Praying For Your Wife
About the Guest
One barrier that prevents many husbands from praying for their wives is a feeling of inauthenticity--praying the same thing every night. Voddie Baucham offers suggestions for different scriptures a man can use to pray for his wife.
Voddie BauchamVoddie Baucham wears many hats. He is a husband, father, former pastor, author, professor, conference speaker, and church planter. He currently serves as Dean of Theology at African Christian University in Lusaka, Zambia. Dr. Baucham holds degrees from Houston Baptist University (BA in Christianity/BA in Sociology), Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary (M.Div.), Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary (D.Min.), an honorary degree from Southern California Seminary (D.D.), and additional...more
Voddie Baucham offers suggestions for different scriptures a man can use to pray for his wife.
Praying For Your Wife
Bob: There’s a reason why a lot of husbands just finally give up on regularly praying for their wives. Here’s pastor and author, Voddie Baucham.
Voddie: If we don’t have a plan, and if we don’t know how to pray, we generally will bow and will say, you know, “Lord, I’m just praying for ‘A’’B’’C’ and ‘X’’Y’’Z’ like I do every day”; and I’m praying the same thing that I do about ‘A’’B’’C’ and ‘X’’Y’’Z’ every day. After awhile, we feel like, “Why am I coming to the Lord, saying ‘A’’B’’C’ and ‘X’’Y’’Z’ about the same things every day? I’m being inauthentic.” So we end up not engaging in prayer.
Bob: This is FamilyLife Today for Friday, March 15th. Our hosts are Dave and Ann Wilson; I'm Bob Lepine. So, how do we develop a plan for praying for our wives, as husbands? How can we learn to pray so that it doesn’t just become the same old thing every day? Voddie Baucham has some thoughts for us about that today. Stay with us.
And welcome to FamilyLife Today. Thanks for joining us on the Friday edition. I’m guessing there may have been only one time this year when, on board a cruise ship, there was a roomful of men who were gathered for the express purpose of learning about and then praying for their wives. That doesn’t typically happen on board Caribbean cruises; do you think?
Ann: Ooh, every wife just thought: “I want to go on that cruise! [Laughter] That’s what I would like.”
Dave: Yes; it should happen; but no, it doesn’t.
Bob: We gathered together—this was a few weeks ago—on board the Love Like You Mean It marriage cruise. Voddie Baucham got the men together; and we were in the back ballroom, which is a smaller ballroom. It was a powerful morning, where men were challenged, and equipped, and encouraged to pray for their wives. We’re going to hear some of what Voddie shared with the men on today’s program.
Quickly, I want to remind our listeners—the 2020 Love Like You Mean It marriage cruise next year—February/Valentine’s week—you guys are going to be on board; Mary Ann and I are going to be on board; Dennis and Barbara Rainey will be back and be joining us; Dr. Gary Chapman will be with us; Charlie and Kirstie Dates are going to be on board. We’re still putting the whole package together; but the deal is—70 percent of the cruise is sold-out for next year. If a FamilyLife Today listener wants to join us, now is the time to sign up. For the next couple of weeks—when you register for the cruise and you use the promo code, “CRUISE MADNESS,”—you’ll save $400 per couple on your cabin. Go to FamilyLifeToday.com and register, and join us on the 2020 Love Like You Mean It marriage cruise. Plan to be challenged with messages, like this one that we heard, just a few weeks ago, from Voddie Baucham.
Voddie is a pastor—he lives now in Zambia, Africa, and is working—training pastors in Africa. We were thrilled that he was able to join us and be a part of this year’s cruise.
Voddie: When it comes to the subject of prayer, there are a number of things that keep us from praying. One of the things that keeps us from praying is not feeling authentic, because we tend to pray the same things about the same things. That makes us feel like we’re just not being real; it makes us feel like we’re sort of spinning our wheels.
If we don’t have a plan, and if we don’t know how to pray, we generally will bow and will say, you know, “Lord, I’m just praying for ‘A’’B’’C’ and ‘X’’Y’’Z’ like I do every day”; and I’m praying the same thing that I do about ‘A’’B’’C’ and ‘X’’Y’’Z’ every day. After awhile, we feel like, “Why am I coming to the Lord, saying ‘A’’B’’C’ and ‘X’’Y’’Z’ about the same things every day? I’m being inauthentic.” So we end up not engaging in prayer.
