Finally, all of you, live in harmony with one another; be sympathetic, love as brothers, be compassionate and humble. Do not repay evil with evil or insult with insult, but with blessing, because to this you were called so that you may inherit a blessing. 1 Peter 3:8-9
So you have never prayed with your husband or wife, have you? Do you mind if I ask, “Why not?” More than a few times I have asked couples those questions, and I get a wide variety of answers. I often get the feeling that people feel awkward or clumsy praying together. In some cases they think that prayer is a private matter or that it belongs in church, or they feel embarrassed to pray together. But once a couple learns what prayer can do for a relationship, they change and change quickly.
Prayer is conversation between you and your Heavenly Father–it’s just that simple! Don’t forget that God already knows everything about you, everything that takes place between you and your mate–and between you and everybody else for that matter. There are no surprises with Him. You’ve also got to remember that God loves you far more than you have any idea when you are His child.
If you’ve never prayed together as a couple, I have a suggestion. Sit at a table with an empty chair, or pull up an empty chair and think of prayer as a simple conversation between you and Jesus Christ. Talk to him as though He were actually sitting there. By the way, hold hands when you pray. There’s something about touching each other as you touch God that makes for powerful chemistry.
You can pray together at any time, but unless you pray together at some particular time of the day, you’ll probably not make prayer a habit.
For many years my wife and I have made our time of prayer, the first thing in the morning. I’ll often stagger downstairs, make a pot of coffee, and by then Darlene manages to join me. We will often drink coffee together and pray, one voicing thoughts in simple, not-very-long phrases, then the other.
Question: What can prayer do for a couple? Plenty! Like what? Like opening the door for effective communication, like helping you to address issues that could tear you apart, like helping you to find God’s power in your personal lives in ways that you would never discover otherwise, like giving you wisdom in knowing how to parent, how to cope with the problems of work, and how to stay on top of the circumstances.
Recently I was talking with a couple who have all but given up on their marriage. Four children from ages 6 to 14 are involved. The father doesn’t want a broken home. Neither do the children, but unless God does something, their marriage is history. “How long has it been since the two of you have prayed together?” I asked. They looked at each other, and the husband said, “I don’t know.” Thinking for a moment, the wife replied, “It’s been at least four years.”
For most of those years, the couple have been in counseling. A lot of hours and more than a little money has gone into saving that marriage, but not once have they joined hands and said, “God, you know what is happening to our lives, and we don’t like it. Lord, we need your help. Help me to be the person you want me to be, and forgive me of my sins and failures.”
When a couple will agree to pray together–no matter what has happened, from infidelity to poor communication–I’ve discovered that we are moving towards a solution. But in closing I must warn you of something. There is danger involved in prayer. It can upset your agenda, but it can bring healing and hope for a better marriage. The danger is well worth facing.
Resource reading: 1 Peter 3:-1-12