How Do I Start Praying With My Spouse?
Do you feel a tinge of guilt asking that question?
Does a part of you think: I can’t believe I have to ask this; I should’ve been praying with my spouse all along?
First off, let’s get a few things straight:
You are NOT the only one who doesn’t pray with or has never prayed aloud with your spouse
Your desire to start comes from God; HE is stirring your heart toward prayer (a conversation with Him).
Listen to His Spirit’s promptings.
In this post, we’ll answer three questions:
Why pray with my spouse?
How do I pray with my spouse? (What are the basics?)
How do we get started?
Why should I pray with my spouse?
Did you know that you and your spouse are never at a standstill in your relationship? Your marriage is either in drive or reverse, though the amount of deceleration or acceleration may change over time.
You’re either moving closer together or further apart.
If your marriage is not what you dreamed it would be, praying together is integral to transformation.
It takes courage to ask this and a step of humility and bravery to start practicing it.
Prayer is the heartbeat of Christian living.
Seeking God in repeated and continual prayer gives life to our personal walks with God and to our marriages.
Perhaps you feel intimidated or a bit fearful? Rest assured: that is COMMON.
Because prayer is deeply intimate. It can leave you feeling vulnerable.
But it is also a privilege bought with the very life of Christ. Being completely open and humble before God, we can't help but feel that it's very intense and personal. It should be!
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: you, your spouse AND God.
So, keep the conversation going.
In Philippians 4:6-7, Paul wrote: Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. (This is a wonderful passage to memorize!)
Worry about nothing.
Pray about everything.
What is causing your wife heartache today? Pray with her about it.
What’s approaching in the future that your husband is losing sleep over? Pray with him about it.
God knows what is going on in your life. He knows the deepest anxieties of your heart. He knows what you need. And He invites you to come and talk with Him about it.
Oh my heart- those reminders bring me such comfort; how about you? He loves us so well. (If you need to be reminded that you are fully known and loved by HIM, please read Known.)
Come together with your spouse before the throne of God.
Thank Him. (Want to dive deeper in giving thanks to God? Check THIS out.)
Ask for His provision, care, and sustaining power.
Your prayers are the essence of your relationship with God. When you have a good relationship with someone, you talk with them. It’s the same with the Lord.
1 Thessalonians 5:17 says pray without ceasing. That means God wants you to be in continual communion with Him. Talk to Him throughout the day; do not let anything that’s on your heart or mind go unsaid. Be honest with Him; He knows it all anyway! (Need a reminder of that? Read Psalm 139!)
Imagine: what could praying with your spouse bring?
We either underestimate or completely miss the importance of each of these factors in our marriage.
Unity between us
Hope for a faithful marriage that doesn't sway with the winds of our circumstances
Love from our spouse in purity, friendship, and acceptance
God’s provision for the road ahead
Peace with Jesus in our salvation (and peace with each other)
Faith in our Creator, that He created our marriage to be successful (To discover 2 secrets for a successful marriage, click HERE.)
We want all these things in our marriage. PRAYER helps us get there.
Prayer leads us not only to God, but also to each other. It breathes life into a lifeless marriage and gives us an infusion of daily hope.
What are the basics of praying together?
Tell God about your desire to pray with your spouse.
Ask Him to give you wisdom and boldness. (After all, GOD is the one who placed this longing within you in the first place!)
If you don’t have a habit of talking to God on a regular basis, praying with your spouse will not be an easy transition. So, start with your own prayer life; times with just you and God. These are some of the most precious times in my own life. (Having a thought about God is NOT the same as praying, just like thinking about your spouse isn’t the same as talking to him/her. Thoughts are the FIRST STEP in talking to God. You need to spend time with the Lord. Avoid just creating a list of things you think about Him.)
Does that sound scary? If so, He may be trying to convict you of sin that you just don’t want to deal with.
We cannot hide things from God.
But take heart, even if we stumble and fall, God still asks us to commune with him. Come to Him with everything in your heart: praises, needs, concerns, requests, doubts, fears, even the sin you don’t want to let go of. Our God wants a personal relationship with you. He wants to TALK to you.
So, 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 (Hebrews 4:16). The character of our God compels us to boldness when we come to Him in prayer. How gracious He is!
Out loud personal prayer.
Start talking to God audibly. Make it a habit when you’re alone to pray out loud; in the car, when you’re taking your morning jog, in the shower, when no one else is home. Doing this will help you overcome any awkwardness that comes with praying out loud.
God hears us whether we pray in our hearts or with our mouths, but this is an important step toward praying together as a couple. Audibly, tell God what’s on your heart.
PLAN to Pray.
Just like you plan to eat, sleep, work and play, plan prayer (both personal and with your spouse) into your schedule. Make it habitual. Here are some ideas to help you and your spouse practice diligent prayer:
Pray at dinner time
Pray at the end of the day; before or after you climb into bed
Pray in the morning before one (or both) of you walk out the door
You could even pray in a text to each other in the middle of the day
Get creative and find a time/place that works for both you and your spouse
Now… how do we get started?
