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
The practice of informal, spontaneous prayer contributes to an integrated spirituality in children in which they begin to perceive that all of life connects with transcendent realities; prayer is not compartmentalized but available and appropriate in everyday life needs and situations
~Mara Lief Crabtree, Nurturing Children’s Spirituality, p. 90
When in history did our “Dear God” & “Amen” bookends become a part of our prayer life? More importantly, how did prayer become an aspect of religious life that is confined to the church walls and the dinner table? I admit that the type of prayer described above is very difficult. It wasn’t until I was required to read The Practice of the Presence of God by Brother Lawrence that I really began to see prayer as a conversation instead of a monologue. I have read much about the “Just a Little Talk with Jesus” ways of praying. It should be so natural that your speech sounds no different in prayer than it does when you call up a friend. I like this. Especially as my daughter begins to talk, which she does nonstop unless she is asleep or eating, I think about ways that I can help her make prayer her primary speech. How can I get her to see that everything she does can be shared with God. I am certainly not good at it myself and it is hard to branch out beyond praying for ambulances and firetrucks as they pass by to praising him for wiggly bugs and chances to share toys.
As Miriam and I learn to pray together, I hope that she can become as comfortable and excited telling God about the pizza made of sand as she digs in the backyard sandbox as she is with me. As Miriam develops her own prayer language, I learn from her. She listens to her heart and knows when God’s voice is louder than all the others.
God, thank you for the informal and spontaneous moments when we are called to share our lives with you.