The Privilege and Power of a Praying Pastor’s Wife

On any given Saturday, you can be sure at least two things are going on at our house: my husband will be working on his sermon, and I will be praying for him. It sounds rather 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 a lot to learn together as a team in ministry—and we weren’t a very well-oiled machine. There were creaks and moans, often quite literally, as we went about juggling ministry life and what became coined as “sermon-prep.” Instead of being a helpmate suitable to him, I found I was acting more like a dead-weight distracting him.

There certainly are sacrifices for a ministry wife, but there are also tremendous blessings. Learning how to pray for my husband and the ministry we were giving our lives to took time; God first had to wean my heart from my own personal desires and beckoned me instead to come to him. I had to learn to pray, “In the morning I prepare a sacrifice for you and watch” (Psalm 5:3). My heavenly Father was inviting me to bring my requests and desires and wait with expectant faith for him to answer me according to his good plan and purpose.


Don’t buy the lie that prayer doesn’t do much. You might think you believe prayer is important, but are you praying regularly, specifically, and expectantly?

Sadly, our 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 actually praying.

Elisabeth Elliot said it well,

Prayer isn’t a sport. It’s work. Prayer is work because a Christian simply 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 about us. The deceiver will attempt to make as much noise as he can to distract us from our calling to be that helpmate to our pastor-husbands. And if he can take us down, sadly, then our husband and the ministry soon often follow. Sadly, I’ve seen this happen to some dear friends in ministry. By not prioritizing time with the Lord, they drifted away from other church members and became disillusioned by all the struggles and hardships of ministry life. Sisters, pray for God to protect you and your husband as you labor for Him.

As pastors’ wives, there are many things we know, hear, see, and feel about the kingdom work our husbands are giving themselves to with all their heart and soul. In the midst of all this, we must not give in to fear or worry. We shouldn’t take charge and force our immediate fix-it plan for the church. But we also shouldn’t sit back in blissful ignorance of the many needs of our husband and our churches.

Sisters, we should be praying—and because prayer takes hard work, we need to make it a priority. 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’re able to encourage him in a very practical way by praying regularly, specifically, and expectantly both for him and often with him.

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SOURCE: 9 Marks
Erin Wheeler