It's Wednesday, the day when we talk marriage! I introduce a topic, and then you follow up either by commenting or by writing your own post and then linking up!
Last week I posted a question on my Facebook page: Do you struggle with praying with your husband?
Had a whole lot of comments, because this is obviously a deeply emotional subject for many women. So I thought it would make a great Wifey Wednesday post!
First, let me say that prayer is incredibly intimate and incredibly important. I've never completely understood prayer, even though I've studied it a ton. I have prayed for a lot of very important things in my life (including my son to be spared death) that God did not choose to answer the way I wanted. So I have struggled with the question: does prayer do any good?
And yet I know that prayer changes me, and that when I pray, I just feel better. I see things happening.
When we pray with another person, there's even more power, and I think there's a deep joining of the spirits. It's a lovely, intimate experience, whether it's praying with your children or your husband or a friend.
Nevertheless, many of us struggle with it because we struggle with praying out loud in the first place. We feel awkward, and so it's awkward to pray with our husbands. Even if we want to, and even if we know it would help our relationship, we're reluctant to push it because it's easier to live in the status quo and not have to face our own insecurities.
Or perhaps we don't push it because we're afraid he'll say no! Some of us aren't married to men that are strong Christians, and even though we may want to pray with them, it seems as if that's not going to happen.
Here, then, are some thoughts on how you can bring prayer more into your couple life:
1. Start with reading Scripture. If prayer is a stretch, try reading a Psalm together at night. Most of them are phrased as prayers anyway, and after reading it, you could always choose one verse to read out loud again as a prayer. That's not as intimidating, and as you get more comfortable with that, you'll likely be able to lead up to something more!
2. Ask if he would mind if you prayed about something specific. Saying "can we pray together" is more intimidating than, "can we take a moment and pray about Johnny's bullying situation at school?" The former sounds like anything from "I want to pray for two hours on my knees with you" to "I want to pray that our marriage will completely turn around." He may not know what to make of it. Start with something specific, with boundaries around the request, and he may be more likely to say yes.
3. If he's uncomfortable praying out loud, then when you pray out loud, don't be too flowery. Just be honest before God. You don't need to embellish or try to fill in a lot of time to make up for what your husband isn't doing. Try to be on the same level; if he's more comfortable with just a few sentences, then utter just a few sentences yourself. That way it doesn't seem as if this is something that you are primarily doing and he is along for the ride; it's something that you do together. And remember: there's nothing wrong with praying a few sentences out loud together, and then praying silently together.
4. Touch when you pray. My husband and I have made it a habit to hold hands every time we pray together, whether it's at night or for grace before meals. Prayer is a time for us to touch and focus in unison on God. It makes prayer more intimate, and it draws you together!
5. Pick a consistent time to pray. If you pray every night over the baby's crib, for instance, or every night in bed together, then you're more likely to keep doing it! You can always pray at other times of the day, too, but trying to develop habits makes it more likely to keep going!
6. Buy a book of prayers. I know my ultra-evangelical friends will be turned off by this, but hear me out. For a time our family attended an Anglican church, and the prayers in the prayer book really are beautiful. We left that church when we moved and go to a more traditional evangelical one now, but both Keith and I miss the depth of the prayers. Keith has bought a few books of prayers, and every now and then leads the family in them, especially when we're on holidays together.
There's nothing wrong with a written prayer, as long as your heart is in agreement. You may prefer that prayer be spontaneous, but if people are more comfortable reading it, is that really so bad? If your both feeling so awkward that you can't pray out loud together, then think about the option of buying a book of prayers, or using an Anglican/Episcopalian prayer book. They really do have lovely prayers!
Another option is to buy a book of devotions that you and your husband can do together. These usually have great discussion starters, and often include some prayer points that make prayer easier. Look for these at any Christian bookstore.
UPDATE: I'm getting comments by people who usually don't pray with their spouse, so I'm wondering...do most of us? Or is this a challenge for many couples? Can you take my poll and tell me! Thanks!
Now, what about you? Do you have any suggestions on how you can encourage more prayer in your marriage? Let me know in the comments, or write a post of your own and then link up!
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About Me: I'm a Christian author of a bunch of books, and a frequent speaker to women's groups and marriage conferences. Best of all, I love homeschooling my daughters, Rebecca and Katie. And I love to knit. Preferably simultaneously.