As you might have heard, I’ve been a bit busy lately, what with old Hurricane Harvey coming to visit my neck-of-the-woods. So when I contemplated what to write about sex and prayer this week, I decided to first go see what I could find online.
Immediately I came upon a post from Black and Married with Kids, which is a good site to follow. I decided to let their words be the ones you read this week, since they walk you through five wonderful prayers you can say for your marriage bed. Here’s a tease, and I encourage you to click the link at the end to read the rest of the article.
5 Prayers for Better Sex and Intimacy in Your Marriage
We pray for many things in our marriage. So why not better sex and intimacy? If the Bible dedicates an entire book to this subject, it must be important and require our attention. It may seem weird at first to pray over sex and intimacy, but God is concerned about every aspect of your marriage.
This past week, protests in Charlottesville, Virginia quickly became violent, and a young woman was run over and killed. In Barcelona, Spain, fourteen died when an Islamist militant plowed his vehicle into a crowd; a hundred more were injured.
In some regions in the world, starvation is still a real possibility. And disease, civil war, and economic hardship are daily challenges. Christians are persecuted in some nations, all the way to their life being taken. Sex trafficking is happening across the world, and each day children are abused emotionally, physically, and sexually.
My heart breaks just writing about these things. So, in the midst of all of the evil and pain in the world, how can we go to God and ask Him for help with our sex life? Aren’t there way bigger issues worth His time and our focus?
When I recently asked on Facebook what my readers wanted me to cover about sex and prayer, this is what one commenter said:
I’ve wrestled with this one a bit, but am slowly getting better at understanding that if something is important to me, and is righteous, than it’s important to God. But there is still a nagging feeling in the background when I ask for help regarding our marital intimacy that says, “this isn’t that big a deal, there are people starving in this world, I know this sounds selfish of me…but”.
I know he’s not alone. And it’s a good question: With people starving in the world, isn’t praying about your sex life kind of selfish?
We exist in time. We check clocks, keep calendars, make appointments at specific times. All of our to-dos are therefore done in a linear fashion: I take out the trash, then I do the laundry, then I write my post, then I have lunch. I can’t do all of those things at once.
We tend to place God in time too, even though He’s not. In fact, of all the ways to explain this, I think a scene in the movie Bruce Almighty did a really good job. Here’s what might happen if we had to deal with prayers.
But that’s not God. He’s infinitely able to hear and address everyone’s prayers at once, from the plea for justice for a sexually abused child, to the prayer for patience of caregivers whose burden is heavy, to your request to find greater unity in the marriage bed.
Your prayer for your sex life isn’t taking any time or effort away from God dealing with the “big issues.” He’s got it all covered. Because He’s, well, GOD.
C.S. Lewis wrote a fabulous, and more thorough, essay addressing the issue of God’s ability to answer many prayers at once: “Time And Beyond Time” from Mere Christianity. Check it out.
God cares about everything about you.
Have you ever listened in on a conversation of moms talking about their infants or preschoolers? They can describe everything from their child’s major personality characteristics down to exactly what they found in the last diaper. If their child gets a splinter in his precious little finger, they stop everything and tend to relieving that little bit of pain. I consider this a helpful mental picture when I think about God, my Heavenly Parent. He’s totally into everything His kids have got going. And He’s far better at it than we are, so He really can attend to all the poop going on in our lives.
Just listen to these descriptions of how God cares for us:
“You have searched me, Lord, and you know me. You know when I sit and when I rise; you perceive my thoughts from afar. You discern my going out and my lying down;you are familiar with all my ways” (Psalm 139:1-3).
“You keep track of all my sorrows. You have collected all my tears in your bottle. You have recorded each one in your book” (Psalm 56:8, NLT)
“Are not five sparrows sold for two pennies? Yet not one of them is forgotten by God.Indeed, the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Don’t be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows” (Luke 12:6).
If God is familiar with all of our ways, keeps track of all our sorrows and collects our tears, and has numbered the hairs on our head, I think He cares about our sexual intimacy. Especially since He talks about sex quite a bit in His Word.
Rest assured, He wants to be there. He’s the parent who wants to know every detail and to be the one you come to when you have a splinter in your heart or when things are going well.
God cares about our sex lives.
In this section, I almost want to say, “Go read everything else I’ve ever written about God and sex.” Because it’s basically my entire mission to convince people that God has something to say about our sex lives and that it’s really, really good stuff.
So many of us have the view that God is present in all these areas of our lives, except the marriage bed; that’s really a private place between husband and wife, no one else invited — including the Big Guy. But that’s neither biblical nor wise. As you saw in the scripture above, God discerns our going out and our lying down, including when we lie down with our spouse. He’s omniscient, meaning He knows what’s going on in your bedroom!
