Should I Pray for a Husband?

Carolyn McCulley

Carolyn McCulley | 10.25.11
Twitter: @CarolynMcculley


Over several years of ministering to single women, I’ve heard one question asked repeatedly: “Should I pray for a husband?”

On the surface, it can seem an odd question, but I am sympathetic to the reasons why it is asked. Lurking behind that one question are many others: “What if God doesn’t answer this prayer?” “Is this something I should even be focused on?” “Is it selfish of me to want a husband?” “Is God still good if I pray and I remain single?” and so forth.

My short answer is: Yes, you should pray! And don’t just pray for yourself. Pray for your other single friends (men and women). Pray for the marriages among your friends and family.

Then open your eyes to the many, many prayers He is answering. Every day, God is bringing people together. So instead of sighing with self-pity when you get that next wedding invitation, rejoice for the evidence of answered prayer!

To be honest, I have not always rejoiced at the weddings of others. At least not initially. But the more I’ve encountered the faithfulness of God, the easier it has become. Taking note of answered prayers is the best antidote I know for overcoming the forlorn assumption that your own prayers go unanswered. Soon you will see an abundance of prayers are answered every day, which balances out the long wait for other prayer requests.

In fact, these days I typically find it very easy to “rejoice with those who rejoice.” Over the years I’ve been in many formal and informal prayer groups where women have petitioned the Lord for husbands, asked God to bring more single men to their churches, and interceded for the single men who are already there. The majority of each group is now married. I can list dozens and dozens of men and women alike who now have spouses—men and women of various ages, ethnicities, sizes, shapes, abilities, and temperaments. And I take great delight in saying that because God is no respecter of our arbitrary standards of who is “marryable” and who is not.

So, praise the Lord! Seriously! I’m not being flip. It’s actually quite difficult to take two self-centered people and move them toward making a lifetime commitment to each other. Marriage is an act of grace in action.

Inevitably, though, when I talk about praying for husbands, someone comes in a theological tangle, wondering if God is good to me and to anyone else who is still praying and still single. Should we even pray for husbands? Is that acceptable? What if we pray and we remain single—what then??

My first answer is that of course God is still good if we pray and remain single. Marriage is a gift for this life alone. If we have received forgiveness for our sins and life eternal, we have already received the biggest and best gift and one that is for all eternity. We didn’t miss out on God’s very best.

Secondly, if we are still alive, the story of God’s grace in our lives is still being written. We don’t know the future. Only He knows the beginning from the end (Is. 46:10 and Rev. 21:6) and so it is arrogant to assume we can survey our circumstances and conclude we know what God is doing. (See: Naomi. A woman who was so very sure God’s hand was against her that she wanted to be called “Bitter.” But as she stood complaining, she had no idea that God was already at work to provide food, a kinsman-redeemer, an heir, and even far more unexpectedly, a place in the lineage of her Savior!)

Thirdly, we have no other option, according to Scripture. Philippians 4:4-7 makes this very clear: “Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, Rejoice. Let your reasonableness be known to everyone. The Lord is at hand; do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” This passage makes it very easy for us to understand that all we can do is pray, be thankful, and avoid anxiousness, which leads to bitterness. We’re not in charge of the answers. We’re in charge of the petitions. So, petition away!

But be thankful in those petitions. Since we’re not the omniscient, omnipotent, perfect, holy, just, and merciful Being in these transactions, we get to be the grateful recipients. All the time. Without ceasing. “Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you” (1 Thes. 5:16-18).

What circumstances do you find yourself in today? Give thanks and pray without ceasing. For as we keep our eyes on Him and praise Him in all circumstances (the good, the happy, the hard, the confusing, the horrifying), we silence the Accuser, the one who exists to blame God for not being good and blame us for not being good enough.

Of this I am supremely confident: When we see our Savior and Redeemer face to face, we will not regret being thankful for trusting Him, even in circumstances we could not control and would not have chosen. We will see then by the light of His glory all that He was doing in and through those very moments. What seemed like unanswered prayer will be set against the grand tapestry of His grace coursing through history. We will see what He was doing . . . and we will eternally praise Him for it.

So pray without ceasing and eagerly await what God does in and through these prayers.


  1. I am posting this (FB & Twitter) for my single Sister-Girlfriends, but I have to tell you, Carolyn, you made some powerful statements here for all of us women.

