Prayer in marriage? Together? Yes ... dear friend Patricia Raybon shows us how.
Tending a Marriage with Prayer
By Patricia Raybon
My husband crawls to my side of the bed and kneels on the floor beside me. It's daybreak. Our daily prayer time. So I scoot out of the covers and fall to my knees beside him. Still in our pajamas, we lean into each other, read our devotional and Dan starts to pray. O God!
But does God hear us? We don't even ask that question. After 42 years of marriage, we're finally willing to learn a little something about patience. About waiting on the Lord. About God's curious tendency to delay his replies.
So we're not panicked today for quick answers. We're humbled that God would even take time to listen to us. We were married 35 years before starting to pray together like this. If God would wait that long for a distracted wife and husband to finally seek him together for our marriage, for family members, for life questions and more - then patiently reveal his answers - we have no doubt that God is good and God hears.
Call it amazing. And not that hard. To pray, we use a daily devotional. It sets the pace. We read the Scripture, ponder the story, kneel down and pray. This simple approach works every time.
Maybe that's why David in Psalm 28 frames his plea by first acknowledging who God is. My rock. Not like the chalky caves near the Valley of Elah, God in David's eyes is as enduring as the granite peaks of Sinai. He still is.
Like a silent rock, however, "don't turn a deaf hear to me," David begs God. "For if you are silent, I might as well give up and die" (vs. 1).
Talk about a desperate prayer. But my husband and I can relate. Our youngest daughter has left the Church and hasn't returned - a situation that keeps us on our knees daily.
If God were silent, we'd give up and die, indeed. But God isn't silent after all. He speaks in his Word, our Christ, and through his great promises, but also in his world.
As I write this, the morning after a rainy and chilly weekend, I gaze out of my window to the audacious warmth of piercing sunshine.
Have hope, the beautiful day is saying, and in the sun's glowing rays, I can hear the Divine.
Kneeling with my husband today, letting him pray this time for both of us, instead of jumping in to change his words, we gain humility and assurance, peace and joy, blessings and beauty. On many days, together, we can even sound like David:
"The Lord is my strength and my shield; my heart trusts in him, and he helps me. My heart leaps for joy, and with my song I praise him" (Psalm 25:7).
We've learned that life doesn't have to be perfect to praise God. When two people learn that together, however, the lesson may stick faster. For sure, it sticks hard.
Indeed, it's a journey, this business of hearing God together. But what a beautiful trip. As Dan and I have learned, prayer helps pace our way through this journey called life.
And our marriage? What better way to grace its days than with prayer? O God.
Yes? God is answering. And what is the Lord assuring us: I am here.
Patricia Raybon is an award-winning author of books and essays on bridge-building grace and mountain-moving faith. Her husband Dan is a retired educator and also a new author of mystery fiction for children. Patricia's prayer memoir, I Told the Mountain to Move, was a Book of the Year Finalist in Christianity Today's 2006 Book Awards competition. She's also author of The One Year® God's Greatest Blessings Devotional and My First White Friend, and co-author of Undivided: A Muslim Daughter, Her Christian Mother, Their Path to Peace. This reflection was adapted from Sanctuary for My Soul: Meeting God Through the Psalms. Learn more about Patricia and her writing ministry at patriciaraybon.com.