Esther, the Praying Wife is part of an ongoing series, Portrait of a Godly Wife
As a young bride, it was a surprising thing to learn that I was not my husband’s Holy Spirit. I considered myself his burning bush, his Jeremiah, his high priest. Wrong on so many levels, I know. It has been a hard lesson to learn, but praying for him is the best way for me to see God move in his life.
Esther is an example of a praying wife. She knew the power to move her husband was held, not in her own hands, but in the hands of the King of kings.
You may be familiar with the story of Esther. Here is a quick overview to get us up to speed:
Esther, a Jew, was chosen to be King Xerxes’ wife out of hundreds of candidates. She went from being a poor orphan girl to Queen of Persia, a great empire in early history. King Xerxes’ first in command, Haman, hated the Jewish nation. He used King Xerxes to devise a plan for genocide, killing all of the Jews in Persia.
Esther’s cousin, Mordecai, found out about the plan. He reported it to Esther and asked her to intervene with her husband, the king. Esther knew that she could face certain death if she approached her husband, without being summoned. She was afraid, and rightfully so. Mordecai replied,“Do not think that because you are in the king’s house you alone of all the Jew’s will escape. For if you remain silent at this time, relief and deliverance for the Jews will arise from another place, but you and your father’s family will perish. And who knows but that you have come to royal position for such a time as this?” (Esther 4:13-14). Esther knew she must do something, so she called the Jews to prayer and fasting.
Go, gather together all the Jews who are in Susa, and fast for me. . . When this is done, I will go to the king, even though it is against the law. And if I perish, I perish. Esther 4:16-17
Changing a Heart
Esther faced a life and death situation. The stakes were high. Prayer had to come first. Esther saw first hand the heart of her husband bend and sway without explanation; she had been chosen from all the women of Susa to be the new queen (Esther 2:17). Proverbs reminds us that the heart of our husband is not ours’ to change.
In his heart a man plans his course, but the Lord determines his steps.
Many are the plans in a man’s heart, but it is the Lord’s purpose that prevails.
What NOT to Do
I am not my husband’s Holy Spirit. I cannot change his heart or direct his steps. God alone holds that power. I can complain, offer suggestions, issue ultimatums, and make demands. These are all acts of the flesh. And they result in conflict, anger, distance, and frustration.
Consider Sarai’s manipulation of Abram (Genesis 16:1-8). She complained and demanded until he slept with Hagar. She created pain for herself and for every generation thereafter. The course of history was changed forever. The heart of a man can only be change through spiritual action—prayer.
How to pray for your husband[i]
- Pray for spiritual growth and wisdom (2 Peter 3:18; Proverbs 4:23, 9:10; Psalm 51:2-4; Micah 6:8)
- Pray that he fulfill his role as a husband (Ephesians 5:25-29; Colossians 3:19; Proverbs 20:6; Genesis 2:24)
- Pray protection for his heart and mind (Proverbs 6:23-24, 26, 27:12; John 17:15; Romans 13:14; 2 Corinthians 10:5)
- Pray he works hard and maintains integrity (Romans 12:11; 1 Corinthians 15:58; Proverbs 20:7; Ephesians 6:10-12; Psalm 34:14; Luke 2:52; Colossians 3:23-24)
- Pray for physical, emotional, mental, social, and spiritual strength (1 Corinthians 6:12, 10:31; Nehemiah 8:10)
- Pray for his role as a leader (1 Corinthians 10:13; Jeremiah 29:11; Ephesians 5:15-16)
- Pray he will be a good father (Ephesians 6:4; Colossians 3:21; 2 Timothy 2:1-2)
Esther’s story concludes with a display of God’s glory. She met with her husband, King Xerxes, and the enemy of God’s people, Haman. She revealed her nationality and Haman’s plan to kill her and her family. The king, moved by the hand of God, ordered that Haman be hanged and allowed the Jews to defend themselves against any attacks.
Their sorrow was turned into joy and their mourning into a day of celebration.
That is the power of prayer! It is a promise for us today. Through prayer–and only through prayer–the hearts of our husbands can be moved.
What struggle or difficulty do you have in your marriage? Is there a verse listed above that you can begin to pray over your husband?
Note: Prayer is indeed a powerful tool for the believing wife. However, if you are in an extreme situation or in danger, please seek outside help. A counselor, a pastor, a trusted friend. There is a time for action as you pray.
Power of a Praying Wife by Stormie Omartian
Sacred Influence by Gary Thomas
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[i] Nancy Leigh DeMoss. “31 Days of Praying for Your Husband.” http://www.reviveourhearts.com/downloads/index.php?id=9473