Challenges, Communication, Podcast, Priorities

How Do I Pray with My Spouse? (Part 1)

Nothing changes our hearts like praying with the living God! In this episode we talk about the why, when, and how of prayer, particularly for married couples and spouses praying for one another.

Readers often ask the question “How do I pray with my spouse?” Here is a quick look at what prayer is (why we pray), when to pray, and how to start. As usual, this is taken from our personal experience and growth in this area. We are still learning and have much room for growth. Heads up: I thought this would be a short post, but there’s just too much to cover. Therefore, the topic is broken into two parts: why, when (part 1) and how (part 2). Read the second part here.

Transcript Shownotes

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First, a Confession

Honestly, I struggle with praying. I find myself checking my phone first thing when I wake up when I should be consulting with God and bringing myself to Him before anything else. God has been convicting me (deeply) in this area, and I’m still far from where He wants me to be. By His grace I’m aware of it! And by His grace I can be transformed in this area.

Just know that as you read my words, I’m writing them to myself as well.

1: Why do I pray with my spouse?

The short answer for why we pray is “because God commands it” (see #4 below). That truth should be enough to convince us! It’s also helpful to recognize that God commands it for good reasons.

Reason 1: Need

We fail to pray when we fail to recognize our need. We don’t pray to God because we think we don’t need God. This rings especially true in marriage for those of us who are doers and fixers. (*Raises hand.) If that’s you too, let this be a warning. Lacking a prayer life is perhaps the clearest indicator that we’re living by our own strength and by our flesh.

When we recognize our need (even our need for more need), then we begin to pray. We plead with God—first for more of Him, and second for more of His active help and intervention in our lives. Prayer is a core part of the Christian life; naturally it should extend to our most intimate relationship: marriage!

Reason 2: Unity

To some couples, praying together is a foreign concept. Selena and I have found it to be both essential and enjoyable. When we pray together, we metaphorically and physically align ourselves, and place our entire focus on God. Prayer unites us in purpose as we express thanks to God, seek His face, bring our concerns to Him, and ask Him for guidance.

I would contend that praying with and for each other is one of the best ways for a couple to be united, to feel closer, and to have deeper compassion for each other.

Prayer is one expression of Christian friendship. Henri Nouwen writes,

“A friend is that other person with whom we can share our solitude, our silence, and our prayer…With a friend we can be still and know that God is there with both of us.”

Reason 3: Submission

Consider this line from the Lord’s Prayer: “Your kingdom come, your will be done.” When we pray to God in this way, we are saying to him, “Your plan is better, your ways are higher, and I need to align my heart with you.” What could be more liberating than reminding our hearts that God is in control and that we aren’t??

Submission gets a bad wrap, but it’s truly a gift to be able to submit to a loving, perfect, holy, and glorious King. Praying to him is our ultimate opportunity to express trust and devotion to God, and doing so alongside each other in marriage is the straightest route toward agreement in everything that matters.

Reason 4: Obedience

To put it bluntly, God tells us to pray so we should. (He’s King, remember, and we’re not!) Plus, we flourish most when we obey God most—it’s just the way things work. In lieu of expounding more, let’s just defer to the Bible:

Matthew 6:9-13
Pray then like this: “Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name. Your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread, and forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.

Philippians 4:6
Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.

Colossians 4:2
Devote yourselves to prayer, being watchful and thankful.

1 Thessalonians 5:17
pray continually;

James 5:16
Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective.

1 John 3:22
And whatever we ask we receive from him, because we keep his commandments and do what pleases him.

And many, many more… 

2: When should I pray with my spouse?

We get asked this more than I would have anticipated. Folks asking aren’t wondering about the time or day to pray, but rather “on what occasion” is it appropriate to pray together. The usual concerns include:

  • It’s hard to pray when he/she won’t initiate or participate
  • It feels awkward and I don’t like it
  • My husband/wife is a nonbeliever
  • I feel like our prayers are too shallow
  • Every time we start building a habit, we fail to keep it up

Each of the above concerns are very real. Praying can be tough—it grates against our flesh, it takes faith to trust that God hears and acts, and praying out loud reminds us how bad we can be at articulating our own thoughts and feelings. I get it, but let me encourage you.

