Tag Archives: praying about sex

Praying When You Don’t Know What to Pray

As I contemplated what to say about prayer this Saturday, as part of my ongoing series about praying for your marriage bed, I felt empty. What else could I possibly cover? But then a passage from Romans came to mind—in that pushy way that scriptures sometimes do, as if the Holy Spirit is whispering, “Listen up, this one’s for you.”

In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us through wordless groans. And he who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for God’s people in accordance with the will of God.

And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who[i] have been called according to his purpose. (Romans 8:26-28)

Question mark with blog post title

And that, I suppose, is our prayer when we don’t know what we ought to pray for. It’s that moment of saying that we feel weak when it comes to our sexual intimacy, that our own strength isn’t enough to deal with the problems in our bedroom or to simply foster what we know our marriage should have.

It’s wishing that the Spirit would search our heart and see the good motives yet the heartache or exhaustion we feel surrounding this issue. Or simply seeing the few hangups that remain, even when we have good sexual intimacy in marriage overall.

It’s needing to know that God has it covered — that He’s working for our good. It’s trusting that God can and will care for those who love Him.

Yes, I know this passage is about salvation and living out our faith, about persisting through earthly struggles that threaten our relationship with God and our belief in Christ. I agree with those who say we need to consider the clear intent of any scripture in the Bible and not mistakenly apply something where it was never meant to be applied.

However, I also believe in underlying principles in the Bible — that the character of God, the virtues extolled in Scripture, the calling we have remains constant in every area of lives. Whether you’re in a Bible class, a boardroom, or the bedroom, your faith should be there with you.

So even this passage speaks to who we are in the marriage bed — about our need admit our weakness, to trust God’s goodness, and to just go before Him, wordless and knowing that He understands where we are and will be there with us.

Maybe that’s what you need to do today. Maybe your prayer is simply admitting that you don’t know what to pray for, but you want God involved in your life and in your marriage.

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Praying Before, During, and After Sex

Some time back, a reader challenged me to cover praying about sexual intimacy right in the middle of the act itself.

I thought it was a great idea! Unfortunately, I didn’t think I was the right person to write it, because Spock and I don’t do that. In fact, while some people apparently talk quite a bit during their sexual encounters, others of us have difficulty forming coherent sentences while in the throes of passion. I feel pretty sure that any attempt to pray aloud during sex would merely result in something like Romans 8:26 describes: “Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness. For we do not know what to pray for as we ought, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words” (ESV).

However, I have at times imagined God’s presence in the room. That more meditation than praying, but it helped me to view the physical experience of making love as having a spiritual component that delights our Heavenly Father. So I appreciate the importance of acknowledging God in our moment of sexual intimacy.

With that in mind, let’s cover some ideas for praying before, during, and after sex.

Blog post title + husband and wife hands clasped on bed

Before.

Praying beforehand is often the easiest sell, because many spouses understand how prayer could help them have the right mindset going into the sexual encounter. If you’re struggling with getting in the mood, you can pray for God to awaken your desire. If you’ve experienced difficulty connecting recently, you can pray for unity in your pleasure and intimacy. If you’ve had a hard time sharing your body, you can pray to see your nakedness in the marriage bed as God and your spouse see it — that is, beautiful. You can also simply thank God for this opportunity to express and nurture intimacy.

It could be worthwhile to pray specific scriptures, adapting them to what you’re about to do. Here are a couple of brief examples:

Husband: Lord, how beautiful is my wife, my darling!
    Oh, how beautiful!
    Thank you for the beauty she displays inside and out.

WifeHow handsome is my husband, my beloved!
    Oh, how charming!
    Lord, may our bed be verdant.

Together: Lord, we ask you to rejoice and delight in us as we engage in sexual intimacy. 

Song of Songs 1:15-16, 1:4

We know that at the beginning of creation You made us male and female. For this reason a man leaves his father and mother and unites with his wife — as we did — and the two become one flesh. Indeed, we are no longer two, but one flesh. Bless our physical union tonight so that we both express and foster that deep intimacy You gave to marriage alone. Your Son said, “What God has joined together, let no one separate.” Join us together physically, emotionally, and spiritually in Your sight and take pleasure in our sexual intimacy.

