By Kim Butler
Praying to God is one of the most universal practices common to every religion. I want to share some of my struggles and successes with the practice of prayer. Before I jump into the meat of what I want to share, let me give you a little background so you know where I am coming from.
I was raised on a farm in Idaho in a religious Christian family where personal and family prayers were a regular part of my life growing up. Given the nature of living on a farm, we were keenly aware of our total dependence on God for all our needs. Only God could make it rain to end a drought and save our wilting crops. Only God could save us from the disaster of a hail storm that could destroy all our crops in ten minutes.
Your background may be very different. More and more people in our society are growing up with minimal exposure to religious training. And that is one of the reasons I feel moved to share my personal experiences with the hope of inspiring someone to experiment upon my words.
The experience with prayer that I would like to share in this article is related to the practice of specifically praying with your spouse. This is not personal prayer and it is not family prayer, but rather praying specifically just with your spouse.
If my memory serves me right, I believe we were living in San Diego many years ago when I first heard our church leaders teach us about this principle and the benefits of praying with your spouse. I remember that at the time, I was not prepared to fully embrace this practice.
As humans, we are also creatures of habit and whenever someone suggests that we change or develop a new habit, we find it difficult. It often feels awkward and unnatural. It always requires hard work and determination to develop new habits, but once developed a good habit can bring great blessings to your life, just like a bad habit can bring pain, sorrow, and suffering.
I believe it took us several years before we started having regular prayer together as husband and wife. I don’t have a perfect memory of how we evolved, but I believe we started out kind of hit and miss and then became more comfortable with the process until we grew to look forward to our private time together with the Lord. One of the challenges we still face at night is our different sleep schedules. My wife often goes to bed before I do, so when she is ready for prayer, she calls to me, “Are you ready for prayer?” The truth is that my wife’s steadiness and encouragement is the real secret to our success, and I love her for it.
Today, we treasure this habit and routine of praying together as a couple and it has been a tremendous blessing to our marriage relationship. It is something that I look forward to each morning and each night because we kneel together and I put my arms around her and hold her tight as we pray together. Feeling her physically close to me also generates a strong spiritual and emotional bond between us. Each time, I am filled with feelings of gratitude for my wife when I hold her next to me. It provides a huge incentive to resolve any differences between us before we go to bed because it’s virtually impossible to kneel together and pray when we’re angry or upset with each other.
Listening to my wife pray also reminds me of things that are important to her that I had forgotten or wasn’t aware of. Most of all I just like holding her in my arms and feeling a oneness as the scriptures talk about when the Lord said in Genesis 2:24: “Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh.”
It’s a common phrase in the Christian world and perhaps with other religions as well that “A family that prays together stays together.” I believe that a couple who prays together stands a much better chance of staying together as well. Do you agree? I have discovered that praying together helps us appreciate each other more and forgive each other more and it nourishes our love for each other.
The habit and daily routine of praying together as a couple required great effort on our part to develop. But the benefits and blessings have been well worth it. We are better able to face the challenges and trials of daily life. We are better able to see the challenges and setbacks of life from an eternal perspective. We feel that it helps us keep our priorities right and doing that helps us find joy and peace even when life throws us a curveball that we weren’t expecting.
If this idea is new to you, I highly recommend it, and I look forward to hearing from you as you share your thoughts on the power of prayer in your life. And I’d love to hear how praying with your spouse has blessed your life.