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Psalm 51: A Betrayed Wife's Prayer for Her Husband

Updated: Jul 4

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You might be wondering why I am praying for my husband who chose to betray our marriage covenant. Honestly, sometimes I wonder the same thing.

There are two reasons. One is that it is impossible for me to stay angry with someone I am earnestly praying for. And two, I long for peace. Max Lucado writes in his book, Anxious for Nothing, “The path to peace is paved with prayer.” In these days of utter turmoil, peace sounds very very good.

In Lysa TerKeurst’s book, It’s Not Supposed to Be This Way, she breaks Psalm 51 down in a way that allows its meaning to settle in deep. If David, one who committed unthinkable, sinful acts, can sing a song asking God for change and restoration, perhaps my husband will ask the same and be granted the same measure of grace God gave David, the man after God’s own heart. And what a gift it is to have the opportunity to participate in and witness that hoped-for change and restoration.

I don’t want you to read that I think praying for my husband lets him off the hook for his behavior. All things can be forgiven but not all things are excusable. Something else I don’t want you to read is that I think I’m somehow better than my husband. I don’t come to this prayer from a place of arrogance. I haven’t done what he has done but I, too, have my broken places and am a sinner in need of grace. “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God…” Romans 3:23)

Here are five quick things I have come to understand about prayer in the realm of marriage betrayal:

  1. Praying for my husband does not excuse or condone his sinful choices.

  2. Prayer does not ensure a certain outcome of the relationship.

  3. Prayer may not soften my husband’s heart but it will soften mine.

  4. Praying doesn’t take the place of actively seeking healing.

  5. Good comes from prayer–no matter what the circumstances or ultimate outcome.

Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.

Do not quench the Spirit. Do not treat prophecies with contempt but test them all; hold on to what is good, reject every kind of evil.

May God himself, the God of peace, sanctify you through and through. May your whole spirit, soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. The one who calls you is faithful, and he will do it. (1 Thessalonians 5:16-23 NIV)

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After reading TerKeurst’s book, I committed to focus on praying Psalm 51 over my husband. If you are in a season of healing from betrayal, I would like to gently cyber hug you and tell you how I genuinely wish you weren’t. I wish I weren’t either. But, alas, here we are. So, let’s join together and pray Psalm 51 over our husbands. Let’s pray for their hearts to be softened toward repentance and renewal. Oh, what a hoped-for day when we see our husband’s spirits, souls, and bodies find their way to integrity and, if at all possible, our marriages restored – for the glory of God.

With a humble heart, pray with me.

For the director of music. A Psalm of David. When the prophet Nathan came to him after David had committed adultery with Bathsheba.

1 Have mercy on (him), O God,

according to your unfailing love;

according to your great compassion

blot out (his) transgressions.

2 Wash away all (his) iniquity

and cleanse (him) from (his) sin.

3 For (he) know(s) (his) transgressions,

and (his) sin is always before (him).

4 Against you, you only, (has he) sinned

and done what is evil in your sight;

so you are right in your verdict

and justified when you judge.

5 Surely (he) was sinful at birth,

sinful from the time (his) mother conceived (him).

6 Yet you desired faithfulness even in the womb;

you taught (him) wisdom in that secret place.

7 Cleanse (him) with hyssop, and (he) will be clean;

wash (him), and (he) will be whiter than snow.

8 Let (him) hear joy and gladness;

let the bones you have crushed rejoice.

9 Hide your face from (his) sins

and blot out all (his) iniquity.

10 Create in (him) a pure heart, O God,

and renew a steadfast spirit within (him).

11 Do not cast (him) from your presence

or take your Holy Spirit from (him).

12 Restore to (him) the joy of your salvation

and grant (him) a willing spirit, to sustain (him).

13 (That he) will teach transgressors your ways,

so that sinners will turn back to you.

14 Deliver (him) from the guilt of bloodshed, O God,

you who are God (his) Savior,

and (may his) tongue sing of your righteousness.

15 Open (his) lips, Lord,

(may his) mouth declare your praise.

16 You do not delight in sacrifice, or (he) would bring it;

you do not take pleasure in burnt offerings.

17 (May his) sacrifice, O God, (be) a broken spirit;

a broken and contrite heart

you, God, will not despise.

18 May it please you to prosper Zion,

to build up the walls of Jerusalem.

19 Then you will delight in the sacrifices of the righteous,

in burnt offerings offered whole;

then bulls will be offered on your altar.


May our tears of sorrow become songs of redemptive joy.

Those who sow with tears will reap with songs of joy. Those who go out weeping, carrying seed to sow will return with songs of joy carrying sheaves with them. (Psalm 126:5-6 NIV)



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