Mark 10:6-9

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During.

It might be easier to pray during early foreplay than when things get more hot-and-heavy. One lovely idea I’ve heard is praying over one another’s bodies; that is, as you view and touch one another, stop at various places to thank God for how He crafted that body part. Such an exercise might mimic the passages in Song of Songs chapter 4 or chapter 5 in which the husband and then the wife praise one another’s bodies, but instead directing those thoughts to the Creator Himself.

Another reader wrote me and shared that after he enters his wife, they pause and give glory to God before continuing. Such a prayer would certainly focus your mind on embracing this act in marriage as one of God’s good and perfect gifts (James 1:17). You can pause at penetration or any other time during lovemaking to thank God for His provision of physical intimacy in marriage.

Finally, let me just note that screaming, “Oh my God!” in the middle of an orgasm doesn’t technically count as praying. Though I suppose one could tag on a thank you or some such statement to make it qualify. 😉

After.

Lying in one another’s arms, enjoying the afterglow of sexual intimacy, you could pray for the encounter you just had. Thank your Heavenly Father for the pleasure you experienced, the vulnerability you showed one another, the connection you felt, and the overall blessing of one another.

Consider Ephesians 5:31-32 and how this illuminates what you can pray about:  ” For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh.’ This is a profound mystery—but I am talking about Christ and the church.”

The sexual intimacy you have mirrors the relationship of God to His people, which He often compares to a husband and wife. This comparison appears not only in Ephesians, but in other places like Isaiah 54:5, Hosea 2:19, and 2 Corinthians 11:2. Keeping that in mind, it’s good not only to give God gratitude for the lovemaking act but for this glimpse at the intimacy God desires to have with us.

So what do y’all think? Have you ever prayed before, during, or after sex? If so, how have you approached God in prayer and how has that experience impacted you and your marriage bed?

same image as above, sized for Pinterest

A Prayer for Those in Sexless Marriages

Thank goodness for the Houston Astros being in the World Series! Or this whole month might have just been me brooding about the sad state of our world. (Sorry, Yankees fans, but again…you’ve been FORTY times in the World Series, and this is our SECOND. You can take it.)

In the world of sex, however, I’ve been struck the last several weeks by the many #MeToo stories and how those have negatively impacted how wives view their bodies, men in general, and sexual intimacy. Indeed, this is the topic of an upcoming podcast episode of Sex Chat for Christian Wives which we recorded last night.

And here on my blog, we’ve been talking about sexless marriages and what to do, along my personal struggle to provide answers that actually help a tough situation.

So many spouses are in a state of deep anxiety, and this verse really hit me today:

Anxiety weighs down the human heart,
    but a good word cheers it up (Proverbs 12:25).

I really want to give y’all a “good word.” Today, I thought the best thing I could do is offer a prayer for sexless marriages. I hope you’ll pray with me.

blog post title + woman praying outside with sunrise in back of her

Lord, Father,

We know that You desire spouses to be one flesh that no one should separate, even a spouse within the marriage (Matthew 19:4-6). But some spouses have stepped away from sexual intimacy, leaving their mate feeling sad, frustrated, and lonely.

Your Word that You are close to the brokenhearted and save those crushed in spirit (Psalm 34:18). So many in sexless marriages are brokenhearted and crushed in spirit; Lord, be near to them now. Make Your presence known in the midst of their hardship.

Although understanding is elusive, we affirm that You are present and will walk with us in the worst of circumstances (Isaiah 43:1-2). Indeed, Your Son and our Lord Jesus Christ experienced the deepest of sorrows, abandoned by others and suffering on a cross, and You brought Him through. When it seemed hopeless, You resurrected our Savior. We pray for that same power of resurrection to bring a reawakening of sexual intimacy in marriages where it’s been lacking (Ephesians 1:19-20).

