Our marriage was at a place where most people would have divorced. We received one piece of advice that was a real challenge to put in practice. But if you ask either Ben or me, beginning to pray together is the first thing we did to begin to heal our broken marriage.
Praying together is much easier said than done. It is also to brush over and say, “hmm, that sounds nice” and move right on. Let us encourage you to begin today for in this healing and change begin.
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Getting Going Praying Together
It was very strange the first time Ben and I prayed together out loud. We had just left a marriage conference we were hoping would fix everything that had fallen apart. It did not, but the one thing that stuck was their suggestion to pray together every morning as a couple out loud.
Every Little Detail
On the lengthy trip back home from Seattle, in my usual overthink-and-plan-out-every-detail fashion, I began thinking about what praying together was supposed to look like. I began thinking about all I could remember the bible said about prayer. The Lord’s Prayer was the first thing that came to mind. I pulled up the verses in Matthew and thought to myself, “hmm, this doesn’t seem like what our prayer should sound like for we would be repeating the same words each day, like we used to in church growing up.” When I prayed on my own, it certainly wasn’t restating that.
Pray Then Like This
God brought to mind the word “like” in the passage. Jesus was teaching the disciples to pray “like this.” As in, He was giving them a model to follow. This began a long discussion between Ben and I. We discovered what, we believe, Jesus was telling his disciples. We wrote out an index card as a cheat sheet, placed it by our phones, and the next morning began praying together. It was clunky and choppy. We sounded so silly and there were so many awkward pauses and uncomfortable giggles. We were embarrassed and uncomfortable. Skip ahead, years later, marriage healed and thriving, we still wake up and pray together every morning no matter what.
Why Pray together?
1. It draws you closer as a couple
Marriage is a spiritual union as well. Praying together can be a special time of vulnerability with each other before the Lord.
2. You know what your spouse is concerned about
Many times we fail to check in with each other and see how the other person really is doing. Hearing the heart of your spouse before God can reveal to us areas of struggle and concern we may have never known they had.
3. It prepares you for the challenges of the day
Our daily lives are face-paced and we are responsible for so many different aspects that required our attention. Coming together in prayer is a way to settle yourself and clear your head, heart, and spirit for clarity, purpose, and focus throughout the day.
4. God hears you
Most exciting is God, who is bigger than our minds can even fathom and Creator of the heavens and the earth, hears us when we pray. He cares so much for us that he thinks so many wonderful thoughts about us (Psalm 139:17), knows the very hairs on our head (Luke 12:7), and promises to give us peace when we tell him our requests in prayer (Phil: 6-7). Isn’t that amazing!
How to Pray Together
The Lord’s Prayer as a Model (My notes in italics)
Jesus tells his disciples ” ‘Pray then like this:
“Our Father in heaven, hallowed (this means Holy, set apart) be your name.
Your kingdom come (Jesus’ return), your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread (requests for our needs and longings), and
forgive us our debts (we hurt others and need forgiven), as we also have forgiven our debtors (others hurt us as well and we need to forgive them).
And lead us not into temptation (this is where we go when we do not get what we desire, God wants us to, instead, turn to him), but
deliver us from evil (Prayer for protection).’ [For yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever, AMEN]”.
Before you begin discuss what you and your spouse could use prayer in. Then, begin. This is how we started out. Write your own note on your phone or index card as a quick reference.
1. Praise God for who He is
2. Thank him for all he has done for you recently (Anything that happened in your life that was good, He was behind)
3. Ask him to carry out his plan for you today and your life. Ask Him to make it clear to you
4. Ask him to provide for you what you need today both basic needs and deepest longings as well as the needs for your spouse.
5. Ask his forgiveness for the times you hurt other people. And use this time to forgive those who have hurt you.
6. Ask him to protect you from the things that you run to when you are uncomfortable, feeling out of control, unable to please those you are accountable to, feeling conflict and strife. Ask him to protect your spouse and your marriage.
7. Take a moment to be quiet and listen for God to speak to your spirit. Then close in “Jesus’ Name. Amen.”
There is power in the name of Jesus. And AMEN is strong punctuation: It is said.
Where to Pray: Posture and Environment
Select a quite place just you and your spouse. Many pray on their knees. That is not a requirement for God to hear you. Allowing yourself to be too comfortable means you may have to fight the urge to fall asleep or your mind may wander. Be close to your spouse and even hold hands. Interestingly, almost every time God revealed himself in the bible, people fell to their knees and on their face. This position is OK to.
Obstacles to praying together
I know you may be thinking, that all sounds nice and good but that is just not practical in my life. There are lots of excuses not to pray together, here are some solutions to a few.
Praying together while you are apart:
Many times jobs, retreats, or family emergencies call us away from our spouse just to name a few. When that happens, prayer is even more important to ensure that you are still intimate although miles apart.
Call each other in the morning and have your prayer over the phone or through FaceTime or Skype.
Praying together when on different schedules:
This was a struggle for us at first when Ben would be getting home late and I would be getting up early. Prayer is still most important first thing.
So when we wake up at different times and go our separate ways, we text our prayers to each other. The first thing I do when I wake up then is read his prayer he may have sent hours earlier then text him my prayer to read when he can take a break.
Praying together when only one spouse is willing to
We have to start somewhere. Be the one that takes the bold step and commit to praying out loud everyday. Before you begin, invite your spouse to join you. If they decline, that is OK. Still pray out loud and pray for them to want to pray with you. This may begin to draw them in. Continue to invite them each day. After a little while, if they still say no, ask them to sit with you while you pray. If they are willing, after a little while, ask them before you are through if they have anything they would like to add. Move slowly and do not force it and also do not give up.
Praying when you are upset or in conflict with your spouse
I can tell you there are many times we were upset at each other from the previous night (our marriage was in need of serious healing and we were in a lot of pain). We still came together and prayed. Every time we have prayed while being angry with each other, we still prayed for each other. The amazing thing is that praying for your spouse when you are upset at them softens your heart big time, at least it does for us. It also cleared the way for us to address the conflict with a clear head and resolve it.
Begin today and this guide will help you discover what prayer can look like for you Couple’s Guide: Praying Together HERE
Begin praying together today!
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 KJV bible adds this last portion. ESV Bible Commentary describe this was added by the scribes copying the text, “Scribal addition, earliest Greek manuscripts lack these words. There is nothing theologically incorrect nor is it inappropriate to say these words in public prayer” (ESV Study Bible. Crossway, 2008).