Prayer is one of those practices that is undeniably central to our discipleship. It’s a way we communicate with God our hopes, fears, desires and adoration. Praying reflects a connection we have with God and when we pray with others, our connection with them is strengthened as well. In a marital relationship, prayer is an activity that will not only draw a couple close to each other through the expression of their hearts but will even decrease the likelihood of divorce. While the national average for divorce is right at 50% the divorce rate for couples who pray together 3-5 times a week is 1 in 1200.  A statistic this remarkable warrants the attention of any couple that wants to guarantee the success of their marriage.
Sometimes it can be difficult to pray with our spouse. For many reasons we can feel inhibited in sharing this part of our walk with Christ in our marriage. On the next page below is a way to beginning the journey toward praying openly from your heart with your spouse. While simple in it’s approach, it may feel unnatural at first. The goal is to provide a “scripted stepping stone” that gets you as a couple talking with God in front of each other.
- Plan a short time (4-5 minutes) where you and your spouse can pray together uninterrupted.
- Choose one person to go first. This person reads only the first line of Prayer Number 1 and fills in the blank with their own words.
- Now it is the other spouse’s turn. Read the first line and fill in the blank with your own words.
- Continue through the prayer until you have read through all four lines.
The first prayer is a good place to start if you have never prayed with your spouse. As you grow more comfortable sharing this time together, move on to the second prayer. It gets a little more into the heart without being too intimidating. As this way of praying becomes more natural, venture into wording your own prayers or take turns providing prompts for each other. Below are some additional examples of prayer prompts.
Prayer for Married Couples: Number 1
God, you are so ___________ .
(share something with God that you like about him!)
God, sometimes its hard for me to ___________ .
(tell God about a struggle you have)
God, I want to thank you for ___________ .
(show God that you appreciate something he’s done)
God, one thing I ask is that you ___________ .
(tell God something you need from him)
Prayer for Married Couples: Number 2
God, when I think about you it makes me feel ___________ .
Today, I really needed your grace when I ___________ .
When I think of all the things you’ve done it makes me want to ___________ .
God, you always take care of my needs. Something I need is ___________ .
ADDITIONAL PRAYER PROMPT EXAMPLES:
- God, it was amazing today when you ___________ .
- God, I want to work harder on ___________ .
- Please give me strength to ___________ .
- As I think back on my day, I’m real proud that I ___________ .
- God I get so sad sometimes when ___________ .
- God when I read in your word about ___________ it made me feel ___________ .
My prayer for you and your spouse is that you grow to the greatest depths of intimacy in your marriage through your conversations with God.
 Gallup Poll conducted in 1989-90 entitled “Love and Marriage.” Results reported in Faithful Attraction by Andrew Greeley, 1991 St. Martins Press
Back in January I got to hear Mark Scandrette talk about his faith community in California. I was captivated by what he had to say about the Jesus Dojo and decided to attempt something similar with our families at church over this past summer.
We decided that on Wednesday nights we would have “Family Dojo.” Dojo means “way of life.” We wanted our families to center their way of life around the teachings of Jesus. To do this we looked at short passages from the Sermon on the Mount, shared in some discussion then experimented with what it would be like to live those passages out during the week. The response was varied. Some families found it natural to “experiment” in this way, others it was forced. I wasn’t bothered by this since the goal was simply to discover practical ways of living out the ways of Jesus. If it proved difficult for families, then perhaps they were able to reflect on what may need to change about their family rhythm. Families that found the experiments fitting naturally into their lives said the kids would remind the parents of what they were supposed to do!
Below are links to the short devotionals I put together and offered to the families.
- Hokey Pokey
- Praying with Jesus
- Reminder Rocks
- Secret Mission
- Tattle Tale Boomerang
- Trading My Worries Away
- Turn That Frown Upside Down
- Yes Be Yes & No Be No
- You’re Already Bright!
A psalm of David.
The LORD is my shepherd, I shall not be in want.
he leads me beside quiet waters,
He guides me in paths of righteousness
for his name’s sake.
through the darkest valley,
I will fear no evil,
for you are with me;
your rod and your staff,
they comfort me.
in the presence of my enemies.
You anoint my head with oil;
my cup overflows.
all the days of my life,
and I will dwell in the house of the LORD
When I was a kid, the church we went to had a huge tapestry in the foyer. Depicted on it was a pasture with nearly a hundred shades of green. Etched around the edges was this psalm of David. Passing by this every Sunday morning, evening and Wednesday night numbed me to it’s beauty and the power it’s words have for life. I can’t say that I have ever heard a sermon preached on it. I don’t think it was ever one of my required memory verses. I have recently come back to this neglected verse and it has become a source of strength for me.
God is always doing one better. It is not enough for God that he provides physical nourishment with green pastures – he restores my soul. The journey he is taking me on wanders deeper than beside quiet waters – he guides me in paths of righteousness. The darkest evils are ignored when we realize his presence is greater, his rod and staff mightier and his comfort so assuring that we can feast at his table right in front of our enemies. When God anoints with oil…
Abiding in him, love and goodness follow.
This is where I want to serve from. What would happen in my family if I lived in the 23rd Psalm. How would the ministry God has given me be affected if it is out of the overflow of what he is doing in my life? If I were walking in paths of righteousness for HIS namesake instead of mine, what would look different?
The LORD is my Shepherd, I shall not be in want … but to follow.
This morning I woke up and went for a bike ride. Miriam woke up crying and after I helped her go back to sleep, I realized that by being woken up by her, I had been granted a few moments where the house was quiet and I could have some time alone. Since Krista has been encouraging me to get a hobby and was pleased I was okay with one as active as bike-riding, I figured going for a little ride would be a good chance to focus my thoughts today. I really do love mornings and find that when I push myself to actually make the best of them, I am particularly contemplative.
I rode around our neighborhood (looking at googlemaps.com first so I wouldn’t get lost) and created for myself a loop that I could complete in about 20 minutes. When I returned, everyone was still asleep and I realized, I had more time to spend with God. That’s when I began my search for some type of devotional literature. I looked around the house and didn’t find anything worthy so I turned my search online. I went to some of my favorite spots only to find that nothing was particularly inspiring. Then it hit me….I could read the Bible!
I don’t know if it is just because I have been preoccupied with church stuff or home stuff but for some reason, it is often easier to turn to devotionals rather than the Bible for spiritual nourishment. This morning though, after my “aha!” moment, I turned to John 10. I think it may have been because I rode past this large field with a horse in it, I was thinking of a pasture that my thoughts were focusing on Jesus the Good Shepherd. Here is what John said to me,
“I am the gate; whoever enters through me will be saved. He will come in and go out, and find pasture.”
While I do not think that reading devotionals will save me, I do think they will deepen my relationship with God. At those times when I am in need of pasture, I quickly go to my favorite authors in hopes that they will give me just what I need. This morning, it was just the Good Shepherd. he called me back to him by the sound of his voice. Entering through him brought me the salvation this morning I needed. He allows me to “come in and go out” and it is there that I find pasture. He knows the places where this sheep can be fed and where the best feeding place are at. Funny what happens when you try to enter the pasture through the gate instead of trying to hop over fences.