How To Pray For Your Spouse And Marriage: Lessons And Principles From Jesus – 1 of 8



Prayer is a practice deeply ingrained in many of our lives, offering solace, guidance, and a connection to the Lord. But what is true prayer? In this 8-part series, we look at the way Jesus instructs us to pray. Each episode will cover lessons and principles that can transform our prayer journey, not only in our personal lives but also within the sacred bond of marriage.  Our journey begins with Matthew 6:5, where Jesus admonishes, “And when you pray, you must not be like the hypocrites…” Why does Jesus teach us to pray? It’s a question that often lingers in our minds. Jesus’ teachings on prayer emphasize its significance in forging a deep, personal connection with our Creator. He encourages us to communicate with God, not as a duty, but as an opportunity to strengthen our spiritual bond. But first, we have to know how. While sinning comes naturally to us, prayer is something that takes practice. “Prayer is one of those things that as children of God, we get to learn.” Hypocrisy in prayer occurs when our motives are tainted by the desire for public recognition. Jesus warns against praying for the sole purpose of being seen by others, as this hollow practice leads to a shallow, self-serving faith. So, what motivates us when we pray? This question forces us to self-reflect. Are we praying to genuinely seek God’s guidance, or are we driven by the need for praise and recognition from our peers? Furthermore, what reward are we seeking when we pray? In Matthew 6:5, Jesus tells us that those who pray to be seen by others have already received their reward—earthly recognition. True prayer, on the other hand, offers us a heavenly reward: connection with God. “When you reveal what your heart is going through, what your circumstances are, what you’re thinking, you’re offering that to the Lord and you’re making yourself known to him.” Charles Spurgeon’s profound insight reminds us that prayer is not a superficial act but a spiritual transaction. True prayer transcends mere words; it is an intimate dialogue with the Creator of the universe, a means to experience His presence and guidance. Why Should We Pray for Our Marriage? Our marriage is a sacred union, and as such, it deserves our dedication in prayer. By seeking God’s guidance and strength through prayer, we invite His wisdom and love to permeate our relationship, fostering a deeper connection between spouses. The rewards of true prayer are heavenly, not earthly, and it is essential to examine our motives when we approach God in prayer. In the episodes to come, we will explore Scripture further, to further enrich our prayer life. Let us continue on this spiritual journey, aspiring to deepen our connection with God and applying these teachings to strengthen our personal lives and marriages. As Charles Spurgeon wisely said, “True prayer is neither a mere mental exercise nor a vocal performance. It is far deeper than that – it is a spiritual transaction with the Creator of Heaven and Earth.”  Don’t forget to pre-order your copy of The Marriage Gift today for more prayer resources for your marriage!


Jennifer Smith (00:05):

True prayer is neither a mere mental exercise nor a vocal performance. It is far deeper than that. It is a spiritual transaction with the creator of Heaven and earth. Charles Spurgeon.

Aaron Smith (00:16):

Hey, we’re Aaron and Jennifer Smith, your host of the Marriage After God podcast. And this episode is brought to you in celebration of our newest one year marriage prayer book called The Marriage Gift. It releases on October 17th, and we wanted to ask you if you could take a moment today to pre-order this book and make an investment into your marriage. We know that you desire to pray more for and with your spouse. We understand that you may not know where to start or maybe you feel uncomfortable praying or maybe you don’t know what to pray, or maybe you want to add something to your current prayer life. This is why we wrote this book and why we are doing this eight part series. Visit the marriage today and pre-order your copy and give your marriage the greatest gift: powerful and meaningful prayer. Visit the marriage today and pre-order.

Jennifer Smith (01:01):

Okay, so this is part one of an eight part series on how to pray for your spouse and marriage as taught by Jesus.

Aaron Smith (01:08):

Yeah, we wanted to do a series as a way of learning from the master himself about how to truly pray for our spouse, our marriage, by looking a little deeper at how Jesus himself taught his disciples to pray. In Matthew six.