Surround these couples with believers who can speak into their situation, who can provide wisdom for pursuing reconciliation. Give Your Church the yearning and the resources to speak not with timidity but with power and love in favor of Your design for sex in marriage — for regular, mutually satisfying physical intimacy (2 Timothy 1:7). Help those of us who can minister to sexless marriages to mourn with those who mourn (Romans 12:15) and offer godly wisdom (Colossians 3:16).

We pray for those called to minister and teach on marriage and sexuality, for we are imperfect and stumble in our words (James 3:1-2). Help Your message come through, despite the flaws of Your messengers. Humble us to understand that we don’t have the answers so much as You are the answer. May all our “solutions” ultimately point to You.

Open the eyes and the ears, the heart and the mind of the refusing spouse (Isaiah 32:3), so they truly see the emotional pain of their spouse and be convicted of the significance of sexual intimacy in their marriage. Guide them to see that sex isn’t just for their spouse, but for their own heart and soul. Help them to see the beauty of being fully known and valued in the marriage bed (Song of Songs 2:3-5). 

Give the refused spouse compassion for their spouse and what they’ve been missing out on as well. Give them the right words to express their emotional pain and to break through the emotional barriers. Help them to be peacemakers as they pursue sexual intimacy for their marriage (Matthew 5:9). Refresh them in their weariness (Jeremiah 31:25).

Lord, above all give us love for one another. Help us in our marriages and in our churches to bear one another’s burdens (Galatians 6:2). And give us Your ultimate rest in Christ Jesus (Matthew 11:28-29). Let Your love show through us (1 John 4:11-12).

In the name of Your Son and through the Holy Spirit, we pray.

Amen.

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Praying for Perspective in Your Marriage Bed

Blog post title + redhead woman bowing and praying

This past week, Chris Taylor of The Forgiven Wife posted this question on our Sex Chat for Christian Wives Facebook page:

Image with "What advice would you give a new wife about having a good marriage?"

My answer? “Don’t assume thoughts, feelings, and motives; ask, and listen.”

My marriage experienced some truly terrible years, and one of the reasons we came out of that fog into the sunlight is because I changed my perspective. I realized I was making assumptions about my husband that weren’t true. Things like:

  • If I said/did that, it would mean X. But it didn’t mean that for my husband, because he’s a different person.
  • If he loved me, he would X. Except that his love language is not mine, so he didn’t always express love the way I expected him to.
  • If he does something I don’t like, it’s personal. Except that his irritating habits would exist no matter who he married, so it’s not personal.
  • If he says or does something hurtful, it shows he doesn’t care. Yet a lot of times, it was about the bad day he’d had, the stress he was experiencing, or not feeling physically good.
  • If he doesn’t do the things I long for when we make love, he’s selfish. But when that happened, it was about him not knowing what would feel good for me and what I needed.

When I dropped those assumptions — when I changed my perspective of my husband and our interactions — several problems went away and I knew better how to tackle the ones that remained.

However, the light bulb didn’t just go on one day and stay lit. Rather, I prayed quite a bit for God to alter my thinking. I needed His help to clearly see who my husband really was and how our relationship needed to change.

That’s why I think it’s important to pray for perspective regarding your marriage and your marriage bed.

Too often, readers ask questions or make comments about the sex in the marriage that shows they’re making assumptions about how their spouse thinks and feels. Maybe you’re right, but maybe you’re wrong. Do you know for sure that your perspective is accurate?

I guarantee God knows what the truth is. You can ask Him.

And the reason I start with God, rather than your spouse, is because some of the issues just dissipated once I saw them more clearly. That is, things I thought were problems with my husband were really problems with how I saw him, and once my vision cleared, I didn’t need to address that issue with him because it was resolved.

But with the problems that remain, it’s still worth praying for perspective so that your conversations with your spouse will go well. Ask God to help you see your husband accurately and to respond with a longing to understand him better.

Let’s try this out with a common scenario: You believe that your husband (or wife) says no to sex because they don’t love you like you love them. But as you pray for God’s perspective, you realize that sex is the primary way you express love, but it isn’t the primary way they express love. So you now recognize the problem isn’t a matter of their love for you. Of course, the problem still remains that you’re getting rejected in the marriage bed. But now that you have a clearer diagnosis, you can tackle the underlying issue.

