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The Power of Prayer in Marriage
By Dan Vis
March 05, 2018
Comments: 26

Note: Since our focus this month on marriage, we decided to bring back a few old articles on the subject you might enjoy. This one cites some surprising statistics, and gives helpful suggestions for praying with your spouse. Enjoy!

Have you ever heard someone tell you 50% of all marriages end in divorce? That most of the marriages which do survive are unhappy? And that the divorce rate within the church is no better than the divorce rate in the world? Well, I have good news for you. None of those statements are true!

In 2014, a Harvard-trained researcher named Shaunti Feldhahn, published a book entitled "The Good News About Marriage". In it, she reported her findings from an extensive eight year study on marriage and divorce. According to Feldhahn:

You can read more about her study in this post at Western Journalism from a couple years back.

Another article by Dr. David Stoop cites an even more shocking statistic: the divorce rate among couples who pray together on a daily basis is less than one per thousand. That makes prayer an almost fool-proof way to secure your marriage! Unfortunately, he cites another statistic: only 4% of Christian couples actually do pray...

How to Get Started
Here's a few tips to help you get your partner to join with you in this vitally important practice:

1. Be hopeful. Don't use guilt to motivate your partner to pray with you. Rather, be positive and optimistic. Invite them with a smile. If they are unwilling at first, stay cheerful. Begin praying privately that God will work in their heart, and invite them again another time.

2. Start with a challenge. Join with your church in doing a 30-day marriage challenge or something similar. Making a commitment to do something everyday for the rest of your life can seem overwhelming. A shorter goal may be more appealing. And if your partner enjoys the experience, they may just want to continue.

3. Keep it short. People are busy these days, and trying to squeeze in an extra hour a day for prayer can be tough. So instead, ease into it, even if that means keeping it to 5 minutes a day or less. Refuse to hold your spouse hostage to long prayers. As prayer becomes a more regular part of your lives, the time may gradually increase, but let it happen naturally.

4. Be flexible. While it is best to schedule a regular time for prayer, and skipping days now and then is a sure fire way to break a good habit, stuff happens. Be flexible when your spouse can't meet with you, or wants to postpone/reschedule. A failure to be gracious in such situations will turn your prayer time together into a duty or obligation. Don't let that happen!

What Do We Pray About?
Some people feel uncomfortable praying with their partner, because their partner's prayers seem more directed at them than God. One way to avoid that is to learn how to focus on praying blessings.

Don't whisper a word that might make your partner feel judged or condemned. If issues need to be addressed, find a different time to discuss them. Keep your prayer time as loving and supportive as possible.

Don't pour out your heartaches and anxieties. Your spouse may not know how to deal with that kind of pressure. Save those for your private time with God. He can handle any burdens.

Don't come with a long laundry list of personal requests. If there are one or two urgent matters that are important to both of you, don't ignore them. But don't make these your focus.

Rather, learn to pray blessings.

Thank God for qualities you admire in your spouse. Express gratitude for things they have done that you like. Celebrate the positive ways your spouse makes you feel. And then ask God to do special things for your partner: protect them, guide them, give them wisdom, success, happiness. Pray they would feel God's presence throughout the day--His peace, love, and joy. Don't just pray with them, pray for them.

Use your prayer time to practice focusing your mind on the most kind, caring thoughts you can muster. Eventually, those feelings will spill out from your prayer time into the rest of the day. And your marriage will be stronger and richer as a result!

Comments

Did you find the information in this post surprising? Did you find the suggestions helpful? How important do you think it is to bless your spouse? Please share a comment below.

Posted by Nancy on 10/31/18
Connection with God, truly is the key. Prayer is our focus in our homes, marriages and life in general. Jesus is always the answer. This story is very important in society today..
Posted by Lance Cutts on 09/15/18
My wife and I will start praying together now daily,thanks for getting us focused
Posted by Dan Vis on 03/08/18
Glad they were encouraging, John. I've known many committed Christians over the years, and almost without exception, I've seen them all stick it out year after year. There's no question Christ gives believers special grace!