The question of ‘when’ to pray is best answered by revisiting ‘why’ we pray. When should you pray? ANy time you need God. When do you need God? all the time. So, we ‘pray continually’ because we need God more than we need air. That’s our starting place.

Now, when to functionally pray with your spouse has to do with your family culture and marriage dynamics. For most people reading this blog, it will be primarily a function of setting up new habits and rhythms to simply remind you to do it. For others, it could take more effort. In an effort to be practical, I’ll address each concern above briefly below:

  • It’s hard to pray when he/she won’t initiate or participate
    Initiate as often as necessary. The objective is to talk to God together, so do what it takes. If your spouse doesn’t want to participate, pray anyway by yourself, and pray that God would soften his/her heart toward him and toward prayer.
  • It feels awkward and I don’t like it
    Prayer usually feels awkward because we are fear man (others, ourselves) more than we fear God. Remember whom your talking to: the living God! Boldness gets easier the more you do it and the more accurately you see God’s character. Fight through the frustration, trusting that prayer is a worthy habit.
  • My husband/wife is a nonbeliever
    Invite him/her to pray with you in a welcoming, non-judgemental way. If they refuse, still pray. Remember, it’s not up to you to change their heart toward God or about prayer. It’s your job to need God and to go to him, so do so with confidence.
  • I feel like our prayers are too shallow
    If your kids aren’t sophisticated enough when they talk to you do you tell them to shut up? Probably not (I hope not). Just talk to your loving Father! The more you do it the more you will bring deeper desires up and lay them at his throne.
  • Every time we start building a habit, we fail to keep it up
    Try, try again. Prayer is worth fighting for. Breaking a habit of self-reliance is a lifelong struggle, so never give up and go with God’s grace surrounding you. He loves you no matter how many times you have to restart.

Conclusion

As we can see, there’s tons of evidence illustrating the importance of prayer in the life of a Christ follower. It’s a natural conclusion to think that prayer, therefore, must be part of our marriages. The question still remains: “How do I pray with my spouse?”

In my next post, I’ll answer the “how” question the best I can. I’ll take a closer look at Jesus’ example of prayer. I will also illustrate some key components of prayer Selena and I have found beneficial. Lastly, part 2 of “How do I pray with my spouse?” will conclude with a starter prayer that I hope will get you and your spouse headed toward a healthy prayer life together.

Question: Do you pray with your spouse? What types of things do you pray for together?

Scripture, Show Notes, and Resources Mentioned

  • [00:15:02]
    • Scriptures referenced:
      • Matthew 6:9-13, ESV
      • Matthew 6:13b, KJV
      • Philippians 4:6, paraphrase, NIV
      • Colossians 4:2, NIV
      • Incorrect scripture reference:
        • 1 Corinthians 5:17, incorrectly referenced:
          • Correct verse: 1 Thessalonians 5:17, NIV
      • James 5:16, paraphrase, unknown version
      • 1 John 3:22, ESV
  • [00:35:01]
    • Scripture reference:
      • Matthew 6:9b-13, paraphrase, ESV
        • The alternate ending mentioned is found here: Matthew 6:13b, paraphrase, NKJV

Full Episode Transcript

Ryan:
One of the biggest questions we get as, I don’t know, marriage voices I’ll say, bloggers, podcasters, is this question of how do I pray with my spouse?

Selena:
Mmm…

Ryan:
Now depending on where you’re coming from, you might think, “Come on! It’s obvious.” Or you might think [Selena laughs], “Yes! How do I pray with my spouse?!” [Ryan chuckles] And you may have asked that question to us directly. So, we actually have done quite a bit of study on this topic, both in the past but also recently through books that we’ve written. And so, yeah, we’re going to talk all about how to pray with your spouse. But first, were going to start with two other questions, which is—

Selena:
[Quietly] Ohh!

Ryan:
Why do we pray, and when it’s appropriate to pray? Not just the day or the time, but on what occasions is it appropriate to pray? And I think the answer may surprise you. [Selena chuckles] Anyway! Thank you for joining us once again! We’ll see you on the other side.

