By Cindi McMenamin, Crosswalk.com
You may have often heard we need to pray for our pastors because of the heavy loads they carry and the spiritual battles they are up against. But what about praying for your pastor’s wife?
A pastor’s wife is often seen as the female equivalent of the pastor, wherein the congregation expects just as much from her as they do their pastor, even if she isn’t on the church payroll, doesn’t have his seminary training, isn’t ordained, has children to care for, and a career or job to help with her husband’s income, as well. That’s a pretty heavy load of expectation on a person who may feel she is disappointing others more than helping.
Having served alongside my husband in his senior pastor roles for both a small and medium-sized church, and now as he is an associate pastor on staff at a larger church, I’ve learned the value of having others pray for me, even when I’m unaware of it. Having experienced the pressures, expectations, accusations, disappointments, and also the joys and treasured godly prayers of others for more than three decades—as well as mentoring young pastors’ wives and being aware of their needs and struggles—let me share with you eight prayers for your pastor’s wife that will make a huge difference in her life.
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1. A Prayer for Her Personal Walk with God
Just because she sleeps with the pastor doesn’t mean she has instant access to more spirituality than you do. We are each accountable to God for our own devotional life, and she could use your prayers for hers. Here is a prayer that will connect her heart to God’s and your heart to hers:
Lord, draw my pastor’s wife closer to Your heart. Give her time in her busy day to set aside for rich fellowship with You in Your Word. Guard her time so You get the best of her and can pour into her so she never feels dry spiritually. Lord, make Your Word come alive to her, whisper Your encouragement to her in times of stress or sadness, and help her to depend on You first and foremost as You strengthen her and make her a pillar of faith for her husband, her children, and all who are around her. Thank You for how You are growing her into Your image and help me to remember to pray for her and encourage her in any way I can. In Jesus’ faithful name, I pray. Amen.
2. A Prayer for Her Friendships and Relationships within the Church
It’s tough sometimes for a pastor’s wife to feel she can get close to people within her church. Can she be honest with her others about her marriage, her family life, her personal struggles, or even her husband’s needs? Most pastors’ wives want to protect their husbands at all costs, and that sometimes means they believe they can’t be real with others or develop close friendships within their own church. Here’s a prayer to help her be her authentic self with others who will love and protect her
Thank You, Lord, that You love my pastor’s wife dearly. And even though she might seem difficult to get close to, You know her heart, her struggles, her vulnerabilities and hesitations. Help me not to judge her from a distance or assume she thinks she’s better than me. Help me, instead, to open my arms to her so she feels loved and accepted for who she is. Bring godly women to her, inside and outside our church, who will love her, protect her, advise her, and encourage her in every way. May she feel the sharpening and refining effects in her godly friendships “as iron sharpens iron” (Proverbs 27:17) and give her many moments of great girlfriend time with her sisters in Christ. May she see You as her best friend and be a Christ-like friend to others as she receives Christ-like friendship in return. In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.
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3. A Prayer for Her Dreams and Goals
Your pastor’s wife has a unique identity as a woman and child of God, just like anyone else. She has likes and dislikes, dreams and passions, fears and insecurities. And she should be allowed to break the mold of what others expect of her and pursue her dreams just like anyone else in her church. Sometimes people frown on a pastor’s wife who holds a job outside her home or church, and yet what couple doesn’t need a double income these days? Perhaps her extra job is what helps her husband not have to hold another one so he can focus on his calling and ministry. Here is a prayer that will no doubt draw your heart even closer to hers:
Lord God, thank You that (insert your pastor’s wife name here) is fearfully and wonderfully made (Psalm 139:14). Help her to see the value of her uniqueness and the potential of the gifts and talents You have given her. Help her to delight herself in You and embrace the desires You plant in her heart for how You want her to glorify You (Psalm 37:4). May she never be burdened by expectation, obligation, guilt, or manipulation, but may she instead know clearly what You have called her to do and pursue it boldly. Protect her from a misuse of her gifts and time and give her joy as she lives the dream You have placed upon her heart since before the foundations of the world (Ephesians 2:10). In the name of the ultimate Dream Giver, Jesus, Amen.
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4. A Prayer for Her Physical and Emotional Wellbeing
Many people are stressed today. And your pastor’s wife is not exempt from the types of schedules, workloads, expectations, and external (as well as internal) struggles that can impact one’s physical and emotional health.
Years ago, I heard author, Bible teacher, and veteran pastor’s wife Jill Briscoe tell a group of pastors and seminary students that the number one reason cited for a thousand pastors leaving the ministry every month in the U.S. was “stress on the spouse.” At that time, being a young pastor’s wife myself, I prayed I would never be the reason my husband couldn’t fulfill God’s calling on his life and teach and lead a church. I never wanted him to resign because I couldn’t handle it. Recently, I shared that memory and conviction with Jill Briscoe, and she told me the number one reason today that thousands of pastors (or more) leave the ministry every month is because of an addiction to porn! You and I never know what kind of struggles our pastor’s wife is facing every day. Thus, the need to pray for her.