Posted by John Gilmore on 03/08/18
Pam and Cristina, I love the connections you've made with oxygen and prayer. Who knows but we might be able to share those connections with our patients.

Dan, thank you for the encouraging statistics, as for me they give yet more evidence that a closer relationship with God improves many facets of life.

Posted by Pamela Kendall on 03/08/18
Cristina another thought came to mind when I was reviewing my verses yesterday and Romans 8:26Likewise the Spirit also helpeth our infirmities: for we know not what we should pray for as we ought: but the Spirit itself maketh intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered. came up. You mentioned intercessory prayer being like "mouth to mouth resuscitation". Romans 8:26Likewise the Spirit also helpeth our infirmities: for we know not what we should pray for as we ought: but the Spirit itself maketh intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered. states that the Holy Spirit makes intercession for us with "groanings that cannot be uttered" - he prays and intercedes for us thus giving us "Mouth to mouth" so that we can then perform "mouth to mouth" on others by interceding for them. He breathes his breath into us to revive us so that we can then breathe it back out to others to revive them.

Posted by Dan Vis on 03/07/18
Glad this was a blessing Cristina! And yes there is wonderful power in prayers of praise. It is often the smallest portion of our prayer time, but in reality it is the most important. After all, that is the one aspect of prayer we will continue to be engaged in throughout eternity!

Pam, I like your point about the preflight instructions on planes, and you linking the sweet savor Paul talked about to fresh air. Interesting way of extending this theme a bit further...

Posted by Pamela Kendall on 03/07/18
Cristina I love your extension of the prayer/oxygen concept to intercessory prayer being like hooking oxygen up to a struggling, fainting soul who is exhausted in the spiritual walk due to lack of oxygen (prayer, lungs diseased with sin) because they are breathing only the polluted air of sinful/evil surroundings. Great point! - I like the mouth to mouth illustration also!

We are to be a breath of sweet fresh air - a "sweet savor of Christ" to all around us II Corinthians 2:14-1614 Now thanks be unto God, which always causeth us to triumph in Christ, and maketh manifest the savour of his knowledge by us in every place. 15 For we are unto God a sweet savour of Christ, in them that are saved, and in them that perish: 16 To the one we are the savour of death unto death; and to the other the savour of life unto life. And who is sufficient for these things? . Keeping our own lungs filled with the rich fresh air of prayer and communion with God will enable us to lift up and help others to the life-giving oxygen also. If our own souls are not getting the air of communion with God that we need we will be unable to help others.

Like the preflight instructions on airplanes - "If there is a lack of cabin pressure - put your own mask on before helping your neighbor, seat-mate, child, etc put on his/her mask." I think we have a "loss of cabin pressure" constantly in this sinful world! The atmosphere of worldliness and sin all around us is never good enough to support spiritual life - so we must have our own masks on constantly (I Thessalonians 5:17Pray without ceasing. ) so we will be able to help others put on their masks II Corinthians 1:3-43 Blessed be God, even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies, and the God of all comfort; 4 Who comforteth us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort them which are in any trouble, by the comfort wherewith we ourselves are comforted of God. by intercessory prayer that God will fill them with the breath of his Spirit and revive there spiritual life!

Posted by Cristina Bastos on 03/07/18
This article is like showers of hope for the blessings reported! Thank you, Pr. Dan for sharing!

Thank You all for the comments and powerful testimonies!

Valerie and Pam I liked your ideas on oxygen and prayer! The concept of strengthening others by hooking them up to supplemental oxygen brought to my mind the importance of intercession prayer, like mouth to mouth resuscitation, to strength the spiritual walk of someone.

