Prayer does not come naturally for any child of God. Many believers work at prayer and find that it is learned by practice and perseverance. Couple one’s common frustrations in prayer with the desire to pray specifically for another, and you find believers who want to give up on prayer altogether. One might think it would be easy to pray for one’s spouse, the one person on the planet you know as well as you know yourself, but anyone who is married knows this is not the case. We know some things for which to pray—the things that all believers need—but even that lacks a certain level of specificity and intimacy that should accompany prayer in a marriage relationship.
God created men and women to be very different. These differences are supposed to serve us and the world, complementing one another and manifesting the grace and love of God. Yet, oftentimes, we allow our differences to tear us apart. We all know the long-running joke that men never get it right when trying to determine what women want. Women are too complex, why bother? Similarly, how can a husband be expected to know how to pray for his wife? As Mark Weathers puts it, “Unfortunately, when we do not know how to pray, we end up not praying at all.”
How to Pray for Your Wife was born out of his own desire to make his prayers for his wife more effective. He coupled this desire with an exegetical study of Proverbs 31. “This passage on the “excellent wife” can actually leave [women] feeling inadequate as wives and mothers. To make matters worse, churches can easily misinterpret this beautiful passage, stripping it of its intended grace, and use it to lay greater guilt on women who are just trying to make it through another day.” Following his study, he created his own 31-day prayer calendar using Proverbs 31:10-31 to serve as an aid in his prayers for his wife. As he has used this calendar over the years, he says he has “seen the Lord bless both my wife and my marriage.”
Each day’s entry provides the author’s translation of the verse, the author’s explanation of the verse, several suggestions for in-depth prayers, and thought-provoking questions with journaling space. Weathers also provides space for recording dates and details for when God answers your prayers. Weathers includes a study guide in the back of the book for use in small groups, counseling sessions, or more personal reflection.
These are not new teachings of Proverbs 31 necessarily. Weathers succeeds in explaining the significance of each verse and how it points to God’s grace, His covenant with His people, and the covenant between husband and wife. One major difference between this Proverbs 31 book and others is that Weathers sheds light on the Proverbs 31 man. As the spiritual leader, the husband is an important factor in determining the excellence of his wife. Rather than supporting the old adage that behind every good man is a good woman, Weathers turns it to say that behind every godly, holy, excellent woman there is a godly, holy, excellent man praying for and encouraging her.
Weathers does quote from a few people who are considered mystics and contemplatives. However, the quotes he employs serve as illustrations and definitions to help clarify the virtue of the day. For example, he employs a lengthy quote from Nouwen regarding hospitality. Considering this is a prayer book, Weathers stays away from encouraging contemplative spirituality or strange practices normally associated with individuals like Henri Nouwen and Brother Lawrence.
All Christian husbands and wives will enjoy and benefit from How to Pray for Your Wife. Encouraging and thought provoking, it will deepen a husband’s prayers for his wife. The study guide included at the end may prove helpful to pastors who frequently counsel couples. Young men desiring excellent wives may also profit from this book.
Don’t hesitate to pass this along to your husband and humbly ask for his prayers.