For many couples, praying together in marriage is an uncommon occurrence. If it happens at all, prayer usually bookends family meals or occurs right before bed. In times of particular stress or need, praying together might also make a special appearance. Regardless, prayer usually takes up a small amount of time spent together in marriage and is rarely a routine.
We think this is an incredible miss. Prayer should not just be reserved for blessing meals or passively encouraging your spouse at night. Prayer is more than cliché language or a quick-fix answer for marital problems. Prayer doesn’t just make you happier or give you something to do during your commute. Prayer is all of those things and far, far more.
First and foremost, praying together is important because it gives you the opportunity to speak with God himself. Prayer gives your marriage access to the source of love (1 John 4:7), the author of creation (Isaiah 66:2), and the giver of good gifts (Matthew 7:11). When you pray, God is faithful to listen (Psalm 145:18, 1 John 5:15). Prayer is a refuge during hard times and a source of praise during good times (James 5:13).
Praying together isn’t just another activity you should add to your week, it’s a posture of doing life with God that makes everything (your marriage included) about him. Prayer helps remind you who is in control. Prayer gives you reason to hope even when situations looks bleak (Psalm 102:17).
Keep in mind that prayer may not fix your problems in the moment. It’s not going to immediately cure your struggles or create oneness out of nothing. But you can be assured that every moment spent in prayer will be well worth it.
Praying together is how you remind yourself God hasn’t left or abandoned your marriage. It isn’t something you need to “work up to” or “figure out later on.” Prayer doesn’t have to be pretty, rehearsed, or even polite. You don’t need to say the right thing or have a direction in mind. Prayer doesn’t have any pre-requisites. It’s okay if praying together starts out awkward. It’s okay if there is a lot of silence or your fumble over the words. Try to push through it together.
Don’t know what to say? Start by reading and praying one of the Psalms out loud together (start with Psalm 25, 31, 51, or 56). Let the word of the Bible speak for you. Alternatively, praying together might just look like taking turns thanking the Lord for things, asking the Lord for things, or sitting in silence. Take some pressure off and give your spouse the freedom to mess up.
Lastly, if you are unfamiliar with praying together, don’t go straight to 30 minutes of intense prayer. Try to pray together for just two minutes. Then, tomorrow, try for five. Remember, praying together as a couple doesn’t need to be pretty or perfect. It can be vulnerable, gritty, and real. Communicate feelings, wants, hurts, and desires. God isn’t going to be thrown off or offended.
Praying is so important because it is the engine for all real change in marriage. Praying together can be the source of true intimacy and oneness with the Lord. It can and should grow to be more than the occasional activity, but a frequent and cherished routine. Praying together can be something you both look forward to doing. Something that truly provides comfort in seasons of darkness and joy in seasons of rejoicing.