Well, let me say a couple of things about that in general and then move into the specifics about praying for our wives. First, let me offer you just a couple of suggestions/or a couple of tools that you can use as it relates to learning how to pray. One thing is this—I want to encourage you to learn, for example, how to pray the Psalms. Praying the Psalms will help you to pray in areas that you wouldn’t normally think to pray.
Let’s talk about how we do that; for example, so if you have your Bibles with you, let’s look at Psalm 14: “The fool says in his heart, ‘There is no God.’ They are corrupt, they do abominable deeds. There is none who does good.” If I’m going to pray this Psalm, I could stop at that first clause, “The fool says in his heart, ‘There is no God.’” I may pray something like, “Lord, please help me with my own foolishness—with those times and moments where I doubt—those times where circumstances come into my life and, even for a brief moment, I question whether or not You’re there.” I’m using the Psalm here as sort of my guideline.
“They are corrupt; they do abominable deeds,”—now, I’m getting more specific: “Sometimes, in my lack of faith, there are things that I do that are an absolute abomination to You. Father, forgive me.” And then I can get specific; right?—“Here are some things that I have done…”
What are the benefits of this? There are a number of benefits of this. Number one, I’m praying ideas that are biblical ideas—I’m letting God guide me / letting God’s Word guide me to pray ideas that are biblical. Secondly, I am looking into the crevices and recesses of my own heart that I wouldn’t normally look into.
Let me give you another thing that you can use. The Bible’s really clear about a number of areas of prayer: “Pray for one another,”—that’s one of the things that’s clear in Scripture—we’re to pray for one another. “Pray for kings and those in authority,”—find out who those people are who represent you—pray for those people. Pray for those who lead and feed the flock. “The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few,”—the Bible says that we should be praying for the harvest and for laborers to be sent.
So, on the one hand, “I really don’t know how to pray,”—“Okay; fine. Use the Psalms as a guide to help you learn how to pray.” “I really don’t know what to pray for,”—“Okay; fine. Now, we have some categories, where we can know and understand what to pray for.”
But this session is specifically about praying for one individual in one of those categories; and that is, praying for your wife. With that in mind, let’s look at a couple of passages of Scripture. Let’s look first at one that connects this idea of our relationship with our wives and our leadership of our wives with the idea of prayer. Go to 1 Peter, Chapter 3:
Likewise, wives, be subject to your own husbands, so that even if some do no obey the Word, they may be won without a word by the conduct of their wives when they see your respectful and pure conduct. Do not let your adorning be external, the braiding of hair and the putting on of gold jewelry or clothing you wear, but let your adorning be the hidden person of the heart, with the imperishable beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which in God’s sight is very precious. For this is how the holy women who hoped in God used to adorn themselves, by submitting to their own husbands, as Sarah obeyed Abraham, calling him “lord.” And you are her children, if you do good and do not fear anything that is frightening.
Now, again, let that just sort of settle on you for awhile—what it is to which your wife has been called, as your wife / this submission and this trust to which she’s been called, as your wife.
Then look here at verse 7: “Likewise, husbands, live with your wives in an understanding way, showing honor to the woman as the weaker vessel, since they are heirs with you of the grace of life, so that your prayers may not be hindered.”
There is an inexorable link between your relationship with your wife and your relationship with your God in prayer. You are not going to have a successful prayer life, where you are going like gangbusters with your intimacy with God, and yet neglecting your intimacy with your wife. Number one, this ought to lead us to dependence. I don’t know about you; but when I look at 1 Peter 3—right?—and I look at verses 1-6, and I look at the submission to which my wife has been called, this doesn’t make me stick out my chest and go, “Yes; you see that?!” It kind of makes me go: “Wait a minute. I’m carrying that?” If it doesn’t—man, check yourself. If this doesn’t give you pause, when you recognize the burden that you bear as a husband, then check yourself. You’re not understanding this rightly; you’re not reading this rightly.
There’s a second thing that we need to see. Look at Ephesians, Chapter 5—and we’ll come back to Ephesians, Chapter 5 again:
Husbands, love your wives as Christ loved the church and gave Himself up for her, that He might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, so that He might present the church to Himself in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that she might be holy and without blemish. In the same way, husbands should love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. For no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as Christ does the church, because we are members of His body.