Jennifer Smith (01:21):

More specifically, we want to pull out the spiritual principles that we believe Jesus was showing by what he taught them.

Aaron Smith (01:28):

So today we’re going to look at the first set or all the set of verses that we’re going to be looking at and discussing over the next eight episodes, eight weeks, as we examine what is arguably one of the most well-known teachings Jesus ever taught, which is about prayer.

Jennifer Smith (01:43):

Then we’re going to answer the question, what is true prayer?

Aaron Smith (01:46):

So that’s this episode, and then we hope that you guys will just stick with us for all Ava episodes. They’re going to be pretty awesome.

Jennifer Smith (01:53):

Okay, so first let’s go ahead and read Matthew six, five through 15.

Aaron Smith (01:58):

Okay, so this is where we find the Lord’s prayer. The disciples come up to him and they ask him, Lord, teach us to pray. And this is what he says starting in verse five. 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, but when you pray, go into your room and shut the door and pray to your father who is in secret, and your father who sees in secret will reward you. And when you pray, do not heap up empty phrases as the Gentiles do for they think that they will be heard for their many words. Do not be like them for your father knows what you need before you ask him.

Pray then this, our Father in heaven, how it be your name, your kingdom come, your will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread and forgive us our debts as we also have forgiven our debtors. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil. For if you forgive others their trespasses, your heavenly will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive others their trespasses, neither will your father forgive your trespasses. So that was a lot. But real quick, I just want to explain how this a part series is going to work. We’re essentially going to be taking one or two verses at a time and breaking out the principles of it. So this one’s going to be focusing on verse five, the very first verse of this section.

Jennifer Smith (03:22):

Also just a little treat for you guys. Usually we end our podcast episodes with a prayer and we thought it’d be really fun to share a prayer straight from the marriage gift at the end of each part we are going to do that.

Aaron Smith (03:35):

So if you want to get examples of what the prayers sound like, stay tuned to the end.

Jennifer Smith (03:40):

Okay, so why would Jesus need to teach us to pray?

Aaron Smith (03:45):

Yeah, this is a good question that we can ask ourselves because if Jesus taught how to pray, then it would beg the question of well or beg the answer of maybe we need to be taught how to pray.

Jennifer Smith (03:56):

It’s not natural, it’s not automatic, it’s not something that we just grow up knowing how to do.

Aaron Smith (04:00):

There’s lots of things that come natural to us in our flesh, sinning being one of them. It’s easy for us to sin. I

Jennifer Smith (04:05):

Was thinking like breathing.

Aaron Smith (04:07):

You don’t need lessons on sinning, but we do that. But prayer, a good thing to think about with these disciples, they were all Jews. They all were raised knowing what prayer was. They’ve seen it. They’ve seen the rabbis prayed, they’ve prayed prayer was a natural part of their life, but yet they still came to Jesus to ask him to pray, which is something pretty striking to us in our flesh, that Jesus prayed a different way. There was something in the way he prayed that was unique. And so they asked. So we can just know that if Jesus is teaching his disciples to pray, if it’s in his word, then it’s something that we probably need to learn how to do. And it’s probably a lifelong thing of learning,

Jennifer Smith (04:46):

Which is something that Aaron and I have done throughout our marriage is pray together. And it’s also been a vital part of the message of our ministry and what we do online and through podcasting is encouraging couples to pray together because we’ve seen the power of prayer in our marriage and just the anchor that it is in our faith and our foundation to go to God in prayer. And we want that for other people. And so a huge encouragement of what we share with people is, hey, pray together. And it’s another reason why we wrote the marriage gift was just to be able to get a resource in people’s hands that will inspire and encourage their prayer life.

