Five kids and eight grandkids ago, my wife, Rita, was an active member of Moms in Prayer. For several years, a bunch of young moms would pray weekly in our living room while I was in my second floor office trying to make a living in Christian media. In all sincerity, I remember feeling the love and prayers coming up through the floorboards.
Decades later, after writing a dozen books for dads, I’ve finally written one for moms. Please consider this excerpt from Moms Bringing Out the Best in Dads just a small thank you to all moms who recognize the power of prayer.
I’m quite sure you pray before meals as a family. And you likely pray with your kids—especially the younger ones—as you tuck them in. When a friend or family member is sick, during times of national crisis, and when gathered at church, you pray. As a husband and father, I can relate. Prayer comes naturally and sincerely when holding hands around a dining table, at bedtime, during critical turning points in life, and when led by a pastor.
I can confirm that prayer works. My wife and I have experienced the huge difference prayer makes. Rita prayed me through some anger issues, health concerns, and a few job losses and transitions. I prayed her through a miscarriage, some challenges regarding her brother, and heartbreak over a couple of our foster babies. Together, we have prayed over unsteady finances, much-needed career guidance, changing churches, home purchases, and lots of other big stuff.
We’ve prayed over smaller stuff too. But probably not as often as we should. Like so many couples, we’ve sometimes neglected to pray with intentionality and submission over day-to-day decisions. It isn’t that we’ve turned our back on God—it’s just that we get busy and focus on doing our own thing.
Most of the time, whatever decisions we’ve made seem to turn out fine, but you never know if God had something even better waiting for us if only we had brought it to him first in prayer.
And that’s the point of this chapter. Prayer is a resource most couples are not using to their full advantage. And, Mom, you can be a catalyst that leads to wiser, stronger, more frequent, and more surrendered prayer with and for your husband.
Praying over the big stuff is obvious. Keep doing that. But what if you also prayed over the smaller stuff ? God wants to hear about everything that matters to you. First Peter 5:7 tells us, “Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.”
And what if you prayed proactively over your family’s future? What would God reveal? What surprising opportunities might he provide? From what dilemmas, temptations, and spiritual attacks might you be delivered?
Don’t miss out on all the Bible promises when it comes to prayer. Prayer aligns your will with God’s will. It gives you a glimpse into God’s bigger plan. When facing a tough life decision, prayer reveals the best plan of action. It opens doors and leads to balance and contentment— for you and your family.
God wants you to join forces, not just as a married couple, but with him. That’s the powerful message of Ecclesiastes 4:12, which says, “Though one may be overpowered, two can defend themselves. A cord of three strands is not quickly broken.”
Praying with your husband on a regular basis, pouring out your hearts to God together, may seem like a long shot. Even couples who freely talk about anything sometimes find it hard to join together in prayer. But if you see the value in pursuing a prayer partnership with your husband, don’t let that inspiration pass. You could certainly put the topic on the table for a lengthy discussion, but it might be more natural to simply ask him to pray about something that’s important to both of you.
“Sweetheart, you know how we’ve been seeing some attitude from Kyle? I don’t know what do anymore. Can we pray about it?”
“I’ve been at my job doing the same thing for five years now, and I’m sensing a need for a change. But I’m not sure. Will you pray with me?”
“I think I’m being called to run for city council. If you have a few minutes, I need to talk it out and pray about it. Can you sit with me?”
Once the ice is broken, don’t be surprised if prayer becomes a regular and intimate part of your interactions. Your family will be stronger for it. Whether or not the two of you become active prayer partners, you’ll want to commit on your own to praying specifically for your husband. Once you get started, God will reveal all kinds of petitions that deserve heavenly intervention. That might include your husband’s health, career, hobbies, travel, temptations, and role as a father. God cares about all of that.
Where should you start with your personal prayers for your husband? Maybe begin by expressing gratitude. That’s how the apostle Paul begins many of his letters to the churches in the New Testament. The major sub- stance of those epistles contains serious warnings, admonishments, and instructions, but in the opening verses he often makes a special point of offering thanks in the context of his prayers.
I have not stopped giving thanks for you, remembering you in my prayers. Ephesians 1:16
I thank my God every time I remember you.
In all my prayers for all of you, I always pray with joy. Philippians 1:3-4
By the way, I’m a big fan of praying in private. Prayer should never be for show. But if your kids happen to see one or both of you kneeling by your bed or holding hands and bowing your heads in the kitchen, that sends a powerful message.
Finally, the obvious next step for praying couples is to invite their children to join them in prayer. Not as an item on a checklist, nor as a burden, but as a way of acknowledging God’s sovereignty and generosity. Can you imagine asking your ten-year-old to pray for your or your husband’s situation at work? You don’t want to worry them about your job hassles, but you do want them to see that the entire family really does lean on God. And that’s a good thing.
This blogpost is an excerpt from Chapter 30 of Moms Bringing Out the Best in Dads, Harvest House Publishers © 2022.
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After a decade writing advertising for large companies, Jay Payleitner produced thousands of radio broadcasts as a freelancer for Chuck Colson, Josh McDowell, Fathers.com, Heritage Foundation, Salvation Army, and Voice of the Martyrs. After turning 40, Jay reinvented himself as a national speaker and best-selling author of 25+ books including 52 Things Kids Need from a Dad, Moms Bringing Out the Best in Dads, and What If God Wrote Your Bucket List? He has been a guest multiple times on The Harvest Show, Chris Fabry Live, 100 Huntley Street, and Focus on the Family. Jay and his high school sweetheart, Rita, live in the Chicago area where they raised five great kids, loved on ten foster babies, and are cherishing grandparenthood. There’s more at jaypayleitner.com.