The Westminster Shorter Catechism says this about prayer: "Q. What is Prayer?
A. Prayer is the offering up of our desires unto God, for things agreeable to His will, in the name of Christ, with confession of our sins, and thankful acknowledgment of His mercies."
Philippians 4:6 - 7 "Be careful for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God and the peace of God, which passes all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus."
Romans 8:26 "Likewise the Spirit also helps our infirmities: for we know not what we should pray for as we ought: but the Spirit itself makes intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered."
There are lots and lots of Bible verses about prayer and you can look them up yourself easily so I only included two of my favorites. Prayer is a pretty amazing thing when you think about it - the ability to go before the King of kings, the God of the universe and talk to Him because you are made holy by the blood of Christ!
Prayer is, of course, one of the most important and blessed parts of being a Christian and if you want clarification on what prayer is or why we do it, I would recommend checking out Joe Morecraft III on sermon audio because he has some excellent sermons on prayer. R.C. Sproul is also a great man to listen to or read on that topic.
One of the most important things you can do for yourself and your own walk with God is to pray and put yourself and your actions continually before Him. Once you get married, one of the best things you can do for your husband is to pray for him and the same thing is true before you even meet him.
What are some of the benefits of praying for your husband before you meet him or know who he is?
1. It allows you to start your relationship as God-centered from the VERY beginning.
We live in a scary time when marriages in America (Christian or not) at this time have a 40-50% divorce rate, and yet among Christian couples who pray together every day the divorce rate is less than 1%! (Unfortunately, the number of Christian couples who pray together every day is very low - less than 8%.) By starting a habit now of praying daily and specifically for your future spouse and your relationship with them you will be doing your marriage a beautiful favor that you can continue once you are married.
2. It helps to keep your mind and heart focused on God.
In these days of serial dating, casual sex, mainstream pornography/erotica and name-only Christians it can be so easy to get discouraged or anxious about your future and to lower your standards in order to open up your 'options', especially when you have a strong desire to get married. Praying daily and submitting yourself, your future husband and your desires to God will make a HUGE difference in these things.
3. It really does help the other person and benefits you both long term.
I have been amazed over and over how many of my prayers for Kit over my teenage years were answered in specific ways way before we met and they continue to benefit us in our marriage today. God is the only One who can change anyone's heart or actions and so putting yourself and your spouse into His hands is one of the best things you can do no matter where you are in your journey.
4. It gives you something to DO in a period of waiting.
One of the most frustrating things about waiting is that it often can feel really useless and depressing. Praying gives you the unique and exciting ability to fight for your spouse and marriage while you are still single.
Ok, so praying for your future spouse is important, but what does it look like? "Lord please bless my future spouse" is easy but there is soooo much more that you can add to it. Charles Spurgeon said, "There is a general kind of praying which fails for lack of precision. It is as if a regiment of soldiers should all fire off their guns anywhere. Possibly someone would be killed, but the majority of the enemy would be missed."
James 5:16 "Confess your faults to one another and pray for one another that you may be healed. The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much."
So what are some specific things you can pray for a man you've never met?
1. Ask God to show you what to pray for - after all, He is the only One who really knows you or your future spouse.
You might be surprised at the things that come into your mind in an answer to this prayer, but go ahead and pray specifically for what God shows you.
2. Pray for wisdom for your future in-laws - they are shaping the one you will marry and they will be your children's grandparents… this can either be very exciting or very scary.
3. Pray for the salvation of your future husband and for him to put on the whole armor of God (Ephesians 6:10-18 is an EXCELLENT scripture to read and pray through for yourself as well).
4. Pray for him in what you know to be the most common struggles that men face according to the Bible (and just common sense observation) - anger, lust, discouragement and taking God's name in vain.
5. Make a list of things that you want or need in a future spouse and go ahead and pray through it every day. My list started with the most important things to me and went something like this:
That he be a man after God's own heart like David
That he show obvious signs of seeking and loving God
That he be a reformed, Westminster standards Christian
That he be good with children
That he be a good provider (capable of holding down a job)
That he not turn to anyone or anything but God for comfort or strength
That he show compassion and honor
That we would agree on political beliefs
I know several people that got as specific as whether or not their spouse would like broccoli, but I would recommend keeping your list to what is really foundationally important (the most common reasons for divorce are actually a great place to start making a list to pray for).
There are more things I could say on this subject but I'll end with a short story about my own life and courtship.
I kept a prayer journal as a teenager and prayed specifically for many things for Kit before I knew him. One day during our courtship I was curious and so made up a timeline of what I had prayed for him and when and then asked him about different times in his life without telling him why. I wrote down what he said and guess what?! It matched my prayer timeline EXACTLY! It was astounding and humbling at the same time as I suddenly realized that God really had been answering my prayers for all those years. It is still something that Kit thanks me for and he likes to say that he married me for my prayers which makes me thankful that I stuck with it even when it felt as though I was praying for someone who didn't exist.
I hope this was helpful and as always I love getting comments as long as they are polite. ;-)