And I simply cannot tell you enough about the positive impact I experience when I realized that God had something to say about every single area of my life — including the bedroom. Aligning my desires with His in my sex life, a goal I still work on, has made all the difference in how I view sexuality and how we experience sexual intimacy in our marriage. If He cares that much, then of course we can talk to Him about it; any part of our sex life is fair game for discussion with God.
In the worst years of my marriage, I cried myself to sleep. Not once or twice, but too many times. Sometimes the conflict was so bad that we’d be in the same bed, turned in different directions, not touching in any way, and both feeling lonely, even though our mate was inches away.
Some of you know what I’m talking about.
My prayer life then was fairly active, because I desperately wanted something from God: I wanted Him to fix my marriage. But in the back of my mind, I had this question: Does God really care about my heartbreak?
Because if He cared, why wasn’t He repairing all of our broken places? Like, yesterday?
But when I read stories in the Bible of devoted believers, they often spend time “in the pit” where things are tough and faith is tested. I’m not sure we Christians really understand how to live through hardship and wait on God’s deliverance.
Now that I’m on the other side, I can tell you three things for certain:
1. God cares about you and your marriage. He is attuned to your heartache, but He also has a point of view that you and I don’t have. He can see not only today, but tomorrow and the future. God’s willing to let us stew longer than we’re comfortable with, because He has an eternal perspective.
The Lord will allow us to endure emotional pain if it motivates spiritual growth.
“Evening, morning and noon I cry out in distress, and he hears my voice” (Psalm 55:17).
“Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you” (1 Peter 5:7).
“The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit” ( Psalm 34:18).
2. God is answering, but maybe not how and when you want.
I wanted God to fix my marriage, which — to me — mainly meant fixing my husband. Perhaps you can see how this approach would go awry. But it took me years to understand that God was patiently answering my prayer, by pushing me harder and harder to look in the mirror. It was when I realized how unloving I’d been to my husband that I began to put godly principles into practice in my marriage. And that changed everything: my attitude, my behavior, and my husband’s response.
What if God is trying to speak to you, trying to nudge you in the right direction, but you aren’t truly listening? What if you don’t hear His answer because it’s not how and when you expected? What if the answer means you have to change?
“For you, God, tested us; you refined us like silver” (Psalm 66:10).
“The Lord is not slow to fulfill his promise as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance” (2 Peter 3:9).
“This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us” (1 John 5:4).
3. You’ll eventually be glad you remained faithful.
Of course, the problem with that statement is the word eventually. Are we talking next year, when our marriage begins an uphill climb to intimacy in the marriage bed and beyond? Or are we talking on our death-bed, feeling good about being faithful to the end but never really enjoying what God meant us to have? I really want to say that it will be next year or, better yet, next week. Especially since I fervently believe that living according to God’s plan produces positive results not just in the afterlife, but immediately in our lives right here.
But I’d be lying if I guaranteed something. I don’t know when it will happen, and you can only control your part of the equation. But I believe God’s promises that we will be rewarded for faithfulness.
“Blessed is the one who perseveres under trial because, having stood the test, that person will receive the crown of life that the Lord has promised to those who love him” (James 1:12).
“Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters, since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving” (Colossians 3:23-24).
“Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up” (Galatians 6:9).
He’s listening, He cares, He’s answering, and He’s preparing a reward for righteousness.
In the midst of tearful days, that may be hard to believe. But continue to pray for your sexual intimacy, and then listen for His voice. Take baby steps in the right direction, putting into practice what you have learned through prayer and study.
I’m out this week at church camp, where I volunteer one week every summer and teach a writing class as well as Bible content to kids. With my time limited and the internet spotty at my location, I’m re-running a few favorite posts this week. Enjoy!
Yeah, I totally get it. It feels so awkward the first time you pray about your sex life. Perhaps you prayed before marriage about avoiding sexual sin and maintaining purity.
But you’re legit now. God created sex for you — a wife in a committed, godly marriage. So once you’re married, it’s time to shift your prayers to inviting God to bless your sexual intimacy.
So how do you pray for sexual intimacy? Consider addressing the following areas:
Healthy body image. You should feel good about the body that God gave you and the delight that it can bring your husband. If you feel shame about your appearance or unveiling yourself before your mate, ask God to help. Pray something like: “Lord, help me to see myself as You see me. Help me to also see the beauty that my husband sees in me. Guide me to be confident and open in sharing my body with the mate You’ve given me.”
Healing from the past. Many wives bring sexual baggage into the marriage. Perhaps at one time you were molested or promiscuous or taught that sex was a bad thing. Whatever your past hurts, bring them to your Lord and ask for healing: “Father, release me from the faulty ways I’ve viewed sex in the past. Give me strength and peace to trust Your plan for healthy sexuality in my marriage. Help me to replace that painful perspective from my past with Your truth.”
