[This post contains quite a long preamble – so here is a link to jump straight to the actual content of how to pray, if you wish. ]
The question of how to pray to receive a spouse might seem quite obvious. However, for various reasons this is something that I really struggled with for years, and it is something that I have literally only just managed to feel confident about.
One big reason for confusion: the fact that I’ve been trying to work out what the most important thing is or should be about a husband and I’ve been asking myself how I would know when I see it. For so long, I’ve been trying to “get my head around” the question of how to be confident that a spouse would remain excellent, which also amounts to how to be sure I’ve got an excellent spouse in the first place. Feeling insecure about this area has contributed to my feeling unsure about my prayers – and hence not praying at all, or praying intermittently. I think that for me I like to feel confident about what I believe and what I am asking for, especially if it requires the kind of unflinching faith and commitment and time investment that serious prayer requires.
I’m also very aware that my requirements are very demanding – or they at least seem that way to me. Looking around it feels as if this really is an issue that is going to require intense prayers. This for me has been another reason not to just start casually, with so much confusion reigning in my mind. Now I have definitely prayed over the years regarding a spouse, but not with that kind of passionate intensity that I have dedicated to prayer for other areas of my life: this intensity is usually born of knowing just what I want, and having the faith to see it happen – and knowing when the prayer has been answered. I believe that God sometimes gives us what we ask for – or what we settle for. If I asked for a nice guy, or more importantly a life that supports being the wife of a nice guy, then God could have “OKed” guys that could have corresponded to this. I think I now appreciate that God would not necessarily have allowed me to marry a guy who did not correspond to the level I desire in life (which I believe is a matter of personal choice – God goes with us as far as we are willing to go). However, for all those years I did not really appreciate this, so I was scared to ask God in case my lack of understanding led to my marrying a guy who would be wrong for me and my life.
And yet all that is about to change. I now feel that I understand what to ask from God in a spouse, and I also feel that now I would be able to evaluate what would be excellent when I see it in a potential spouse.
If this has all been very long-winded so far, consider it like this. If I fervently got praying for just any spouse years ago, and along had come just anyone who wanted to marry me, then I might have thought that my prayers had been answered! I might have happily embarked upon marriage – only to most probably encounter some of the issues I have already addressed in this blog.
Anyway, without further preamble, here then is where I am thus far regarding praying for a spouse. I know that this might be honed further by understanding and reflections which I have not yet had. However, I feel I now know enough to really start praying fervently – and making up for all that lost time!
1. FAITH: I personally feel that what I’m asking for regarding life and a marriage is BIG. I actually want essentially everything from life and everything from marriage (by “everything” I mean all that is good and appropriate and necessary for both of us (and any family God blesses us with) to be living our lives for God rather than ourselves). Because this seems big, sometimes I find it hard to believe that I will really meet a man who will be all this and more. I know what people might think: “There is no such thing as the perfect guy”… “Tosin, it’s not about you!”… “It’s not about a selfish list of requirements”. Sincerely, these requirements are not about a perfect guy, and they are not about me being selfish – other than the fact that I have to be crazy about him – and vice versa! They are simply relevant to who I want to be in life, and I think that they are all worth holding onto.
2. Prayer for the actual requirements. This includes prayer for a guy who is striving after excellence as hard as he can, and who is committed to a lifetime of striving after excellence, and groundedness in Christ.
3. This is not actual prayer, but is taking practical action, going out, meeting people, talking, etc. When I decide that someone could be suitable, then I could start looking at his life…
4. Prayer about specific guys. When I decide that someone could be right, I could really give myself to prayer regarding him. I think I now understand that different prayers might be required for different guys. For some men, my prayer might be for God to reveal whether they really are as deep/grounded as they appear to be; for some other men the prayer might be that they should notice me (being the shrinking violet that I am!); for some other men I might specifically pray for some aspects of their faith; for all potentially suitable guys the prayer would be that God should make it happen if it is right, or obviously shut the door if it is not right.
All this time I would still be praying my “God please bring the right guy along” prayer, just in case the guy I am praying for at the moment is not the right guy.
5. Crazy for you: Let’s say for instance that I met someone who was not in the right place spiritually/in other ways, but who I crazily fell for, enough to say “God, just let it be him!” This is the way I would handle this:
a) Keep praying that God would bring the right guy for me with the right characteristics (this is like a safe back-up prayer, regardless of whatever might or might not happen with the guy I’m crazy about).
b) Start praying specifically for Mr “God-please-let-him-be-the-One”, specifically the aspects of his life which are not “there” yet. I think in this situation it is better to be utterly silent to the man himself regarding your hopes. It can be quite easy to fall into manipulation to try to drag someone to a certain place just because you want to marry him. I would also keep a nice wide distance from the guy, so that my longing looks do not give me away!
“Maybe you could try and be friends with him?” Well if you know yourself you might be able to assess whether that would work for you. I think I know myself well enough to say that that would not work for me, if I was truly crazy about someone!
All this time I would keep an open mind, waiting for God to open or shut doors – and being prepared to take truly shut doors as final – ie if he marries someone else, then clearly that conclusively closes the subject.
If it did happen that he did get to the right place, then next I would pray for the possibility of a relationship….and if that prayer was answered and things progressed appropriately, then I would finally marry him, and enjoy the hard won fruits of my labour! 😉
9 In this manner, therefore, pray:
Our Father in heaven,
Hallowed be Your name.
10 Your kingdom come.
Your will be done
On earth as it is in heaven.
Photo of Church Cross from Pixabay