Here are some simple steps to help you get started praying with your spouse. Praying regularly with your spouse builds more intimate relationships and stronger marriages.
How to do this prayer practice:
The couples who are successful in making a habit of praying together begin by consciously make it a goal. Here are some compelling reasons:
Prayer builds very strong marriages. Statistics show that only 10% of committed Christian couples pray together regularly. Among the 10% that do pray regularly together, the divorce rate is 1 in 1,200 compared to 1 in 4 for Christian couples who don’t often pray together.
One is increased intimacy and sharing on a deeper level, which makes for strong marriages. Another is the fact that prayer helps resolve conflicts between husbands and wives.
2. Start with a heart to heart conversation that ends in prayer.
A good way to begin is by simply talking to each other about something that matters. While you’re talking, become aware of different communication patterns and don’t be afraid to pray differently.
Men tend to be “fixers” and when a challenge is brought up, they are ready to offer a solution to quickly end the conversation. Men use fewer words and are more succinct. They often are more comfortable with praying off a prayer list.
Women tend to use more words with a goal of expressing their feelings and emotions. Women are very interested in being heard and understood.
By ending the conversation in prayer, both partners’ needs are met. Men will feel that they have taken an action toward a remedy by praying and women will feel that they have been heard by expressing their feelings to God.
There are times during the day that might naturally lend themselves to prayer. Here are several ideas that have been successfully used by couples:
At night: Couples often pray together at night before going to bed.
At the breakfast table: This is a good way to start the day together.
A set time that fits your unique schedule.
At every meal that you share together: Instead of saying a memorized blessing, couples can pray short spontaneous prayers together at the table.
You don’t need long periods of time for these prayers. Five minutes is enough time to express things together to God.
Some couples do more than one short prayer time, for instance morning and night.
4. Start by praying for needs.
Praying for needs is an easy subject to begin with. Beyond the obvious physical needs and problems, couples find it very empowering to pray together for the skills they need to be good parents, the skills they need to be good employees or business leaders and for guidance in their decisions
5. Pray for growth.
As you become more connected through prayer, other important things to begin praying about include increased intimacy in your marriage, building a marriage into one that glorifies God and that your relationship with God would grow as a couple.
6. During disagreements to call a prayer time out.
Every couple has times of disagreement. Decide together that the next time you are in the middle of an argument that you will call a “prayer time out.” Stop and say a short prayer together, then continue with your discussion. Make the prayer short and honest. Here’s an example:
“God, we’re angry or frustrated with each other. We don’t agree. Help us. Amen.”
Couples report that this makes an amazing difference in their ability to resolve conflict.
My personal experiences and tips:
My husband John and I pray together at the breakfast table and at night before going to bed. These aren’t long prayers, maybe a few minutes, but we pray about any concerns that may have come to our attention. At dinner time we might also pray about our experiences of the day.
Other times we might stop and pray as soon as we become aware of a need or a prayer request from family members or friends. We’ve been doing this since the time John was in a church group with a man named Steve who would stop and pray with people at the moment they made their request. This impressed John, so we began doing it at home together as a couple as well.
John and I have been teaching a Dynamic Marriage class at our church for over ten years and we’ve had couples in the class who had been married one year and others who had been married 40 years. In every class we have at least one couple who has never prayed together before. They can’t wait to tell us that they were having a big argument and couldn’t get anywhere. Then they stopped and prayed and it changed the whole course of the discussion and how they felt about each other afterwards.
How to fit this prayer idea into your schedule:
As already mentioned, find a short time when you are regularly together at a meal or when going to bed.
Copyright Mary Jane Norris 2011 All rights reserved