Pray Together

“Couples that pray together, stay together"  Cheesy huh? I used to think so too… just one of those cute little sayings people put on pictures and signs to hang around your home. I mean, we’re Christians, so of course we pray… On our own, with a friend, in study groups… With our spouse? Yeah, we need to get to that, but then we’re really busy, and there’s some kid situation to handle, or maybe we can just make time tomorrow, I’m really tired today. Each day passes though, and we find a million reasons to not make time to pray together. But, at least if we’re talking with God, we’re hearing the same things, right? I mean, how important is it really to
connect together in prayer…

Perhaps CS Lewis pens it best in Mere Christianity, “Being in love is a good thing, but it is not the best thing. There are many things below it, but there are also many things above it. You cannot make it the basis of a whole life… But, of course, ceasing to be “in love” need not mean ceasing to love. Love in this second sense- love as distinct from “being in love”- is not merely a feeling. It is a deep unity, maintained by the will and deliberately strengthened by habit; reinforced by the grace which both partners ask, and receive, from God.”

That leads one to ask the question, how do we ask, and receive, from God? And more importantly, how do we do that in unity? By joining together in prayer and bringing our concerns, our conflict, our blessings, our fears, all to our heavenly Father… But together, so that not only do we both gain full visibility to each other’s feelings and anxieties, but we also hear the Lord’s response together. Prayer forces us to be vulnerable with God and when we pray together, we also expose our true selves to each other. God is the only real definition of love that we have, so the only way to know how to truly love, is to know God and this goes beyond any cultural definition of the word. God calls us as Christians to be united and in marriage, He has given us perhaps both the greatest challenge and the most miraculous glimpse into the love He’s teaching us.

“Therefore I, a prisoner for serving the Lord, beg you to lead a life worthy of your calling, for you have been called by God. Always be humble and gentle. Be patient with each other, making allowance for each other’s faults because of your love. Make every effort to keep yourselves united in the Spirit, binding yourselves together with peace.” Ephesians 4:1-3 There it is again, “united” in the Spirit. Have you ever been on a team or in a choir or group? Everyone has to work together toward a common goal and to do so effectively, you have to be aligned in direction. If you’re not, and each person is acting independently, it’s highly likely you will not perform well or succeed. Marriage requires the same teamwork, only throw in all sorts of additional challenges like tempers, financial burdens, kid stressors, health issues, and well, you all know that list is never-ending. So… how can you possibly be unified and gracious with one another, without being in step with God’s will for your lives? And how do you get there unless you are joined in communication, together, with our Father?

I have to be completely honest, friends. Just in beginning to write this blog, I struggled to pray with my husband. It absolutely happened… I don’t know why. He came and sat next to me and we prayed together and in that few moments, God helped open my eyes to recognize the vulnerability required of us in prayer and the closeness it brings in our relationship. Yes, we’ve absolutely prayed together, but it’s been a journey… and every time we do, every time we come to God together, He helps us to gain insight into each other, our challenges and situations. As a result, every time we pray together, I feel even closer to my husband, more unified in our direction, and a bit more vulnerable, in a truly awesome way, than I did prior to communing with God.

“Two people are better off than one, for they can help each other succeed. If one person falls, the other can reach out and help. But someone who falls alone is in real trouble. Likewise, two people lying close together can keep each other warm. But how can one be warm alone? A person standing alone can be attacked and defeated, but two can stand back-to-back and conquer.” Ecclesiastes 4:9-12  We are meant to be in community and our marriages are God’s gift of a partner in this life. But unity doesn’t come easy. Our best weapon, our most strategic ally, our greatest opportunity to truly love our spouse and be united, is to stay firm and cohesive in prayer with each other and our heavenly Father.