Praying as a couple
God is constantly providing opportunities to prepare the soil of our hearts in order for His word to take root and produce great fruit. All He needs from you in order to start work is a simple “yes”.
About three years into our marriage, the tilling process started with a simple “yes” to attend a six-week “Couple Prayer Series” at a neighboring parish. It was a gradual, systematic process over the next six weeks, very similar to a farmer preparing to plant any type of seed. We started by laying the groundwork of “examining the land”. For the first seven days, we were prompted to pray about our hopes, our barriers, our fears and our vision of what the “land of couple prayer” would look like in the future. Then, over the next five weeks, we really worked the soil, learned the purpose of different tools, and started to plant the seeds. We listened to other couples speak on how they prayed and demonstrated for us what it could look like. In our weekly homework, we started to thank God daily, ask for God’s help, pray with scripture, worship God together, and pray for the power to forgive. Much like gardening, we couldn’t see what was happening in the soil below. At the last session, they had a sign up sheet for couples who felt called to share their experience at the next series. I told my husband, “We are NOT doing that.”
Those mystery seeds were planted seven years ago and we have encountered many seasons of life since then. The crops have been watered, pruned, and have even created more seeds since we started praying together as a couple. Just like the need for different gardening tools, our style of prayer has changed as we move from season to season.
In times of drought, we petition for the consoling rain of God’s presence and give praise to His faithfulness.
In times of sunshine, we give thanks for his abundant blessings and harvest. We pray for discernment and wisdom when God comes to “prune” away the parts keeping us from abiding in Him.
In every season, we pray for openness to God’s will for our marriage and our family.
The fruit harvested is not like anything we would have imagined. During the harsh seasons in our infertility journey, the fruit from our prayer has provided us with the strength to continue to trust in God. One of the many verses mentioned in the series continues to speak truth in our journey: “A person standing alone can be attacked and defeated, but two can stand back-to-back and conquer. Three are even better, for a triple-braided cord is not easily broken.” (Ecclesiastes 4:12) The season of infertility can be very lonely, leaving us vulnerable to attacks of doubt, shame and hopelessness from the deceiver. Inviting a safe person, like your spouse or a Sister of Hannah, to join you in prayer with God can help you to conquer any doubts or hopelessness.
Below, in the soil, I couldn’t see that the Lord had planted a seed of ministry. It took two years for the seed to grow and for us to see fruit. Although I had previously declared we would never be a sharing couple for the next series, after much prayer the Lord changed my heart. Not only did we become a sharing couple, my husband and I have led the Couple Prayer Series at our home parish. We have instructed others on how to use different tools to build a prayer life together and helped plant the mystery seeds for at least 12 other couples. We continue to work in faith with the Lord.
I imagine every time we say “yes” to the Lord, it is like blowing on a dandelion at the end of summer. As the flower dies, it produces a head of seeds which drift off in the wind, waiting for the fertile soil to be planted. We have no idea how many plants bloom as a result of our blowing a “yes” on what looks to be a dead flower. We only get a glimpse when someone stops to share their impact story with us. My prayer is that a seed has been planted with this blog post and you will say “yes” to creating a triple-braided cord with your spouse and God via prayer.
If you are scared to start praying as a couple, I would suggest the following resources as a springboard: