The past few weeks have been tough for Rob and I.
The dog ate my toothbrush.
The utility company hiked our rates.
Our child learned another one of THOSE words.
The washing machine needed fixing. Again.
We’ve yet to sell our house.
The health and faith of our loved ones is crumbling before our eyes.
Our to-do lists are long, but the days are short.
The pressures, interruptions, and frustrations of this season are working overtime to steal our joy and peace. We catch ourselves complaining. Worrying. Taking things personally. Holding back affection. Spinning our wheels. Struggling to sleep or smile. The harder we work to hang on, the more we feel out of control. It’s clear we can’t survive—much less thrive—on our own.
So what can you and I do when we feel we’re on the brink of falling apart? For Rob and I, we admit defeat and take God at his Word:
“Come to me.” (Matthew 11:28)
That invitation is not for the strong and self-assured. It’s not for those who try to pull themselves up by their bootstraps and hustle their way to success. God’s invitation isn’t for the spiritual powerhouse who never stumbles over fear, doubt, or discouragement. Instead, He says “come” to the “weary and burdened” who are desperately craving his rest. (v. 28)
Rob and I know that by turning to Jesus, we find what we need. And we know that the road to Jesus is paved with prayer.
Prayer is the cure for the sickness of stress. Through prayer, we find rescue and help and provision. When we’re confused, prayer brings clarity as God’s wisdom comes to light. We find courage to face the impossible. We remember that God is God and we are not, and we put Him back in charge. Our wounds and worries are placed in His hands, and we regain our trust that He will care for us. Prayer humbles our hearts and softens us toward each other. We confess our sins and regrets and feel the weight of guilt lifted from our shoulders. Through prayer, we find our way once more.
Yet praying together as a couple doesn’t just happen in a marriage. For us, it has been a process over years to embed prayer into our life together. Perhaps you and your spouse sincerely want to pray together, but you don’t know how to make it happen.
If so, here are 5 practical ways to experience powerful, consistent prayer as a couple:
#1: Keep it simple
Good news: God isn’t impressed by long-winded prayers with lofty, spiritual words that only a theologian can spell. Instead, God relates to us as a father to his kids. He just wants real and honest conversations that tell Him what you think and feel, what you need, and why you’re thankful. Your short and heartfelt prayers are heard and cherished by the One who loves you.
#2: Use a tool
If you’ve never felt comfortable praying out loud, especially with somebody listening, a tool like a prayer book or the Bible’s psalms are a gift. The prayers on the page can put words to your own needs and concerns. They can relieve the pressure if you’re unsure how to articulate what’s on your heart and mind. And, a Scripture-based prayer book or the book of Psalms give assurance that you’re praying in agreement with God’s ways and priorities.
#3: Put it on the calendar
We don’t know of a couple who isn’t busy. If we wait for spontaneously quiet, uninterrupted moments to pray together, it might never happen. That’s why putting prayer time on the calendar can be super helpful. For us, we chose Mondays to set aside a block of time to seek God side-by-side. We knew we could count on that set hour to take our parenting concerns, relational struggles, financial needs, career decisions, church and community, etc. and place them in God’s hands. We come away each week feeling refreshed and “re-hoped” as God is invited into every part of our life together.
#4: Find a place
If we drive about seven minutes up the road from our house, we step on some sacred ground. A local church created a beautiful prayer garden that exists simply as a place to connect with God. We’ve made our way to that garden again and again to pray together as a couple. If we drive in the opposite direction, we’ve also found a little parking area by some water. From the privacy of our car in that scenic spot, we’ve prayed many times for God’s help and encouragement.
Something special happens in a place specifically set apart for prayer. Brainstorm together to choose either a corner in your home or a certain location in your area that you can visit frequently to pray together.
#5: Drop everything
Not a day goes by that some kind of problem or question pops up, right? It’s tempting to write each issue on our mental list, intending to take them to prayer at a later time. Instead, we’ve found it’s much more effective to just grab hands over the kitchen table and take the matter to God right then and there. Kids in the next room? No biggie. Dogs barking at the neighbors outside? Oh well. We simply drop everything and lift up the need or question to God. It’s one way to put God’s Word, “Pray without ceasing,” into action in your home every day (1 Thess. 5:17).
If we’re honest, it’s often our pains and struggles that put us on our knees to pray. Yet God in His wisdom teaches us to present our needs and requests to Him “with thanksgiving” (Phil. 4:6). We find that when we remember to express our gratitude for the ways God shows His love for us, it restores our joy like nothing else.
While we ask for what we need, we thank Him for the needs He’s already provided. We acknowledge how He answered yesterday’s prayers. We thank Him for how He’s using the hard times to grow up our faith and make us like Christ. In our thanks, we remember His goodness, His power, and His love that has never let us down. By praying words of thanks, you’re strengthened to keep on praying and praising Him for the rest of your life together.
Looking for more resources? Grab a copy of 101 Prayers for Mr. & Mrs. in our shop!