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The Privilege and Power of a Praying Pastor’s Wife

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There are sacrifices for a ministry wife, but there are also tremendous blessings. Learning how to pray for my husband and his ministry took time as God weaned my heart from my desires and beckoned me to come to Him.

On any given Saturday, you can be sure of two things:

  • · My husband will be working on his sermon at some point in the day
  • · I will be praying for him.

It sounds relatively straightforward, but it hasn’t happened without a lot of—shall we say—practice. When Brad first began the arduous and daunting task of preaching, we had much to learn together as a team in ministry. We weren’t a well-oiled machine. There were creaks and moans, often quite literally, as we juggled ministry life and what we have coined “sermon-prep.” Instead of being a helpmate suitable to him, I was distracting him, acting more like a dead weight.

But ministry life continued, and we found ourselves together in a dark place. Some of our church members spread slander about our family and the church at large. These actions troubled us deeply in spirit. These same people also dragged the name of our Savior through the mud in the way they publicly addressed the situation. They spread false words around town, on social media, and in coffee shops. My non-Christian co-workers even confronted me at my workplace about the things they read. The words from Ephesians 6 rang in my head. As much as this seemed like flesh-and-blood people causing the problems, the struggle was really against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places.[1]  The old saying that the devil is in the details is true. Trying to correct their false accusations was fruitless. We simply waited and prayed for God to do justice.

As I watched God answer my prayers, I watched a miracle unfold. He didn’t do all I thought needed to be done in the situation.  He did it differently.

But He did more, and He did it better. His faithfulness to us in that situation emboldened my trust in Him and roused my resolve to pray. The troublemakers left the church peaceably, and other saints encouraged and strengthened us. And through it all, we grew in our oneness in ministry.

There are sacrifices for a ministry wife, but there are also tremendous blessings. Learning how to pray for my husband and the ministry we gave our lives to took time as God weaned my heart from my desires and beckoned me to come to Him. I learned to pray, “In the morning I prepare a sacrifice for you and watch” (Psalm 5:3). My heavenly Father invited me to bring my requests and desires to Him and wait with expectant faith for Him to answer me according to His good plan and purpose.

There’s power in prayer, so be on guard

Don’t buy the lie that prayer doesn’t do much. You might think prayer is important, but are you praying regularly, specifically, expectantly? Sadly the answer is often “Not enough.” Prayer is hard work, and the deceiver will do anything to keep us from it. Sure, we can recite James 5:17, spouting the promise that the prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective, but then we rarely do the hard work of praying. Elisabeth Elliot said:

“Prayer isn’t a sport. It’s work. Prayer is work because a Christian can’t ‘make a living’ without it.”

The apostle Paul said we ‘wrestle’ in prayer. In the wrestling of a Christian in prayer, ‘our fight is not against any physical enemy; it is against organizations and powers that are spiritual. We are up against the unseen powers that control this dark world, and spiritual agents from the very headquarters of evil” (Ephesians 6:12). The work is hard because so much of it is unseen. There are joy robbers all around us. The deceiver will attempt to make as much noise as he can to distract us from our calling of being a helpmate to our pastor husbands. And if he can take us down, sadly, our husband and the ministry often soon follow. Tearfully, I can say I’ve seen this firsthand.

As pastors’ wives, there are many things we know, hear, see, and feel about the kingdom work our husbands do with all their heart and soul. We are not to yield to fear or worry. We are not to take charge and ramrod our fix-it plan for the church. We are also not to sit back in blissful ignorance of our husbands’ and churches’ many needs. Sisters, we are to be praying! Prayer life takes a lot of hard work, so we need to prioritize prayer. As the Puritan saying goes, you need to learn how to “pray until you pray.” Labor in prayer for your husband as he labors for the sheep entrusted to him. As a helpmate suitable to him, you can encourage him in a practical way by praying regularly, specifically, and expectantly for him and often with him.

The privilege: the best good we can do

“She does him good and not harm all her days.” Proverbs 31:12

Just think about it for a minute. Who else knows your husband like you do? Any number of people in your church may be praying for him. He may have accountability partners and prayer partners and perhaps elders who pray with and for him, but no one can pray with the specificity and tenderness that only you can render. You know if sleep has evaded him for days due to chronic pain or sick children up through the night. You know the doubts that may plague his mind, and whisper lies of rejection and discouragement. You know the hours he spends in solitude, poured out over God’s Word as he wrestles with the text. You can read that slumping of his shoulders when he walks in the door feeling kicked by life. You know he feels inadequate for the task and yet called to keep moving forward in faith. What better good can we do for our pastor husbands than to pray for them?

There is much strength in the stillness of prayer. Out of that stillness, God manifests his power.

As pastors’ wives, we often see God’s faithfulness work itself out in many ways. Sure, we are privy to many hard things, but we also have front-row seats to His work. We see the restoration of relationships, the preaching of powerful sermons on little or no sleep, meeting budgets at the final hour, and friends growing in their hatred of sin and their love for Jesus. I often tell friends my unique perspective makes me feel like Mary, who “treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart” as she watched God’s plan unfold through her son Jesus. My heart sings with how I’ve watched God work in our lives and the lives of the congregations we’ve been a part of over the years. It’s often a hard calling, but it’s always a privileged calling.

There is something about sitting in a pew, watching the one you love most in this world preach God’s Word through the power of the Holy Spirit to those entrusted to his care. As wives of pastors, we have the unique privilege – albeit a taxing one – of knowing all the sordid and splendid details of what went on in the preparation of giving that Word. So much happens from one Sunday to another. And yet our heavenly Father knows it all. God has called us to come to Him, to bring that “insider” knowledge that often creates worry, fear, anger, or joy to Him. Why, oh why, wouldn’t we park ourselves at his feet in prayer?


Pastor, Loving Your Weary Wife is an Investment Worth Making

The Pastor’s Wife and Expectations

Motherhood Sorrows and the Pastor’s Family

[1] Ephesians 6:12

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