I was always used to praying silently. My husband, Jerry, wasn’t a believer in the early years of our marriage, so I prayed mostly at night, just before sleeping. Later, after he became a Christian, we discussed praying before meals. We both wanted to set an example for the kids. I was the one who lead the prayer. Even still, it was mostly in the style of, “God is great, God is good. Let us thank Him for our food.” So the kids said it along with me.
As time continued on, Jerry joined in to say our night-time prayers, which was, “Now I lay me down to sleep…” (now I’m not a fan of that prayer at all!). And at the end, we would ask God to bless school friends and family members. For a very large part of our marriage, this was the extent of our praying out loud together.
Fast forward to about a year ago. Jerry and I had been married for nearly 18 years. Now we were all used to praying out loud together. Our children prayed when asked at meal times. We prayed together as a family when we wanted to – when someone had a cold, or a test at school, or thankful for something great that had happened, or worried about a friend, just whenever. We all prayed together at night with each person praying as desired. But the tough prayers were after the kids were all in bed and it was just me and Jerry.
A L O N E
After so many years together, one would think there’d be no more surprises. Well, praying together at first was fine. We held hands while lying in bed, lights off and we just thanked God for our blessings. After the first couple of weeks, I guess I got tired of always thanking God for the same things day after day. And it seemed like we just sorta repeated each other’s prayers. So our praying together drifted off and eventually stopped.
Don’t put anything in…can’t take anything out
A few nights ago, we went through one of the biggest struggles of our marriage. I don’t even remember what the original problem was, but I know that the devil was working strong in both our minds. I was completely overwhelmed simply because I couldn’t understand what was going on. After a few attempts at making Jerry see reasoning (i.e…my side), he got angry with me. He just stopped talking. That is not for me at all. I’m the type that needs to work it out. I never like to go to bed upset or angry because that just invites satan to work on our imaginations. After some time had passed, I had one last idea to try.
Let the healing begin
I asked my husband if he wanted to pray with me and we prayed. This time, we were sitting on the couch, side by side, but not touching…no, not holding hands and we were side by side because I didn’t want to look at him. We had only a fire in the fireplace and a candle was burning… just very soft light. Good thing too, because the more I prayed, the more I cried. Not just the ladylike sniffle cry, but the ugly cry where it’s hard to talk and when I could say a word it had about 3 more syllables than necessary.
Then Jerry prayed some more and I thought that would be the end of it. But I started to feel relief like I had never felt before. The more I poured my heart out, the more I got real with myself, with my husband, and with God, the better I felt. I didn’t feel ashamed because I couldn’t hold myself together. And then I realized that he couldn’t either. Somewhere during all this back and forth sharing of the souls, our hands found each other. Our hearts connected. And it was wonderful.
Genesis 2:23-25 “At last!” the man exclaimed. “This one is bone from my bone and flesh from my flesh! She will be called ‘woman,’ because she was taken from ‘man.'” This explains why a man leaves his father and mother and is joined to his wife, and the two are united into one. Now the man and his wife were both naked, but they felt no shame.
So, if you’re new to praying together and just not sure how to go about it, my tips are:
- Don’t overthink it
- Choose a time in the evening with very low light, or maybe only candlelight
- Sit side by side so you don’t have to (and can’t) see each other’s faces
- Talk to God about yourself, your spouse, and what you want to have happen in your lives
- Open your heart to God and allow your spouse the honor of witnessing it.