Aaron Smith (05:22):

And another side to look at on this is if we’re spiritual children of God, we’re God’s children, then we need to be taught just like children need to be taught, just like we need to learn to read just like we need to learn to write just like we need to learn to walk. Prayer is one of those things that as children of God, we get to learn. And I believe his spirit teaches us. I believe also practicing and just doing it teaches us, but also the word of God teaches us how to do it. Jesus himself, we’re going through teach us how to do it, but we can also learn from other resources on how to do this

Jennifer Smith (05:54):

In what we just read in Matthew six, when Jesus does say pray like this, that’s what we’re here to do in this eight part series is look at what he says and pull from it, some wisdom, some insight on how to pray and we can apply this teaching to, okay, how do we pray for our marriages? Just for some examples that are fun that we will go more into as this series rolls out. But when he says, go into your room and shut the door, well your spouse has access in that space. So yeah, our encouragement is share it. Share that space with your spouse and experience the intimacy that prayer has to offering going to God with your spouse.

Aaron Smith (06:36):

Also, when it says your kingdom come, we know we can be praying for our spouses and asking that Gods will be done for them in their life and in our marriage,

Jennifer Smith (06:44):

Not just seeking what we want or what we desire, although that’s sometimes a part of it. Really what we’re here to do is seek what does God want

Aaron Smith (06:53):

When he says, forgive us, we’re taught we can pray for forgiveness and we can also learn to forgive and we can also ask that they would forgive us. And then why don’t you read that

Jennifer Smith (07:04):

Last one when he says, lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one. We can pray that same thing over our spouse and how powerful it is to cover them in that way, the Lord’s protection, that they wouldn’t be led into temptation and that they would be protected from the evil one.

Aaron Smith (07:21):

And I know a lot of people, there’s two things I want to mention right now is use the Lord’s prayer directly. They pray the Lord’s prayer themselves, which I think is fine. Jesus taught us to pray that way, but Jesus doesn’t say pray this. He says pray like this. And so he’s clearly showing a template and example

Jennifer Smith (07:39):

Like that, like a prompt.

Aaron Smith (07:40):

Yeah. He’s like, here’s the kinds of things that we’re praying for. Here’s the way we pray. Here’s who we’re praying to. And so that’s what we want to pull out of this. And the second thing I want to mention is if anyone that’s listening now has been a believer for any length of time, you’ve probably heard some sort of teaching or message on the Lord’s Prayer, which is awesome. But I think if you stick with us through this eight part series, you might hear some new thoughts and concepts, especially as it pertains to our marriages. And

Jennifer Smith (08:04):

To add to that note about how Jesus said, pray like this and that that’s a prompt that we can adjust and make more personal as we’re kind of praying the same things that he was talking about. That’s kind of our heart behind the marriage gift is there’s 365 prompts, marriage prayer prompts where we’re tackling topics that we need to be covering in prayer for our marriages. And our hope is that anyone that gets that resource would pray those prayers but would really make them their own. Because you guys know the details of what your marriage is facing. You guys know what you’re going through. And so if you can pray through and read through a prompt and then be inspired to adjust it and make it your own and

Aaron Smith (08:47):

Continue on and

Jennifer Smith (08:47):

Praying it continue. Yeah, that’s what our desire was with this.

Aaron Smith (08:50):

Yeah. None of these topics are meant to be prayed for over once all of them we’re praying for regularly throughout our life. And by the way, our hope is that each one of you listening would pick up a copy. We desire you to grow in your prayer life and to be blessed by this resource.

Jennifer Smith (09:07):

So today we’re going to be focusing on verse five, Matthew six, verse five. But before we do that, why should we pray?

Aaron Smith (09:14):

Well, we’ve talked about this a lot and we always want to reiterate these things. First of all, Jesus prayed. So if Jesus is doing it, it’s something that we could look at and be like, well, maybe that’s something I should do. Well, if

Jennifer Smith (09:26):

We’re called to walk in his footsteps, we’re going to follow that example.

