This post, is a continuation of the How Does a Couple Pray Together post, last week. When I originally sat down to write that post what was on my mind was to deal with why couples don’t pray. It didn’t come out that way, so I am going to give it another try (LOL).
Depending on the particular study being used, it is estimated that between 2% and 8% of all Christian couples pray together. What that then means is that an estimated 92% – 98% of Christian couples don’t pray together. Let that sink in for a minute…
Many to Most Couples Struggle to Pray Together
Every time I share those numbers with couples they get so relieved as they sigh, smile and say, “Whew, we are not the only couple that struggles with prayer.”. It is as if we have moved passed the facade, that all Christian couples pray, and read the Bible together and have this great spiritual connection – all the time. Nope! Somewhere between many and most couples struggle to find time to pray together, or to even “connect” when they do pray. Here are three reasons why prayer in marriage is a challenge for so many couples:
- Many working couples that are also maintaining a house and also raising kids, struggle to consistently find time to also connect with God in prayer.
- For some, it is just uncomfortable to pray with someone else, and forcing prayer only makes it worse.
- Prayer has become a weapon or a tool – like a hammer – to hit each other over the head. “God, make my wife a better person” or “Help my husband be a better father”.
Rather than see these as indictments against a couple’s spiritual walk, we have to see these as realities for most Christian couples. So let’s lift that guilt off of our marriages and our relationship with God and seek solutions to maintaining spiritual intimacy.
Prayer is Not The Only Option
In my opinion, one of the mistakes that is made in the area of prayer in marriage is that it is presented as a must, “you must pray to have a healthy marriage”. Yet, an overwhelming number of Christian couples are not praying or they are at least struggling to get there. So, what happens to the plus 90% that feel they must pray but don’t? Are they doomed or beyond God’s reach?
My point is not that we should give up on prayer. I am a strong proponent of prayer in marriage. Prayer, is where we connect, receive wisdom, guidance and direction from God. But – we should give up on the idea that prayer is the only way for a husband and a wife to connect with God. Just as sex is not all there is to intimacy, prayer is not all there is to spiritual intimacy.
Spiritual intimacy is about being connected to God – as a couple. And it can happen in so many different ways. So here are a few other ways that a husband and wife can have spiritual intimacy – closeness with God – outside of prayer.
- Nature Walks. Get out and see God! Find a walking trail, a mountain, beach, park, a sunset, a starry night or a full moon and talk about the awesomeness of God together. Romans 1:18-32, reminds us that everyone knows God because of His work in creation and by denying the awesomeness of God in creation we ushered in a whole host of sins. Get to know and stay connected by talking about God as you walk along and admire His work.
- Serve Together. Work together as a couple to help a neighbor – build a fence, help a single mom raise her son, check on a elderly neighbor, work at the homeless shelter – serve God together and connect with Him as you serve.
- Financial Project. In Luke 8:3 there is mention of a couple, Chuza and Joanna. Chuza was the steward of King Herod’s finances and Joanna was among a group of women that Jesus had healed. Together, they took the money that Chuza earned working for the very man, seeking to kill Jesus and they gave that money to spread the message of Christ. What a picture. Connect with God by contributing financially to helping others learn about Christ.
- Read the Bible Together. When we read of Him, we learn of Him. Reading becomes the fuel for our desire to pray and stay connected to God.
- Host a Bible Study Class in Your Home. If so many other couples are struggling, do you think some of your friends are too? Open your home and learn of God together.
- Sacrifice. Give up something of value and quietly, without a lot of recognition, give it to someone in need. When we give we realize humility. Giving to another, perhaps younger less fortunate couple, is a reminder of how good God has been to you.
None of these things are to replace prayer, but they are to round out your arsenal. If prayer is not working or comfortable connect with God in some other way. Maybe a time will come later on that prayer will become more natural. But in the meantime, stay connected to each other as you stay connected to God.