is saying, “Lord, I have made a complete mess of my life and I know that I cannot function without you; I literally can’t function without you – physically, emotionally or mentally.” I am in this sense stating that I know that I am not living a perfect life walking in Jesus and cultivating a completely perfect and deeply spiritual relationship with Jesus and I can see by the fruits or lack of fruits in my husbands’ life that he isn’t either. I acknowledge both of our shortcomings and put myself and my husband in the hand of our Creator.
Following are scriptures of examples of prayer, or who/what we should pray for. I think they’re pretty self-explanatory…
And there by the Ahava Canal, I gave orders for all of us to fast and humble ourselves before our God. We prayed that he would give us a safe journey and protect us, our children, and our goods as we traveled. For I was ashamed to ask the king for soldiers and horsemen to accompany us and protect us from enemies along the way. After all, we had told the king, “Our God’s hand of protection is on all who worship him, but his fierce anger rages against those who abandon him.” So we fasted and earnestly prayed that our God would take care of us, and he heard our prayer. Ezra 8:21-23
Note on verse 23
Ezra knew God’s promises to protect his people, but he didn’t take them fro granted. He also knew that God’s blessings are appropriated through prayer, so Ezra and the people humbled themselves by fasting and praying. And their prayers were answered. Fasting humbled them because going without food was a reminder of their complete dependence on God. Fasting also gave them more time to pray and meditate on God.
To often we pray glibly and superficially. Serious prayer, by contrast, requires concentration. It puts us in touch with God’s will and can change us. Without serious prayer, we reduce God to a quick-service pharmacist with painkillers for our every ailment.
Know the scriptures, apply them to your life, live them and pray for whatever. More likely than not, following this will mean that you are praying God’s will anyway.
Because I love Zion, I will not keep still. Because my heart yearns for Jerusalem, I cannot remain silent. I will not stop praying for her until her righteousness shines like the dawn, and her salvation blazes like a burning torch. The nations will see your righteousness. World leaders will be blinded by your glory. And you will be given a new name by the Lord’s own mouth. The Lord will hold you in his hand for all to see—a splendid crown in the hand of God. Isaiah 62:1-3
Isaiah prayed for Jerusalem because she wasn’t spotless. I’m by no means perfect and neither is my husband, I can assuredly pray for his righteousness and have my prayers heard and blessed by God.
But when you are praying, first forgive anyone you are holding a grudge against, so that your Father in heaven will forgive your sins, too. Mark 11:25
If I don’t humble myself and recognize and confess my own sins, then it will be hard for me to approach the throne of grace and ask for grace for someone else. Blatantly refusing to deal with my own sins means that my motive for praying for someone else may be skewed by whatever anger/bitterness or grudge I may be holding against that person and thereby causing me to have ulterior motives for praying for that person.
“Simon, Simon, Satan has asked to sift each of you like wheat. 32 But I have pleaded in prayer for you, Simon, that your faith should not fail. So when you have repented and turned to me again, strengthen your brothers.” Luke 22:31-32
Jesus recognized that others give into temptation and sin, even the disciples that had literally walked with the physical Jesus here on earth. He prayed for their souls as I can pray for the souls of anyone. This means that I’m asking the Lord to come in and change their hearts, to do whatever it takes to get them to Heaven. But this must be prayed in the full realization that what I think would work, may not and probably won’t be what or how Jesus changes that person’s heart.
“I am praying not only for these disciples but also for all who will ever believe in me through their message. I pray that they will all be one, just as you and I are one—as you are in me, Father, and I am in you. And may they be in us so that the world will believe you sent me.
“I have given them the glory you gave me, so they may be one as we are one. I am in them and you are in me. May they experience such perfect unity that the world will know that you sent me and that you love them as much as you love me. Father, I want these whom you have given me to be with me where I am. Then they can see all the glory you gave me because you loved me even before the world began! John 17:20-24
Jesus prayed for the disciples and all those coming after that they would be one in Him as He was one in God. We absolutely can pray for this for our husbands and yes, that would mean, “Lord change him,” because in this sinful state that each of us seem to dwell in and have a hard time rising above on our own, keeps us from being “in Him.” So, while we are praying for change in our husbands, we should also be praying for change in ourselves.
I pray for you constantly, asking God, the glorious Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, to give you spiritual wisdom and insight so that you might grow in your knowledge of God. I pray that your hearts will be flooded with light so that you can understand the confident hope he has given to those he called—his holy people who are his rich and glorious inheritance.
I also pray that you will understand the incredible greatness of God’s power for us who believe him. This is the same mighty power that raised Christ from the dead and seated him in the place of honor at God’s right hand in the heavenly realms. Ephesians 1:16-20
Paul, who never walked with Jesus while He lived here on this earth, could also pray that others, believers, would receive spiritual wisdom and insight to grow in the knowledge of God. There is nothing wrong with asking on the behalf of another person, especially our husbands that they would receive wisdom and insight to grow in their knowledge of God. In fact, it is recommended over and over in the bible. To pray for others is asking God to change their hearts and their minds to conform to His image.