Aaron Smith (09:29):

And so there’s things that Jesus did that we can’t do. We can’t be the savior of the world. He is, but we’re told to die to ourselves daily. We’re told to take up our own cross. So we still are even following in that way that he lived. But prayer is a big one. There’s many times in scriptures it says that he went off alone to pray. And so Jesus teaches us by his actions what it looks like to have a prayer life. And so that’s one thing

Jennifer Smith (09:53):

I would also add that we’ve been given the gift of access. We can go to God in prayer, whether it be in our bedroom or our closet or our car or our living room or jogging or in a park. Literally wherever you are, you can stop and pray. You actually, you don’t even have to stop what you’re doing, but you just pray and you have that access to God. And I love that

Aaron Smith (10:14):

Prayer. It’s experiencing communion with the Lord. You’re having a conversation. You’re communing with God directly through Jesus Christ, which is amazing that we can do that Again, that access,

Jennifer Smith (10:25):

It’s an intimate thing. And so you’re building that relationship up with the Lord. You’re learning and practicing how to tune in to him and how he’s leading you and how he’s speaking to you and finding comfort in that space with him.

Aaron Smith (10:39):

Yeah. Postures our heart toward hearing God, putting ourselves in a place of like, God, I want to hear from you now. I want to experience your wisdom for me. It draws us closer to him. It reminds us who we are. Like, oh, I’m just a man and you’re God and I need you.

Jennifer Smith (10:57):

I really love that. Just like in a conversation with your spouse, you reveal your heart to them and you become known when you pray. There’s an offering there up to the Lord. Obviously he knows already what we’re going through. But when you make it known, when you reveal what your heart is going through, what your circumstances are, what you’re thinking, you’re offering that to the Lord and you’re making yourself known to him. That’s really cool.

Aaron Smith (11:22):

It makes me think of that scripture. When we stand before the Lord one day, the greatest thing we can hear is I knew you. And the fearful thing is I never knew you what Jesus talks about, but does he know us? Do we freely, willfully and honestly and humbly reveal ourselves to him? Which is kind of some of the things we’re going to talk about today actually.

Jennifer Smith (11:41):

And the last thing is just that when you pray, you’re recognizing the Lord’s authority in your life

Aaron Smith (11:47):

And yielding to it. But I mean hopefully that’s our hearts, is that we weren’t trying to bend God to our will, but we’re trying to our hearts to his. So that gets us in the first section. Here we go, verse five. I’m going to read it one more time. These are the words of Jesus. And when you pray, you must not be like the hypocrites period for they love to stand and pray in the synagogues into the street corners that they may be seen by others. Truly, I say to you, they have received their reward. So the first thing I want to pull out of this, and it’s actually the first main point. He starts off his whole teaching on prayer with this verse to not be hypocrites. And so he says, we should not be like them when we pray. What does that make you think of? First of all, when you hear the word hypocrite, Jennifer,

Jennifer Smith (12:40):

Just someone that is saying one thing, doing another.

Aaron Smith (12:44):

Yeah, that’s what I think is they’re not real. It’s like fake. Yeah, they’re fake or lying. They present one thing, but that’s not who they actually are.

Jennifer Smith (12:53):

I actually looked it up and it’s a Greek word that means that you’re playing a theatrical part such as an actor wearing a mask on stage.

Aaron Smith (13:02):

So it’s

Jennifer Smith (13:04):

An intentional thing almost that you’re an intentional thing. Yeah. You’re portraying something that’s not real.

Aaron Smith (13:09):

Yeah. For the sake of what an actor would be for the sake of entertainment, for the sake of accolade, for the sake of prestige, for the sake of whatever. But yeah, it’s playing a role. And so the question we get to ask ourselves in light of this, when Jesus says, don’t pray like the hypocrites. So he’s saying, don’t say what the hypocrites say. He’s saying, don’t pray like the hypocrites, meaning don’t be a hypocrite. You can come to me and pray and the words might be one thing, but it’s the behavior in that heart. That is another thing. And so what is motivating us to pray? What is it we’re looking for when we come to God in prayer? Is it to be close to God? Is it to communion with him? Is it to seek his will because we trust him to lead us or believe he can heal and save? Or do we pray to be seen and heard? Do we pray because we know we should as Christians like, oh, I got to just fulfill this role. I got to check that box.