Lord, thank You that You know my pastor’s wife better than anyone else. Lord, guide her, protect her, and hold her in Your loving hand, reassuring her that no matter what is going on in her life (or her husband’s or children’s) You know it all and You are strong enough to carry her through it. Lord, reassure her heart that she has a congregation of people who love her and show her those who are willing to help when she reaches out. Help her to trust those around her and bring her someone with whom she can confide in and be strengthened by. Protect her from the enemy’s onslaught against her heart, mind, body, and soul. Calm her anxious heart. Strengthen her so she can strengthen others. And put an extra measure of protection around her health physically, mentally, and emotionally so she can provide the support her husband needs to get through all he might be struggling with too. In the capable name of Jesus, I pray. Amen.
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5. A Prayer for Her Protection from Spiritual Attack
Ephesians 6 tells us, “our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms” (verse 12 NIV). How much more of a target is our pastor and his wife because when one of them falls, a ministry often falls with them. Pray for their protection against spiritual attack.
Lord, guard my pastor’s wife from the spiritual battle that rages around her. Help her to “put on the full armor of God” (verse 13) so she is able to stand firm in the face of temptation and any attempt by the enemy to take down her or her household. Erect a shield of faith around her to defend her from the “flaming arrows of the evil one” (verse 16). Help her to abide in You, wearing each piece of the armor that represents Christlikeness, so she can withstand the attack of the enemy and keep standing firm against the onslaught. And encourage her this week that others, including myself, are praying for her strength and courage in the Lord.
6. A Prayer for Her Ministry to Her Husband
Do you realize the first priority of your pastor’s wife is her husband? Not to the women’s or children’s ministry. Not to the community at large. Not even to those in the church that her husband can’t get back to on any given day. I applaud the pastors’ wives who see their sole ministry as that of supporting and encouraging their husband. As a young pastor’s wife, I was expected to serve at the door greeting others, teach a toddlers’ Sunday school class, direct the women’s ministry, and even play the piano while leading the choir (if I were musical, that is. Thank God my mom and sister got the lion’s share of that talent!). Yet I wish someone in my first church had assured me that my first ministry is to support my husband because no one else can, with God’s blessing, be his wife, his female confidante’, his greatest cheerleader, and the love of his life. Pray for your pastor’s wife to be free to live her foremost calling.
Lord God, please help [insert your pastor’s wife name here] in her calling as the wife of my pastor. Build her up and strengthen her so she can strengthen him. Give her the courage to say no to others so she can say yes to her husband in the many ways he needs her time, help, and support. Don’t let her be distracted by the needs of others, at the cost of neglecting what her husband needs most from her. And help him to be a strong source of support for her as well, making her service and commitment to him a sheer joy.
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7. A Prayer for Her Marriage
You don’t have to be a ministry marriage to be under attack these days. Just about every marriage struggles. But it’s possible your pastor and his wife struggle even more because of the targets on their backs—the enemy can get a double victory if he can pull down an entire church by pulling down a married couple. Your pastor and his wife are, by default, an example to their church of what a marriage should be, and that is a heavy expectation to live under. So, pray for her marriage.
Lord Jesus, please help my pastor and his wife to be “of the same mind, maintaining the same love, united in spirit, intent on one purpose” (Philippians 2:2) so their lives can be a joyful example to their congregation of what a marriage surrendered to Christ can look like. Shield them from outside temptations and internal struggles, as well, and may their love abound more and more. May they be encouraged by one another and become one another’s best friend. In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.
8. A Prayer for Her Family
Just as your family is precious to you, so is hers. I’m certain I have no idea of the number of people who have prayed for my family, but those prayers were often felt. Precious words of affirmation like “I am always praying for your family” have meant the world to me and to other pastors’ wives I know. Call heaven’s blessings down on her family, and God will help you love them as He does.
Lord, my pastor’s wife may believe, at times, that expectations abound and critics are at an all-time high regarding her husband, her marriage, and her children. Convince her, Lord, that You have put a covering of protection and blessing on her household as they serve You. Help her to experience the joy of watching her husband thrive in his walk with You and his service to Your church. Give her peace in knowing her children are firmly in Your hand and may she see them grow in their love for Jesus and mature in their faith. Give her wisdom to guide them spiritually and parent them well (James 1:5). And help her entire household to “not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and pleading with thanksgiving let [their] requests be made known to God. And [may] the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension… guard [their] hearts and minds in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:6-7 NASB). In Jesus’ name I pray this. Amen.
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