The Bible says at 1 Cor 11:3 (ASV)

But I would have you know, that the head of every man is Christ; and the head of the woman is the man; and the head of Christ is God.

Also Ephesian 5:23 adds

because a husband is head of his wife just as the Christ is head of the congregation, he being a savior of this body.

However 1 Cor 11:5 says a woman should cover her head

But every woman praying or prophesying with her head unveiled dishonoreth her head; for it is one and the same thing as if she were shaven.

An exempt from one article of JW had this to say

A Christian wife would not normally pray aloud in the presence of her believing husband except in unusual circumstances, such as if he has been rendered mute by an illness.

This would rule out a woman praying in whatever circumstances unless the man is infirmed.

So the question is: Is it acceptable in Protestant view for a woman (wife, sister, grown child) to pray in the household when a man present?

I'd like an explanation with backings and not a backlash on any group. Thanks.

  • Why the downvote mate?
    – iBenson
    Commented Aug 4, 2019 at 12:51
  • Could you clarify, what is the question concerning 1 Cor. 5:11? Also, you will need to specify that the answers come from some specific Christian group. Otherwise, you have asked a Truth question, which can receive many different dissenting answers.
    – user32540
    Commented Aug 4, 2019 at 13:20
  • Are you asking specifically about Jehovah's Witness practice? If not then you will find that virtually no Christians read 1 Cor 11:3 or Ephesians 5:23 as prohibiting a womean praying aloud in her household. Commented Aug 4, 2019 at 13:36
  • Not necessarily Jehovah's Witnesses, I only quoted that because that is just one view on the subject
    – iBenson
    Commented Aug 4, 2019 at 14:09
  • I see that 4 people have voted to close this question and perhaps because it doesn't fit in with these guidelines: christianity.stackexchange.com/help/on-topic It really would help if you used the tags to specify which Christian group or denomination you seek answers from.
    – Lesley
    Commented Aug 4, 2019 at 17:23

1 Answer 1


Having consulted people with very conservative upbringing I feel confident in saying that virtually no Christian groups prohibit a woman from praying when a man is present in a private or family setting. Even the most conservative protestant groups such as Brethren only prohibit women from praying aloud in public worship. If the JWs follow this rule they are one of very few exceptions.

Even very conservative groups do not see prayer as a matter of authority. Praying when others are present does not imply that the pray-er has authority over the others present, as seen by the many exhortations to all Christians to pray in all circumstances (I.e. not just leaders), and general encouragement for children to pray.

  • To add a perspective, I’m frequently around groups that hold the “husband is the head of the wife/family” view with high regard, and while they won’t condemn a woman for praying out loud, the woman/family group will almost always direct the prayer toward the husband/man. This could happen for normal prayer time or a spontaneous prayer time and could be either by verbally suggesting the man pray or gesturing that the man should pray. This is based on respect and submission to authority. The authoritative man in this situation could of course delegate the prayer to someone else: wife, child, etc
    – Lott99
    Commented Aug 7, 2019 at 13:00
  • However, my answer would still be that it is acceptable for a woman to pray when a man is present.
    – Lott99
    Commented Aug 7, 2019 at 13:02
  • "direct the prayer toward the husband/man". Can you explain this more, because prayers are usually directed towards God. Commented Aug 7, 2019 at 13:26
  • Yes, sorry, by that I mean that they would “yield” or “concede” the prayer to be prayed by the man.
    – Lott99
    Commented Aug 7, 2019 at 19:11
  • @Lott99 nice. In a situation when the man delegates the woman to pray, would she necessarily have to put on head covering considering the circumstance?
    – iBenson
    Commented Aug 8, 2019 at 19:48

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