In Week 3 of Watermark’s #inTIMEacy series, Director of Young Adults, Jonathan (JP) Pokluda, taught about the spiritual discipline of prayer. Each of the disciplines discussed in this series are ‘tools’ that we can use to grow closer to the Lord, and consequently closer to our significant other as we practice them. (See also my first and second posts in this series)
Instead of Killer Prayer Tips from our friends, Johnny and Chachi, JP wisely taught on prayer from the gospel of Luke. The main text for this message is Luke 11:1-13. In this passage, Jesus teaches His disciples how to pray and doesn’t necessarily focus on the exact words to say. In fact, too often we robotically pray words out loud in church like they are some magic chant we say to the Lord. JP does a GREAT job of sharing the what, how, and why of prayer. If you haven’t heard this message, please check it out.
This discipline is the one that most challenges me in my own spiritual walk with the Lord. In my personal time with the Lord, I consistently spend time in prayer. I use a prayer calendar to help remind me to pray for friends and family in my life. I also have complete freedom to pray for anyone else or anything going on in my life or world, and I do not feel tied down to the calendar. It is merely a tool to help me systematically and regularly pray for others in my life. I try to spend extended time in prayer as well as praying throughout the day (1 Thessalonians 5:17 – Pray without ceasing).
While my personal prayer time is going well, I fail when it comes to praying consistently with my wife. I did not establish this pattern as newlyweds and struggle to consistently lead my wife in prayer. In addition, all of the guys in my community group and most husbands I know confess to the same challenges. As a result, this is an area where, I believe, most couples need to experience some significant growth.
Because we never established a pattern of prayer early on in our marriage, I need a reminder to pray with Kristen at night. I made a sign with the word “PRAY” on it, and first thing in the morning, I place the sign on my pillow to remind me that before I put my bald head down on the pillow at night, I am going to pray with my wife.
For the Married:
Our communication with our spouse is ongoing, throughout the day, either in person, on the phone, through text message, or even over FaceTime. We don’t just approach our spouse and communicate when we need something. We are to live with each other in an understanding way (1 Peter 3:7), which means we are to communicate throughout the day. Similarly, our communication and time in prayer with the Lord shouldn’t be limited to times when we are in desperate need. It should be on-going, throughout the day as well. Too often we pray to God ONLY when we need something from Him.
I believe we overcomplicate prayer in marriage. Somehow we believe the lie that if we can’t pray for long periods of time then we shouldn’t pray at all. It’s really simple: talk to God, with your spouse. Be still and quiet and listen to Him. He won’t speak in an audible voice, but He will communicate with you through His Word, His Spirit and His people. But, you must make time, both short and longer chunks of time, to be still before Him, with your spouse.
Often men, in particular, struggle with leading well in this area of marriage. In his book, Visionary Marriage, Rob Rienow says, “Prayer together is important. God does want you to do it. It is easy, but the forces of evil throw everything at you to prevent you from doing it. As a result, men struggle in this area of spiritual leadership.” Ask your wife how you are doing in leading her in prayer. Be humble, don’t be defensive, and honor your wife’s desires for you to lead her in prayer. When you do, you will grow in your love for Jesus and in your marriage.
How are you doing in your prayer life as an individual? How about as a couple? What is one way you can take some ground this week in your prayer life, both on your own and as a couple? This is an area where many couples struggle, so if you have any suggestions, please share them below!