Praying together as a couple has been a wonderful blessing to our marriage. Of all the advice we received in our first years of marriage (some great, some not so great), making an effort to pray together has been the most fruitful marriage-care habit.
Sometimes when we get busy with life, heart connection comes too hard and too seldomly, but when we make a concentrated effort to pray together, the things that push and pull us apart vanish into the background. When we pray together, what we share, a love for God and a desire to love Him with our whole lives, comes to the forefront of our relationship. Schedules sometimes make us feel like ships that pass in the night, so we always pray for each other, but when we pray together, we try to cover these five topics:
1. Ask God for Forgiveness
Therefore, confess your sins to one another, and pray for one another so that you may be healed. The effective prayer of a righteous man can accomplish much. James 5:16 NASB
Scripture tells us to confess our sins to one another (James 5:16), and there’s no more important place to start this habit than in our marriages. When we take time to pray together, if there is any way we’ve hurt or let down our spouse, it is good to start by asking the Lord and our spouse to forgive us.
Therefore if you are presenting your offering at the altar, and there remember that your brother has something against you, leave your offering there before the altar and go; first be reconciled to your brother, and then come and present your offering. Matthew 5:23-24
Pray something like:
Lord, please forgive me for _______________(sin) and please heal me and _______________ (your spouse) from the pain and disappointment my sin has caused. Thank you for Your shed blood on the cross that forgives me. Please protect our marriage from the schemes of the enemy. Help us both to move forward in the freedom of Your forgiveness.
2. Ask God to Bless the Other Person
Praying blessings over our spouse is a unique ministry. Our spouse is our “other half,” and there is something very intimate about lifting up this other half of yourself to the Lord for His care and blessings.
For years I have asked the Lord to surround my husband with His favor like a shield (Psalm 5:12), and I have seen the Lord powerfully answer that prayer on more than one occasion. I also always ask the Lord to guard my husband’s heart and give him the discernment and grace to be part of guarding his own heart because from it flow all the issues of life (Proverbs 4:23).
This passage below is highlighted in my Bible with a special color that is for the “prayer passages,” the verses that are recorded prayers. I pray this one over everyone I hold dear to my heart, but all the more for my man! So often, I think we sort of shirk off God’s deep love as something for others, as if maybe He loves us a little less. So, I take it as a special responsibility to pray that my man would know the vastness of God’s love for HIM! Being filled with God’s love fills us with His fullness. As we pray His will and so many other things for our spouses, nothing can be more foundational and fundamental to our faith journey than that we would be filled with God. So this verse is a go-to as we pray with and for each other.
For this reason I bow my knees before the Father, from whom every family in heaven and on earth derives its name, that He would grant you, according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with power through His Spirit in the inner man, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith; and that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ which surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled up to all the fullness of God. Ephesians 3: 14-19
Start underlining passages in Scripture that are blessings you want God to pour on your spouse. Over the years, it has been a special treasure to experience God and marriage this way.
Pray blessings like:
Lord, surround my beloved with Your favor as a shield! Give them the discernment to guard their heart because it is a precious heart to You and to me! And Lord, cause them to know in the very marrow of their bones the incalculable depths of Your love and cause Your love to fill them in every way!
3. Ask God for Specific Concerns
When you pray with your spouse, lift up your spouse’s specific concerns. It’s a good rule of thumb in your closest relationships to know their top three concerns at the moment so you can always be praying for them. In regards to your marriage, it is all the more vital that you know and carry your spouse’s burdens.
Bear one another’s burdens, and thereby fulfill the law of Christ. Galatians 6:2
I think that prayer is one of the most basic ways we all can obey this verse from Galatians. Some of us can financially give to a need. Some of us are gifted with just the right words of encouragement or the capability to step in and lend a hand in a way that graces the one bent under the burden. But sometimes we can’t find the right words. Maybe our budget has us barely keeping our heads above water, and we don’t know what we could give that would be of any value to their need. Or maybe our well-intentioned hand gets in the way or enables when we only meant the best for the other person. All these scenarios can happen in our marriages. We can watch our spouse and not have the slightest clue how to help. Maybe we’ve even tried lots of things already.
