Marriage Missions International

Praying Together as Husband and Wife

 

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I’ve been shocked to find out how many Christian husbands and wives don’t pray together (other than a meals —and sometimes not at meals either unless someone is over to their home that would inspire them to do so). What’s even more surprising is how many of those who are in full time Christian ministry, don’t pray together either.

But on the other hand, I have to admit that my husband Steve and I didn’t pray together (except at meals) for several years after we committed our lives to the Lord Jesus. To be quite truthful, it never occurred to us to do so. That might sound strange, but we hadn’t given it thought. And even though we were members of a strong Bible-believing church, it was never talked about. Praying individually, yes, but praying together as a married couple wasn’t ever mentioned.

The subject came up, however, when I was attending a women’s Bible Study. One of the women shared that every morning, before she and her husband got into the busyness of the day, they prayed together. She told us how much this meant to each of them and how much it caused them to grow closer to God and to each other.

As I heard her talking about this I thought about asking my husband if we could do the same. It was funny. As soon as I brought it up, he said the same thing I did when I heard this woman share her story. He said, “I don’t know why, but it never occurred to me for us to do that. Let’s try it tomorrow morning, at the start of our day.” And so we did.

That was over 38 years ago. And we’ve very seldom missed praying together each morning since.

It’s difficult to describe the closeness I feel for my husband as we pray together. And it’s a wonderful way to begin our day to ask the Lord to guide us, protect us, and address the needs of those we love so much.

Now we pray together at other times as well. If one of us is troubled, or if someone asks us to pray for them, or during emergencies, and/or during times we just want to get on our knees and thank God for His blessings, we pray together. It’s been great.

But I’ve found out by talking with others and by reading, that some couples struggle with praying together. They may be self-conscious, or don’t feel close enough emotionally to do so, or for many other reasons.

Author David Stoop, in the book, When Couples Pray: The Little Known Secret to Lifelong Happiness in Marriage, disclosed the following about his struggle in praying with his wife Jan,

“Part of my reluctance was quite simply, ‘What’s the big deal about praying together?’ Just as long as I prayed personally, I couldn’t see why praying together was so important to Jan. Obviously, I never verbalized this, for somehow I knew that this was not the right attitude for a husband to share with his wife.”

He went on to explain,

“Someone described the process of a couple praying together as two people suddenly becoming naked spiritually with each other, and I related to that. My impression was that what Jan wanted me to do was to bare my soul before God in her presence. Later, I found out that wasn’t her expectation at all, but when I wasn’t willing even to talk about it, how was I to know?”

He goes on to say the following about his struggle,

“Richard Foster describes my struggle well. He says, ‘We today yearn for prayer and hide from prayer. We are attracted to it and repelled by it. We believe prayer is something we should do, even something we want to do, but it seems like a chasm stands between us and actually praying.’

“In my case, not only was there a struggle within me, there was a struggle between Jan and me, with Jan representing the yearning and me representing the hiding. Perhaps, as Foster goes on to say, I was waiting for everything to be ‘just right.’ Or perhaps I was waiting to become better at praying, or more willing to ‘pray deep.’

“Whatever the reason, I do remember feeling like I just wasn’t ready to do this ‘praying together’ with Jan. I know now that part of my problem was that I was making everything too complicated. Neither Jan nor I knew how to get past the barriers until we just jumped in and began, with a few simple words.”

David’s wife Jan, said the following about their experience of starting to pray together:

“Once we started praying together, Dave’s objections simply went away. He found it wasn’t as scary as he had thought. The key for us was to begin in a very simple way. When we asked one couple how they got started praying together, they said, ‘We just opened our mouths and said, ‘Dear Heavenly Father…’ At first, it seemed like they had missed the point of our question, but as we reflected on their response, we realized they were right on: keep it simple —just open your mouth and start.”

And that’s what we found for us. Sometimes it is the anticipation of what is expected of each of us that can get in the way. Sometimes it’s just better to dive in and work the details out later (if there are any). If a husband and wife can’t risk being spiritually naked in front of each other, there’s a deeper marriage problem going. And in that case, they need prayer all the more!

“The old adage is true: ‘The couple who prays together stays together.’ That’s because prayer itself is such an intimate activity. When you pray not only for, but with someone, you’re agreeing to make yourself vulnerable. As you and your spouse pray together, concerns may arise that otherwise could become big issues and cause division in your relationship down the road.

