Day 1: What Is True Prayer? - How to Pray for Your Marriage

Day 1: What Is True Prayer?

Prayer is an extraordinary gift we have been given by God to communicate with Him. It is an opportunity to grow closer and experience intimacy in our relationship with our Creator.

Prayer is also one of the greatest gifts we can give to our marriages.

In this 8-part series, we will look closely at the example and teachings of Jesus given to us through His Word and apply these principles of prayer to our marriages.

May we be inspired in our prayer life to do as Jesus did: commit to a heart of sincere prayer and pursue intimate communion with the Father.

Let us begin with Matthew 6:5, which says,
“And when you pray, you must not be like the hypocrites. For they love to stand and pray in the synagogues and at the street corners, that they may be seen by others. Truly, I say to you, they have received their reward.”

The people Jesus is teaching already knew about prayer. He isn’t teaching them a completely new concept because the Jewish people were already devoted to praying; it was a foundational part of their faith and culture. However, Jesus’ heart was to teach them what true prayer is. He pointed out how some people pray publicly merely to be seen and heard by others rather than to commune with God. Jesus even calls them hypocrites.

Before Jesus tells the people what they should pray for, He first addresses what the posture of their hearts should not be like when they pray. This was important enough for Him to bring up, and it is just as relevant for us to consider today. Our motivation matters.

When we pray, are the motives of our heart pure?

Or are our hearts motivated by other factors, such as wanting others to see us as holy?

The Lord desires us to have humble and honest hearts before Him, not false and fake appearances before men. How can we know if we are being hypocritical in our prayers?

The first step is to evaluate certain areas of our lives and discern if our heart’s motivations are pure. To be a hypocrite is to say you believe one thing but your actions prove otherwise. It is a false or fake appearance.

When praying for our spouse and for our marriage, we ought not pretend like we are without sin. Neither should we pray in the presence of our spouse to show off or try to appear “spiritual.” Prayer isn’t meant to be a show. Rather, it is a way to come in honesty before our King and Savior.

When we ask God to work in our marriage, do we believe He can?

If we pray for ourselves or our spouse to grow, mature, have more integrity, and love more, yet do not actually believe God can make those things happen, then we are praying like hypocrites.

Matthew 21:22 says, “And whatever you ask in prayer, you will receive, if you have faith.” This is not suggesting we are magically guaranteed to get everything we want from God. It is crucial that when we pray, we do so in faith, believing that He hears us and knows our needs before we even ask for it.

So pray with your spouse in humility, truthfulness, and belief. Ask God if there is any hypocrisy in how you pray for your spouse and marriage. With a genuine and sincere heart, in the quiet, lift up your praises and concerns, your gratitude, and your needs before the Lord. He is waiting to hear from you.

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From the Book:

How to Pray for Your Marriage cover image

How to Pray for Your Marriage
By Aaron Smith, Jennifer Smith


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