Praying for your spouse is an incredibly important investment you can make in your marriage, and it is one that many of you committed to this past month.
Coming off the heels of Valentine’s Day, I want to challenge us to go one step further. Instead of just praying for our spouse, this month, let’s purpose to begin praying with our spouse.
We all have reasons not to begin — busy schedules, insecurity, miscommunication, different interest levels, and constant interruptions are just a few of the obstacles we have to overcome when making the effort to pray together. On top of that, praying together sometimes just feels awkward!
But even though praying together might feel uncomfortable at first, God uses that time of prayer to knit our hearts together. The power of praying together is unmeasured, but pivotal in our marriages!
If you’re struggling to start praying together as a couple, here are 8 tips to help you get started:
Pick a time.
As is the case with most things, if we don’t plan a time for the things we want to do, those things won’t happen. The same is true of praying together. Start by picking a time that works for both of your schedules. For some, praying together in the morning over coffee or breakfast works best; for others, bedtime is the best option. Before a meal, once the kids are in bed, over lunch or after dinner are other times that have worked well for many couples. Decide together and purpose to make it happen.
If you want to pray for an hour, and he’s expecting to finish in 10 minutes, one or the other of you will end feeling disappointed or irritated. Plan ahead and communicate. How long will your prayer time last? Who will pray first? Will you each pray one long prayer, or will you bounce back and forth, each praying many short prayers? Understanding each other’s expectations helps set you up for success.
Start with short prayers until you get used to praying together. “Popcorn prayer” is a great place to start because it allows you to keep each prayer short — about a sentence or two — and “pop” back and forth, praying for many different things. For some couples, determining ahead of time who will pray the last prayer is helpful.
Pick your time and stick with it, but give yourself or your spouse grace if you miss a day. This time of prayer can unite you; don’t allow rigidness to ignite contention or criticism in your relationship.
Stretch Yourself Slowly.
If only one of you is comfortable praying out loud, start there. If neither of you is comfortable, start by sharing some requests and then praying silently together. But don’t stay there. Take a step of courage to grow. Pick a few Scripture verses or short prayers from a prayer book to help you become more comfortable praying out loud.
Praying together isn’t something to be entered into robotically or rushed through. It is a time to listen – to hear your spouse’s heart and to hear the voice of God! Listening requires discernment, slowing down, and taking heed, and it is so worth it. When you pray together, listen to one another and listen to God.
Don’t preach to each other in your prayer. You know what I mean — it’s like when you’re sitting through a sermon elbowing your spouse rather than discerning how the point applies to your own life and heart? Yea, we can do that in our prayers, too.
Stick with it.
Stick with it — praying together might be awkward at first, but keep at it, together, and pray that God will use this time to knit your hearts together with His.
Praying together as a couple is incredibly valuable. Will you join us this month for this challenge?
Erika Dawson // erikadawson.com
By the way, my book Pray Truth: Praying God’s Word for My Husband’s Heart is only $.99 for a limited time! Get it here. I pray God uses it to work deeply in your heart and marriage!