During the over twenty-three years of our married life, Frances and I have made it our routine to pray together daily. We usually start by discussing anything significant we believe needs prayer. Then we pray.
These regular times of prayer have been the cornerstone of our marriage. Here are some benefits we have experienced.
- The communication has drawn us closer as a couple.
- The prayer time has given us a common activity to share.
- It is a pleasure to pray with someone you love.
- It has broadened our relationship by keeping us other centered.
- It has increased transparency in our marriage.
- We have been able to keep up with the events that each of us regard as significant.
- It has kept us engaged with the lives of our family and friends.
- It has brought us closer to God.
- It has helped us both to establish and keep a daily habit of prayer.
- It gives us an opportunity to praise God.
- It is a safe environment to confess sins to God.
If you and your spouse desire to start or maintain a regular time of prayer, here are some tips that may help you get started and keep on.
- Schedule a daily time that is convenient for both of you. What often works is to pray first thing in the morning or last thing at night. Find a time and place that minimizes distractions.
- Start small. When starting a new habit, it is helpful to limit the effort invested. Five minutes sharing and five minutes praying is probably plenty for most couples. Resist (especially at first) making the time long and therefore burdensome. The shorter and more pleasant the time, the more each will be attracted to repeat it.
- Limit the sharing time to genuine prayer requests. Don’t use this as a gossip time.
- Work to make sure that the time you spend sharing is less than the time you spend praying.
- Handle your conflict at another time. If there is a conflict, handling the conflict before (preferable) or after your prayer time keeps your prayer time from becoming a war zone.
- Pray in short bursts. Take turns. Be careful not to drone on. If you have a lot to pray, just pray a part of your prayer. After your spouse prays, you can take up your prayer again. Or better yet, if you have a lot to pray about, pray at another time when you are alone.
- Don’t use the prayer time to preach at your spouse. Use it to connect with the Lord.
- Keep at it. At the beginning, prayer and even sharing, may seem burdensome to one or both parties. But if you persevere through these times you will reap a tremendous reward that will include closeness to your spouse and to your Lord.
If you practice daily prayer with your spouse, you will prove like many before you that the couple that prays together stays together.