<Intro Sequence>

Ryan:
Selena, when should we pray?

Selena:
[Giggles] All the time. [Both laugh] I’m whispering in between on the podcast, ‘cause we can tell when there’s a long line, that’s where he has to delete some stuff, and so I’m trying to talk really quiet so you can’t [Both laughs] see the frequency lights. I’m like—

Ryan:
And you’re ask—

Selena:
[Whispers] “I just want to make sure we’re on the same page here.”

Ryan:
So, when? You’re like, “So, when? What’s the answer?” [Laughs]

Selena:
No. ‘Cause I’m thinking of 1 Thessalonians 5:17, of praying without ceasing, so I’m like, “Are you setting this up for something else that I’m not seeing here?” [Both laugh] I don’t want to follow you blindly, but is that submission? I don’t know.

Ryan:
Well, it’s in the Bible, Selena. [Selena laughs harder] So, it’s pretty safe to assume that we’re going to go along with what the Bible said.

Selena:
No! I’m not saying that. Well, but okay.

Ryan:
And so, pray without ceasing is a thing.

Selena:
So, every occasion, all the time.

Ryan:
Well, I don’t know! We’ll see. Yes, but—

Selena:
[Chuckling] I don’t know.

Ryan:
Yes, but—

Selena:
Uh-oh.

Ryan:
How are we going to kind of tease that out a little bit?

Selena:
For sure.

Ryan:
So… So, anyway. Yeah. Regarding prayer. All right. So again, we get this question all the time. So, we actually wrote some resources. I just want to mention them at the beginning here. It’s called 40 Prayers for My Wife, 40 Prayers for My Husband. And it’s meant to be kind of a 40-day prayer journey, where basically you start at the beginning learning principles about prayer.

Selena:
Mm!

Ryan:
And then you would write out— There’s a page. It’s like an… inventory of sorts.

Selena:
Yes.

Ryan:
Like, tell us a little bit about your marriage. Where is it at in communication and intimacy, and how are you managing your finances and unity around that, and unity around your priorities? And you kind of rate… your marriage before this journey! And you write a few notes.

Selena:
Is this the prayer one, or is this the—

Ryan:
40-day prayer journey? Yeah.

Selena:
Okay.

Ryan:
And then you… [Both chuckle]

Selena:
[Chuckling] Just wrote’em; don’t remember!

Ryan:
And then you go—

Selena:
[Chuckling] So, you wrote this part.

Ryan:
Then you go through the 40 days praying every day for your spouse. Now, it’s very kind of one-sided in that way, in that you’re just praying, going before God for your spouse, your husband or your wife.

Selena:
Mm-hm.

Ryan:
And then after the 40 days, you look and see, here’s what God has done. And you take the same assessment again, and you see, “Oh, man! This is how our marriage has been transformed by this this exercise of building a habit of prayer over the last 40 days.”

Selena:
Right.

Ryan:
And why did we choose 40 days? I think it was because 40 is a significant number [Both say in unison] in the Bible.

Selena:
Yeah.

Ryan:
You see it all throughout the Old Testament and some of the New Testament. It’s really cool. We talk about it in the book, in the intro. And then, 40 days also kind of one of the— it’s in the sweet spot for how to build new habits, like the amount of time you need to build a new habit.

Selena:
Yeah.

Ryan:
So anyway!

Selena:
It’s good!

Ryan:
As we’re going through this episode, if any of this rings true, just go to 40prayers.com, you can learn more about that. But that’s honestly our least expensive, because to print those books was actually really inexpensive, so we’re able to offer them for cheap— more cheaply. [Laughs] I don’t even know if I want a book in nine months.

Selena:
[Laughs] Well, that’s expensive.

Ryan:
Probably a less expensive book. [Selena laughs and Ryan chuckles] That’s an Office reference. So, go to 40prayers.com and find out more about that. But, yeah! But we’re going to dive into this quick plug, another plug. [Both laugh] I’m sorry. I’m really sorry.