Pleasure. A common struggle for wives is learning to truly enjoy and surrender to the experience and sensations of sex. God made you to be a sexual being in the context of marriage. He doesn’t want you to merely endure sex with your husband, but to discover your mate in an intimate way, to enjoy the physical sensations, to fully embrace the experience. Pray something like: “Lord, help me to surrender whatever mental and emotional obstacles are in the way of my experiencing sexual pleasure. Help me to relax and rest in the security of Your plan and in my husband’s arms. Awaken my senses so that I can delight in the ways that my husband touches me and the way this body you gave me responds. Help me also to give my husband pleasure.”
Communication with husband. If you have problems in this area of your marriage, you may need to communicate with your husband — explain how you feel, what you desire, and discuss how to achieve your mutual goals and God’s design for marital intimacy. But for some wives, talking to your husband about sex can feel even more awkward than talking to God. What will he think? How will he react? Take that concern to God in prayer: “Holy Father, give me the courage and the words of wisdom to approach my husband and discuss our marital intimacy. Give him an open ear and an open heart. Help us to pursue being of one accord in our sex life together.”
Easy peasy, right? Well, maybe not at first. But give it a shot. God is ready and willing to hear whatever you want to talk to him about … including sex.
Those of you who read my blog often know that I have a tender spot for higher-drive wives. They aren’t the majority of wives, but rather represent 15-30% of marriages. However, that’s still millions of women! And unfortunately, a lot of marriage resources presume a higher-drive husband and a lower-drive wife, leaving couples that don’t align with this expectation feeling like abnormalities or even freaks.
Today, as part of my Saturday prayer series, I want to offer a prayer for higher-drive wives to bring their concerns before God. Lower-drive wives, I promise to write a prayer for you as well soon.
It’s hard to have a higher libido than my husband. At times, I feel like I’m not good enough or that something is wrong with me.
When I undress, he doesn’t pause and gaze the way I wish he would. When I initiate, he sometimes postpones or even dismisses my advances. While I long to be sexually intimate with him more frequently, he doesn’t feel this burning desire to be with me. And while it leaves me physically feeling empty at times, more often my heart is wounded. I ache to have all the things You, Perfect Creator, designed sex in marriage to be — experiencing pleasure, deepening intimacy, and expressing covenant love.
Lord, lift me up into Your arms and comfort me. Give me Your eyes to see myself and my marriage as You see them. Help me to feel deep down that I am beautiful, worthy, desirable.
You, Lord, knit me together in my mother’s womb and created my inmost being, which includes a healthy sex drive. I will not denounce or discourage my higher libido, because You placed that in me and Your works are wonderful, including our sexuality (Psalm 139:13-14).
Likewise, help me to accept where my husband is with his sexuality. He is also Your creation. If there are obstacles keeping him from desiring and enjoying sex, please help me to support him in discovering and addressing those issues. Give me wise words and loving actions that unite us in facing our challenges together.
Take away the negative feelings I sometimes have toward him and replace them with Your view of this man, your son. Remind me of all the good in him and the love we share. Strengthen me to be his helper and partner, as you intended me to be (Genesis 2:18).
Soften my husband’s heart so that he can see my desire to support him, to grow closer, and to thrive in our marriage. Help him to overcome his own insecurities about having a lower drive and to pursue a better sex life for both of us and our marriage.
Help me to always communicate that my husband is all man to me — the man I love — and that his sex drive is only one part of him. But let him also see that sexual intimacy is a blessing You want us to have in our marriage, regularly and enthusiastically.
Awaken our physical love for one another and show us both how to drink not only to end our thirst, but to be intoxicated with love (Song of Songs 8:4, 5:1).
Lord, sometimes I don’t initiate well and my frustration can come through in my tone or my facial expressions. Calm my heart, give me Your joy and peace, and grant me the right words to invite him to our marriage bed (see Song of Songs 7:11-13). And in those moments, Father, I ask that you awaken his physical desire for sexual intimacy.
When sex doesn’t happen, keep me from storing up resentment in my heart. For I know that godly love keeps no record of wrongs (1 Corinthians 13:4-5). Instead, help me to trust, hope, and persevere in pursuing the best for my marriage (1 Corinthians 13:7).
Keep me from making comparisons and thus coveting what others have (Exodus 20:7). It’s hard when wives around me talk about their husbands desiring sex more often than they do, when my own husband doesn’t seem to have this strong desire. But You, my God, know the state of my marriage, the secrets of our hearts, the hope of our future. Calm my anxious thoughts and help me to respond in ways that aid marriages, including my own.
Surround me with the support I need — the right resources, the encouragement of others, the wisdom of mentors. Speak through them to me, so that I know what steps to take and remain on the right path.
Lord, above all, bring to mind how Your own son Jesus knew rejection, even from those closest to Him. Yet He always pursued Your truth and your glory, and never His own selfish aims or insecurities. My husband is not rejecting me as the Messiah was rejected, but his actions have brought me emotional pain. Let my response be Christ-like. Mold me into His image.
When I waver in my resolve, in my positive outlook, wrap your arms around me tighter, dear Father.