Prayer in marriage is an important piece of intimacy, but it often goes unnoticed or set aside. We can desire it fervently in our relationship, but it can still seem elusive.
I recently wrote an article for Concordia Publishing House that addressed prayer in marriage. You can find the article here.
Prayer really is one of the most important ways to build intimacy in your marriage. Key points included:
You would think the church work marriage would be different. I feel a little bad for ratting pastors and other church workers out, but the reality is that we are not praying with our families more than the general population. In fact, some statistics show that we may be praying with our families LESS than our lay members around us. Ouch.
Now, this doesn’t mean we don’t pray. It doesn’t mean we aren’t beseeching the Lord on behalf of the flock daily, or that we aren’t praying earnestly with the member dying of cancer or hurting from divorce. It does mean that we aren’t necessarily praying around our tables or at our bedsides with our wives and husbands and children in a way that allows us to share our heart, our struggles, and the myriad of joys God gives us in any given day.
I hear the following phrase all the time, and ladies and gentlemen, it’s more than a bit real, so hold on to your hats:
“My husband prays with everyone else. How can I get him to pray with me?”
Pastors, youth ministry people, missionaries, church workers near and far, hear my words knowing that I get it. I get the busyness of life. I get the draining of your heart and energy for a world in need and having only drops left when you arrive home. I get that our spouses and children could just as easily be the ones “responsible” for starting the prayer. I’m letting you know today, though, that there is a huge opportunity for you to share Jesus with the people who matter most in your life…pray with them.
Intimately pray with them.
You can choose a prayer book or another resource, but we get really blocked up in finding a perfect resource, that I think its a hindrance at some point.
So here are my suggestions for church workers who pray….
- Just start. It doesn’t have to be regular or epic or fancy. Grab your wife’s hand and start praying. Pray for her, pray for your children and your parents, and pray for your church. Pray for the aching world, and stop whenever you feel like it. Try it again the next day. It may feel weird and awkward; someone may even get a little bent out of shape because they are trying to make dinner. Not that that has happened in our house. 😉 But forge ahead, friend!
- Be creative. Add petitions to the family meal prayer, pray on the way to school or over the rushed breakfast table, leave post it note prayers to your wife or husband on the bathroom mirror. Text a prayer in the middle of the day when you are praying for or with someone else. Everyone has a communication love language, feel free to utilize it.
- Start a prayer journal. List prayers and leave it on your spouse’s nightstand or Bible. Ask them to list some prayer of their own and return it. Pray, give thanks, confess together. Its like a secret prayer spot just for the two of you. Every once and a while look at the journal together and pray the items out loud.
- Use the Psalms as a jumping point, or any other favorite Scripture. Read it aloud together and see what prayers come to mind.
Prayer is a major work of the Church. Reformer Martin Luther shared his own wisdom,
“Prayer is a strong wall and fortress of the church; it is a goodly Christian weapon.”
Let us build strong walls in our homes.
Let us build strong reinforcements for our marriages. This, friends, is no less ministry than preaching and teaching and sharing the faith.
His mercies are new every morning. Let’s start this one recalling them together. God be with you as you tend and feed and care for your beautiful marriage.