Selena:
Full of plugs today.

Ryan:
Full of plugs. [Selena laughs] Patreon.com/fiercemarriage. If you want to participate in a more active way in what we’re doing, just go there. Pray about— speaking of prayer [Selena chuckles], pray about whether or not God would call you to partner with us over this next year. We’re just amazed at what God does. We would love to partner with you. Go to patreon.com/fiercemarriage to learn all about it! There’s benefits and good stuff. I think you actually get the prayer books for free. [Selena gasps] As patreons.

Selena:
Gasp.

Ryan:
You do! Now that I remember that, at the $5 a month level. So…

Selena:
Wowwie!

Ryan:
Anyway! Don’t just sign up for a month and then and then quit to get the free books. That’s… that’s… that’s dishonest.

Selena:
Is that though?

Ryan:
It’s not dishonest.

Selena:
Is it though?

Ryan:
It’s just not nice. [Both laugh] I won’t say that.

Selena:
[Chuckling] It’s just not nice.

Ryan:
Just be nice, alright? Alright.

Selena:
You know what? If people need prayer books, then they can have those prayer books.

Ryan:
You’re right. If you need prayer books, and that’s what it takes, then you know what? We’d love to bless you in that way. [Inhales] Yeah, yeah. [Selena laughs] And I’m thinking, “I hope we have enough inventory.” [Both laugh]

Selena:
God will provide! Right?

Ryan:
Yeah!

Selena:
He’s our provision.

Ryan:
Yeah. Next one! If you have any questions, go to fiercemarriage.com/podcast. We will answer a question; actually, this week we’re going to answer a question related to prayer. Those come out on Thursdays, but you can go to that website. There’s a button or you can call or text: 971-333-1120
. And finally, leave a comment or a rating. Namely leave a rating, or a review rather, on iTunes if this podcast has helped you!

Selena:
[Quietly] A good one. Leave a good one.

Ryan:
That helps us. [Both snicker] [Ryan takes on a deep tone] “Leave a good review.”

Selena:
Is that how I sound?

Ryan:
[Laughing] Maybe sometimes.

Selena:
[Quietly] Oh, my goodness.

Ryan:
After you’ve had a big fat cigar. [Laughs]

Selena:
[Laughing] Yes!

Ryan:
‘Cause you have those.

Selena:
I do that all the time!

Ryan:
Only like every other day.

Selena:
Nope. [Laughs]

Ryan:
Smoking big ‘ole…

Selena:
Nope.

Ryan:
Big ‘ole Churchill cigar. [Snickers]

Selena:
That’s just the raspy voice from having a cold in the winter, as, yeah. [Uses a funny accent] We ate snow today! [Resumes normal voice] It’s snowing a lot today! It’s been great.

Ryan:
Yeah!

Selena:
We don’t get a lot of the snow all the time, so I’m super excited.

Ryan:
You actually predicted it in our last podcast. You’re like [Mimics Selena’s voice], “I think it’s going to snow!”

Selena:
[Chuckle] See?

Ryan:
[Resumes normal voice] And here it is!

Selena:
Just…

Ryan:
I’m looking out the window, and there’s snow on the ground.

Selena:
And I was totally that kid in elementary school that was praying for snow. “What are our prayer requests today?” You know, you’d raise your hand. “Snow!” [Chuckles]

Ryan:
No, no. I think legitimately God hears your prayers about weather more than [Selena laughs] any other person’s prayers about weather. ‘Cause I remember when we would be in high school and college hanging out. You’re like, “Man, I’m just praying for sun tomorrow.” And it would be like, “Boom!” Sun. [Both laugh] It was just like… And then it got to the point where I was like…

Selena:
#Blessed! [Both laugh]

Ryan:
Just, “Mm. I’m just living my best life now!”

Selena:
#HighlyFavored. [Both continue laughing] We laugh because I think we’re all so blessed and highly favored, despite whether or not God hears our prayers about weather. [Snickers]

Ryan:
He does hear our prayers about whether. It’s just does He answer them [Chuckling] according to…

Selena:
No.

Ryan:
What we want.

