“I felt so nervous, like when I kissed her for the first time.” I’ll never forget that comment from a guy in my Small Group as he talked about praying with his wife for the first time. I’ve led many men’s groups, pastor a lot of men, strong men, courageous men, but almost all are scared to pray with their wives. Scared of that look, or laugh of rejection. “You? Pray? Ha!”
It reminds me of when I started doing triathlons and made the jump to lycra biking shorts. I put them on and pushed into the pain as I walked out to show my wife. Maybe she would say, “Wow those look good on you.” Or, “You look like a UFC fighter in those.” Nope. She laughed. Yep, that’s what I was expecting. Already pretty insecure honey, thanks for the encouragement. Laughter. Shock. Rejection.
That’s what men are bracing themselves for with the thought of praying with their wives. And considering how far out of left field praying together may be, the fears are granted. “Pray? What did you do?” I have worked on something for a couple of years that has really help guys out by taking some incremental steps towards praying with their wives. Follow these steps at the pace you’re comfortable with, or just go for it.
1st Base: Pray specifically FOR her.
Tell your wife you want to be praying specifically for her and ask her if there is anything you can pray for. Now write it down, don’t forget, pray daily, and follow-up on the need.
2nd Base: Pray silently WITH her.
Every night before going to sleep pause and pray silently together, near each other, at the same time. Close it after a minute or so by saying “Amen”. Before you pray, turn everything else off and even grab her hand when your up to it.
3rd Base: Pray vocally TOGETHER.
Now you’ve worked up to it. Pray out loud for your wife, family, kids… Nothing fancy, and it doesn’t need to be long, or even original. You can build towards that. I pray 90% of the same thing every single night with my wife. (Example below) I don’t get fancy, we’re not on our knees, she’s not crying. We’re having a meaningful, spiritual moment, going to the God who joined us, joined in faith together. Dear Jesus, thank you for my wife, our kids, our health, your provision in our life, I pray that you guard over our minds and dreams as we sleep, I ask your protection over our home, wake us up in the morning full of joy ready to meet with you. We love you Jesus and pray this in your name, Amen.
The best things I can recommend to make this all work, and your marriage work, is going to bed at the same time. I know everybody has excuses but this will help you connect, and keep you out of trouble. If you have to… work from bed, watch TV, read a book, paint, whittle, whatever, but get in bed at the same time. For me personally, this prayer time is a safety on my wife and I’s connection. If I’m not taking care of her, God’s less interested in listening to me. (I Peter 3:7) So before I feel I can genuinely go to God in prayer I have to press in to the tensions there are between us. This makes sure we reset every night. It helps.