I’d say a silent prayer with my morning coffee, in church, sometimes before a meal. But the idea of asking for guidance with struggles and worries out loud? With my spouse listening? This concept may work for other people, but I doubted it was for us.
Couples Who Pray, written by Squire Rushnell and Louise DuArt, is a quick and easy read highlighting married couples, including several high profile celebrities, who pray daily – with one another. Denzel and Pauletta Washington, Scott and Tracie Hamilton, Kathie Lee and her late husband, Frank Gifford.
The book’s message – and promise – grabbed my attention. It claims praying together opens up a husband and wife to one another and creates a closer bond. In turn, this increases intimacy and communicationin the relationship.
I wrapped the book with a pretty ribbon, presented it to my husband, and braced myself for his reaction. This new thing I discovered and proposed was not exactly our style.
What do you think? Shall we give this a try?
I suppose the intimacy angle intrigued my typically quiet husband, because I am certain he didn’t crave more conversation. We agreed to give the concept a shot. What was there to lose?
I admit, my expectations were low.
Like any Type A prayer partners, we outlined a strategy and established ground rules. We’d pray in bed, after we closed our books and before we went to sleep. Interruptions, comments, side remarks, were off limits. Feedback and follow-up discussion must wait until the next day.
I felt safer with the lights out. With the room dark, mumbling our concerns and hopes aloud wasn’t as scary as I imagined it would be. We didn’t hold hands and look into each other’s eyes and use eloquent language. We took turns talking, then said amen and goodnight. Short and sweet.
Similar to cooking a new recipe or sewing a buttonhole, this new routine was easier the second night and the third. After two weeks, we were in a rhythm we loved, and we knew we wouldn’t stop. When one of us was away, we prayed together over the phone. We were hooked.
After three decades of marriage, our prayers helped us uncover new things about each other. With no distractions and nothing to do except listen, I realized my rock of a husband – who rarely asks for help – was worried about his lonely dad and the employee he had to fire. He heard I was restless and longed to explore and grow at this stage in my life.
Of course, we both pray for health and safe travels and our kids and jobs and elderly parents and sick friends. We ask for forgiveness and freedom from the past. We ask for guidance and direction and answers and decisions.
But we do a lot of thanking too. And gratitude has led to a greater appreciation for each other.
Our recognition and empathy, through prayer, has steered us toward greater emotional intimacy and opened up new discussions. Physical intimacy? Hmmm – the jury is still out!
I often wonder how prayer would have affected our lives and family if we’d started this habit years ago. I’ll never know. But it’s another beautiful lesson – and reminder – for me. It’s never too late to try something new.
Have you ever prayed out loud? Do you do it on your own or with your partner? Might you give this a try? When was the last time you tried something really uncomfortable? With our uncertain world, how do you obtain guidance and strength? Please share your tips and recommendations with our community!