Selena:
I think my prayers are just coincidentally working with the weather. [Laughs] It’s not like—

Ryan:
I think for you, I don’t know. God has a special place in His heart, probably.

Selena:
You’re sweet. You’re sweet.

Ryan:
‘Cause you glorify Him in… really unique ways.

Selena:
[Snickers] So, it’s me, or is it Him, or is it—?

Ryan:
It’s His glory that He wants.

Selena:
M’kay.

Ryan:
And you give Him more glory. So, yeah! Anyway. Theology! [Both laugh]

Selena:
[Laughing] “Boom!” We’re just dropping bombs here.

Ryan:
[Laughing] Okay.

Selena:
Okay.

Ryan:
Okay.

Selena:
So…

Ryan:
How do we pray?

Selena:
Okay.

Ryan:
Why do we pray? Tell me. Answer. Answer all the questions. [Snickers]

Selena:
Ready, set, go! [Ryan chuckles] Honestly, this is probably one area that we struggle with the most. If you’re anything like us, which some of our listeners are, you have young children in the house, you work a job, and you are just trying to live… not your best life, [Chuckling] but you’re trying to live in a way that glorifies the Lord.

Ryan:
Just holding on.

Selena:
And feels like you’re just, yeah. Just holding on sometimes.

Ryan:
[Snickering] Yeah.

Selena:
Which is kind of the place to be. It feels like! So, that’s kind of our confession here, is that we’re not super great at this. And we’re not super great at, I think, identifying the opportunities of when we can pray, and even knowing how to pray for each other all the time.

Ryan:
Hm.

Selena:
I felt like we were… better at praying when we didn’t have kids. Although we do pray now, because we’re trying to model that and teach them. But as a married couple, we pray as a family—

Ryan:
Mm.

Selena:
But as a married couple, what does that look like? And I mean, we’re still sort of cultivating that in our own relationship.

Ryan:
I think we have rhythms of prayer. It starts to feel kind of commonplace—

Selena:
Mm-hm.

Ryan:
Because we have rhythms that are so fixed. Right?

Selena:
Mm-hm.

Ryan:
Typically, we have breakfast around the same table, and we like to have dinner at least, I think we’re at four nights a week, typically.
Selena:
[Laughs] Yeah.

Ryan:
Four or five nights a week.

Selena:
Yeah!

Ryan:
‘Cause either we’re at…

Selena:
Community group.

Ryan:
We’re having guests over.

Selena:
Or guests over, or…

Ryan:
Yeah. The other two nights we’re usually gone.

Selena:
Bible studies or something. Yeah.

Ryan:
And so, we pray around those times. We also pray around at communion every week.

Selena:
Right.

Ryan:
Our church does…

Selena:
Weekly communion.

Ryan:
Does weekly communion.

Selena:
Yep!

Ryan:
It’s incredible. And the way we do it is you go back to the tables and you get the ordinances, and we pray together.

Selena:
Say the eucharist and the ordinances.

Ryan:
The cracker and the juice.

Selena:
I was like, “The juice and the crackers, and…” [Both laugh]

Ryan:
[Takes on an old English man’s accent] “Hm. Get the ordinances.”

Selena:
Mister Seminary over here.

Ryan:
“We’d like to partake,” [Selena laughs], “in the sacrament… of the Eucharist!” [Laughs and resumes normal voice]

Selena:
Right. So, it’s not— Again, we’re not trying to list out all the times we pray.
Ryan:
Yeah.

Selena:
‘Cause I think that’s what we do, right? You’re listening to this right now. You’re like, “Oh, man. How many times have we prayed? Do we pray? Do I pray daily?”

Ryan:
Right.

Selena:
I… don’t know. We don’t even know if—

Ryan:
Oh!

Selena:
We pray by ourselves or with each other, let alone, right? So—

Ryan:
I will say this. So, for sure, though, without those rhythms.

Selena:
Yeah.

Ryan:
I would just blow past it, and be like, “I don’t need to pray!” [Laughs and inaudible]

Selena:
Which is what? Reason number one, that we will jump into in a minute, is—Well, you have a few reasons listed out.