Now, we see that picture—that our love for our wives is pictured in the likeness of Christ’s love for His bride, the church—that is the theological picture. We have this theological reality of the connection of our prayer relationship with God and our relationship with our wife/connected to our headship with our wife. Now, we see this theological reality of our overall relationship with our wives—this picture of marriage being a picture of the relationship between Christ and His bride, the church—our love for our wives being likened unto this picture of Christ and His love for His bride.
Now, one more passage. Look at Romans, Chapter 8—building on this idea from Ephesians, Chapter 5—beginning in verse 26:
Likewise, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. For we do not know what to pray for as we ought, but the Spirit Himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words, and He who searches hearts knows what is the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints, according to the will of God. And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to His purpose. For those whom He foreknew He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son, in order that He might be the firstborn among many brothers. And those whom He predestined He also called, those whom He called He also justified, and those whom He justified He also glorified.
Now, verse 31. Now, look—we’re talking about prayer still and intercession—the Spirit interceding for us:
What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare His own Son, but gave Him up for us all, how will He not also, with Him, graciously give us all things? Who shall bring any charge against God’s elect? It is God who justifies. Who is to condemn? Christ Jesus is the one who died; more than that, who was raised, who is”—here it is—“at the right hand of God, who indeed is interceding for us.
That’s the picture! If you want to know if it’s legitimate to expect that husbands would pray for their wives, here is the theological answer to that question; because here’s a picture of Christ’s redeeming work for us, his bride. There’s a picture of Christ being given by the Father for us—being given by the Father to us—giving His life for us, which, according to Ephesians, Chapter 5, is the picture/is the model; right? And then, in addition to that, He is seated at the right hand of the Father; and He is interceding for us. It’s part of his redemptive work—interceding for us—interceding for His bride. So if I’m going to love my bride like Christ loves His bride, I am going to intercede for her.
Voddie: There’s the picture. Now, we shall never attain to that; but by God’s grace and for God’s glory, we strive.
With these theological realities, there are a few things here that I want to give you by way of giving you practical examples and practical instruction on praying for your wife. I think the first thing, when it comes to us praying for our wives, is that we need to be put in the posture/the right posture of praying for our wives. I would encourage you to read the first six verses of 1 Peter, Chapter 3; and pray and ask the Lord to help you to understand how difficult it is for your wife to be put in that position.
Look at verse 7, and pray that the Lord will cause you to look at your wife as the weaker vessel. Look at Romans, Chapter 8—and this picture of Christ as intercessor—and ask the Lord, by His grace, to grant you that mindset. When you read these, pray that God will put your heart in a posture to pray for your wife in light of the calling that He’s placed on you, as a husband, and not just in a response to circumstances.
Secondly, when we pray for our wives, we ought always to be mindful of their greatest need; and their greatest need is Christ and to be conformed to His image. Number one—I’m praying for my wife; but first, I want to make sure that I’m praying for my wife, understanding my role and what this is all about—and then secondly, I want to pray for my wife, understanding that my greatest desire for her has to be her being conformed to the image of Christ. Now, we can look at some specific things.
In Ephesians, Chapter 5:
Husbands, love your wives as Christ loved the church and gave Himself up for her that He might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word,
Some specific examples of this may be areas where my wife’s thinking has been conformed to something other than the Scriptures in a particular area.
so that He might present the church to Himself in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that she might be holy and without blemish.
We want to be praying about specific areas of sin.
I passed over this, but in all of these passages—in 1 Peter, Chapter 3, [verses] 1-6; Ephesians, Chapter 5:22-24—there’s this idea of the wife’s submission to her husband. I specifically waited to get here; because it’s really easy—if we don’t start where we started and remember we’re moving into this—right?—and I’m starting with a proper understanding of me—my role, why I’m praying, what my desire is, what my responsibility and my duty is; specifically, my wife being formed to the image of Christ and, now, specific hindrances to her being formed to the image of Christ.
Now, I’m talking about my wife’s submission to me—it’s really easy to just start there. My hope for you, and my prayer for you, is that, as you think about this the way I’m trying to help you think about this, by the time you get to these more specific things—especially, get to this idea of your wife submitting to you—that we sort of get past that sort of knee-jerk, fleshly attitude that we can come with; and now, we pray about this and her submission to the Lord.
And then a last one that we want to get to—look at verse 28 again: “In the same way, husbands should love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. For no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as Christ does the church, because we are members of His body. ‘Therefore a man should leave his father and mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.’” Pray for your one-flesh union—physically, spiritually, emotionally.