Jennifer Smith (14:14):

Or I think is it because we want to get a message across to our spouse? If we’re praying in front of our spouse, are we almost like manipulation? Are you praying a prayer that will make them feel a certain way or that you’re okay and they’re not that you don’t have sin, but they do or you don’t need to be changed, but they do those types of

Aaron Smith (14:33):

Things. I want to make a note on this as a form of manipulation. That’s what

Jennifer Smith (14:36):

I just said. Yeah. Yeah.

Aaron Smith (14:37):

So you are praying with them or praying for them or praying near them so they can hear you and the things you’re saying, you’re hoping maybe they’ll hear me. Maybe they’ll take this to account. Maybe they’ll,

Jennifer Smith (14:48):

It’s just as simple. I want them to know that I’m a prayer, like someone who prays.

Aaron Smith (14:53):

Right? Which could be very well the case too. I’ve seen this actually take place when people are praying out loud for someone around others, and then they start revealing things in their prayers that you’re like, why are you saying that? Why is that coming out of your mouth? And so the question is, what’s our intents when we’re praying, when we come before God or others coming before God, before others or before our spouse or even alone, are we doing it as a hypocrite?

Jennifer Smith (15:23):

I looked up the word hypocrite. I did show the Greek word explanation, but it also said, another definition said one who indulges in hypocrisy the practice of claiming to have moral standards or beliefs to which one’s own behavior does not conform. And that word indulges, it stood out to me. It’s not just someone who accidentally acted like something else other than what they were. No,

Aaron Smith (15:48):

That’s who they are.

Jennifer Smith (15:50):

So I love that we’re highlighting this today because I think it’s an important thing to stop and evaluate. Am I a hypocrite?

Aaron Smith (16:00):

Yeah. Well, and especially when we are coming before God. Because if I come to God and I’m like God, I want my wife to respect me so much more, she does not respect me. God, change your heart and then the Holy Spirit’s speaking to me about my own respect of her of you, or my own love for you. The coin gets flipped in my heart or in my mind when God’s speaking to me. Am I even willing to look at my own? Am I even willing to look at how I’m behaving, how I’m acting, or I just want you to change and I just want God to change you for my sake, but don’t know, don’t speak to me. God, just all I care about is what happens to her. That’s a heart of hypocrisy. That’s not truly desiring God’s will. That’s truly just desiring your wife to change only and not really desiring what God wants for her or for you. So that’s again coming to God in that heart is it’s hypocrisy.

Jennifer Smith (16:56):

Another thing we touched on was performance-based hypocrisy where that idea of you’re just playing a role or you’re just on stage, but when we pray, and this goes back to evaluating our motivations and our heart posture before God, when we pray, are we truly seeking to hear and receive from God or are we just putting on a performance to say, I know I’m supposed to do this, checking off the boxes.

Aaron Smith (17:23):

Yeah, like, God, I did all these things. Why aren’t you changing anything? And God’s like, where’s your heart? Are you truly in this? Do you even want my mind on the matter? Do you even want me? That’s another thing is going back to the verse, it says, don’t pray like the hypocrites. And even he alludes to the Jewish leaders. He says they like to pray in the synagogues and in front of people to be seen by men. They weren’t even coming to God to be before God. They were doing this as a thing before men. They wanted to be seen by men. They wanted to be like you said before, am I just praying to show my husband that I pray? Am I just praying to show my wife that I look how spiritual I am and you should be better at this? Or am I going to before God because I want God?

Jennifer Smith (18:07):

And you believe that God’s going to hear you and help you and answer your prayers and have that relationship with you. That’s good. I do have a question about, because we’re talking about hypocrisy, is it hypocritical to pray when you don’t feel like it? Would you put that in the same category? Because there’s been times like you and I where we’re frustrated about something or we’ve been walking through a season of heart and one of us doesn’t really want to pray. But if you’re in that mode and you feel that way, but you choose to pray anyways, are you being hypocritical? Do you understand what I’m saying? I’m kind of flipping it going.