The first step?
Pride has to go.
Are little, nagging questions of doubt rolling through your mind? Questions like:
Am I a good enough prayer to do this?
What will she think of me?
How do I ask him?
What will I say?
She/he is more spiritual than I am; maybe this isn't a good idea.
If you’re a little intimidated to ask your husband/wife to pray with you, check your pride. It is our self-sufficient pride that keeps us from initiating prayer with our spouse (or even praying aloud in a group setting).
Our words won’t come out just right
We’ll make a fool of ourselves
Others will judge us by what we say or how we say it
How spiritual we are is going to be evaluated by the depth of our prayers
Our pride makes us forget:
Prayer is a genuine conversation with the Lord, NOT a test of our speaking or spiritual skills.
Don’t let pride override the benefits prayer has of bringing you and your spouse closer together. Say a quick prayer: Lord, I’m sorry for being prideful. Help me to pray with my spouse. Thank You for Your grace. It truly is that simple.
Don’t make excuses
Please, don’t try to justify NOT praying with your spouse because you don’t think it would be welcomed.
God calls us to pray together; there is POWER in prayer (Matthew 18:20, James 5:16).
Husbands, God has called you to be the spiritual leader of your home (remember last week’s post?).
When you walk in your role, your marriage will be blessed.
(If you’re not sure where to start when it comes to Biblical marriage roles, listen to PART 1 of this Q & A series, or check out How Fulfilling Your Role Can Change Your Marriage.)
Wives, perhaps you’re waiting for your husband to take the initiative. It would be awesome if he did, but don’t use that as an excuse to not pray together. Either ask your spouse to pray with you or be the one who breaks the ice by praying first.
As always, be patient with each other.
Go to the Lord’s Prayer
If you’re just not sure where to start, Jesus (as always!) models prayer perfectly for us in Matthew 6:5-15. Take a moment to read the passage.
Jesus gave us the best outline for prayer. He prayed like this:
Our Father in heaven, hallowed be Your name. Your kingdom come, Your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread, and forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.
Here’s a recap:
Show Him thankfulness
Seek His will
Forgive others and ask for forgiveness
Seek His protection against the enemy/temptation
Ask God how you can further His kingdom on earth
Follow this model, using all or part of it.
While you’re praying, focus your mind and heart on GOD, not on what your spouse is thinking of you.
Initiate with boldness
God wants you to pray together; Satan doesn’t. Let that be a reminder that prayer is a powerful weapon against our enemy. I pray that motivates you to take initiative and be bold in doing so!
James 5:16 tells us: The earnest prayer of a righteous person has great power and produces wonderful results.
So, don’t wait for your spouse to take initiative; jump right in and start that conversation with our dear Lord.
Vow to Change: An Encouraging Call to Action
Look for opportunities to pray together
Do you have kids? If so, ask your spouse to join you as you go and pray over their sleeping little heads. (*Side note: my husband does this every single night; it is absolutely precious, and his example encourages me.) Ask GOD to meet the needs of your children. If your spouse doesn’t join in, keep faithfully leading by example.
With or without kids, you can start doing family devotions. Gather together for a time of looking at God’s Word and taking prayer requests. There are lots of family devotionals that help guide/facilitate conversation. (THIS is the one we are currently using with our young kids; it’s simple and impactful. If your children are teenagers, it is not too late to start! Asking for prayer requests really can get the conversation going.) Having family devotions makes it normal to talk about the Bible and to pray out loud together. Make it a nightly habit before you go to bed to read a thought- provoking Biblical devotion with scripture in it, ask for each other’s prayer requests, then pray out loud together.
Dinnertime can be a springboard to prayer. Bow your heads, thank God for the provision of that meal, add some praises and requests; it can be short AND powerful. If you’ve never prayed before meals with your spouse/family, let me encourage you to START tonight.
Pray in the moment; don’t wait for a formal or predetermined time. Is she upset or crying? Don’t wait- pray. Is he frustrated? Don’t wait- pray. Even if you’re fighting, don’t wait- pray. Praying in the moment is so powerful because it clearly shows your spouse how you feel about him/her; you care and you want to be united. (Check out these 8 Guidelines for Fighting Fair. Do you and your spouse fight often? Read PART 1 of I’m Sick of Fighting with My Spouse. How Do We STOP?!) Start praying in the moment and over time it will become second nature.
Your marriage will be changed by prayer, and especially prayer with your spouse. Praying together brings understanding of God and helps us conform to HIS will for our lives and marriage. He rewards those who diligently seek Him. So, don’t wait- PRAY.
To go deeper, listen to this post's corresponding podcast:
Q & A: Praying Together & How to Handle Your Spouse's Sin (Part 2) :: [Ep. 156]
We have a weekly podcast to help you get your marriage healthy again. Grab the VowsToKeep Radio podcast wherever you listen: click HERE.
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