Recent research shows that couples who pray together really do stay together
Dr. David Stoop, citing a study by the National Association of Marriage Enhancement, says that less than one percent of couples who pray together every day end up divorcing.
Every Christian couple theoretically recognizes the value of praying together. The difficulty arises in moving from theory to practice. Many don’t pray with their spouse because they don’t know how to go about it.
Here are five things you can pray about with your spouse. A minute devoted to each result in five minutes of prayer. That’s a good place to start.
But before you begin, remember – the goal is to pray out loud together. Voice a few sentences in prayer. Then allow your spouse to do the same.
- Start with a moment praising God together. Praise Him for his goodness, faithfulness, love, holiness. Thank him for his protection, provision, direction and comforting presence. Recognize that he brought you together as husband and wife (Gn. 2.18)
- Then, pray for each other. Husband, place your hands on your wife’s head and thank God for the gift he has given you. Bless her and pray that her hopes be realized, her fears be vanquished, her delight be Jesus and her vine be fruitful. Wife, bless your husband praying that he have heavenly wisdom in his decisions, a heart that delights in God above all else and victory over temptation.
- Pray for your children. Pray that from generation to generation, until the Lord returns, they would know Christ, walk in the ways of righteousness, and overcome the world. Pray that they be delivered from the evil one who only seeks to kill, steal and destroy.
- Pray for your neighbors. Spend a moment praying for their salvation. Your spouse might be burdened to pray for a certain neighbor, and you might be burdened for another. Recognize this as guidance from the Holy Spirit and pray according to his leading. Often, as you pray, God will give you practical outreach ideas to show these neighbors the love of Christ.
- Pray for ministry opportunities as a couple. With an open heart and willing spirit offer your bodies (remember, as husband and wife, you are “one flesh”) as a living sacrifice to the Lord. Ask him to use you – as a couple- to accomplish his will. Thank him for what he has done in your marriage to this point. Expectantly praise him for the even greater things he will do!
Praying together will also strengthen your marriage. Psychologist and marriage expert John Gottman says many marriages are nothing more than “hostile detached couples”. “They are like couples that come in at dinner and don’t talk to each other the entire time”, he says.
Prayer is a great way to prevent the “hostile, detached couple” syndrome. In order for a couple to pray, differences must be discussed, wrongs must be forgiven and lines of healthy communication must be opened between each other and God.