Doing Family Right

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Marital Prayer Part 2: How to Start Praying Together

Marital Prayer Part 2: How to Pray Together

Relational research shows that 92% of couples that call themselves Christians never pray together. “Tell me something new,” you say since you’re one of the many who don’t.

Yet, pause and say it slowly…never ~ pray ~ together…somehow it doesn’t sit right.

Not to sound “holier than thou”, but as one who has clearly benefited by praying with my mate, I can’t imagine life any other way. It’s become routine much like brushing our teeth. And no, not every prayer time is a gripping moment with God. Truthfully, I have sometimes fallen asleep when I am the one praying. That’s not easy. But overall, it’s become a non-negotiable for us and a significant point of connection that we’ve been doing daily since before we were married.

Yet, for so many couples I talk to, they just can’t seem to get there though they know they should.

But think about it. Since God intended that in marriage, two individuals become one, it could be easily argued that He would also make it true that two people would grow together in connection and oneness if they spent time in prayer. It only makes sense.

Jesus put it this way, “Again, I tell you that if two of you on earth (husband and wife would qualify) agree about anything you ask for, it will be done for you by my Father in heaven. For where two or three come together in my name, there am I with them,” (Matthew 18:19-20). That’s pretty clear. When a man and wife join in prayer, God is there with them and promises to answer their prayers. Seems logical, I’d say.

In Marital Prayer Part 1: What Happens When a Couple Prays Together, we saw clearly what a couple is missing by not praying together. We looked at the many potential and powerful benefits when a husband, a wife and their Lord meet daily in prayer. It you want a review or didn’t get a chance to read it yet, click on the link to strengthen your resolve to start praying together with your spouse.

Remember too what we are targeting for your marriage…

Couple prayer is a husband and wife, who being honest with their God and with each other, join together regularly, in spite of their marital imperfections or personal brokenness, to humbly reach out to Him for strength, direction and perspective. They go to God as one. They want His will for their lives and family.

Thinking that it’s a good thing to pray together is one thing but making the step to start praying together is quite another. But if you are feeling a growing conviction to take this new step of faith, I am about to give you a boatload of my most practical suggestions on how to start praying together as a couple. Know that in the process, there’s no doubt that God will help you be a better person, partner and parent. I am going to share when to, how to and what to pray together followed by a number of specific prayer ideas that Donalyn and I have tried and had good success with. I hope these suggestions are a big help to you.

When to Pray Together

  1. Pray after a good talk between you about life or your marriage to “seal the deal” with God as your witness.
  2. Pray before you begin trying to resolve any critical issue that could be difficult to work through or even go sideways between you.
  3. Pray after you have had a time of reconciliation in your marriage. Let forgiveness flow both vertically and horizontally.
  4. Pray at pivotal times of celebration and transition as a family.
  5. Pray during times of crisis in your lives and family.
  6. Pray with and for your children regularly to both lift them up and also model to them how to pray.
  7. Pray as a family at mealtimes to keep the attitude of gratitude alive in your home.
  8. Pray every day as a couple at a time that works best for both of you.

How to Pray Together

  1. Agree to try praying together daily for one month and evaluate what you need to do to adjust or improve your prayer times.
  2. To get started, it might help you to set an alarm at an agreed time each day to remind you to pray together.
  3. Take turns, alternating each day. You both don’t need to pray, though you can.
  4. Keep your prayer times short, sweet and sincere. The goal is to get a prayer habit that is sustainable – something you can continue for 20 years.
  5. Hold hands when you pray. Go to God as one, not in perfection but with a soft heart toward each other.
  6. Sometimes after you pray, you may want to share what you feel God is saying to you. Discuss what you hear Him saying.
  7. Try keeping a prayer journal. Record issues and answers for people, ministries, family, friends and yourselves.
  8. Remember; the key in making praying together work well for you is consistency. Just do it. Stay at it. Grow together.

What to Pray Together For

  1. Take your needs as a couple and family to Him—request your daily bread. It’s a great practice at mealtime to hold hands as a family.
  2. Seek His will for guidance on decisions and direction for the family. Listen for His voice and prompting.
  3. Rejoice together with answered prayer. Give thanks to the Lord for His goodness in your lives. Worship Him for who He is and what He has done for you.
  4. Ask for wisdom in raising your children. Discuss their needs and then pray daily and specifically for each of them.
  5. Take health concerns or family problems to the Lord. Seek His protection from the attacks and schemes of the evil one.
  6. Step out in faith to trust Him when things aren’t going well between you. Be honest with the Lord and each other when help and hope is needed.
  7. Confess your failures in life and marriage seeking forgiveness from Him and each other.
  8. Reach out to God on behalf of others in your network. Lift up the needs of friends, neighbors, extended family, pastors, missionaries and whomever God brings to mind.
  9. Pray specifically for each other. You know your spouse’s world, concerns and pressures better than anyone else. Faithfully lift up each other.
  10. Ask God to keep your marriage strong; to help you to remain faithful to each other and that together you will serve Him by touching the world around you.

Special Prayer Ideas that Worked for Us

Prayer Album: We developed a photo album of our friends, extended family and missionaries that we used to guide the family for more meaningful prayer times.

Phone Prayer: When apart, we pray together with and for each other by phone or Skype.

Team Prayer: We have grown as a couple to pray well together reaching out in counseling and prayer for others in need.

Good-bye Prayer: For years, we have prayed for those that have visited in our home at our front door when they are leaving.

Alarming Prayer: I set 5 alarms on my watch to go off every day for over 6 years to prompt me to pray more for my wife and 4 children. Face it. I am no prayer warrior. As a Dad, I needed all the help I could get to be more faithful at holding my family up.

Accountability Prayer: For 30 years this summer, I have met with another man to hold me accountable to what I believe God is telling me is most important in my life. We pray every week for each others family.

Family Celebrations: We hold a family prayer time for moments of celebration and transition like for graduations, new homes, babies, pregnancies and jobs.

Private Dedications: We found it extremely meaningful for us in the first week of life of each child to go into their room while they were sleeping and as a couple, lay hands on them and dedicate them to the Lord.

Thanksgiving Prayer: At Thanksgiving, I have at times pre-assigned specific items for the men of the family to prayer for before the meal. We often went on after dinner to have a time of sharing what we were thankful for.

Christmas Prayer: At Christmas, we have always had a prayer of gratitude for the greatest gift at Christmas—Jesus—before the gift opening though not as easy when the kids were little.

Fasting Prayer: Donalyn and I have practiced fasting for focused times of seeking God together on critical decisions and directions.

Family Worship: We have held times of family worship—singing, sharing and praying for each other. These have been some of our richest times together as a family now that all are adults and yes, once the grandkids are all in bed.

Well, there you go. I have tried to be really helpful. I would love to hear what you find works well for your couple prayer times. Share your comments with me. Get brave and get started tonight!

 

©Dr. Dave Currie
January 2013