What is a surprisingly difficult task for some pastors to do with their wives?

It might not surprise you if I told you that many Christian man struggle to pray for their wives with their wives.  What might shock you is if I told you many Christian pastors struggle to pray for and with their wives.  I’m not talking about praying with her and the family at meal time.  I am talking about a pastor sitting down with his wife, with no kids or other distractions, looking her in the eyes, and asking how she is doing and how you can specifically pray for her.

As I talk to pastors and aspiring ones about why this is a struggle, there seems to be a universal answer, “I do not know why it is hard to do, it just is.”  I am sympathetic to this answer as there was a time where I experienced this same awkward, intangible, uneasiness in approaching my wife to pray for her with her.  I think there is an intimacy and vulnerability in a husband’s effort to care for his wife in this way that is uncomfortable for most men and pastors fall prey to this also.

Whatever the reason, our clever enemy has used this awkwardness to keep pastors from praying and spiritually caring for their wives in this way.  What a cunning tactic of spiritual battle by the enemy that pastors labor hard to shepherd and care for their flock, daily pray for and with numerous people within the church, while neglecting the same kind of spiritual care for their wives.

The “magic solution” to overcome this struggle:  Pastors and Christian men who struggle to pray for and with your wives, I have a magical solution for you in your struggle.  It is foolproof to overcome our fears and break the stronghold the enemy has over this area of our marriages.  Are you ready?  JUST DO IT!  Just make yourself do it.  I do not care how awkward it may seem to you.  You need to be doing this and I promise, your Christian wife wants it from her husband and pastor.  It will also help to see how pathetic, unfaithful and hypocritical it is to diligently pray for and with our flock, but then not do it with the soul of the one God has first entrusted to our care above our flock.

I can speak from experience on this one, the more you make yourself do it, the quicker the awkwardness goes away.  In fact, you will find once it becomes a habit in your marriage, you will love and long for those times to encourage and care for your wife in this way.  Additionally, if you do not pray with your wife on a certain day, you can still pray for her, then send her a text or email that you prayed for her.  That can be just as meaningful.

The point is pray for her and with her on some kind of regular basis.  I assume you have picked up on the fact that I do not care if it feels awkward or strange to you.  If we are truly shepherds of souls, it should and will be evident in both our churches as well as our homes.

Pastors’ wives, any comments on how meaningful it is when your husband prays for and with you as a source of encouragement for those struggling?

Posted in Home and Family, The Pastor's Soul
13 comments on “What is a surprisingly difficult task for some pastors to do with their wives?
  1. Emily says:

    I am a young pastor’s wife, and I remember having this discussion with my husband shortly after we got married. We heard about other couples praying together (more than just meal-time prayers) and we had somewhat of a desire to pray together, but my husband truly thought it was awkward and was afraid we would be doing it just because others were doing it. Well, we decided to “just do it” as Brian says in this post. It has made our marriage so much stronger! Prayer allows us to connect on a completely different level because it causes us to share prayer requests and concerns that may not have come up otherwise. I love to hear my husband pray for me, and I love to pray for him, his ministry, and our marriage. If I am going through a difficult time, I know that he is going to grab my hand and pray with me through the situation. He frequently sends me text messages from work to let me know he is praying for me and he loves me. I agree with Brian: Just Do It! Your marriage depends on it!

  2. Elizabeth says:

    I’m not a young pastor’s wife, but I will say that few things make me feel more loved and cared for by my husband than when he prays with me. Few things are more meaningful after a long, hard day or when I am struggling with something than when he says, “May I pray for you?”

    Thanks for posting on this important subject, Brian!

  3. J says:

    Here is my limited insight into this subject from a pastor who’s not worth much these days. I am the most vulnerable when I’m with my wife, to pray with her lowers my guard even more, and that’s scary. It’s scary because in order to survive as a pastor I have to guard myself from the constant critisism, and even her insights feel like critisism after having been beat to a pulp in ministry.

    • Mark W says:

      J,

      May I suggest that, as she learns that you are willing to be humble and vulnerable, she will love you so much more and her insight will be all the more supportive? And as you learn to trust her and appreciate her support, you will not only feel less criticized by her, but want to spend time with her?

