“This one is bone from my bone, and flesh from my flesh! She will be called ‘woman,’ because she was taken from ‘man.’” – Genesis 2:23
There is that old saying, ‘couples who pray together, stay together’. And while it may make an important (if not corny) point, there are a lot of couples committed to staying together, who have not yet been able to incorporate the praying part. The outcome is often, unfortunately, a marriage that is not all it could be.
There were many times over the years when my husband and I had started to pray together and stopped, or talked about it, but never made it to the starting line. It wasn’t that we didn’t want to, but there was always a barrier that seemed to get in the way. It wasn’t until God began opening doors of ministry, that we took prayer together more seriously. We desperately wanted to serve God faithfully (and powerfully) but knew that if He was going to ramp up our ministry life, we needed to ramp up our prayer life. Through “cuddle praying”, our marriage has strengthened in ways we could not name or list.
Now we’d never go back.
If you find yourself in that place where you want to begin praying with your spouse or maybe you have tried in the past but have since stopped, there is no better time to begin than now. Here are some tips to help you get started – and keep going.
When my husband and I started praying together we didn’t over-do it even though we were motivated. Fifteen minutes a week might seem like a disappointment when you have great expectations, but there is no point starting something you can’t maintain. Start with a time that feels easy. As you get more comfortable, you will naturally take more time together and build on what you’ve begun. Even now, there are times my husband and I take 15 minutes together and other times an hour. Time should not be a constraint.
I can guarantee it will be awkward
It was hard enough for me to begin praying in a group at church years ago, but praying with my husband felt even more awkward. Don’t worry if you feel a bit embarrassed, you’re not alone. Learning to be awkward together is also a great growth spot in your marriage. And don’t worry, as time goes by the feeling will pass… mostly.
Set a time and stick to it
One of the main reasons prayer time fizzled out for my husband and I was because we decided to do it when we felt like it. But the truth is – we often didn’t feel like it. Without a set time for prayer, it’s easy to put it off until it’s forgotten. Pick a day of the week that suits you best and a time that you can both commit to and keep each other accountable. And if something unexpected comes up, set a new time straight away to pray as soon as you can.
I’ve been in prayer times, both individually and as a group, that have been amazing, and I really wanted that for my prayer time with my husband, but we don’t need to move heaven and earth when we start praying together. Seek to pray about the things that come naturally – kids, finances, marriage, work or anything that your family happens to be dealing with. As you begin to be more comfortable, you will express yourself more freely and there will be times when the two of you have powerful times of prayer.
Don’t be afraid of quiet
We’ve already established that beginning to pray together can be awkward, and silence only makes it worse. When you are first starting out, it might feel like you need to fill the white space, but you don’t. In fact, it’s important to make ‘quite’ an integral part of your prayer time. It’s worth talking with your spouse before you begin and agree to have quiet time in prayer so that it is a welcomed part of your time together.
Learn to listen
This is a building block on being quiet. Having an open heart to hear what God wants to say to the two of you is important. Sometimes our minds can be too full, but it’s important to keep your mind clear and make yourselves available to hear what God has to say. Often times as my husband and I prayed quietly, something would begin to stir in my heart. Sometimes I would speak out what God had said, and my husband and I would end up in tears. Other times my husband would end up praying what was in my heart, confirming what He was speaking to both of us.
You will find opposition both natural and spiritual working to interfere with your prayer time. While it’s important to have a set time, don’t be so unmoving that you can’t adjust. My husband and I began by getting up before the kids, but when we went on a 6-month road trip, we found the only time to pray was in front of the kids while we were driving, or relaxing in the camper. It took our prayer life to another level and meant we were able to seek God easily anytime and anywhere. It also meant our kids were able to witness the importance of prayer in marriage.
The benefits to beginning an active prayer life with your partner are vast.
Make a commitment right now to talk to your spouse about it. If you are feeling a bit unsure, spend some time praying and giving it to God, asking him for wisdom.
To help you be accountable, why not leave a comment below letting us know you’ve committed to pursuing prayer with your spouse. That way we can join you and support you in prayer.