Aaron Smith (18:49):

No, I don’t think I brought up before. Jesus is saying, don’t pray like Hippocrates, meaning don’t be like them in their praying. So I think it’s one thing if you don’t feel like praying and then you do it out of obligation and your heart’s not in it, that’s hypocritical. You’re like, you’re just using words. You’re just doing something to maybe appease me or toe whoever’s with you, but you’re not doing it to truly seek God. But I think often that prompt to pray, even when we don’t feel like it isn’t coming from us, it’s coming from the Holy Spirit of and the conviction.

Jennifer Smith (19:25):

It’s more of an

Aaron Smith (19:25):

Active obedience. Yeah, I know I should pray right now because my heart is so angry or frustrated or hurt or whatever it is. So I think in those moments of when you do go to pray again if you’re truly seeking God in those moments, and it’s not hypocritical, it’s obedient, it’s yielding, it’s humble. That’s

Jennifer Smith (19:44):

Good. I thought it was worth it to go there for

Aaron Smith (19:47):

A little bit. Yeah, no, that’s a good point.

Jennifer Smith (19:48):

I want to go back real quick to what we opened up this episode with because it was really good and powerful, and I just want to reiterate, it was by a quote by Charles Spurgeon, and it says, true prayers neither a mere mental exercise nor a vocal performance. It is far deeper than that. It is a spiritual transaction with the creator of heaven and earth. That middle part where it says it’s far deeper than that. Have you experienced that deep connection with God when you go to prayer and you realize this is powerful?

Aaron Smith (20:17):

Well, I think what I get reminded of often because there’s times that I go to start praying. It just happened this morning and there’s several things that’s been going on lately. We’ve been getting text messages about, I’m not going to say what, but I’m just like, I just go to prayer and I’m sitting there and a few words get out, and then I just have no more words. And so I just sit there just meditating on the fact that I know God knows. And so even though I can’t get words out of my mouth, I understand and I am trusting and believing that God knows, and so I just sit quietly. And so that is the deeper part of not of me thinking, man, I didn’t have enough to say to God but me just rejoicing that he knows already and that he knows better than I do, and that I’m just participating in whatever he’s already doing by coming before him and asking him for protection, for safety, for healing, for whatever it is. And so it is that, and I think that’s where God desires our hearts to be of not just do we have the right words, but do we have the right heart? Do we have the right belief? Do we trust him?

Jennifer Smith (21:26):

That’s good. Yeah, true. Prayer is deep. It’s intimate, and it’s recognizing who your creator is in that moment that you didn’t have any words. You still were in awe and acknowledging who he was and that He knew.

Aaron Smith (21:42):

Yeah. And we got to ask ourselves a question. Are we praying? What is it we’re desiring when we come in prayer? If we pray and don’t believe anything we’re saying that God is capable of any of it, then we’re being a hypocrite. If we’re not praying in faith, if we say, yeah, God, I pray that for salvation for my brother, but I actually don’t believe my brother will ever be saved. I’m not praying in faith. Now whether my brother is ever saved or not. I can still pray in faith that my brother will be saved and that God can save him and God has given him everything he needs, and I could be praying for that and believe that my brother will be. I think that’s how God wants us to pray is in that honesty and also that belief of what I’m praying I believe God can do.

And so what is it that we’re coming to God for? Are we coming to God and not even believing what we’re talking to him about, not believing he’s capable, not believing he will. That’s hypocritical. And then also going back to that motive, this verse verse five, it talks about a reward. It says they have received a reward, and the next verse talks about how we receive a reward. But in this one, it says they’ve received their reward. Their reward was being seen by people. They pray in the synagogues and they stand before men to be seen by men. And he says, surely they’ve received their reward, but are we coming to God seeking a reward from him, or am I coming to God hoping that I’m going to get something from my wife or that or am I just hoping to be seen in doing it, to play, putting on a mask? And so we have to ask ourselves, are we coming to God to seek a reward from him? Like, God, I’m praying this because I want something from you. I desire your will. I desire your truth. I desire your transformation. I desire your healing. I desire, I’m looking to you for this.

