In most recent years, we’ve come to understand a bit better the power of prayer. Although we will never fully understand what prayer does, we can see much evidence of its effectiveness in our lives and the lives of others. In the last five years, I began to understand much better the power and importance of intercessory prayer (i.e. praying on someone else’s behalf).
God gives to all a variety of gifts in different measure according to faith as points Romans 12:3. Though every person can be an intercessor, there are some to whom God has given this gift in an abundant measure for the benefit of his people. Whether you have the gift of intercessory prayer or not, it is important for you to know that you can pray for others. In fact, it is your responsibility to do so. However, praying for others does not begin when you’ve discovered that something is wrong with them or even after you meet someone. You can begin praying for someone you’ve never met or interacted with right now
Five years ago, God granted me this understanding, which prompted me to begin praying for my future spouse, my future children, and even future grandchildren. To some, it may seem a bit odd to do so, but know that you have the power to influence the generations to come because of your relationship with God. Looking back at the Old Testament, God was upset with the children of Israel more often than I can count. They were wicked at times, ungodly and forgot all about God and his commands. Yet, God promised that because of his servant David, he would not deal with them as he originally desired. You see, David and God had a special relationship. David was a man after God’s own heart even though this king messed up more often and in greater ways than we could ever fathom. Still, God had made promises to David and David had often brought his petitions and prayers to God concerning his descendants. As a result, we will probably see some of David’s descendants in the Kingdom that we may assume would not be there. Yet, thanks to David’s prayers, many in his lineage have been saved.
God gives us the opportunity to be intercessors and influencers, just as he did with David, where he plants us: in our home, with our families, friends, etc. As such, even while you may not know who your future spouse will be, you can begin praying for them. Praying for your future spouse is not about asking God to change them to become whom you would like to receive but it’s about praying for them: praying for their faith, their health, wisdom, knowledge, job, surroundings, character and much more. Now, let us consider a few reasons why you should be praying for them.
- One day, your future spouse will become your spouse. Therefore, God has already positioned and destined you for the role of intercessor on their behalf.
- Just as you need prayers right now in whatever season of life you find yourself, your future spouse is somewhere out there in need of prayer also. They may be facing some tough challenges, situations in their job, health crisis, financial crisis, making terrible relationship decisions, etc. or they may be quite well. Whatever the case may be, they need prayers. We can never cover someone too much in prayer.
- Practice makes perfect. When you become a spouse, you will need to pray daily for your spouse, your marriage, your home, and your children. You can begin developing this habit now and by then, you will be perfecting it more and more.
- Your heart is already in tune with your future spouse’s even though you may not understand it. Just as Adam knew that Eve was meant for him, having been made from him with one of his ribs, your future spouse will know when they meet you that you are meant to be their helper. Being connected to God will allow them to identify “the missing rib” in you. And if you are the missing rib, you will still experience this connection with them that you do not quite make sense of. God will approve of your relationship and reveal to you how you complement each other and are beneficial for one another in your individual purposes.
- You need them to be connected to God. Praying for your future spouse to be connected to God and have a personal relationship with Him is one of the greatest acts of love that exists. It is also part of your mission to help them draw closer to God, not hinder them in doing so. Consequently, this is one way you can help them draw closer to God without being physically present in their lives yet.
- Praying for others teaches you how to be less selfish and how to place their needs above your own. When you eventually marry, this simple act will help you greatly.
- It’s also about trusting God. When you pray for your future spouse, you entrust God with one of the most important persons in your life. Essentially, it’s as if you are telling God: “Lord, I trust you with my future spouse, to do what is best for him (or her) and to guide and direct him (or her)“.
- Finally, this simple gesture of love and faith teaches you to focus on the person itself rather than seat around idolizing marriage and who you want them to become. There is always a great danger of idolizing marriage for those who are single and desiring marriage. However, if you focus your prayers more on the person rather than marriage itself, you will redirect your heart to focus on God and what he can do in your mate. Furthermore, this will remind you that your future spouse is a person (not marriage itself) who is just as imperfect as you are, allowing you to build more grace that you can extend to them later.
Now, this is in no way an exhaustive list. However, in my personal experience of this, what I have also discovered is that God will use those prayers to also change your heart. If you were to intentionally and purposefully challenge yourself to begin this practice even for just ten days (thirty days is best), you would begin to see how God uses your intercessor prayers to not only bless others but to also shape you more and more into his likeness.