Prayer with and for anyone, but especially for our spouse, is the most basic way we fulfill bearing each other’s burdens. Spiritually, praying for the burdens our spouse carries is like being one of the dear friends who cut a hole in the roof to lower their friend into the house where Jesus was teaching. We must be like these friends for our husbands and wives.
My great-grandmother, who I did not have the pleasure of meeting, but whose legacy I have often been reminded of, had quite a burden to pray for people. When her granddaughters (who shared a bedroom with her) asked her if she hadn’t prayed enough already (probably wishing she would let them have the space to play in again), she would respond and say, “If I don’t pray for them, who will?” Have you ever thought about that for your husband or wife? If you aren’t devotedly taking their concerns and struggles to the Father, then who is?
When you pray with your spouse, lifting their concerns before the Lord says, “you aren’t alone. I am with you in this struggle, and so is our great God! And I have faith we will see His hand in this trial!”
Pray something like:
Lord, please show Yourself bigger than this burden my spouse is carrying. Surround them with the grace to endure this trial, the wisdom s/he needs to get through it, and after this season is through, perfect, confirm, strengthen and establish them according to Your word. Please show Yourself strong on their behalf and cause our enemies to be ashamed because they are Your child and precious in Your sight. Thank You, Lord, that we can rest in the victory You have secured at the end of all things and that these momentary troubles will not compare to the glory You have awaiting us.
4. Ask God to Make Your Family a Blessing
Anytime we go anywhere, I always pray before we arrive that God would make our family a blessing to the people we are visiting. I ask that He would open our eyes to see them as He sees them and love them as He loves them. Being a vessel of blessing and a witness of God’s grace is part of our design. Marriages are meant to reflect the Lord’s love uniquely. So asking God to make you a blessing is a request close to God’s heart because it is already His intent for your life.
To sum up, all of you be harmonious, sympathetic, brotherly, kindhearted, and humble in spirit; not returning evil for evil or insult for insult, but giving a blessing instead; for you were called for the very purpose that you might inherit a blessing. 1 Peter 3:8-9
God has expressly called us to be people of blessing, and in that way, we might inherit a blessing in return. Praying for His will to be accomplished in us wherever we go is a simple, unifying prayer that God is sure to answer!
Pray something like:
Lord, make us a vessel of Your love and blessing! Guide our conversations to honor You. Give us Your eyes to see people with, Your hands to help them, and Your heart to love them!
5. Thank God for Who He Is
Last but not least, spend time thanking God for the tangible ways He has blessed your marriage and family and thank Him for His character. The Psalms are full of descriptions of God’s character and can provide an easy jumping-off if you are looking for Scriptures to shape your prayers. But this can be as simple as praying through the ways you have seen the Lord sustain, provide, tenderly care for your concerns, answer your prayers, and minister His presence to you both throughout the week. This topic is so personal and changes as you experience Him; there’s not much of a template for this topic.
But here are some examples of prayers we’ve prayed together thanking God for His character:
Thank You, Lord, for being the One who lifted my head this week when I was weary and discouraged. Thank You for being our Rescuer when we couldn’t see our way clear of that financial burden! Thank You for being Faithful when we doubted. Thank You, Lord, for being Truth while we struggle to find truth in this world. You are our steady Rock of Truth when everything feels like shifting sand under our feet! Thank You for being the God who Sees and for the tender way you let us know You see us!
Photo Credit: ©Unsplash/ronnysison
April Motl is a pastor’s wife, homeschool mom, and women’s ministry director. When she’s not waist-deep in the joys and jobs of motherhood, she writes and teaches for women. Her love of words led her through a BA in linguistics and her love of God’s Word through a Master’s in Religious Studies. You can find more encouraging resources from April here and here. For Scriptural encouragement while you wait on the Lord, read the one-month devotional Waiting for God to Fill the Cradle.