Summary: If you want a great marriage, pray with your spouse every day. Bible-based Marriage and Family Therapist Doug Britton writes that praying together with your husband or wife is the most important thing you can do for your marriage. When you follow these three simple, practical ways to pray together, you will see your marriage grow in amazing ways.
Summary: Praying with your spouse — how to pray together with your husband or wife every day.
Praying with your spouse is the key to a great marriage
This study is adapted from Making Christ the Cornerstone, book 2 in the “Marriage by the Book” series.
I have counseled about 1,000 married couples over the years. After seeing marriages improve, I used to ask what one piece of advice made the greatest difference. Over and over, I got the same answer — learning how to pray together as a couple.
It makes sense that praying together would bring a couple together. Jesus often prayed with his disciples. And Paul wrote, “Devote yourselves to prayer, being watchful and thankful” (Colossians 4:2). Prayer is our opportunity to connect with God, our creator. It’s practical. And it is a wonderful privilege to be able to approach him together. Yet most couples do not pray together regularly.
Make a plan to pray with your spouse. The following pattern is one I often suggest when counseling. Join the many couples who have discovered that praying together as husband and wife revolutionizes their marriage.
Feel free to change the following prayer pattern in any way that is comfortable for both of you. For example, you could pray the “morning prayer” with your husband or wife in the evening, and you could pray the “evening prayer” in the morning.
Pray together one or more times daily
The following pattern shows how you can pray with your spouse three times a day. If praying together three times a day seems overwhelming, start with once or twice a day.
Morning prayer: Pray for each other.
At the beginning of the day, or before either person leaves for work, one person asks the other for prayer requests, and then he or she prays. After the first person finishes praying, the second person asks the first one for prayer requests and then prays. After that, pray as a couple for family members or other people.
If one person is asleep when the other one goes to work, pray for each spouse’s requests the night before. If one person is away on a business trip, pray by phone.
Early evening prayer: Pray for a servant’s heart.
Most of us feel tired at the end of the day. We enter the evening hours hoping for support and understanding from our spouse. Yet God wants us to look for ways to serve, not to be served. As Jesus said, “Even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve” (Mark 10:45).
To prepare your hearts for the evening, pray with your spouse for a short time as soon as both of you are home after the workday. Take turns praying, with each person praying to be a loving, sensitive and helpful spouse that evening. You could also pray to be free from any tensions or problems from the workplace, and you could pray for help to overcome temptations (such as watching pornography or spending too much time looking at your smartphone or TV).
Bedtime prayer: Pray for God’s protection.
Before you go to sleep, ask for God’s protection over your home and for each member of your family, your relatives and others with needs. If one person goes to bed before the other, pray when the first person goes to bed.
Related: Making Christ the Cornerstone
Suggested prayer guidelines
Either husband or wife can suggest it is time to pray.
You could agree that one of you will suggest praying together at the different times of the day, or you could be informal, with each taking the responsibility to say, “Let’s pray.”
Invite your spouse to pray as a couple.
Make it a friendly invitation. Don’t be pushy. Praying with your husband or wife should be voluntary, not forced.
Both husband and wife should pray out loud.
If you are shy about praying out loud with your spouse, fearing you don’t pray well enough, let me encourage you not to feel embarrassed. Prayer is talking to God. (It’s also listening to him.) Speak simply. He is the most understanding and patient of listeners.
Choose a position that is comfortable for both.
You can pray standing, kneeling, sitting, hugging or lying in bed. The main thing is to pray with your wife or husband, however you do it.
Pray for a reasonable amount of time.
There is no need to have prayer marathons. Pray with your spouse for a length of time that is comfortable for both of you. (If your husband or wife only wants to pray for two minutes, that’s a lot better than not praying together at all.)
Consider using a couple’s prayer chart
Place a chart somewhere each of you looks every day to remind yourselves to pray with your spouse. Feel free to print and use this online prayer chart.
Doug Britton, MFT
Doug Britton, Bible-based Marriage and Family Therapist, has helped hundreds of thousands of people as a therapist, clinical director of a treatment center, seminar speaker, radio cohost, and author of over twenty books that show how to apply God's truths in your daily life. (Visit www.dougbrittonbooks.com.)
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