Jennifer Smith (23:42):

Well, and if you think about the reward for them that Jesus was talking about was that they were seen by men, right?

Aaron Smith (23:50):

Yeah. They got their,

Jennifer Smith (23:51):

So what they were missing out on was a true prayer to the Lord would be that experience, that intimacy, that deep connection with God and seeking his will. And they missed out on that. And so I don’t know. I’m just thinking the word reward when we go to God in prayer, the reward is not that he answered your prayer or that you got what you want or whatever the reward is, that you are experiencing an intimate relationship with the Lord,

Aaron Smith (24:19):

Knowing that

Jennifer Smith (24:19):

You’re participating in it with him

Aaron Smith (24:22):

And knowing him, being with him. And then you know what the Bible says? That God rewards those who seek him. He does. And so he wants us to seek him. And I also think about our heart postures. If we have a sinful, angry, bitter heart, if we have sin in our life that we aren’t willing to deal with, that we are not blind to, but willfully blind to the holy spirit’s convicting us, but we’re pushing it away. I think about that verse that says, the prayer of a righteous man availeth much. And I believe that. Not that we are without sin, but a hypocrite is one who pretends to be one thing, but is another thing pretends to be holy. But is walking in unrepentant sin? Are we walking in a way in our life that is actually hindering our prayers, is actually making us hypocrites before God where I was bringing it before I have a certain way of being with you, and yet I’m praying to God only about you.

I’m not coming to him saying, Lord, like as David said, see if there’s any wicked way in me. What do I need to work on, Lord, because I desire my wife to grow, but I know that I need to grow. Now, that’s a prayer for us as a couple, not just you and you serving my needs. And so what is it that we’re looking for? Are we looking for a reward from God? Are we looking for a reward from men? And then what is it that, what heart are we coming to God in? Is it one that is of repentance? Humility. Humility? Yeah. We’re humble and truly recognizing that who we’re going to is our heavenly Father.

Jennifer Smith (26:04):

Or you just check in a box or putting a mask on saying, I did that thing that I was supposed to do. I don’t

Aaron Smith (26:09):

Think God wants anything to do with hypocrisy. It doesn’t want anything to do with masks and facades. He wants true, real worship and prayer that we’re not pretending to be one thing and totally being another somewhere else.

Jennifer Smith (26:26):

Yeah. We want to encourage you guys to consider what we’re talking about also in light of your relationship with your spouse. So we’ve been talking about specifically prayer and hypocrisy and the posture of your heart toward God in prayer, but we can also apply this to our relationship and marriage. And so as you’re evaluating where your heart’s at with prayer, also take a minute to just ask the Lord to reveal to you if you’re being a hypocrite in your marriage, are you wearing a mask? Are you saying one thing doing another? Are you putting on a show or performance, but it’s not really who you are because marriage is intimate and it’s so important that we reveal who we truly are and make ourselves known to one another. That’s how trust is built. That’s how that intimacy is experienced. And so if you have a facade, have a mask up, and you’re not actually letting your spouse know you, that’s hypocritical, right?

Aaron Smith (27:24):

And a part of that is being real with our weaknesses, being real, with our failings, with our temptations, with our questions and confusion and fears and doubts. I think about, there’s a story, and I can’t remember where it’s at, but one of the Jewish leaders is praying up on the steps and he says, thank you that you haven’t made me like these poor sinners over here. And I think this is what Jesus is talking about when he is saying this. Don’t be like hypocrites because that guy was poor and a sinner that’s praying that way, but making it sound like he’s not. And so I know God desires for us to be real with each other, that my wife, that the world doesn’t see me one way and my wife see me another way that I don’t portray to my wife like, oh, I’m all perfect and great, and you’re the one that’s broken in failure. That can happen. We do that sometimes. We lighten the burden of our own sin on our own life and the ugliness of it and the weight of it, and we weigh down the burden and the ugliness of our spouse’s sin. But what God wants is us to be real and repentant of all of our sin and to be transparent with that so that when we come before him, we’re not pretending we’re not what we are. And that way we can actually truly know him and each other, like you said.

