Please visit TRC to read more of the great articles in this issue!
Devote yourselves to prayer
with an alert mind and a thankful heart.
Colossians 4:2, NLT
A couple of weeks ago I went to visit my children who live about two hours away. Before I drove off, Rick and I held hands while he prayed over me. This always makes me feel completely covered by God’s love and care, as well as Rick’s. To me, this is no small thing.
Rick and I also pray together before we leave on a trip, or when we go for a motorcycle ride, asking God to bless us during our travels.
Prayer is so important that Jesus made a point of teaching us how to pray in Matthew 6:9-15, NKJV. Let’s talk about different ways we can pray as a married couple.
Let’s first take another look at the Marriage Triangle. If husbands and wives are keeping our eyes focused on Jesus, we will want to pray for His will in our lives. What happens because of that is the more time we each spend focusing on Jesus and His will and plan for both of us, the better and closer our relationship with Jesus will become. And the closer we walk with Jesus, the closer we get to each other. Prayer is an integral part of His plan for us.
Praying together for each other
Are any of you suffering hardships? You should pray.
Are any of you happy? You should sing praises.
James 5:13, NLT
I touched on this above. Spouses can pray for each other before they are about to be apart. This doesn’t just mean when one spouse will be traveling and the other one is staying home. How about praying before you each leave for work? Or if the wife works as a stay-at-home mom, her husband can pray for her day with the children as she prays for his day at work.
Is one of you struggling with something in your life? Share it with your spouse so you can pray about it together.
The same holds true when exciting things are happening. Praise God together in prayer. God loves it when we acknowledge the wonderful things He is doing in and through us!
Praying for each other separately
Confess your sins to each other and pray for each other
so that you may be healed.
The earnest prayer of a righteous person
has great power and produces wonderful results.
Elijah was as human as we are,
and yet when he prayed earnestly that no rain would fall,
none fell for three and a half years!
Then, when he prayed again, the sky sent down rain
and the earth began to yield its crops.
James 5:16-18, NLT
Husbands and wives should pray for each other on a daily basis. What great things do you see your husband doing as he seeks to live as the Lord wants him to? It is a nice gesture to let your spouse know how much you appreciate the way they are walking with the Lord, but how about also lifting her up to the Lord in prayer? Thank Him for the blessing of her in your life.
Let’s go back to the idea that your spouse is struggling with something that’s going on in his life. Even though you have both prayed about this together, continue to lift it up to the Lord in your private prayers for him.
He saw that there was no man,
and wondered that there was no intercessor;
therefore His own arm brought salvation for Him;
and His own righteousness, it sustained Him.
Isaiah 59:16, NKJV
Intercessory prayer on behalf of another is an excellent way to seek God’s will for the other person.
“Quite simply, intercessory prayer is the act of praying on behalf of others. The role of mediator in prayer was prevalent in the Old Testament, in the cases of Abraham, Moses, David, Samuel, Hezekiah, Elijah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, and Daniel. Christ is pictured in the New Testament as the ultimate intercessor, and because of this, all Christian prayer becomes intercession since it is offered to God through and by Christ. Jesus closed the gap between us and God when He died on the cross. Because of Jesus’ mediation, we can now intercede in prayer on behalf of other Christians or for the lost, asking God to grant their requests according to His will.” 1
Praying even when it feels awkward
Pray in the Spirit at all times and on every occasion.
Stay alert and be persistent in your prayers
for all believers everywhere.
Eph 6:18, NLT
I don’t think prayer comes easily to anyone but like most things, the more you pray the more comfortable you become with it. Before you know it, praying becomes second nature to you.
Think of prayer as a conversation between you and God. Talk to Him as if He is right next to you, because He actually is! We cannot see him with our eyes now but we can feel Him in our heart. In fact, the Lord knows what is in your heart but loves to hear you say it to Him. And isn’t that the way marriage is too? We know our spouse loves us but I don’t know anyone who does not like to hear that said out loud.
Pray for specific issues separately and together
When there are big decisions to be made, prayer should always be at the center of those considerations. Pray for what God wants you to do – together as a couple and also separately.
Years ago Rick and I started praying about moving out of California. We didn’t know the when or where of it, but we kept praying about it. During the waiting time, we considered and visited several different places, and northern Arizona seemed to be where God continued to direct us.
A couple of years later, our prayers were answered as we each finally felt God telling us it was the right time to move. The moving process itself was not easy but we prayed about and followed God’s leading through every step. Almost 13 years later, here we are, still thanking God for planting us in this beautiful area.
If God doesn’t answer your prayers right away, don’t give up! Keep on praying for His direction and timing.
“I don’t know how to pray/I’m not comfortable praying out loud”
Have you ever said or thought this, especially when listening to someone pray a long, moving prayer? Verbal prayer doesn’t come easily to any of us, does it? I still stumble with words when praying aloud as I try to turn my thoughts into prayers.
My initial experience in hearing others pray aloud was at the first Bible study I ever attended. It was a women’s Bible study and there were at least 20 of us seated around a large table. At the end of the study we shared prayer requests. When no further prayer needs were shared, our teacher said she would start us off in prayer and then we could take turns as we felt led to do so.
I listened to one woman after another pray eloquently for some of the needs we had heard, marveling at how easily they expressed themselves. I chose not to pray aloud that day because I couldn’t imagine how to pray like they did. However, a little at a time I learned that each of us has our own way of praying out loud and that we shouldn’t ever feel inadequate about what we’re praying, or for how long ─ or short ─ our prayers are. God hears all of our prayers and appreciates every one of them!
Don’t worry about “proper” prayers!
Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything;
tell God your needs, and don’t forget to thank him for his answers.
If you do this, you will experience God’s peace,
which is far more wonderful than the human mind can understand.
His peace will keep your thoughts and your hearts quiet and at rest
as you trust in Christ Jesus.
Philippians 4:6-7, TLB
As you can see, we are not to be anxious about anything, and that includes how we pray. God hears all our prayers, so just pray from your heart and don’t worry about how they sound.
God puts much value in our prayers. If you don’t believe this to be true, check out these passages in the Book of Revelation:
Revelation 5:8: And when he took the scroll, the four living beings and the twenty-four elders fell down before the Lamb. Each one had a harp, and they held gold bowls filled with incense, which are the prayers of God’s people.
Revelation 8:3: Then another angel with a gold incense burner came and stood at the altar. And a great amount of incense was given to him to mix with the prayers of God’s people as an offering on the gold altar before the throne.
Revelation 8:4: The smoke of the incense, mixed with the prayers of God’s holy people, ascended up to God from the altar where the angel had poured them out.
Like almost everything else, our prayer life takes time to develop so don’t give up. Ask the Holy Spirit to guide your prayers. Since God places so much importance on prayer, He will gladly direct you in what to pray about and how to say those prayers.