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My Wife Didn’t Wear A Head Covering to our Church Prayer Meeting

My Wife Didn’t Wear A Head Covering to our Church Prayer Meeting

It’s true. The wife of the Head Covering Movement‘s founder was at a church prayer meeting without her head covered. Let me explain and tell you how I handled it.

Our church recently had a “week of prayer” and on one night they had child care to make it easier for the parents to come out and pray. We took advantage of this and came out as a family. I was in the prayer room a little early while my wife was downstairs getting our children settled away. When she came upstairs to the prayer room, I noticed she didn’t have her covering on. For those who don’t cover all day, it’s an easy mistake to make. So I quietly got up to let her know she had forgotten. She placed a hand on her head to confirm and said “oops”. We’re prepared for situations like this, and store a couple extra coverings in the glove box of our minivan, so she headed out to grab one. A few minutes later she came back to let me know, the back-up coverings were gone. I figured they were as the previous week we had forgotten as well. So on Sunday we used the back-up coverings in the glove box and forgot to replace them. So here we are, at church, about to spend some focused time to prayer and my wife doesn’t have her covering. What should we do? I’ve thought about this situation before, but this is the first time it wasn’t just hypothetical. There are two options 1) My wife sits in the foyer and doesn’t join us for prayer or 2) she comes in and joins us uncovered.

The Scriptures do not say that God doesn’t hear the prayers of uncovered women. Nor does it say that He’ll be angry with them if they pray in this way. Rather, what the Scriptures do say is it’s dishonoring (1 Cor 11:4-6). It’s dishonoring because it visually communicates an incorrect view of biblical manhood and womanhood. We’re a family that takes that seriously and covering is a practice that my wife and girls do. They love it, and aim to practice it wherever it is called for. However, sometimes we’re put in a situation that’s beyond our control. I’d view this like promising your kids you’d take them to a sporting event, but not remembering until your plane has landed in another country for business. You wanted to take them, and you blew it by not preparing better (like failing to set a notification on your phone), but now the situation is out of your control and you have to make the best of it.  To help guide us in making a decision, it’s important to remember that the principle or substance is more important than the symbol it points to. It’s more important to pray and to participate in your church, than to cover. Not don’t get me wrong, I’m not setting up a dichotomy here. Obviously we can do both at the same time, and we should. But in the rare and unfortunate situation where only one is possible, I think it’s more important to pray than to cover. So that’s what I told my wife to do, I said come on in and join us for prayer and she did.

Now once my wife came in, the first thing I did was intercede on her behalf. I confessed my failure to God to prepare my family for this prayer meeting. I apologized and took responsibility for not having the back-up coverings in place and I asked God to forgive us for not praying in the way he prescribed. I also asked Him to help my wife to not be self-conscious and to enjoy her time of prayer with Him.

The major takeaway for me in this situation, was about being prepared. If you cover all the time, this is not a problem for you. That’s one of the benefits of that practice. But for those of us like my family, who covers only in certain situations, being prepared is vital.

Here are a few tips:
1) Back-up coverings: Keep extra coverings wherever you’ll have easy access to them if you forget. Some suggestions including your vehicle glove box, your purse, or leave one at a place you frequent (school, work, church).
2) Wear a neck scarf: Another option is to introduce scarves (like an Infinity Scarf) into your wardrobe. That way you can slip it over your head as your covering, or as a backup if you forgot your regular covering.
3) Reminders/notifications: One of the best ways to not forget is to add it to your task list, schedule, or to set a mobile reminder. For example you could add it to your list of things to lay out on Saturday night in preparation for the morning or you could set a reminder on your phone to alert you just before you leave for church to ensure you have it.

So I hope that you’re never in the situation that we were in, and if you incorporate these tips into your life, it should help ensure that you aren’t.

Jeremy Gardiner

Jeremy is the founder of the Head Covering Movement and the author of Head Covering: A Forgotten Christian Practice for Modern Times. He lives in Alberta, Canada with his wife and five children. In 2010, he founded (and continues to run) Gospel eBooks, a popular website that provides alerts for free and discounted Christian e-books. Jeremy also holds a Biblical studies degree from Moody Bible Institute.
Jeremy Gardiner

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