I have had better times in my walk with the Lord and I guess I need to review my prayer life. A fresh supply of this special oxygen will have its effect for sure. :-)

I also enjoyed the concept of focusing in the character of God in prayer, Pam! This is like a healing balm filling our soul with awe, love, admiration and I really have not all the words to describe it, so I make John's words mine, "Behold, what manner of love the Father has bestowed upon us (I John 3:1Behold, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God: therefore the world knoweth us not, because it knew him not.). Each one has to try this and enjoy it by himself. And it also brought to my mind that it can be quite powerful if applied toward our spouse, like Paul mentioned, focusing in their good traits - once I guess that we tend to focus in the negative - and leaving the difficulties for our private prayer time!

Posted by Dan Vis on 03/06/18
Judi, glad we could share some helpful ideas. :)
Posted by Merilyn Aveling-Rowe on 03/06/18
Paul Thanks for sharing this. Practical and encouraging. Pam I love that quote thanks.

Posted by Judi on 03/06/18
Thank you for these thoughts on prayer in marriage. Even though my husband and I pray together every morning and evening, it's refreshing to have some new ideas. I especially liked some of the ideas on how to pray for each other.

As for the statistics, I have believed for many years that someone went a county office and looked at the number of marriages, then went to the divorce court and looked at the number of divorces and that's how they got their numbers (say 100 marriages and 50 divorces). BUT they never looked at the people that did NOT get married or divorced that year. Another thing to consider on the divorce rate is why the divorce. Is it money, abuse, unfaithfulness, not getting along, lack of commitment. or another reason. All these things seem to get segregated most of the time.
I take most of the mainstream statistics lightly because of things like this.

Posted by Dan Vis on 03/06/18
Anita, glad you enjoyed this! And yes, it's a memo and not part of the Made in Heaven class. Though it does go along with that doesn't it? We have several more memo's related to marriage this month coming up!

Thanks for sharing that testimony Paul, of the power of this kind of praying. What a blessing and encouragement!

Posted by Valerie Wise Burrell on 03/06/18
Paul, what a loving tribute to your wife. Pam, I enjoyed reading how you applied my analogy of oxygen to what you do as a PT and to the walk of faith. This subject opened up some wonderful thoughts.
Posted by Paul Carson on 03/05/18
For my spouse and I morning and evening devotion via a reading (currently The Acts of the Apostles) is preceded and followed by prayer. We use the calendar day to determine which of us starts the reading and who prays the final prayer (I do the odd days and she the even days). My spouse is an astute woman of Grace who has for years prayed the fruits of the Spirit for me - as if I already have them - ie as a prayer of thanks. This is tremendously encouraging for me. With that sort of love of course I want to be and strive to be a better person. And we know that praying the promises of God make our prayer effectual in Christ. Glory to God!
Posted by Anita Huffman on 03/05/18
Well, never mind. When I scrolled back to the top, I realized this was the Monday Memo, not one of the Made in Heaven lessons. :)

Posted by Anita Huffman on 03/05/18
Beautiful, thoughtful readings. Thank you!

I do not have to Mark As Read button for this one.

Posted by Dan Vis on 03/05/18
Thanks everyone for the feedback, and especially all the testimonies about how prayer has strengthened different marriages. So encouraging to read these!

Can't wait to hear how it goes Dorothy Vance! :)

So agree Carole Bliss about how we all need encouragement. What a great ministry to encourage others, and esp our spouses!

Great quote Pam. Nice how you connected it with your work as a physical therapist.

I hope you can restart that wonderful tradition with your husband Floride. Maybe some of the suggestions in the reading can help!

Posted by Floride Leonce on 03/05/18
I believe that praying with your spouse can not only bring you closer together, but also closer to God as a couple. My husband will have been together for 18 years this September, but as of last year things haven't going well between us. We used to have, in addition to family devotion every morning, a session of prayer once a week just him and me where we prayed for each other. That has stopped unfortunately and things have gotten worse. And I feel like even his spiritual life is suffering from that. I couldn't agree more with Pam for posting that quote of E.W.
Let's continue to pray with and for our spouses.
Posted by Deanna Dekle on 03/05/18
Great suggestions.

