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PRAY: Love, Honor, and Pray

Posted by on August 24, 2010 in marriage, Pray | 9 comments

As a motivator, guilt works—sometimes. As a mom, I’ve used it more often than I should. But I also found that shaming my children into action didn’t work nearly as well as positive words, Scriptural admonition, or honest heart-sharing.

Guilt has, at times, seemed like a great way to motivate my husband. And I’ve succumbed to that temptation far too often. But husbands (at least the one I know) also seem to respond much better to respect and loving encouragement than to rants of any kind. Action flows from positive relationship, not negative emotion.
If I were going to give one piece of marital advice to newlyweds, it would be to institute early the habit Tom and I now have: praying together every morning and every night. God used prayer to draw me to Himself, and it has remained a vital force in my walk with Christ.
As a newlywed, I longed to share times of prayer with my husband, but somehow, it rarely happened. We prayed more when we were engaged than in our early years of marriage. Busy work and school schedules, multiple places of employment, our first two children arriving ten months apart—you name it, we had the excuse.
Deep down, I didn’t want to press my husband to pray because I enjoyed the leverage that not praying gave me. He was the “spiritual head,” so if we didn’t pray together, it must be his fault. How’s that for twisted logic of the not-so-spiritual kind? I’m ashamed to admit it, but that’s how my thinking went. Yes, we prayed with our children every night and most morning. We prayed at key times and for particular events. But as a couple, our times of genuine prayer together went begging.
It took a time of pain to change us. Several years ago, in the midst of a season of seeming despair, a dear friend shared with us the Scripture I’ve quoted here before, “Neither know we what to do; but our eyes are upon Thee” (2 Chronicles 20:12, KJV). My husband and I made the determination not to allow the enemy to take us down and out. We had experienced deep loss, but we were not going to lose our walks with Christ or our love for one another. Because we didn’t know what to do, we prayed—and cried—and prayed together. Soon, our act of desperation became a habit. And our habit fulfilled a need for new levels of marital intimacy.
It’s hard to pray with someone when you’re harboring anger or bitterness. So if we choose to continue our prayer habit, we also choose to resolve any issues between us. We choose not to let the sun go down on our anger. We choose to view one another from God’s perspective. We choose to pray—and we choose to love.
Today, when one or the other of us is out of town, we do our best to call each night and morning so we can continue our prayer habit. We find it a beautiful blessing and benediction to our days.
How has prayer affected your marriage, a friendship, or other relationship? Have you, like us, changed your habits through the years? I’d love to hear your story. 


  1. My husband and I have prayed nightly together for around 25 years now. It’s been a tie that bonds us closer. It’s ended arguments, too–it’s hard to “let the sun go down” on one’s anger when you’re coming before God!

    Great post, Marti! Not good advice–the BEST advice!

  2. Marti,
    This is such a beautiful example of love shared between husband and wife. It reminds me of the verse in Ecclesiastes: “A cord of three strands is not quickly broken.”
    I am a newish Christian and the act of praying with others is still something I’m figuring out and getting comfortable with. For several years I’ve hoped my husband and I would pray together but we’ve not yet bridged all the “stuff” that’s keeping us from actually doing it. Thanks for your powerful example.

  3. What a beautiful story…and I know it works. One thing I would add to this is we always start our morning with our Bible and devotional reading together…this is with our morning coffee (his) and tea (mine). Starting the day with God’s Word, prayer and sharing of thoughts and ideas is such a wonderful way to start the day, no matter what else is going on. Ending the day with prayer and “I love you” makes whatever happened during the day not as significant as the fact that we are together, We three are one…God, husband, and me. Amen.

  4. Thank you all for the beautiful testimonies!Pam, we have our quiet times separately but pray together first. We do share the things God shows us, though. Kelli–as you see from my post, sometimes it takes a while but is definitely worth the wait. And Robin–wow. You should have written the blog for me. Blessings!

  5. Marti, what a great article. Thanks for posting it! My husband and I started off our dating years praying together daily (in person or on the phone), then things sort of tapered off. I don’t know if it’s just crazy work/home schedules that are spinning out of control, but those sweet moments of prayer have been conspicuously absent these last couple of years. And if I ask more than once or twice then I feel like a nagging wife, and I HATE nagging. I REFUSE to nag.

    I am thankful that he loves God and attending church is a major priority for him. I feel blessed that theologically we are on the same page, even though liturgically we haven’t always been-though our “worship preferences” are certainly closer now than ever. But the day-to-day stuff is still lacking. I wrestle with how to tackle this issue. Maybe I will just “share” this article on google reader with him and see if he will take the hint? 😉

    I LOVE your blog btw! I can’t wait to read more about mistakes of the rookie writers.

  6. Thanks so much, Marcie. I appreciate your honest heart-sharing. I’m glad you refuse to nag. God has to slap my hand about that on a regular basis. BTW, check out Tuesday’s blog Tuesday for a special letter to new writers! XXOO back atcha.

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  8. Marti Pieper, were you praying for me today? We host bible study at our house Sunday afternoon, and our pastor stayed late to chat, then he came straight out and asked how diligent we are about praying together. That had to be the hand of God. I just raised my eyebrows expectantly and looked at Joe while he admitted that things weren’t so great in that department, but we all prayed together on the front porch today and committed to being more faithful pray-ers. 🙂

  9. Marcie–LOVES! You may want to tell Joe about the advice Dr. Ted Roberts gives in his book Sexy Christians. His #1 tip for building marital intimacy? Pray together daily!

    In the meantime–yes, I’m praying. Love you!

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