Jennifer Smith (28:51):

So good. Okay, so we already kind of covered a little bit of why we should pray. I just want to quickly go over some reasons why we should be praying specifically for our marriages, right?

Aaron Smith (29:06):

Yeah. Because Jesus, he teaches the disciples to pray. And this is, every believer should pray, but there’s a specific responsibility and authority and power and obligation in marriage. Again, we always bring up your closest neighbor is your wife. It’s your husband and praying for them, first of all, it’s a good place to practice praying. It’s the most intimate place you’ll be to pray with your spouse and for your spouse. That’s the most intimate relationship you have on earth. It’s the most important relationship, relationship you have on earth. So coming before the Lord for your marriage. I just met with a bunch of pastors this morning and we prayed for marriages. That’s good. And I brought up in my prayer is that marriage is the foundation of all societies. It really is. It’s where children are made. It’s where children are reared and brought up and raised and that relationship, so it’s irreplaceable

Jennifer Smith (30:07):


Aaron Smith (30:07):

Society, for society, and for the church. And then Jesus himself, or God himself, says that marriage is, it’s a symbol of Christ in the church that he says that through Paul. And so, yeah, I mean praying for the most important relationship you have, praying for protection over it, praying that God reveals his will for your life, praying that he uses you. And I couldn’t imagine a more important thing to pray for.

Jennifer Smith (30:33):

And as you do that, you feel closer, like you’re connected spiritually to each other and physically by presence, you begin to see growth and maturity. It takes the focus off of ourselves and kills selfishness. I would say it’s unifying because you usually are praying the same things.

Aaron Smith (30:56):

Well, and if you’re not, it’s being made known in prayer,

Jennifer Smith (31:00):

Which then becomes a conversation and then hopefully unifies you guys. And I feel like anytime, I mean, marriages are always going in and out of different types of seasons and circumstances, so to bring those things to the Lord and ask for him to help you navigate it when you’re on the same page there, it makes a world of difference going through those things.

Aaron Smith (31:21):

It does. We’ve been there a lot, and so we know exactly what it’s like. And so we just want to emphasize again that the reason we wrote this book, the reason we’re doing this eight part series, the reason we’ve done this podcast is that you and your spouse would not just draw closer to each other, but closer to God through the relationship of your marriage, that God would use it for you to know him better. And so we’re going to end this episode reading Prayer, 71 from The Marriage Gift.

Jennifer Smith (31:54):

It’s titled, praying Together. Dear Lord, thank you for the gift of prayer. Thank you for giving us a way to make ourselves known before you. Prayer is not always easy, especially in the presence of another. Yet your word is clear that we should pray without ceasing. Please show us how to pray continually and fervently. Lord, humble our hearts to submit to you in prayer. Fill us with boldness and faith as we pray for the things we yearn to see. Help us not to get tripped up on our words or what to pray for. We long to grow closer to you and to each other by praying together as we make ourselves known to you, expressing our thoughts, feelings, praises and desires. We also long to make ourselves known to each other during prayer. We want to benefit from hearing each other’s perspectives on what we are going through. Will you please help us learn to love praying together? Holy Spirit, please help us to rejoice, always to give thanks to you and to pray in all circumstances. We pray in Jesus’ name, amen.

Aaron Smith (32:47):

Amen. We just wanted to remind you that we are doing this eight part series to celebrate the release of our new book, the Marriage Gift, which that prayer just came from, and we do. We want to invite each and every one of our listeners to please grab a copy today. All you got to do is go to the marriage and be a part of this movement, be a part of this legacy, and also start a trend, a habit, a powerful ministry in your own marriage of prayer. And so please visit the marriage and pre-order your copy today. Also, stay tuned for the next seven episodes of this series as we’re going to go through each one of the verses in the Lord’s Prayer in Matthew chapter six. See you next time.

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