      This comes not from a pastor, nor a pastor’s wife, but a plain ordinary fumbling husband who is very apt to understand a concept intellectually but struggle to put it into practical use. But perhaps it will encourage you!

      — Mark 😎

  4. Barney says:

    As a pastor I have not found it hard to pray with or for my wife. We have always been in the habit of praying together and for each other. What I find most challenging is how to shephard my wife. How do I seperate her words about things at the church from her being my wife as well as a member.

    • Mary Moser says:

      Barney, I’ve known pastor’s wives who were detrimental to the church in that they spoke their opinions with, as it were, authority. I hope this isn’t your case. But I know your wife, any pastor’s wife, needs shepherding as much as any of us. May I suggest that, for a start, you lovingly, shepherdly consider a single thing she speaks that needs to be changed. then review a scriptural response, and every day practice mentally when, where, and what you should say to her. Write it out if that helps. I believe you’ll soon see your confidence rise and you’ll shepherd her, maybe not as you practiced, but well enough.

      One more thing: Try a technique we professional counselors call Thought Stopping when you get a yukky feeling about this which you know you’ve got to do. Your thought creates the yukky feeling and the feeling determines whether you’ll act or not. So tell yourself firmly, even vocally, “Stop!” When the thought/feeling goes, immediately put an appropriate Scripture or prayer about your need to act in your mind. You may have to do this before the yukky feeling is gone for good, but I predict that you’ll get charge of your mind on this matter, and know what is good and acceptable and perfect. –Hope this helps!

  5. Steve Martin says:

    Great post.

    Praying with our loved ones draws us closer and strengthens our faith.

    It’s one Holy habit that we ought do more of.

    Thanks!

  6. Rebecca says:

    My father is a pastor, and growing up, I sometimes woke to the sound of my parents praying together in their room at night. I knew, always, that my father was daily praying for my mother, and that my mother knew that her husband was daily bringing her before the throne of grace. This knowledge gave me incredible security.

    Before he left my parents’ home after our second date, my then boyfriend (now husband/pastor) asked how he could pray for me, then did it right there. I was taken aback (our second date?), but knew from that moment that he really cared for me – for my soul.

    Maybe it is awkward for some guys, but I can tell you as a pastor’s daughter and wife that a wife will see beyond any initial awkwardness and be incredibly thankful for a husband who cares for her in this way.

  7. A says:

    As a Pastor’s wife who’s husband only sometimes prays with her, and then just for general things, not ever really asking me how he can pray… I can tell you how very important it is to pray for and care for your wife. Especially as I see him pray with other people and really minister to their hearts, it hurts mine. I am jealous for such intimate attention, and I do feel neglected.

  8. Brian says:

    Maybe it is so difficult because it is forced, contrived and expected. Like “quiet time” there is an assumption about how, when and why that needs be to questioned because it may not be biblical.

    We make these things laws, and then feel guilty for not performing our self-imposed obligations.

  9. Thank you for posting this. It’s a struggle that has confused me for almost 5 years. Why do I feel so awkward about praying with my wife? I’ve got all sorts of answers and thoughts… but none of those are actually the same as praying with my wife. Just do it. Yup.

  10. Larry says:

    thank you. the awkwardness has been there for many years and I have used it as an excuse to no pray with my wife. In our case it isn’t me who has felt awkward and avoided prayer together but her. She really feels awkward when we pray together and shuts down. But I must get back on track and JUST DO IT, by God’s grace.

  11. A says:

    Even within the context of a courtship relationship, I am seeing the fruit of prayer on a regular basis. While I believe it unwise to share certain intimate aspects of life outside of the marriage context, prayers regarding other concerns/worries/sin issues has really proven to be a wonderful means of growth between my girlfriend and I. Our prayer time has grown to be a time that we both cherish, and has provided a means for clear communication and/or encouragement amidst even the most hectic of days.

    We pray for purity among other things–it pulls me back to the story of Gethsemane (Mt. 26:41) when Jesus warns his disciples to “Watch and pray so that you will not fall into temptation. The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak.” Prayer has been a wonderful way for us to go to God in order to strengthen, repair, and reform our armor of God. I can only begin to imagine how much more important (and necessary) prayer would be in a marriage context.

5 Pings/Trackbacks for "What is a surprisingly difficult task for some pastors to do with their wives?"
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