Not long ago, I had the pleasure of speaking at a Couple’s Seminar and spoke on a topic I had previously not spoken about: Praying together as a couple. Not a week later, I was approached about this topic on two other occasions. Taking the hint, I figured it would be best to write about it.
Many Christian couples have a difficult time praying together. It is especially difficult for some who have never grown up in the church or prayed out loud. It’s just…awkward. “What do I pray about?” “What if I don’t do it right?” “Will my spouse be better than I am?” “How do I do it?” “What if my spouse laughs at me?” “What do we do if it’s awkward?”
Let me give you a few points to consider when you desire to pray together. These aren’t original, but ideas I have gleaned in research.
1. Praying together can bring a couple closer together through physical touch and uniting hearts in humility seeking the Lord.
2. Praying together often involves both partners feeling “safe” to pray. If your relationship is characterized by criticisms, judgments, arguments, etc., now might not be the right time. But you can pray by yourself that the Lord will change you to become a safe person and that the Lord will change them as well.
3. Praying together will seem awkward at first. Keep going. It will become more natural.
4. Before praying together, have a list of things to pray for so you know what to pray for together.
5. You can start by silently praying together, holding hands and squeezing the other’s hands when you are finished.
6. Take only a few minutes to pray (5 minutes max) at first, this will limit the “awkward time” and help people not fall asleep.
7. Dedicate a certain time of the day that best fits your schedules together and be committed to that time.
8. The Bible does not command that you do this together as a couple, yet it is encouraged that people pray together. Do not treat this as a “law” you must do nor demand that your spouse pray with you. This does not bring about the best prayerful attitude.
9. Do not pray AT your spouse. In other words, don’t do this: “Dear Lord, please change my self-centered spouse and help him to love me as he ought.” or “Dear God, please help this woman I married to give herself to me and submit to my leadership.” Just not a good idea. Prayer is about seeking His will as a couple and not about asking God to do what you want Him to do. It’s not to be used as a manipulative tactic to change your spouse. Pray WITH your spouse, not AT them.
10. Feel free to pre-write your prayers if you feel nervous.
11. Talk about the obstacles to praying together and work together to overcome them.
12. Hold hands.
13. Seek prayer requests from your spouse and pray specifically for your spouse.
This is not an unusual problem for Christians. It is a good desire to have to pray together, yet it is a horrible demand. Praying together is not the temperature gauge for a Christian marriage, yet it certainly can be beneficial for the couple and can be very meaningful as well. Some will refuse to pray together. This does not mean that they are not Christian or that they don’t pray, simply that they choose to be personal in their faith “me and God”. Though Scripture does not encourage such an approach (it encourages community), you may continue to pray for them and occasionally ask that they pray for you (even if he or she won’t pray with you). And please, don’t take it personally. It’s just where they are in their walk with God and it is up to God to move them if they are willing.