First, a confession.
I struggled with praying.
For some reason, I grew up thinking praying for everyone else was what God wanted but praying for myself was selfish. For years, I took the petitions of others to God but never my own. I would gladly pray for everyone else but when it came to me, I just couldn't do it. I wish I knew where this thought process came from or what moment in time formed it. And more than anything I wish I had changed it sooner.
I struggled with this on and off, until I read a comment that changed my prayer life forever.
If we want to pray for others in powerful and effective ways…if we want God to work in and through us for His glory…we must first pray for ourselves.
Thankfully, with Gods grace, my prayer life has changed.
Then He decided to stretch me again.
I cannot pray out loud with other people without crying.
Remember me, the ultimate crier
? Praying out loud is just one more thing to add to my makes me cry
Years ago, a special prayer meeting was held at our church specifically for our Pastor. We prayed all together then eventually broke off into groups to pray. As soon as others started praying, I could feel the tears welling. And then it was my turn. With a lump in my throat I tried to talk. The words just wouldn't come out. At this point I was close to sobbing. Bless their hearts, they were patient with me. I was a complete mess. A sobbing, snotty mess.
And then God started nudging my heart to pray with my husband.
One thing I had always loved was slipping my hand into my husbands when the Pastor prays before the sermon. It just felt special, intimate and right. I knew I had to obey, I knew I would feel all those things and more, but I also had no desire to be a mess every time.
And let's be real here. Praying as a couple can be challenging. Many of us aren’t comfortable praying out loud, and so we’re not sure how to bring prayer into our marriage.
Just as being intimate reminds you of your oneness, so does praying together. When you pray as a couple, you are communicating with God and each other. You can learn so much about one another by sharing prayer requests and listening to each other pray.
All marriages, mine included, have problems. We are two imperfect people that daily fail each other. My husband, bless his heart, he's married to a strong-willed quick-tempered girl with a big mouth. But thankfully when we add the presence of a perfect God, we have unlimited possibilities for drawing closer to what God intended for marriage. The more you pray together, the more you will see God do great things!
Praying together helps remind us that there are three of you in this marriage (you, your husband, and God), and God wants to be a part of it with you.
Here are a few tips to get started. And believe me, I'll be reading this list over and over to help us.
Be honest. Talk about it beforehand and be honest about your feelings about praying together. I think being nervous and intimidated is normal, at least I think it is. My goal was to pray with my husband without being a sobbing, snotty mess.
Pick a time and commit. You'll never get started praying together on a regular basis if you don't make this definite commitment to a specific, agreed-upon time.
Decide who will do what. Know ahead of time who is praying first, where you are praying at and how long you will pray for.
Be comfortable. If neither of you are comfortable praying out loud, start by just holding hands and praying to yourself. And set a time limit for how long you will pray.
Prayer doesn't have to be out loud to be real and heard by God. You can pray together silently, you can write your prayer down and read it when you're together or pray while you talk.
Praying doesn’t have to be a long, drawn out thing. Sometimes “sentence prayers” are more effective. When people feel awkward or nervous, understanding that it doesn’t have to be a big prayer can take the pressure off. So you could just use a few sentences to start, and go back and forth. Even if it’s just a minute or two together, it's a start!
I’d love to hear from you about your prayer life as a couple. What works and what doesn’t?