A Simple (Yet Profound) Way of Praying Together in Marriage
One of the best tips Noah and I were given by an older trusted couple before getting married was, “No matter what, try and pray together every day.” We entered into our marriage feeling excited and optimistic about incorporating this practice into our daily married lives. How hard could it be right?
Fast forward two years and we still haven’t gotten our prayer groove established quite yet. Turns out, praying together as a couple doesn’t just–“poof!”–happen over night. No matter how well-intentioned or well-disciplined a couple is, it takes work to make it work in your own marriage. For us, it’s been a matter of trial and error:
- The kneeling-before-bed prayer. This practice started out strong, but we soon realized my long-winded prayers were a bit too long for my early-to-bed, early-to-rise husband. I’d be halfway through a prayer only to hear him yawning me along! Strike one.
- The early-bird-morning prayer. After trying to pray together at night, we decided to give this early morning prayer a try. It was filled with promise yet again until it was soon discovered that early mornings, though “prime time” for my husband, were not my most prized hours. Let’s just say I often entered into our prayer times half-groggy and grumbling, annoyed at how chipper and alert he was in his praying! Strike two.
- The praying-for-each-other-but-not-with-each-other prayer. Since we couldn’t quite find a time that worked for us both, we decided to go for a while praying for each other, but not with each other. This gave us space to pray on our own time and at our own pace (and for however long we wanted) without affecting the other person. While this was all good and well, there was something that felt like it was lost in not coming together to pray. Strike three.
These are just a few of our “trial and error” attempts in two years of marriage in trying to establish a rhythm of praying as a couple. I look back on our less than stellar record and don’t know whether to laugh or be discouraged. I can hear my first-grade teacher giving us a pity clap, “It’s okay, you get an A-for-effort!”
But is an ‘A-for-effort’ all we can expect in our married prayers lives? Are we doomed in finding something that is worthwhile and satisfying for us both?
I think not. At least I hope not! We’re not willing to give up yet and I hope you’re not either.
For us, we’ve just had to keep at it and give ourselves grace in taking the time we need to figure it out. All marriages are different and the rhythm of life ebbs and flows as different seasons come and go, which requires times of honest evaluation and re-evaluation of how we’re doing in our spiritual lives, both individually and as a couple. Praying together is not something to be legalistic about, but I think it is a worthwhile endeavor to work towards.
Though we have yet to find our perfect praying formula as a couple (which I don’t think exists anyway), we have recently hit a sweet spot, which I wanted to share here for any couple who, like us, needs some fresh inspiration from time to time. You ready? Here we go, three words:
The. Lord’s. Prayer.
Yep, the Lord’s Prayer. This may sound like an overly simplistic solution, or even a “cop-out” to some. But I think it is in the beautiful simplicity of this prayer that its power is truly found. After all, the so-called Lord’s Prayer is THE prayer given by our Lord Jesus in teaching us how to pray (See Matthew 6:9-13). And even though it may seem all too simple, it really is profound when we take a look at how much ground it covers. Imagine clasping hands with your partner and praying these words together at the start of each day:
Our Father, who art in heaven,
hallowed be thy name.
Thy Kingdom come,
thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread.
And forgive us our trespasses,
as we forgive those who trespass against us.
Lead us not into temptation,
but deliver us from evil,
for thine is the kingdom, the power and the glory for ever and ever.
This prayer allows us to come together as a couple to address our Father in heaven at the start of each new day, praying for each other that God’s will would be done in our lives as individuals and as a family, that we would be given all that we need for that day, that we would be forgiven by God as we have forgiven each other, that we would not be led into temptation of any kind, and that we would be protected from evil that may come our way, as we live by faith as children in his Kingdom for his glory.
Can we really write this off as a simple prayer? I think not!
One reason this prayer practice had helped us is that there is a definitive start and finish. Though there is a time and place for longer-winded spirit-filled praying together as a couple that is not time-bound, I’ve had to come to the (slow) realization that it is perhaps not the best way of attempting daily praying as a couple. It is no less serious or less spiritual, or less meaningful, but it allows you both to engage in earnest prayer for each other in a practical way. It serves as a symbol, not only of togetherness and oneness, but also of humble obedience, praying as the Lord taught us at the start of each new day.
Perhaps you can try it, as we are, and see how it goes. May we all experience afresh God’s love, power and grace as we engage in this simple yet profound way of praying together in marriage.
*Why do you think praying together in marriage is important or not important? Feel free to share any fresh inspiration of prayer practices that have worked in your marriages and family here!