I pray that from his glorious, unlimited resources he will empower you with inner strength through his Spirit. Then Christ will make his home in your hearts as you trust in him. Your roots will grow down into God’s love and keep you strong. Ephesians 3:16-17
Praying for strength for another person, especially one who claims to be a believer but doesn’t always walk in the light, is absolutely okay by God. Paul did so in his letters over and over again. His motivation was to further Jesus kingdom and to help others grow strong in Him, never forsaking the gift of life that Jesus offers through His shed blood. Again, I just simply can’t state that as long as I pray for myself to have a clean and contrite heart, that it is absolutely okay for me to pray that God create a clean and contrite heart in my husband or any other person that I have a burden for.
So we have not stopped praying for you since we first heard about you. We ask God to give you complete knowledge of his will and to give you spiritual wisdom and understanding. Then the way you live will always honor and please the Lord, and your lives will produce every kind of good fruit. All the while, you will grow as you learn to know God better and better. Colossians 1:9-19
And again, everything I have said, just repeat it here. This time, though, the key in this verse that I wish to point out is to “never stop praying” for the one you are praying for and always, pray for your self first that your motivations are right and pleasing to the Lord. It is hard to successfully pray for someone else if your heart isn’t right with the Lord first. I’m not saying that even if you aren’t right with the Lord that the Lord won’t answer your prayers, the Lord works in mysterious ways, but it is always better to be right with the Lord first, and then pray for someone else.
The earnest prayer of a righteous person has great power and produces wonderful results. James 5:16
I don’t think I need to add my two cents to this, it is pretty powerful without me.
If you see a Christian brother or sister sinning in a way that does not lead to death, you should pray, and God will give that person life. 1 John 5:16
Who better to know the faults and idiosyncrasies of our husbands than us wives? We can see it all and we can know that things just don’t add up right. The one recourse that is acceptable to God is to intercede on our husbands behalf. We are told by John, the beloved apostle, that we are to pray for a brother or sister that is sinning. A person who claims Jesus as their Savior and yet doesn’t produce the fruits of the Spirit in their daily walk is sinning. And I’m not saying that the lack of fruit certainly implies sin, just that there is something that hinders the Spirit’s work in that person’s life. I myself in absolutely guilty of this, just as I see it in my husband and many other upstanding Christians. “We have all sinned and fallen short of the glory of God.” If we daily are walking in Jesus, then the fruits will manifest themselves effortlessly on my behalf. If I’ve still got things that I’m dealing with, they aren’t seen as clearly, it is simple logic.
That said, just as I say that it is okay to pray for our husbands, you should be praying for me. I haven’t exactly been producing the fruits of the Spirit in my past blogs until finally the Lord got through to me of my own grievous sins. Now, I’m focused again on Jesus and all that He has done and continues to do. I’m focused on my walk with Jesus instead of how inconsistent my husband’s walk is. So, yes, pray for your husband if his walk isn’t right. We are exhorted to do so by the scriptures.
I urge you, first of all, to pray for all people. Ask God to help them; intercede on their behalf, and give thanks for them. Pray this way for kings and all who are in authority so that we can live peaceful and quiet lives marked by godliness and dignity. This is good and pleases God our Savior, who wants everyone to be saved and to understand the truth. For there is only one God and one Mediator who can reconcile God and humanity—the man Christ Jesus. He gave his life to purchase freedom for everyone. This is the message God gave to the world at just the right time. 1 Timothy 2:1-6
And lastly, at least for my post, this scripture is often used for the authority “of the land,” or “of the church” or any number of things. But, I specifically emphasized the phrase “all who are in authority.” Our husbands are our God-given authority. Their position has been ordained by God, as a symbol of His relationship with Jesus and the church. Just as the officials of the land or the church or the company you work for may abuse their privileges of being the authority, so to our husbands can, will and do abuse their privileges of their God-given authority over our lives and our children’s lives. But, that doesn’t mean that we are to fight back, instead, we are to pray, just as the scriptures tell us to.
Pray for those who are in authority over you. How more direct can that be. Of course, when we pray for the authorities, we pray that they will be directed by God and keep our safety and well being in mind as they go about their authoritative work. We pray that God would guide and direct them. That would mean that God would touch their hearts or minds for our best interests and well-being. So, to we can pray for these things in our homes with the authority that God has placed over us.
We are asking for change if they don’t have Jesus living within their heart. We have been given every right to pray for this. God wants each and everyone of us to repent of our sins and turn from our wickedness into His loving arms. God has encouraged us to pray for others so many times throughout the bible that to say “I’m not supposed to pray that the Lord will change him/her,” because that is exactly what He wants. He wants us to pray that others heart’s will be changed. That is how God’s glory will be made manifest in each of our lives. We must also pray that our hearts will be changed and then wait patiently on God to act, it is in His time and His way, not ours.
Okay, I’ve done enough ranting on this and I think that this time, I sufficiently conveyed what I am convicted of through the scriptures and I hope that you will be edified by this.
Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. Point out anything in me that offends you, and lead me along the path of everlasting life. Psalm 139:23-24
May God provide the increase.