    My favorite: "It’s actually quite difficult to take two self-centered people and move them toward making a lifetime commitment to each other. Marriage is an act of grace in action." Amen!
    posted by Dawn Wilson
    on Tuesday, October 25, 2011 at 10:51 am
  2. Thank you so much for this post - this is an issue and question that I really struggle with but am often too shy or embarrassed to talk to others about. It's great to have some direct and biblical answers. Will be praying and rejoiceing much more readily now!
    posted by Hannah
    on Tuesday, October 25, 2011 at 10:51 am

    I just read this earlier and loved the quote by George Mueller regarding Psalm 84:11
    If God does "with-hold" something...then i can faith rest that it is not for my Good and honor Him by believing His Word over my emotions.
    This frees me from being a "victim" of my emotions.
    "His Good, and Acceptable, and Perfect Will is consistent with His Character"
    Psalm 18:30
    posted by Linda Joy
    on Tuesday, October 25, 2011 at 10:57 am
  4. The truths in this post are so very applicable to many more things than just longing for a husband. Thank you for letting God speak through you.
    posted by Allison
    on Tuesday, October 25, 2011 at 11:04 am
  5. This was awesome. Thanks so much for sharing! It was both revelation and confirmation. God is still good in every situation and He knows what His children have need of. Blessings to you!!
    posted by Noelle
    on Tuesday, October 25, 2011 at 11:13 am
  6. Carolyn,

    What a great article! I have been trying to help a single friend of mine, who has struggled with these questions. This gives me more good material to share with her. Also great encouragement for my own walk, in persevering in prayer for some of those longer-term situations.

    May the Lord bless your day abundantly and fulfil all your petitions, Carlolyn! (Ps. 20:5)

    P.S. I've been thinking about Phil. 4:4 lately. Such a blessing you mentioned it here!

    In His love,
    posted by Leslie S.
    on Tuesday, October 25, 2011 at 11:33 am
  7. I have 3 beautiful dsughters who wish to be married more than anythinvg. And i myself am praying for my unsaved husband. Oh...but when I read this one simple statement, i can see the tides turning!!! "We are not in charge of the answers, just the petetions"....that statement right there frees my soul!!!!! I feel like shouting.....oh glory!!!! This blesses my heart to keep on praying! Our God certainly reigns!!!!!:
    posted by Brenda Jones
    on Tuesday, October 25, 2011 at 11:36 am
  8. Amen and amen! Thank you, Carolyn!
    posted by Lindsay
    on Tuesday, October 25, 2011 at 11:41 am
  9. Thank you so much for your encouraging words Carolyn!

    Wonderful post!

    In Christ the King,

    posted by Neha
    on Tuesday, October 25, 2011 at 12:46 pm
  10. I am actually not an adult yet..I'm 18.
    I read Lies Young Women Believe and I decided to check out the "sister" sites..
    I saw this topic and I read it..
    I pray for my future husband all the time. If you are having trouble with this, listen to Leslie Ludy's song "Faithfully". I recommend it to everyone.
    posted by Gods Jewel
    on Tuesday, October 25, 2011 at 1:19 pm
  11. I want to someone to needle-point this on a pillow: "We’re not in charge of the answers. We’re in charge of the petitions."
    posted by Katie
    on Tuesday, October 25, 2011 at 1:24 pm
  12. From a woman who desperately wanted to be married in my mid 20s to 40, I feel the pain of every single woman who wants that. As a Christian, I was told, "Paul told us to be content whatever our circumstances." I knew that, which made it even more difficult. Then someone suggested that, instead of praying for a mate, I pray that God would help me to grow into the Godly woman who would attract the man God wanted for me. The 30s were horribly difficult....ongoing depression(the desire for children and a healthy sexual relationship within the commitment of marriage), which could not be fixed until I could become satisfied as a single Christian woman. I can't say that I found the answer to that struggle itself. What I can say is that God will bring you through it. People told me that if God's answer to a prayer were no, He would take away the desire. I am happy to say that I am now a 52 year old never married, very content single lady....with no desire to be married anymore. I love my solitude.
    posted by Anita
    on Tuesday, October 25, 2011 at 5:20 pm
  13. as a 52 year old (divorced) woman with three amazing children I still sometimes pray for a husband but stop myself! after reading this article i finally feel free and good to pray for that and not feeling greedy or upset! thank you very much!
    posted by Alane
    on Tuesday, October 25, 2011 at 10:01 pm
  14. This is a wonderful article!

    Just this week, I've been wrestling with those many questions and felt God just opened this from heaven for me...

    I will be praying for all of you!
    posted by Nancy
    on Tuesday, October 25, 2011 at 10:45 pm
  15. THis is hard to agree with as I have a daughter with learning disabilities and she is 32. She will never be able to learn to drive to the store to buy groceries or know how to care for a sick child or be able to make a meal that has too many steps or is too complicated. I would not want to encourage her toward things that God has not given her skills for nor have planned for her. Of course she desires to be married. Don't all women? But we also want complete ease in life and that won't happen. So our focus in prayer is to become a godly woman, not a married women.
    True Women blog
    posted by Linda
    on Tuesday, October 25, 2011 at 11:24 pm
  16. I'm 31 years old and have never been in a relationship. I pray almost every single day for a husband, and trust God completely to work it out in His own perfect timing and way. I think it's possible to be both content in singleness (which I am) & still hoping and praying for marriage and family (which I greatly desire). It's not easy, but it is do-able in His strength. Thank you, Carolyn, for this wonderful post!
    posted by Elle
    on Friday, October 28, 2011 at 4:05 pm
  17. Elle,

    I am in the same position as you are and I pray to God for a husband. I asked God that it's very important for my future husband to love God first in order for him to come to me. It's about 3 hearts joining as One (Man, God, and Woman) in Marriage. It's very hard seeing others getting married or engaged or the having pressures from family members and others. My younger cousins, friends, and such are married or engaged. I am the oldest that is yet to get married. I tell God everyday that I want a husband and all. The pressures at times can be overwhelming and depressing. I confided in God in everything. I do have my many ups and downs, but I believe God will come through.
    posted by Godsgirl
    on Saturday, October 29, 2011 at 11:51 pm
  18. I been asking this question whether I will get married or not to God. Few years ago my life became very complex and negative and I struggled with a lot of issues involving marriage. God took my troubles and educated and made me stronger so I can be the right person for marriage. I have learned what God wanted me to be like and his goals not mine or what others wanted. He answered a lot of deep questions I had about me, future, marriage, and more. I learned so much from him and it's amazing what he taught me.