And again, if you come the direction that we went in understanding these greater theological and spiritual realities, and then working through this with the proper perspective, and now coming to this idea of our one-flesh union, you’re going to pray differently about it. Interestingly enough, right after this—this is Chapter 6—our one-flesh union and our partnership produces our offspring. This is kind of a guide and a structure for you, as you are praying for your wife. I would encourage you that, when you start this, that you would just kind of go through this whole thing.
But as this grows, and you grow more specific in this, you know, this can become huge—and this can just become something that you do a piece of this time, and a piece of this time, and piece of that time—and you sort of break this up. But the idea is: “Start with something, but don’t start with everything.” Take these principles and these theological truths and apply them in a way that’s manageable for you, where you can be consistent; because that’s what’s important—be consistent.
I guarantee you that, if you make a commitment to doing this, where it’s manageable and you can be consistent, it will grow. You’re going to find that as you do this—and as you go through and you’re praying for your wife and you’re praying through these categories—the Lord is going to show you areas where you have need. Again, this is a guide. These are training wheels, and we can use these in a variety of different ways.
Bob: Well, again, we’ve been listening to Voddie Baucham, from the 2019 Love Like You Mean It marriage cruise, just a few weeks ago, challenging husbands to be praying for their wives. This is something God laid on your heart, years ago; and you’ve been pretty faithful to be consistent in praying for and with your wife.
Dave: Yes; and you know, I’ve heard Voddie many times. I’m not sure there’s a better man-to-man motivator that I know. On this topic—this is one of those topics, where I think all of us want to be better; because it takes your eyes off of what you’re lacking or seeing and puts your eyes on God and saying: “God, I love this woman. I want You to bless her,”—so you take her to Jesus daily.
Ann: Well, I think, too, some listeners might be thinking: “Well, I wish my husband would pray for me. I don’t know if he does pray for me.” I would encourage you to pray for your husband. Even at night—you might have a husband that doesn’t even believe in God or believe in prayer; but there is a power in just going to bed at night, putting your hand on his shoulder or his back, and saying: “God, thank You for my husband. Help us, protect us, guide us. We need You,”—that’s it.
I don’t know, maybe your husband will be offended; I don’t think so. I think every man would be okay—do you guys think that a man would be okay with that?
Bob: I would think a guy would be okay with that. I think, even for a wife to say, “You know, before I go to sleep tonight, I’m going to be praying. Is there anything I can pray for you for?”—just ask your husband, “What can I pray for you for?” Even a man who doesn’t believe in God will come up with something and say, “Pray for my job.” “Okay; I’ll do that,”—right? That’s a great way to open the door on that subject.
Again, this is the kind of content that is a part of the Love Like You Mean It marriage cruise. I mean, it is a great vacation/a great getaway; but it’s also great content with thousands of other couples, who are committed to building into their marriage like you want to build into your marriage. The 2020 Love Like You Mean It marriage cruise is going to be our tenth-anniversary cruise; it’s our biggest cruise yet. We have Dr. Gary Chapman, who wrote The Five Love Languages, joining us; Dennis and Barbara Rainey will be back with us; Dave and Ann Wilson will join us; Mary Ann and I will be there; Ron Deal—we have a great lineup of speakers and musicians.
Right now, we are 70 percent sold for next year’s cruise. Go to FamilyLifeToday.com and register now. We have a special offer taking place between now and March 25th. You and your spouse can save $400 off the cost of your stateroom, but you have to register in the next few weeks and use the code, “CRUISE MADNESS.” Go to FamilyLifeToday.com for more information; or call if you have any questions: 1-800-FL-TODAY is the number. It’s going to be a great week, and we hope you can be with us.
And we hope you have a great weekend! I hope you and your family are able to worship together in your local church this weekend, and I hope you can join us back on Monday. Ron Deal is going to join us. We’re going to hear from Dave Wilson about what it was like for him, growing up in a home where Mom and Dad got a divorce and his mom was a single parent; and then he was part of a blended family. What’s that like for a young man? Dave shares his story with us on Monday. I hope you can be with us for that.
I want to thank our engineer today, Keith Lynch, along with our entire broadcast production team—special help this week from Justin Adams. On behalf of our hosts, Dave and Ann Wilson, I'm Bob Lepine. We will see you back Monday for another edition of FamilyLife Today.
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