Therefore, confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person has great power as it is working.
Talking with God is as important as talking with earthly companions. So connecting all together can be a double blessing—praying to God with those we love.
Yet we often neglect to pray aloud with our spouse or friends. Why?
Here are 5 common roadblocks to praying together and how to overcome them:
1. I don’t know how
I didn’t grow up with parents who prayed. I don’t know where to begin. What words should I say?
Start small; there’s no right or wrong
If you can talk to another person, you can pray with another person. God doesn’t expect a special vocabulary or seminary degree for conversations with Him.
Ask your spouse or friend to spend a few minutes thanking God with you. Each of you share a couple things and be done. Or take turns asking guidance over a child or about a personal struggle.
Set boundaries to keep it manageable: limit your topics to three per session or agree to 30 days of praying for your marriage.
2. We can’t find time
My husband works late and I travel a lot. When we are both home, we’re busy putting the kids to bed. We can’t schedule a time to pray together.
Be flexible; think creatively
Is there a 5 minute window after dinner? Or before you get out of bed in the morning? Pray with a friend over the phone or in an online chat—God is fully connected everywhere.
Perhaps three times a week would work, or maybe only on Saturdays/Sundays. Don’t make it all-or-nothing. A few minutes is better than none, and only once a week still adds up to 52 times a year.
3. It’s too awkward
I stumble over my words when I pray aloud. I forget what I want to say. I’m afraid to be so vulnerable to someone else.
Write it down; do it afraid
If you wait until you’re comfortable, you may never start. Acknowledge the risk; admit in your prayer that you’re scared.
Try writing down what you want to pray about. Or read a prayer from a prayer book, Psalm 23, or the Lord’s Prayer. Keep your own words informal. Laugh out loud if something’s funny; cry if it’s sad. Don’t give up; the awkwardness will pass the more you do it.
4. My spouse won’t pray with me
My spouse and I aren’t on common spiritual ground. I don’t like having to ask for it. My friends are too busy or not interested.
Share silence together; make a new friend
Gently suggest prayer but never push it on your spouse. Perhaps try a few minutes of praying silently side by side. Or maybe your spouse would just hold your hand while you pray aloud. Agree to take turns initiating—he prays on odd-numbered days; you pray on even-numbered days.
If there’s absolutely no interest, seek out a same-sex friend to pray with. An older (or younger!) lady in your church might appreciate you visiting once a week to pray together. Or perhaps take a few minutes at the end of your small group meeting to pray together.
5. I just don’t want to
I’m too tired, angry, confused, depressed, doubting, or sick to pray with someone else. God hears me just as well when I pray alone. Why bother others?
Use it to heal; give community a chance
True, God listens as closely to one voice as one thousand. But He also delights in community (Father, Son, Spirit). Praying with others tightens our spiritual bonds with Him as well as with each other. You often learn more about a person through their prayers than any other way.
Use the reasons you don’t want to pray as the very things a friend can pray about for you. Grace and understanding often break through among a group of two or three gathered in His name.
Praying with others is a spiritual practice of relationship. It’s more than asking for our circumstances to change; it’s about being changed ourselves.
If you pray with your spouse or a friend, what works for you?
If you don’t, what problems get in your way?
Who could you ask to pray with you for 21 days in August or for some other specified period?
Please share your thoughts below.