Posted by Pamela Kendall on 03/05/18
Valerie I love your thought that "Prayer is the oxygen of the Christian walk." I am a physical therapist at a hospital and one of my main jobs is to help sick people get up and walking. Some of them have lung diseases and the normal air around them is not enough - they need supplemental oxygen. Without it they fatigue much too quickly and get short of breath with basic activities that don't fatigue people with healthy lungs at all.

Our spiritual lungs are damaged and our earthly air is polluted and tainted with sin - it is inadequate to supply our needs and we fatigue with the most basic spiritual activities and are unable to progress in our walk with out "supplemental oxygen" - prayer. Prayer gives us the power and the endurance to not only walk but to run the Christian race and win the prize of eternal salvation and likeness to Jesus I Corinthians 9:24Know ye not that they which run in a race run all, but one receiveth the prize? So run, that ye may obtain. . Now if I just remember that prayer is the breath of my soul every time I hook someone up to supplemental oxygen - what a great reminder it will be!

Prayer is the breath of the soul. It is the secret of spiritual power. No other means of grace can be substituted and the health of the soul be preserved. Prayer brings the heart into immediate contact with the Wellspring of life, and strengthens the sinew and muscle of the religious experience. Neglect the exercise of prayer, or engage in prayer spasmodically, now and then, as seems convenient, and you lose your hold on God. The spiritual faculties lose their vitality, the religious experience lacks health and vigor.... {MYP 249.3}

---------

As a single person I like to relate "marriage advice" to my walk with God Isaiah 54:5For thy Maker is thine husband; the LORD of hosts is his name; and thy Redeemer the Holy One of Israel; The God of the whole earth shall he be called. . I like the concept of prayers of blessing mentioned here. It reminds me of David's words in Psalms 103:1-21 Bless the LORD, O my soul: and all that is within me, bless his holy name. 2 Bless the LORD, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits: "Bless the Lord O my soul!..." He then goes on to list the blessings God has given him - the good qualities of the heavenly "Husband" Psalms 103:3-53 Who forgiveth all thine iniquities; who healeth all thy diseases; 4 Who redeemeth thy life from destruction; who crowneth thee with lovingkindness and tender mercies; 5 Who satisfieth thy mouth with good things; so that thy youth is renewed like the eagle's. . Of course we can and should take all our problems and concerns to God, but praise and blessing is an important aspect that is too easy to forget especially when we are stressed and troubled. Counting our blessings and praising God's numberless virtues will draw us closer to him and give us greater faith and trust that He is able and willing to help us with our trials and struggles also.

Posted by Carole Bliss on 03/05/18
Wonderful, practical suggestions. Its refreshing to hear divorce is declining.
I love that our personal prayers with God is where we take all the deep things. Power of positive thinking is so important, I need to praise my husband more in word. We all need encouragement.
During the time I am asking for a blessing at mealtime, which is when we pray together, I need to make a short prayer that includes a concern we both have. This has been a blessing. Thank- you, Carole
Posted by Valerie Wise Burrell on 03/05/18
This is a welcome post! It is so good to hear the good news about marriage for a change. It is also not surprising to learn that prayer is the key to making marriages work. Prayer is the oxygen of the Christian Walk.
Posted by Dorothy Vance on 03/05/18
My husband and I have a wonderfully happy marriage for many reasons. God brought us together and keeps us together. We pray together morning and evening, but strangely enough, we've never focused on praying for each other together. I'm eager to begin doing this. Thank you for the idea. I know it will be a huge blessing!
Posted by Lynn Badger on 03/05/18
Great thoughts and ideas
Posted by Faith Pustam-Ramdath on 03/05/18
I think it is very important to bless your spouse. My husband prays with me and for me every morning before I leave for work. It feels good to hear your spouse pray for you.
I like this article it is very uplifting and enlightening.
Posted by Angela M. Brown on 03/05/18
These statistics don't surprise me. I think we knew prayer was the safest course in marriage all along. Imagine a day without breathing. You wouldn't survive! Prayer is our spiritual breathing, so doing it together is important.

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