“Natalia and Jamie discovered that truth when they decided to spend brief daily prayer times together. ‘Jamie and I always prayed over our food,’ Natalia admitted, ‘and sometimes we prayed together for other people’s needs. But it wasn’t until we began to pray directly for and with each other that I was able to reveal to my husband how I felt about myself. …and the past he knew nothing about. Praying together was the most important step we’ve taken in our marriage. It helped us work through our backgrounds and make us stronger as individuals and as a couple.'” (Ramona Cramer Tucker, from the Kyria.com article “Making a Connection”)

In the book When Couples Pray, author Cheri Fuller, shares of a time when she and her husband had some very important decisions to make together that had previously caused problems in their relationship. They made a point of praying together over the matter. And God answered their prayers in some wonderful ways. She writes,

“But God’s direct answer to our prayer, wonderful as it was, was not the most important result of our praying together. Even more precious to us was that our hearts began to be knit together through the incredible closeness we felt as we prayed to our Father.

“Without a counselor to tell us what was wrong, God Himself began to heal our marriage. And with every prayer we prayed together, Jesus became that third strand of a braided cord, binding us tightly together and giving us strength. With this increased spiritual bonding came emotional intimacy. The heart-to-heart connection with my husband that I had desired for so long slowly began to become a reality.”

Cheri writes how, in the many years since their first times of praying together, God has knit their hearts together:

“My husband and I have discovered a special, heart-to-heart connection that is only available through prayer and spiritual interaction. When we’re fresh out of love and patience with each other, God has an inexhaustible supply of each, ready and waiting for us to ask.

“God has taught us a lot through simple prayers uttered over coffee or at our kids’ besides. And although we’ve seen Him work in our lives and our children’s lives over and over as we’ve prayed, we still have not arrived. We are still whispering, ‘Lord, teach us to pray.’ And we’re still finding that He loves to show us more!”

And that’s what my husband Steve and I have found as well. Praying together bonds us in ways that we might not normally have experienced any other way. For one, we’ve found that we can’t pray together and still be mad at each other. It doesn’t make for a very sincere time of petitioning the Lord when our own hearts are not united.

I’m reminded of the scripture that says, “If you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that your brother has something against you, leave your gift there in front of the altar. First go and be reconciled to your brother; then come and offer your gift” (Matthew 5:23-24). This is a principle that even applies to marriage.

So my husband and I know that if for no other reason, the next morning when we come together to pray, we need to have some sort of reconciling going on between us. It’s helped us in many ways (besides the Bible verse that tells us not to let the sun go down on our anger), to keep short accounts with each other in how we deal with our negative feelings towards each other.

To give you additional thoughts and ideas on praying together as husband and wife, we came across several articles on the Internet that we encourage you to read.

The first article is written by Rachael Phillips. She shares something that a lot of us can probably relate to. She writes,

“Consumed with family, patient, and church needs, we both learned to pray. A lot. But not together. It made sense to me that praying together would draw us closer to God and to each other. [My husband] Steve didn’t see it.”

You may or may not be able to relate to this problem, but what’s really amazing is the journey that God took Rachael through to get to the point where they started praying together regularly. She had almost given up hope but, “The Holy Spirit had not.” To learn more, please click onto the Kyria.com web site link to read:

NOT TONIGHT, HONEY

In the following article, Sheri Mueller admits,

“Praying with my husband is wonderful — but it didn’t start that way.”

Their prayer styles were so different, that it developed into a point of contention in their marriage. Rather than giving up on praying together, Sheri and her husband Jim eventually found a way to bridge their differences and approach the Lord together in prayer so that it ushered unity and spiritual intimacy into their relationship.

To discover what they learned, please click onto the Kyria.com link to read:

• SIMPLE WORDS

“We often hear that praying together is one of the best things you can do for your marriage. But a surprising number of Christians are hesitant to pray, either together or alone. Why?”

Is it because we don’t feel we “measure up” … or that “prayer is complicated” … we’re “just plain busy” … or maybe it’s that we’re “uncomfortable praying out loud?” Yep! And more! That’s what you’ll find being addressed in the following Kyria.com article:

The MP BOOKSHELF: A Conversation with Timothy Jones, author of, The Art of Prayer

Dennis Rainey, the Executive Director of Family Life Ministries wrote the following, as it pertains to prayer,

“I thank God for that tradition of prayer He has helped us build early in our marriage. I am not exaggerating when I say that Barbara and I might not still be married had it not been for daily prayer.”

My husband have found the same thing to be true for our marriage, and surprisingly, for a lot of the same reasons.

To learn what Dennis, his wife Barbara, and Steve and I have discovered about prayer, please click onto the Crosswalk.com web site link to read:

PRAYER: The Secret to a Lasting Marriage

Tobi Layton (married 8 years) and Deborah Raney (married 35 years) give both “fresh” and “seasoned” perspectives concerning praying as a married couple (and challenge you with discussion questions on the subject as well) in the following article which you can read by clicking onto the Crosswalk.com web site link below:

MARRIAGE PERSPECTIVES: Pursuing God As a Couple

But above all, it’s like what Evelyn Christenson said,

“Praying together is like riding a bike. You can read how to do it or have someone else tell you; but until you try it yourself, you’ll never learn how to do it.”

