Over the past 45 years, my husband and I have read numerous books together to strengthen our marriage. One favorite was When Couples Pray Together by family counselors David and Jan Stoop. We identified with the authors’ early struggles to pray with each other. Jan yearned for spiritual intimacy with Dave, but he resisted when she suggested they join in prayer. Problems like theirs are not uncommon. Informal statistics reveal only 4 percent of Christian couples actually pray together on a regular basis.
Whether marriage partners already pray together or want to start, this book has much to offer. It brims with stories of praying couples, answered prayers, and practical guidance. Written in a friendly tone, it covers why couples should pray together, why they don’t, and how to begin.
At the time the book was written, the Stoops had prayed with each other daily for almost 30 years and listed marital stability as an important benefit. While divorce statistics soar even among Christians, one marriage ministry reported: If couples pray together regularly, only one in 1,500 gets divorced. The authors conclude, “Obviously, the couple who prays together stays together.”
Couples in this book testified that their prayer times enhanced spiritual intimacy with God and each other. “Our praying together creates an intimacy that makes us closer in all other areas of our marriage,” one husband said. “It is well worth the time invested.” Another wife agreed. “This is truly our best form of communication, not only with God, but also with each other.” The Stoops acknowledge, “Although we cannot go back to the innocence Adam and Eve had in the garden before the Fall, we can seek to restore to some degree the spiritual intimacy they shared with God, both as a couple and as individuals.”
When couples unite in prayer, God releases his incredible power. Jesus promised, “If two of you on earth agree about anything you ask for, it will be done” (Matthew 18:19 NIV). This book cites exciting answers as husbands and wives agreed in prayer. But even when prayers weren’t answered as hoped, praying together sustained them during dark times.
Since numerous benefits result from praying together, why don’t more Christian couples do so? One hindrance is our natural resistance to change. Other barriers include busyness, personality differences, fear, laziness, marital conflicts, plus evil, unseen forces. However, the authors don’t leave readers stuck with these difficulties. They offer suggestions to overcome resistance and barriers and then challenge married partners to begin praying. Discussion questions and sample prayers are included to help couples start.
When Couples Pray Together is a motivating, quick read. It certainly encouraged us. We finished the book, held hands, and prayed. We also committed to pray together daily at bedtime. These consistent prayers have blessed others and strengthened our marriage.
Lydia Harris is the author of Preparing My Heart for Grandparenting.
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