Praying with your spouse is important. You’ve heard it in sermons, Sunday School, and bible studies, but not all of us do it. It’s scary, it’s awkward, we don’t know how…these are just a few of the excuses we use. Or a very common one- we pray separately because prayer is more of a private thing. Yes, prayer, at times, can be very private and very personal, but this isn’t what God intended when we married. When we said our vows and promised to love our spouse as ourselves we became one flesh. One body. You, together, are now one. The idea of praying with your spouse is NOT just for people who need it, who need marriage counseling. It’s for everybody whether you’re a newlywed or have been married for fifty years. We all need to pray with our spouse.
Why should I pray with my spouse?
- You are one flesh. “That is why a man leaves his father and mother and is united to his wife, and they become one flesh.” Genesis 2:24, “…So they are no longer two, but one flesh.” Mark 10:8 NIV You are no longer two separate people, but one, so pray together.
- When two are gathered in His name, he will be there. “Again, truly I tell you that if two of you on earth agree about anything they ask for, it will be done for them by my Father in heaven. For where two or three gather in my name, there am I with them.” Matthew 18:19-20 NIV
- The power of prayer is tremendous. “Therefore, confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person has great power as it is working.” James 5: 16-17, and “Whatever you ask in prayer, you will receive, if you have faith.” Matthew 21:22 ESV
- Be an example for your kids. “Train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old he will not depart from it.” Proverbs 22:6 ESV Do it for them. Being an example is the best way to teach a child. You can’t tell them not to curse, but say bad words. You can’t tell them to be patient, but become intolerant in every frustrating experience. You can’t tell them to pray and not let them see you praying yourself.
My spouse isn’t a believer.
This is a hard and touchy subject because most likely you aren’t on the same page…yet. Hopefully you’re praying for him/her already on your own. I would suggest the book, The Power of the Praying Wife by Stormie Jackson. She walks through how to pray for your spouse and why to pray for your spouse in a short easy read. She also includes actual prayers for every day of the month each themed with major points of which to pray for your spouse. For example one chapter is for your marriage, another for his talk, for his faith, for his fatherhood. I use this book daily as a way to pray for my husband. There are points in there I forget to pray for on my own, so I love the detail and outlook. More on this topic later…
How to begin praying WITH your spouse
Some people are a jump-all-in-no-looking-back type of person. Those people may just look at your spouse and say, hey we’re praying today! Jump on board here we go! And they will grab their partner’s hand and start praying. Many people are not like this, and my guess is if you’re reading this post, you’re probably not.
Here are a few steps to take the leap into prayer with your love:
- First start praying on your own for this to happen naturally. Ask God to grant you courage to ask your spouse to pray with you and for him/her to accept it graciously, thankfully and joyfully.
- Begin by suggesting a blessing before each meal. This is usually a “go-to” that many people and non-Christians do anyway. People say grace out of habit or because they feel it’s the right thing to do. By partaking in this, it’s a simple prayer, no pressure, and its usually short. Grace is usually pretty surface-level as well. But this is the opening step to praying together. You’ve crossed the no-prayer barrier. After you’ve prayed together like this for a while, the idea of holding hands and speaking to the Lord together is no longer taboo.
- Hold hands during a prayer at church. This can be the Lord’s Prayer or another time of prayer or worship during the service. It practices joining together to pray even if its for a short time, and makes you comfortable for the next moment of crossing the barrier of separate prayer. This is also assuming you both go to church together. If you don’t, that’s another post for another time. Have courage to slip your hand into your spouse’s next Sunday!
- Next, suggest a quick nighttime prayer. This again can be short, simplistic, even the Lord’s Prayer. But you’re now taking the prayer time to another part of your daily schedule. You’re inserting God into a time that you haven’t before. This can be a big step and courage will be needed. Have courage!
- Once you’ve established some sort of basic prayer togetherness, its time to go deeper into these prayers. During your Grace before meals or nighttime prayers, begin to introduce bigger topics. Begin to open up, and put your true needs and worries out there. You can begin small, but over time divulge in deeper topics. God will bless this. You can ask for your own needs and struggles, but also begin introducing family and couple needs and struggles.
- As you become more and more comfortable with praying together, suggest a Bible study. There are dozens of couple Bible studies to do together, but even sitting down and simply reading the Word together is beautiful and life altering. Here is where authentic conversation will arise. Bible studies often ask hard questions, which require you to delve into your heart and soul, and thus you share with your spouse.
What do we pray about? How do we pray?
This in itself can be an entirely different post. But, if you do have the courage to sit and hold hands and then come up blank, there are suggestions for how to move forward.
- Many denominations have a prayer book with daily prayers and bible readings. This can be a go-to. You don’t have to think up your own prayers but read already printed ones for you. Some say that this isn’t meaningful or authentic, but, in my experience, it can be beautiful because someone else’s words tend to be exactly what your soul wanted to say anyway. It is much better to use someone else’s words than to say nothing.
- Or, you can go with the plan I was taught in Sunday School many years ago- ACTS. Adoration, Confession, Thanksgiving and Supplication. Walk through ACTS together- tell God you Adore Him and love Him. Confess your sins and weaknesses. Thank God for your many many And then ask for your own and others’ needs. Give Him your worries. But do all this together.
My husband and I have only been married for two years now. We have one beautiful child, who just turned one. But even with only two years down, we’ve had our struggles and some big life moments. I don’t know how we would have survived without prayer and without prayer together. We have countless stories of prayer together working and being successful. It will take time. This isn’t an overnight process.
Let me know how prayer with your spouse works in your life! Do you have other suggestions for praying with your spouse?