How do we start praying with each other? Or is it OK to pray on our own? How do I pray with my wife?
Let me say…it’s okay to ask this question and wonder what to do about it. You may not be where you want to be in your marriage, but praying together is integral to getting you there. It takes courage to ask this and a step of humility and bravery to start practicing it.
Prayer essentially is the heartbeat of Christian living. Seeking God in repeated and continual prayer brings life to our personal walks with God and, for all the same reasons, gives life to our marriages.
Prayer breathes life into the lifeless marriage and gives an infusion of daily hope to our relationship.
We many times don’t recognize the importance of FAITH in our marriages. Faith in our Creator. Faith for our Salvation. Faith for the road ahead. Faith for God’s Provision in today. We long for FAITHFULNESS in our marriage. We desire faithfulness from our spouse in purity, friendship, and love. We desire a faithful marriage that doesn’t sway and fall in the winds of our circumstances. We long for these things in our marriages, but we might not recognize that PRAYER helps us to get there. Prayer leads us not only to God, but also to each other.
Start with personal prayer…James 5 tells us “The earnest prayer of a righteous person has great power and produces wonderful results.” Daily, you are invited to come to the altar of God. Come to Him with anything on your heart…with your praises, your needs, your concerns, your requests and your doubts and fears. Our God wants a personal relationship with you. He wants to TALK to you. That’s what prayer is. And it’s through Jesus that we can do what Hebrews 4:16 says…“Let us come boldly to the throne of our gracious God. There we will receive his mercy, and we will find grace to help us when we need it most.” The character of our gracious God compels us to boldness when we come to Him in prayer.
That same boldness will be required of you as you begin praying with your spouse.
It can be an intimidating thought to ask your husband or wife to pray with you. In the back of your mind are little questions like “Am I a good enough prayer to do this? What will she think of me? How do I ask her? What will I say? She’s more spiritual than I am; maybe this isn’t a good idea.” Or the old standby: “It can wait, I’ll do it later.”
Hebrews 11:6 says “Without faith it is impossible to please God, those who come to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him.”
Praying with your spouse will do so much more for your marriage that you could ever imagine. God rewards those who diligently seek Him in ways that we can’t see when we start this process. Praying together brings understanding of God and helps couples conform to His will for their lives.
As much as praying together is a process in which you grow, it’s also a practice that requires the habit of diligence.
Plan to Pray. Just like you plan to eat, sleep, work and play, prayer needs to be built into your life’s schedule. The practice of diligent prayer for you and your spouse could be at dinner time. You could practice this habit as you wind down for the day and climb into bed. In the morning before you each walk out the door. Even in a text to your spouse in the middle of the day.
From personal experience, we tend to pray together at the end of the day but more specifically at seemingly random points throughout our week…but really not random at all. David will grab my hands in the kitchen and stop whatever I’m doing to pray with me if he senses a need. I’ll wrap my arms around him in the bathroom after he gets done brushing his teeth to tell him thank you for providing for our family and then close my eyes and pray for his work day. Before getting out of the car to go to an event or a meeting, David will put his hand on my leg and pray for what’s to come. After a little while of doing this, the awkwardness goes away and it becomes very natural to bow together in prayer and the result is a closer relationship with God and with each other.
So, we are encouraged by the fruit that can come from praying together, but where to start? The best guideline for prayer was given to us by Jesus himself in the instruction of the Lord’s Prayer: to praise Him, to show Him thankfulness, to seek His will, to forgive others and ask for forgiveness, seek His protection against the enemy (See Matthew chapter 6). Follow this model of prayer anytime you want…using all of it or just part of it. Let your mind and heart be focused on God during your prayer and not what your spouse will think of you.
Feeling intimidation and fear about praying with your spouse is more common than you may think. It is deeply personal, intimate and vulnerable. But it is also a privilege bought with the very life of Christ; very intense and personal indeed. It is also for these reasons that prayer creates intense oneness between you and your mate. Remember your Christian marriage is a union of 3 – with you, your spouse AND God. So, keep the conversation going.
By Bill and Janet Howard in conjunction with Tracy Sellars of VowsToKeep Marriage Ministries