When I was in college there was a girl I really didn’t like. Every time we were around each other we rubbed one another the wrong way. I finally told a friend that I was tired of it and wanted it to change. She recommended that I pray for the girl. I have to admit that I pray a lot more now, but back then the thought of praying for anyone, especially someone I didn’t like, was crazy. But I decided to give it a try, I mean, it’s not like it would make the situation worse. I was hoping my prayers would change her, but what I found is that I started to change. The more I prayed for her, the more patience and empathy I had for her. Our relationship completely changed and we became great friends. If praying can turn enemies into friends, imagine what it can do for a marriage.
Here’s some shocking statistics*: while 50 percent of first marriages end in divorce, and 78 percent of second marriages end in divorce, less than 1 percent of couples who pray together daily end their marriages. Prayer for couples is powerful, and here are 8 ways it benefits marriage.
1. Prayer keeps you humbled in front of God and your spouse.
The act of prayer—hand-in-hand, quiet, focused, on our knees, with heads bowed keeps us in a position of openness and humility. We are engaged in an act of worship. We are showing our reverence for God and each other. It’s hard to be judgmental and argumentative when you’re in that stance.
2. Prayer removes you from continuing the cycle of hurting each other.
Again, when you are humbled in your prayer position, your heart opens to understanding instead of accusing.
3. Prayer releases your deepest hurts.
Praying out loud gives your inmost hurts a voice. When you give your emotions a voice and a name they become valid. When your feelings are validated and understood by a God who loves you, then you’re on the road forgiveness. Please note, if your spouse is the offender that needs to be forgiven, then your “hurt” prayers are for God’s ears only, not your spouse.
Holding your spouse’s hands is a physical portrayal of unity. Praying with your spouse provides spiritual unity through God. Physical unity and spiritual unity are ties that bind and are not easily broken.
5. Prayer breeds appreciation.
When you thank God for the blessings in your life, your spouse (no matter how frustrated you may be with him) will eventually make the list. When you show your appreciation for him, he will show it for you, and you will begin to create a list of “loves” rather than “annoyances”.
6. Prayer is an invitation to change.
When you’re humbled your heart is open to change and grow. You have a renewed willingness to work to stay together.
7. Prayer removes selfishness.
Your prayers may initially be about you but once you hear your own voice petitioning the Creator of the Universe for (fill in the blank), you quickly see how unworthy you are to receive it. Your hearts begin to align with God’s promises and plans for you. Immediately your prayers will turn from your own injustices and desires to someone in your life who has real needs.
8. Prayer gives you hope.
When your hearts as a couple are in unity with God’s good and perfect will, then your prayers will always be answered. Regardless of you actually getting what you prayed for.
Here are 10 Mom Prayers to help you this year as well.
How has prayer helped your marriage?
*Study done in 2010 by Christopher Ellison at the University of Texas San Antonio called “The Couple That Prays Together: Race and Ethnicity, Religion, and Relationship Quality Among Working-Age Adults,” which appeared in the August issue of the Journal of Marriage and Family.