Summary: A sermon on encouraging married couples to pray together (Material adapted from http://www.coupleswhopray.com/)
Several years ago, Redbook magazine did a computer survey on sexual attitudes and practices (not surprising). What was surprising in the survey was they sprinkled questions about religion in with the study. The survey of about 19,000 women showed that “strongly religious” women reported more sexual satisfaction than with “fairly religious women.” At the bottom of the satisfaction scale were non religious women; they are the least satisfied. Redbook editors admit to being “astounded” by this correlation. The editors’ could hardly offer an explanation. The “teaching” that physical pleasure is a necessary element in a good marriage is not the discovery of modern times, nor of psychology. This teaching is embedded in the Bible (notably in The Song of Songs) and has been appreciated and acted upon by people of faith for millennia.
Across the board, whether religious or non religious, 1 out of every 2 marriages in the US end in divorce. Here is another interesting statistic: A survey was taken that noted just 1 in over a thousand couples who prayed together saw their marriage fall apart.
Now most Christian couples pray together at church, before meals, and maybe with their children before they tuck them in for bed. However, rarely do they pray together as a couple.
The 40 day prayer challenge is where couples are challenged to pray with their partner for 5 minutes a day for 40 days. Out of this challenge a book was written called Couples Who Pray. Couples Who Pray followed the experiences of 24 test couples who agreed to take the challenge, praying daily. Wish I had the book but they have a web site (http://www.coupleswhopray.com).
Eugene Peterson- She came to see me at the recommendation of a friend. She had been troubled for years, seeing psychiatrists and not getting any better. The consultation had been arranged on the telephone so that when she walked into my study it was as a first meeting. Her opening statement was, “Well, I guess you want to know all about my sex life- that’s what all the psychiatrists want to know.” I answered, “If that is what you want to talk about I’ll listen. What I would really be interested in finding out about, though, is your prayer life.” She didn’t think I was serious, but I was. I was interested in the details of her prayer life for the same reason that her psychiatrists had been interested in the details of her sex life- to find out how she handled intimate relationships.”
What do sexuality and prayer have in common? These are both aspects of a beautiful thing called intimacy. A more accurate gage of a marriage should not be, “How is your (sex) life?” But “How Is Your Prayer Life?”
Thesis: How does praying together as a couple strengthen a marriage?
Breaks down pride
Prayer is an admission that we cannot do this on our own. We need the help of God to get us through. We naturally want to do things on our own without anyone’s help. However, this is especially dangerous when applied to marriage.
“Unless the LORD builds the house, its builders labour in vain.” Psalms 127:1, NIV.
“Pride goes before destruction, a haughty spirit before a fall.” Proverbs 16:18, NIV.
“For whoever exalts himself will be humbled, and whoever humbles himself will be exalted.” Matthew 23:12, NIV.
Prayerlessness is the very first sign of pride. Proud people don’t pray. In fact, the only people who pray are those who need God, know they need God, and can’t go on without God.
If we think our marriage does not need prayer, we need to be concerned about pride.
When we pray together as a couple, we begin to hear how our partner approaches God. When we hear how our spouse prays, we understand their heart. We understand what they are really going through. We see the real person stripped of all pretension.
Praying together—or at least prayer together with any depth—requires presentation of myself as less than ideal, less than having it all together, less than whole. It requires the presentation of myself as who I really am rather than who I would like others to believe that I am.
Now in prayer we are talking with God. Even when we are leading prayer, we are talking with God. Vertical prayers are effective, horizontal prayers are not.
With this vulnerability we get honest with God and honest about our sins. We are much more able to forgive each other with this kind of vulnerability. What marriage does not have some areas that need forgiveness!
“Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you.” Colossians 3:13, NIV.
Someone has said, “Praying together is both a solvent and a glue. It dissolves resentments and bitterness, and binds hearts in new and joyous harmony.”