    I realized that I need to "marry" God before marrying my husband and that God was preparing me to be a wife and mother. One time I came across a sign at a church that said, "Will you Marry Me? -God". I knew that God wanted me to get married to him because I kept coming similar message by him previous. I was very hesitant to say yes because I went through a lot of past pain involving death, school troubles, health issues, 9-11 attacks, and spiritually losing faith in God and felt so broken up. I felt like I couldn't trust God, but the day I drove by the church and saw the marriage proposal sign, I felt ready and said yes. Ever since then God has prevented me from getting hitched and everything.

    I knew he had a special person for me. If it wasn't for God I probably would have gotten married just because my friends are and would have been unhappy and maybe divorced. Thanks to God he spared me from making mistakes. I am still single and honestly watching my 20 something friends getting married and me till single is hard. I get a lot of pressures and questions from family, friends, and people that I know and some would speculate things that are hurtful and not true. I know that God has someone for me because I constantly was educated or told by God in his unique way that in my marriage there are three people my husband, God, and me. I think he also revealed as well the person

    I am supposed to be with and I have been for 3 years asking for God for this person to come into my life. I realized that he has his timing and that he's making sure I am fulfilling my education and career goals so I can be successful. God is watching my back. But lately I have been feeling up and down about being single. I am tired of worrying and I know that God has his timing but it's so hard to be patient and juggle rumors and questions from people. I know God my husband will come through because he and I made a promise or a covenant to each other when I was 12-13 to never date and be celibate and save myself for marriage. Today, I am 28 years of age and have not broken the promise. It's one of the hardest challenges to do, knowing I saw a lot of my peers dating, going to parties, and such, but I avoided that and stuck with God's plans. It's being single and waiting for God to bring Mr. Right, but it's worth it. I remember telling God when

    I was an undergraduate that I wanted to get married to God by 27 and I did by age 26 to him. God will fulfill all your desires if you just submit to him. He will take care of you and give you what he wants to you and believe me it's way better than your plans. :) Trust in God, Love God, Learn from God, Live for God. God Bless you all! :)
    posted by Godsgirl
    on Sunday, October 30, 2011 at 12:01 am
  19. I look back on my years of singleness and am thankful that the two times that God burdened my heart to pray for a special person in my life happened right before I met my two husbands (one is now in heaven). I met and fell for a man after my first husband's death whom God did not burden my heart to pray for and it turned out painfully disastrous. My advice - pray that God would burden your heart to pray for His will, not yours.
    posted by lk
    on Saturday, November 12, 2011 at 8:31 am
  20. Psalm 37:3 Trust in the LORD and do good;
    dwell in the land and enjoy safe pasture.
    4 Delight yourself in the LORD
    and he will give you the desires of your heart.

    5 Commit your way to the LORD;
    trust in him and he will do this:
    6 He will make your righteousness shine like the dawn,
    the justice of your cause like the noonday sun.

    7 Be still before the LORD and wait patiently for him;
    posted by lk
    on Saturday, November 12, 2011 at 8:37 am
  21. Thank you The qoutes you always send me are very encouraging , since I know now God has good plans for my life. be blessed
    posted by anne
    on Sunday, November 27, 2011 at 11:03 am
  22. Carolyn,

    Thank you so much for this beautiful relevant post.

    I like the fact that you acknowledge the difficulties and that you are honest in saying that we are not in charge of the answers. I have trouble with posts that gloss over that aspect. I too can truly say in so many things the pain and the waiting is tough but when you come through the situation and you realize God's plan was way better than anything I had in mind. He is indeed faithful and he protects us.

    Thanks so much May God bless you for blessing us with your sharing

    Thirdly, we have no other option, according to Scripture. Philippians 4:4-7 makes this very clear: “Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, Rejoice. Let your reasonableness be known to everyone. The Lord is at hand; do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” This passage makes it very easy for us to understand that all we can do is pray, be thankful, and avoid anxiousness, which leads to bitterness. We’re not in charge of the answers. We’re in charge of the petitions. So, petition away!
    posted by alia
    on Sunday, June 30, 2013 at 10:22 am
  23. As a man i am looking for a Good Woman to settle down with which it is certainly better than being all Alone and having no one at all. Why should we be single unless we Choose to be.
    posted by The Real Truth
    on Friday, September 26, 2014 at 3:30 pm

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