The strength and transparency of Stormie Omartian’s message has driven her books to the top of bestselling lists and earned many prestigious awards. We talk with Stormie about her book, The Power of a Praying Husband.
Stormie, one question we wanted to ask you was about the origin of your name, “Stormie”. Can you give us a little background on that?
Actually, I was born in a storm. My parents barely made it to the hospital. I could’ve been born in the car. It was a really bad storm and so my dad called me “Stormie” right from the beginning. They had other names that they were thinking of naming me but that was the one that stuck. So, it’s really my dad’s fault and I forgave him for that.
In your book, The Power of a Praying Husband, you suggest that a husband should pray for his wife to take time for herself. You say that this will not make her self-centered but rather God-centered. Can you explain a little bit what you mean?
When I did a survey on women before I did the book, “The Power of a Praying Husband”, I asked them how they wanted to be prayed for by their husbands. It was really amazing Need Help? that in every single city I went in to, every state, the answer was exactly the same. The number one thing that women wanted their husbands to pray for them was that they would have a close walk with the Lord — that they would grow spiritually. They really wanted that more than anything else. I know that when a husband prays for his wife to have time for herself, she’s going to seek the Lord. She’s going to have time to spend in the Word and time to spend in prayer. She’ll have time to rest and do things that interest her and develop her interests. That grows her as a person. When you pray that way, you’re going to have a better wife. She’s going to be happier, she’s going to feel more fulfilled, she’s going to love you more and she’s going to be more enthusiastic. She’s going to have more strength, more rest.
If all of us husbands would have known that earlier in our marriages, we could have started praying a lot sooner and probably would be way ahead.
Yes. I feel that way too. I wish I’d known how to pray for my husband a lot sooner. But I had no idea.
How can we husbands know how to be praying for our wives in different situations? Is there a right way or a wrong way to pray for her?
Well, the best thing to do is to ask her. That means so much. When you ask your wife “How do you want me to pray for you?” She won’t expect you to have all the answers and to know everything. Wives aren’t expecting that. They just want to know that you care. Asking a question like that is one of the most caring things you could say next to “I love you”. I know when I ask my own husband “How can I pray for you?” he will sit down and tell me the most elaborate things that he wants me to pray about that I would never have known if I hadn’t asked. Every woman has different needs. Sometimes they are dealing with negative emotions. Sometimes they are dealing with the past — things that are out of control in their life. Women struggle with a lot of different issues because their lives are divided in a lot of different ways. One of the ways for a husband to pray for his wife is that she’d be able to put her life in the right order, in terms of priorities.
Whom should husbands pray for first, our wives or ourselves as husbands?
Oh, you should definitely pray for yourself first. Absolutely. I advise wives the exact same way, because you’ve got to be praying from a right heart. Your prayers won’t be answered in the way you want them answered if you’re not praying from a right heart. If there’s anything in your heart, anything in your attitude at all, that is not of the Lord, it will hinder your prayers. Say “God, create in me a right heart. Show me where my attitude is not right. Show me if I have any unforgiveness. Show me if I have anger”. It takes two to make one. You’ve got to start out with yourself. I think that’s the most important thing and it isn’t easy. A lot of wives say, “I don’t want to pray that ?change me, Lord’ prayer when my husband’s the one that needs changing.” But God really showed me that it’s not a matter of who needs changing because we all need changing and God wants to change all of us. It’s a matter of who’s willing to change. And if you’re willing to change, God will use you in a powerful way.
Stormie, is it more effective to pray together for each other as it is to pray quietly, by ourselves?
I know it’s very hard for a lot of men to pray in front of their wives. And I find it from surprising people; people who you would not think would say that. People who are in the media or who are leaders. They tell me it’s because they feel they have to live up to some kind of expectation or standard — like they are competing with the prayers of the pastor. They see how eloquent the pastor is when he prays and they feel like they’re spiritual midgets if they can’t pray that way. I want to encourage them that their wives are not expecting that at all. They’re not. We wives are so grateful for any prayer that you pray. The simplest prayer is so powerful because the husband has been given spiritual authority in his family that is unequal. And when he says the simplest prayer, believe me, angels drop what they are doing and run to do his bidding. God has given the authority to the man of the house. And it’s a powerful thing. So don’t worry about having to sound like the most eloquent preacher when you pray.
How can a praying husband contribute either positively or negatively to his wife’s self-image of beauty in their marriage?
I am so glad you asked that because I don’t care who your wife is or what she thinks of herself, she does not think as highly of herself as should be. Most women have an “inferiority complex”. I hate saying that because it sounds so “clinical”. But women have to understand the beauty that God has put in them; the beauty of His Spirit in them and the purposes He has for them. That’s part of their attractiveness too, to be able to understand that. I think a man can contribute to his wife’s view of herself by encouragement. Encouragement, encouragement, encouragement. Saying things like, “You did that well. I so appreciate the things that you do” and telling her she’s beautiful. Every woman has beauty. I don’t care what her age or what her condition. And she needs to hear that. That goes for your daughters, as well, men. You have no idea how much your daughters need to hear you tell them that they are beautiful. Because if they don’t hear it from you, they are going to be looking for it in every man they meet. You don’t want that. They need to hear it from their dads. My husband has told me that so many times and I can’t tell you what a difference that makes in my life. He’s told me that when I’ve looked the absolute worst. When I’ve been in the hospital, sick as a dog, he has told me that I look beautiful. And I know that God has given him grace and anointed his eyesight. But it means so much to me and I know it means that much to every single woman.
