Do you and your spouse pray together?
One of greatest things we get to do as Christians is pray. Our personal relationship with Jesus Christ allows us to develop an intimate relationship with Him where we can talk to Him with complete openness and vulnerability. As such, prayer becomes an individual routine or practice. When we get married, we maintain many of our personal routines. However, we believe that praying with your spouse, or marital prayer, is an important part of deepening your own personal relationship with Christ and a routine that needs to be developed together. Every married couple should incorporate praying together into their daily marital routine.
Unfortunately, Tim and I did not have the habit of praying together as part of our marital routine for the first decade of our marriage. Sure, we prayed at dinnertime and sometimes before bed with the kids, but it was more of an afterthought and not the kind of intimate prayer I am referring to. We had no idea what we were missing by not having this in our daily life together.
After we started attending church regularly and were experiencing some marital strains, a fellow Christian friend asked us about our prayer life together. Gulp! Were we supposed to be actually praying, like aloud, with one another? We had not been doing that. If prayer is so personal, then why would we need to pray together as a couple?
In the Bible, James describes why we should pray for one another:
16 Confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The earnest prayer of a righteous person has great power and produces wonderful results.
James 5:16 NLT
We all are in need of some amount of healing as far as our marriages are concerned. In a union of two people, things will get messy at one point or another. Ugly words and regrettable actions come from each spouse, whether we are prepared for them or not. Praying together petitions healing to occur within our marriage. So, what does it look like to pray together practically?
Let me give a quick example of how we started praying together as a couple. One afternoon, we were in the car having a discussion over something insignificant that led to an argument. As the tension grew, and my heart began racing, I could sense that this argument was leading to nowhere quickly! I knew now was the time to try this “praying together thing” our friend had mentioned. I asked Tim to pull over and stop the car. Reluctantly, he pulled off of the road and stopped the car. I immediately grabbed his hand and said we need to stop talking and pray, right here and right now. Admittedly, it was awkward praying together like this in the midst of an argument in the middle of the day. But, all things are possible with God, including this.
What do you think happened when we stopped to pray in the midst of heated fellowship? Both of our hearts were immediately softened and our focus shifted to the Lord instead of on our issue. Rather than trying to prove the validity of my side of the argument, I began to pray for resolution and most of all, I prayed for my husband’s feelings, in front of him. Not only did this show him love, honor and respect, it helped me to validate his view over my own view. I wasn’t worried about saying the right things in front of him and I wasn’t embarrassed to outwardly express my love for him in the form of a prayer.
Scripture also tells us the importance of inviting the Holy Spirit into your prayer life, especially when we don’t know what to pray for:
26 And the Holy Spirit helps us in our weakness. For example, we don’t know what God wants us to pray for. But the Holy Spirit prays for us with groanings that cannot be expressed in words. 27 And the Father who knows all hearts knows what the Spirit is saying, for the Spirit pleads for us believers[a] in harmony with God’s own will.
Romans 8:26-27 NLT
By praying together, we invited the Holy Spirit into our problem and He gave us peace in the midst of it all. Praying together has become a staple in our marriage over the second decade of our marriage. It is the part of the Armor of God that we clothe ourselves in daily (Ephesians 4:6-18).
According to the Bible, when you get married, you are to become one flesh with your spouse. The deep level of intimacy you experience by praying with your spouse helps you achieve oneness.
24 For this reason a man shall leave his father and his mother, and be joined to his wife; and they shall become one flesh.
Genesis 2:24 NLT
Tim and I refer to this as the marital sanctification process. As we become one flesh, we are constantly being stripped of our selfishness and of the “ugly” parts of our personality that don’t mesh well with being fully committed to another human being. The trials we face together as a couple help us in the sanctification process, for ourselves and for each other in unity. Our goal in marriage should never be to fulfill our own desires, but rather, to become more like the spouse Jesus commands us to be. It means to become more like Jesus in our every day walk. The deep level of intimacy that is gained from becoming one flesh is an ultimate expression of the love God has for us, because we are filled with the Spirit. Praying to become one flesh together draws the Lord into your marriage.
The next time you and your spouse aren’t on the same page and you get stuck out of unity with one another, stop everything and pray together. If you can’t pray in person together, pray over the phone together. Submit your differences to God in the form of prayer and invite the Holy Spirit to be the mediator. Also practice praying together when you are in sync with your spouse. The Lord welcomes your praises and rejoices with you!