And we sincerely hope you will!

Here’s a closing thought given by Kathleen Groom, from an article she wrote titled, “What’s Your Best Advice for Newlyweds?”

“Nightly, I used to lie in bed waiting for my husband to initiate prayer. When he didn’t, I wrestled with whether or not I should do it, since I desired my husband to be our spiritual leader. A friend shared an idea that works beautifully, and we’ve been praying together regularly ever since. My husband initiates prayer on odd days of the month, and I begin our prayer times on the even days. Now when we crawl into bed, the first words we often speak are ‘What day is it?’ followed by ‘Dear Lord …'” (Today’s Christian Woman, May/June 2006 issue)

The above article is written by Cindy Wright of Marriage Missions International.

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Comments

11 Responses to “Praying Together as Husband and Wife”
  1. Betty says:

    (UGANDA)  I have read the article about the importance of praying together and I must say it is inspiring. I have been married for over four years and this part of our marriage has been difficult. We never really seem to have time to pray together. One thing I have noticed however is that the days we have chosen to pray together we have really been close and happy as a family. I have learn’t the importance of initiating and I will also practice the idea of changing to my husband praying on even days and me on odd days.

    Thank you for all the good work. I have really been blessed by the website. It brings to light the current challenges and demands of current families. The solutions are also so practical and real. May God bless you.

  2. Elwyn says:

    (USA)  I needed this. I have believed in this all my married life but have not practiced it. Thank you for this encouragement. I plan to start immediately. I am a Christian with a family of 7 children 6 married 1 single and 15 grandchildren. We faithfully had family prayer during the time the children were growing up and for some reason, stopped when they were gone. Thank you again for this encouragement.

  3. Hope says:

    (JAMAICA)  My husband and I started out praying together. Before we got married I would call him and wake him in the mornings so we could pray together about stuff we discussed. We would say a time so that we were both praying at the same time. We would also share verses with each other via text messaging.

    Although we lived in different locations I felt close to him then. When we got married I expected the same thing to continue but I had problems praying out loud. He would insist that I should pray out loud and when I couldn’t he got frustrated and stopped. I think that is where things got sour. We stopped spending time together with God.

    Now we don’t pray together or even do Bible study together. I keep suggesting that we give it a try but he keeps saying yes and then putting it off. I am really praying about this because I know we are meant for more than what we are now.

    • Cindy Wright says:

      (USA) Hi Hope, It sure seems like the enemy of our faith is playing a dastardly game with you and your husband. He’s using prayer, or all things, to try to divide you (and so far is subtly doing so). Please recognize the evilness in this and make a concerted effort to come together as partners. Fight the enemy — not each other on this issue.

      It doesn’t matter who prays aloud or who doesn’t. What matters is that you DO pray and you quit judging each other and allowing this to separate you. What God means for good — as a unifying, spiritual partnership, the enemy is using to pit you against each other. Resist the temptation to do so.

      It may be that your husband will need to live up to Ephesians 5, where he “washes” you “with the water through the word” and takes the role as the main one who leads out loud in prayer (being considerate and understanding as he is told to do in 1 Peter 3:7). And possibly eventually, as you gain confidence with his gracious, non-judgmental help (realizing that you are praying to God and that it doesn’t matter if you are eloquent in how you pray– God knows your heart) you may be able to join him in praying out loud some day.

      But until that time, ask your husband to give you grace and to partner together with you and God in being the one who vocalizes your united prayer. Ask him to please not judge you, but love you “as unto the Lord” in this way so you can stand together as a “cord of three strands” that is strong in the Lord.

      Many times we change after we marry. This is one of those areas of life where you will need to purpose to unite together once again to fight against the enemy of your faith, rather than each other. Apply Ephesians 5:10-18 where you put on the full armor of God — realizing that your “struggle is not against flesh and blood” as you have been doing lately, “but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.”

      Keep in mind that if the enemy of our faith can get us to fight against each other, we aren’t fighting him. Stand strong TOGETHER.

  4. Elizabeth says:

    (USA)  Young people in youth expressed that the husband is to pray and the wife not to pray with him except to agree with his prayer. Are there scriptures that tell husbands & wives to pray together? Are there scriptures that tell wives to pray? Any help you can give is appreciated.

