My husband and I have prayed together from the very beginning of our marriage, and even while we were dating. From the time we were serious about each other, prayer came naturally. We hold hands and pray together at every meal, whether at home or at a restaurant, and every night before we fall asleep. There are even times when he calls me from work to ask for prayer for a particularly difficult situation one of his clients is facing.
But I know this is not the case for many husbands and wives. It saddens my heart to read statistics such as this from Dennis Rainey at Family Life,
Surveys at our FamilyLife Marriage Conferences indicate that less than 8 percent of all couples pray together on a regular basis. I suspect that less than 5 percent of all Christian couples pray together daily.
Less than 5 percent of all Christian couples pray together daily. That is hard to believe.
When prayer is a direct line to the Creater of the Universe who holds all of the answers for every problem that we face, how can we as Christian couples not run to Him in prayer? How can a marriage stand in this society of ours without going to the Father in prayer?
I know this is a very sensitive topic for many because one or the other of the couple would like for prayer to be at the center of their marriage. Often it is the wife who wants to pray with her husband, but her husband seems unwilling.
As the spiritual leader of the home, it is natural that the husband should take this responsibility and run with it, but many husbands are not taught how to be the spiritual leader of the home, and quite frankly, some women don’t truly allow their husband to be the spiritual leader, but that’s a topic for another post.
I admire the women at Marriage Monday who will be writing on this topic today, and I am sure that many will have amazing testimonies of how God has brought about a change in their marriage through prayer. Since my marriage has had prayer at its foundation, I don’t know of any other way to have a marriage – nor do I want to find out.
Without cajoling or ridiculing or pouting, here are some ideas to help women help their husbands in this matter of praying together without disrespecting your husband’s role as spiritual leader.
First, talk to your husband about your desire to pray together. He just might surprise you and be ready and willing to start.
If he is a bit uncertain, suggest one or more of these nonthreatening ways to get started.
- Sit beside each other in church, move the kids to one side or the other so you and your husband can actually sit together, and gently hold your husband’s hand or hook your arm in his when anyone prays during the service. This physical connection will help to cement the spiritual connection of prayer.
- Ask your husband what the biggest challenge is he is facing at work or in some other life situation and tell him daily that you are praying for him. Be specific in what you are praying. Are you praying for strength to face it, for wisdom to know how to respond, for a change in what appears to be the outcome, etc.?
- Tell your husband about something you are facing and ask him to pray for you. Be specific in your request. Feel free to tell him how you are seeing God work in this situation, but do not ask him if he is praying for you. This will only make him feel that you do not trust him.
- If your husband is open to praying together but is conscientious about praying out loud, spend time together in silent prayer, again holding hands to strengthen your bond. If he is open, ask him to read a scripture or a short devotion before praying. Reading God’s word before praying offers a glimpse into the throne room of heaven.
- If your husband is open to praying out loud together but does not feel adequate or is self-conscious about you hearing him pray, start with a book of prayer, such as A Prayerbook for Husbands and Wives: Partners in Prayer, by Ruthanne and Walter Wangerin, Jr. These structured prayers for the many seasons of your marriage will help both of you get into the Word and get used to hearing your voices lifted together in prayer.
- Most of all, if your husband will not pray with you, you still must pray for your husband and for your marriage. His lack of interest or desire in this area is not an excuse for you to not pray; it is a reason all the more for you to be fervent in prayer so the enemy does not get a stronghold.
Yours for the celebration of life,
There are many wonderful books on prayer. Find one that meets your needs.