So then you pray for an accurate perspective as you go to your spouse to talk about your feelings on this topic. You find yourself more willing to ask questions and listen to the reasons why your beloved isn’t up for sex. Maybe they don’t even give you clear reasons, but you make a positive impression on the subject (a first step) by simply being there and listening. Instead of arguing to get your point across, you find yourself listening with a calm that could only be provided by God and a willingness to sort through the information to discover the real problem.

Does the epiphany come right then? Are the problems solved by next Tuesday?

Nope. Not in my experience. But do you know how you climb a mountain? You don’t stand at the bottom grousing about how steep the incline is. You take the first step, then the next, and the next.

But if your perspective is all wrong, your path will be off, and you’ll end up on another mountain, screaming over at your spouse standing on the one you should be on.

Pray for perspective. Start today. Take the first step. Let God work in your marriage.

“[Love] does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth” (1 Corinthians 13:6).

Do You Know What You Need to Pray For?

Blog post title, with woman praying (just showing torso & folded hands)I sometimes ask people who know me well to tell me what faults they see in me. They’re always reluctant to speak bluntly about what my flaws are, but I reassure them that I’m pretty sure I know anything and everything they could come up with — that I won’t be surprised. Because I’ve done a lot of self-examination, and I can name most of my sins and struggles in a heartbeat.

Most still pass on telling me what faults they see in me. But the few who do name something hit on a weak area I already knew about. In fact, it’s usually an area I’ve been praying about. For a long, long time.

But now and then, someone mentions an area I hadn’t really thought much about. In recent years, my family has been talking to me about my “tone.” A tone which would mean nearly zero in my family of origin, because we are almost all emotionally expressive, but in Spock World (husband and two half-Vulcan sons), my tone apparently comes across as abrasive at times. While I still don’t entirely get it, at least now I know something else I should be working on and praying about.

What about in your marriage? Or specifically regarding sexual intimacy? Do you know what you should be praying about? What traits you need help from God to improve? Where your sins and struggles are?

After reading hundreds of comments and emails from people about the specifics of their marriage bed, I can honestly say that some of us know exactly what you should be praying about … but a fair number of you don’t. You don’t see where and how you have contributed to issues in your marriage bed, or maybe just where you need God to pour into you with patience, perspective, and perseverance.

How can you know what to pray for?

Ask yourself.

Think about where you feel the struggle. In which moments do you feel frustrated or challenged regarding sexual intimacy? Or what areas are places of potential growth? What changes do you see coming your way in terms of marriage dynamics, external pressures, scheduling challenges, etc.?

Some find that just mulling over such questions uncovers issues they need to pray about. Others find that journaling over the course of a few weeks and then looking back at what they’ve written reveals patterns that should be prayed about.

Ask others.

Start by asking friends. No, really. You don’t have to ask where you need to pray about sexual intimacy, but you can ask what flaws they see in you. If they are willing to answer, you might discover a problem you were unaware of. And if it’s an issue in general life, I suspect you’re carrying it over into your marriage and even your marriage bed.

Then ask your spouse. Now this is tough, because if you ask you have to shut up and listen. This isn’t the time for defensiveness, nor pointing the finger back at your mate. You may not understand what they point out as a problem (like my “tone”), but you’re honoring your marriage partner by accepting this area is a concern for them. So even if they’ve misdiagnosed the reason, they’ve hit on an issue that you need to address. Then you can take that issue before God.

Ask God.

Pray for the Lord to reveal to you where your weaknesses are. If anyone knows where you need spiritual work, it’s God. He knows your sins and struggles, but ask Him to reveal those more clearly to you.

Once again, you then have to listen. Pay attention to the nudges you might feel during the day, the scriptures that pop out to you in Bible study, the counselors God might send your way to advise you of your weaknesses. Once you ask God for help, let Him answer in the way He chooses.

But remember that even if you don’t know exactly what to pray for, God is still listening.

In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us through wordless groans. And he who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for God’s people in accordance with the will of God (Romans 8:26-27).