I was at a prayer meeting in my area recently. Many people prayed out loud individually. One man in particular prayed such a passionate, godly, Spirit-filled, powerful, humble, broken prayer. I could completely feel the presence of God in him. Afterwards, I thanked him for praying when we were all leaving. He thanked me for praying, too.
And then, he said something that absolutely crushed me, “My wife says I pray too long.”
“What!?!” I asked in disbelief that a wife would say such a thing! “How is it possible to pray too long?”
And he shook his head and said, “That’s what wives are for – to tell you when you are doing something wrong.”
WHAT ARE WE THINKING?
If my man has the courage to pray out loud with me – and it can be a VERY scary thing for a guy to do this – my reaction should be total gratitude, appreciation and respect.
I don’t have any survey numbers available – but my guess is that the VAST majority of Christian men (even ministers, deacons and Sunday School teachers) probably do NOT pray out loud with their wives/girlfriends (except possibly a blessing for a meal).
I desire that to change. I want to see all believing men pray with their women. But we have to be SO careful here. If we DEMAND or try to force our guys to pray with us – it is not going to happen. If we really want them to pray with us, we are going to have to have a very humble attitude. Any pride., bossiness or holier-than-thou vibes will keep our men from praying with us. I think we can occasionally ask, “Would you please pray for/with me?” But in many respects, this is something we will need to patiently wait for. We can ask God to work in this area. This is part of I Peter 3 – we will need to approach this issue in silence, I believe. Our words will often make things worse.
If your man can’t/won’t pray with you, please do not condemn him. Try just laying your hand on him at times and praying over him, asking God to empower him with God’s wisdom to lead and to protect him from evil and temptation and to fill him with the Holy Spirit. And focus on seeking God with all your heart in your life. But if you believe you cannot respect his lack of verbal prayer – then please seriously pray about the situation. Your man may not change. Can you live with this situation? Please don’t take over and lead yourself. Wait on him to lead. Learning to be a strong spiritual leader can take a long time – many decades.
If your man has a really strong individual prayer life and is studying God’s Word on his own and seeking to honor and know God more – his hesitancy to pray out loud may not be that big of a deal.
MY MAN DOESN’T NEED MY CRITICISMS OF HIS PRAYER:
- the theological content
- how biblical his prayer is
- what he prays about or doesn’t pray about
- the length
- the words he uses
- the volume of his voice
- nervous habits or words like “um”
- clearing his throat
- how often he prays
- that he doesn’t pray with me out loud
No one in spiritual authority needs this kind of criticism. It would be completely inappropriate and disrespectful if I criticized my pastor or Sunday School teacher or deacon for his prayers – and it is completely disrespectful and inappropriate for me to criticize my man’s prayers.
It’s VERY EASY to be a critic. I used to be extremely critical of my pastors and teachers at church – and my husband. Someone with a critical, prideful, judgmental spirit tends to have it about ALL God-given authority. Criticism is EASY. Supporting our leaders, building them up, praising what they do right, respecting them, cooperating with them, praying for them and trusting God to work through them is HARD. But that is exactly what God calls us to do!
If I decide to criticize my man’s prayers, I will probably get some of the following results:
- he is NOT going to want to pray with me again.
- he will NOT feel comfortable being vulnerable with me.
- his spiritual confidence may be shaken (not a good thing for the spiritual leader in the family and maybe even in the church).
- his spirit may be crushed.
- he will likely resent me.
- our spiritual unity and intimacy will be broken.
- our emotional intimacy will be disconnected.
- he may feel defeated and like a failure spiritually.
- he may be discouraged from praying independently, too.
- Satan may get a foothold in our relationship.
- I will be guilty of disrespecting him – and that is sin.
This is NOT the kind of message to send our guys!!
I lift up all of our relationships to Your throne room in heaven! I pray that You might convict our hearts as women where we have failed our men in this area and where we have disrespected them and You. Help us to repent and seek to build up and honor our guys, pastors, teachers, deacons and church leaders. Use us to breathe life into these people who labor on our behalf for our good. Use us to make their job and responsibility a joy instead of a burden!
In the Name and power of Christ,