Individuals have their own experience of prayer, that personal conversation we each have with God. This means that learning how, when, and why to pray together in powerful partner prayer as a couple formed of two individuals can often be challenging.
A place to begin can be sharing with each other:
• Why you pray
• When prayer has been helpful
• What your prayers sound like (some use their own words, and some prefer prayers written by others or in scriptures)
• How prayer keeps you in communication and connection with God
You can then begin to identify what types of prayers make sense to stay private. These might include ones confessing a wrongdoing and asking for forgiveness, or ones containing a yearning for an increase in personal spiritual strength or growth. Together, you can explore what types of prayers could be done together and how they might deepen your intimacy. These might include prayers such as:
- Expressions of gratitude for blessings
- Requests for guidance as spouses or parents
- Please for forgiveness for conflict and a request for harmony
- Asking for help for each other during difficulties or challenging circumstances (Dear God, please be with my wife and give her courage as she asks for a raise in her salary today; Dear God, please help my husband interact with his new co-worker as he struggles with acceptance and respect)
It is wise to assess your motives for praying together. Prayer for and about each other must never be used as a form of manipulation, criticism, or control. These motives would work against one of the key intents of couple prayer: building a stronger sense of being “we” and “us”.
Timing for couple prayer can also be take practice for a couple to navigate. When to pray includes the time of day, what is happening at the moment, how frequently prayer occurs, and more. One partner may be only able to participate peacefully with couple prayer once a week; the other partner may prefer daily prayer. At times you may each have to shift one way or the other to accommodate each other’s preferences.
It may take practice to learn to pray together. However, it’s worth the effort. Praying together can:
- Deepen your understanding of what is on each other’s mind and heart
- Increase your unity and harmony throughout activities together
- Lift your spirits with hope
- Provide inspiration for new words and actions
- Help you to see the best in each other
- Adjust your attitudes in a positive direction
- Express honest emotions that are difficult to say otherwise
Prayers together in your marriage can be a gift that helps you live in a state of gratitude and love with God. They can be a strong benefit for your marriage.