Stormie, how would you suggest that a husband pray for his wife during a time of conflict?
I think you should just say, “Let me pray for you”. And you really just need to pray the simplest prayer, saying, “God, may your spirit of peace reign in this situation”. Then ask the Holy Spirit to help you understand it too because sometimes men don’t understand the conflicts that go on inside of a woman, because our lives are very complex. A husband can ask God to help him to see what he’s not seeing and show him how to pray about it. And ask your wife, too, “How can I pray about this for you?” And she’ll tell you. She’ll tell you as much as she can understand. Just a few words like that can bring peace to your marriage and your household immediately.
Speaking from a wife’s perspective, is it more meaningful to know that your husband is praying for you about what he thinks is appropriate or based on the specific requests that you’ve shared with him?
Well, that depends on how astute and led by the Spirit he is. If he really is a person who is in tune with the Lord, and in the word and prayer a lot and really hears from the Holy Spirit, I think it would be so valuable for the husband to pray from his own insight. A woman might want to trust that more than she would even trust her own judgment with certain things. But if there’s any question, not meaning to put the husband down in any way at all, sometimes it helps if she’ll just explain it from her perspective and he can just pray for her the way she wants him to. Then as he’s praying, the Holy Spirit will sometimes reveal things to him about that situation. I think it’s always good to just pray for her the way she wants him to, unless, for example, the wife is asking for a prayer that the husband doesn’t agree with. Maybe he’s not agreeing with the focus of where she’s going with this. In that case, he can say, “My spirit is checked about this. I feel I should be praying another way. Let me just pray that way and see what the Holy Spirit reveals.”
It sounds like discernment is a big part of a praying husband’s spirit here.
Yeah, it is. And God has said that He wants to give you that, when you ask for it.
How can a Christian Husband effectively pray for his non-Christian wife?
I think that’s one of the greatest things a husband can do for his non-believing wife — to pray for her in every way, just as if she was a believer. First he should pray for her salvation — absolutely — praying for her eyes to really be open. But the thing that’s going to speak to her the most is knowing that he is praying for her. I think you should just ask your wife, “How can I pray for you?” and tell her, “I’m going to be praying for you along these lines” and “This is what I’m feeling for you.” When she starts seeing answers to prayer — especially as a non-believer — she’s going to be attracted to that like a magnet.
Definitely. And I really appreciate the part of your answer when you said, “Pray as if she was”.
Pray as if she was. Pray for her work, pray for her relationships, her desires, her protection, her trust, her sense of purpose, her fears. And tell her just as often as you can that you’re praying for her and that you love her. Assure her that you love her the way she is. If she never changed anything or did anything different, you love her the way she is. The Holy Spirit will start working on her heart and it will soften. You just can’t resist love.
How can wives encourage their husbands to pray for them if they’re not in the habit of doing that?
Wives ask me that a lot. And I tell them, “Haven’t I taught you anything? (laughter) You’ve got to pray for him.” They say, “How can I get my husband to read this book? How can I get him to pray for me?” And I say, “You’ve got to pray for him first. Pray for him to want to read this book. Pray for him to want to pray for you. Pray for him to not feel intimidated or feel like he’s unworthy”. Pray for your husband not to feel that way. I tell wives, “Encourage your husband as to how important his prayers are in your life”. My husband didn’t use to be a man of many words when it came to prayer. It was very simple, he’d say, “Heal him, Lord” or “Help her today, Lord”. It used to be funny to me that he was a man of few words in that regard, but God would answer those prayers! And those prayers were important. He’s the spiritual authority and God answers the simplest prayers. Whatever the prayer is, even something simple like a two-line prayer, is powerful. You’ll find that it will grow to three lines and four sentences and then maybe a whole paragraph. It just evolves. I think as a wife, we’re to encourage our husbands that the simplest prayer is so important and that his prayers have such importance in our lives. If you will do that, I think you’ll see that they’ll be less intimidated and less afraid to try.
Stormie, thank you so much for your time and insight. Is there anything else you’d like to share with our viewers?
I don’t know if this is directly on the topic we’ve been discussing, but the sexuality issue is such a big issue in marriage. I get so much mail and emails about this topic. A husband understanding how a woman feels is really important and if a man can pray for his wife to feel good about herself and at peace with him, it will greatly affect their physical relationship. As they’re praying about that, they can be praying that God will bless them with good communication and closeness and that it would be a fulfilling and freeing and enjoyable thing. They can pray that they have desire for only one another and not anyone else. It’s really important not to neglect that area. Sometimes people are almost embarrassed to pray about that, but it’s just you and God. As much as you can pray about it together, it would really be great. I think being able to share that and have that covering from the Lord over that area is so important.
I see too many marriages falling apart because of that. A lot of times women don’t understand the need that the husband has. I know I didn’t understand it myself until a loved one explained it to me. Women don’t understand it, because it may not be the same priority with them. And I tell men that sexuality is a really complex issue for a woman. It’s wrapped up in how she feels about herself and how she feels about her husband. If he prays about those two things, it will really make a difference in that area of their life. And it’s such an important area.
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