Its that time of year…the time for chaos, being with family (including mother-in-laws), and lots of food. Its that time of the year where you either have butterflies and happy feelings toward your spouse, or maybe this time of the year is hard for you because you have experienced loss. How do we keep intimacy in our marriage, when things in our lives are crazy? Well, I know the way to do that….Pray. I know that sounds like the “church” answer, but it truly does take your relationship, and your bond with each other, to the next level.
Lifeway put out 7 principles to follow when praying with your spouse, and they are worth reading and applying to our lives. Here they are:
1. Talk to God first.
Talk to God first about your desire to pray with your spouse. First John 5:14-15 assures us that “whenever we ask anything according to His will, He hears us. And if we know that He hears whatever we ask, we know that we have what we have asked Him for.” So, ask God for the time in your schedule, for wisdom in how to suggest it to your spouse, and that God will prepare the heart of your spouse to desire this time with you, as well.
2. Set a time.
By setting an agreed-upon appointment for prayer with your spouse, both of you are more likely to keep it. But, as with any appointment, there will be times you or your spouse will need to postpone or reschedule. That’s life. So, be flexible, and extend grace.
3. Ease into it.
There’s a reason prayer is considered a spiritual discipline. And as with any habit or discipline, it will take work. So ease into it. You might even start with praying together once a week for a brief time, then gradually increase your prayer time to two or three times a week until it becomes a part of your daily schedule.
4. Keep it short.
There is nothing wrong with limiting the time that the two of you can spend in prayer, especially when you’re first starting out. Be respectful of each other’s time and put parameters around how long your prayer time will be.
5. Keep it simple.
You can keep it short and simple by limiting your prayer time together to the basic or most pressing needs on your heart. Respect his or her time and pray only about pressing needs that concern your family, such as job, health or financial issues, the salvation or spiritual life of loved ones, the behavioral issues of your children, and so on.
6. Keep it safe.
Remove any possibility of intimidation by letting your spouse know that your prayer time together isn’t an arena for judgment or assumption. In other words, anything that is prayed for is “safe” and won’t be analyzed, critiqued, shared with others, or brought up again in a non-supportive way.
7. Keep it supportive.
Praying with your spouse about sensitive issues in your marriage or situations in your past that may cause him or her to feel regret or remorse might not be best.
Save the heavier, deeply personal issues for God. He can handle them and many times your spouse won’t know what to do upon hearing prayers that might be directed at him or her and any trouble or anxiety they may be causing the marriage.
Aim for a goal of togetherness and encouragement as you pray. If your goal, after praying together, is that both you and your spouse emerge from that prayer time feeling more powerful and strengthened together, then you will know what to address with your spouse and what to keep for an extended prayer time with just you and God. As you begin praying together regularly, the Holy Spirit may impress upon your hearts to pray about deeper issues and, when that is the case, you both will simply be following His lead.
Finally, you can apply the principles of Philippians 2:1-2 as a guideline in praying together by “thinking the same way, having the same love, sharing the same feelings, focusing on one goal.” That one goal should be that each of you emerges from your prayer time together feeling stronger, more supported, and more unified in order to take on the enemy of your souls.
So how often in your marriage are you praying together? Let’s take intimacy with our spouse to next level, and let’s start praying together. It will transform and strengthen our marriage more than you can ever know.