  5. Andrew says:

    (MALAYSIA)  My wife and I left church for 15 years because we lost our focus. We were serving in the children’s ministry for many years, but we had gotten so caught up in the “doing” part, we totally left out God. We were so busy with “being Christians and doing Church work” that we hardly prayed as individuals let alone as a couple. That led to our 15 years in the wilderness. During those 15 years in the wilderness, we backslid and the devil practically had free hand in trying to destroy our family. I believe that if it were not for God’s unfailing love, we would have divorced and that would have crushed my kids.

    Anyway, it took some doing but when we obeyed and just made the decision to come back to God, things just fell into place.

    After 3 months of coming back to church, God began to speak to my heart about praying with my wife. I was hesitant. Although we came back to church with a new sense of faith, there was still a spiritual and emotional distance between my wife and I that we just could not bridge.

    One morning, an old Church elder and friend suddenly popped up at our breakfast table in the cafe and sat down. We chatted and towards the end of our meal, he shared about how he and his wife would pray together every morning and evening and how it brought them closer together than they’ve ever been. I told my friend that he probably didn’t know it, but God had sent him to talk to us. He didn’t say anything – he just smiled and excused himself.

    Driving home with my wife beside me, I told her that I had been thinking about praying together as husband and wife. She agreed. That in itself was a miracle. Anyway we decided to start simple just once a week – on Mondays.

    When we obediently started our first Monday prayer, we immediately felt the unmistakable and deep peace of God surrounding us. And it wasn’t so scary nor was it difficult. We just kept our words simple and before we knew it, we had spent a whole hour praying. That day, God’s peace continued to abide with us. We noticed that during the first 3 weeks, Tuesdays to Sundays would be more stressful and we were prone to disagreements and minor hassles. We figured that it MUST be the fact that we didn’t pray on those days, so we decided to pray everyday. Today, our life as a family and couple have drastically changed. Through prayer, God has broken down many stubborn walls that stood between my wife and I. He has humbled us to the point where we now readily admit our weaknesses to one another and not try to hide it behind our pride and ego. God has not only strengthened the bond between us as husband and wife, but between our kids and us. As we learn to pray and to lean on God each day, we marvel at the way He is faithful and loving. As we submit to Him and learn to put Him first in everything that we do, He provides for us in many, many ways – big and small.

    Now, we try to center whatever we do around God and prayer. Without committing everything to God first, we are missing out the most vital ingredient to success. It’s clear. The devil uses lies and fear to keep us from enjoying the most wonderful blessing God has given us – the simple privilege of coming to Him in prayer as a couple just as little children climb up on the laps of their Daddy’s to talk to Him. God bless you!

  6. Janna says:

    (USA)  I’ve been praying for a lot of years that my husband would pray with me. We will be married 21 years this winter. He is a Christian, and has really grown in his faith the past 3 years, but he just has no interest in doing Bible study or prayer together with me. I get discouraged and disappointed in him. I’m hurt because he knows how happy I would be.

    • Boo says:

      (USA)  I feel your pain I have been married 25 years and have gone from asking to pleading my husband over the years to please, please pray with me! Sadly to no avail. I think approx 6 years ago I just gave up asking… I believe with everything that is in me that the divide between us is a direct result of not having that hedge of protection around our marriage that could have been built by being nakedly spiritual with each other. Now as life presents us with many hardships, and we cannot come together as a couple on our knees, we simply leave the gate open to allow Satan to attack our marriage and our family because he knows how vulnerable and spiritually un-protected we are :(

  7. Mark says:

    (GHANA)  I am a newly wedded husband and a devoted Christian who handles the music ministry of our church. I and my wife never found it difficult to pray together. The very first day that we got married we had already made prayer the weapon to seal any loop hole, through which the enemy could penetrate our marriage. We even started praying together before we got married, but those times we were praying on phone.

    When couples pray together, they get closer to each other more and more. One important aspect of praying together with your wife is settlement of matters. Because you will pray together it’s always difficult to smoulder within you misfeelings and unforgiveness.

  8. Dean says:

    (USA)  This is a vary hot topic, husbands and wives praying. Couples fail to understand that the husbands and wives prayers are not their own. The family is attached to those prayers. This is due to the fack that the husband and wife have joined together and become one so when each one prays the other is attached. And this is so very important because they must be in unity with each other and with the Yahweh divine family order, for those prayers to be honored. AMEN, PASTOR DORSEY.

  9. ISRAEL says:

    (NIGERIA) By the grace of God, my wife and I have prayed together for the past 32 years that we’ve been married. I believe that our praying together has contributed to the success of our marriage, despite the 14 turbulent years we experienced in our marriage, when we may have been tempted to divorce or separate. But God glued us together despite the problems we were encountering then.

    I encourage every couple reading this post to please begin, or continue to pray together because the benefits are enormous and that is the will of God concerning every marriage.

Marriage Missions International