Ryan:
Yeah!

Selena:
Like why we pray.

Ryan:
First, let me tell you where we’re going. All right. So, we’re talking about prayer ‘cause we get this question all the time. “How do I pray with my spouse?” Namely, how do I pray if my spouse is not interested?

Selena:
Right.

Ryan:
Or he or she won’t initiate? Or… Why—

Selena:
Which has a couple answers to it, but…

Ryan:
Yeah. And then, when? So, that’s kind of when we get into the when piece. So, we’re going to go through all that. We’re going to start with why. Okay. So, why is prayer important? Then we’re going to go into that specifically, when should I pray? In other words, when are the occasions for prayer? Okay. And that’s a kind of a weird way to look at it, but trust me! And then we’ll go into the how. All right? So, we do have four kind of reasons why we pray their spouse. Again, start with the core beliefs, the core underlying beliefs.

Selena:
You know where we like to start, people.

Ryan:
Always! [Selena laughs] Trusting that beliefs always birth behaviors. I like some “B” alliteration.

Selena:
[Laughing] Beliefs—

Ryan:
B-literation there.

Selena:
Birth behaviors.

Ryan:
Belief birth—

Selena:
Boom!

Ryan:
The behaviors. Boom! [Both laugh]

Selena:
Bombs!

Ryan:
Bom— [Both laugh] All right. So, reason number one is exactly [Chuckling] what I said before, is I’ll blow right past… life. Right? Those meals, those moments, those—

Selena:
Right.

Ryan:
Those spaces in time when I need to actually press into God’s goodness and give Him glory. So, oftentimes I blow past it because I don’t think I need. So, the first reason we must pray is because [Said in unison] we need—

Selena:
To pray.

Ryan:
God.

Selena:
Yes…

Ryan:
We fail to pray when we fail to recognize our need.

Selena:
Right.

Ryan:
Bottom line, we don’t pray to God because we think we don’t need Him. And that’s a big problem. [Snickers]

Selena:
And I think it looks—

Ryan:
It’s a big lie.

Selena:
Differently, too, because I’m sitting here thinking, “I know that I need to pray, and I feel like I’m just like, ‘God, please help my children to obey me.” [Selena laughs and Ryan chuckles] Those are kind of the prayers I think I pray, but I think there’s this other sort of need that just goes unnoticed, which again is rooted in the, “I don’t need,” right?

Ryan:
Hm..

Selena:
That it’s not recognizing our deep heart and soul need for communion with God, because I think we identify needs differently. Needs are something that need to be met. Right? It’s something that we can see—

Ryan:
Hm.

Selena:
That seems to be tangible. These are the qualifiers we put on them in our own heads and hearts, I think sometimes! And God is just always there like, “You need me for every breath! You need me for every moment. You need me for every second that the time is ticking. You’ve needed me since I knew that you were going to come into being,” right? If we understand the depth of our need, I think that really starts to…

Ryan:
Right.

Selena:
I guess motivate and inspire us to talk with our Creator. So, not trying to look at ourselves first, but knowing our need… really… amplifies who God is to us. Right? And so…

Ryan:
It’s a reflection of how accurate our view of God is.

Selena:
Yes.

Ryan:
And how accurate our view of our self is.

Selena:
Right, right.

Ryan:
The Bible’s littered with versus that talk about, “There’s no one righteous! Not one.”

Selena:
Right.

Ryan:
All have fallen short of the glory of God.

Selena:
Right. So, I guess what I was saying, too, is that you can blow past it and not think of it. I think I blow past it and think of it, but just… don’t intentionally stop because I need it. I’m just like, “Well, I know that I need it, but blehh! I don’t know how to—”

Ryan:
Well… [Exhales]

Selena:
Make it happen kind of thing, you know what I mean?

Ryan:
You’re reading through Colossians, aren’t you?

Selena:
Yeah.

Ryan:
Right. So, that’s talking about the preeminence of Christ—

Selena:
Mm-hm.

Ryan:
And how in Him and through Him, all things move, right?

Selena:
Right.

Ryan:
And all things were created through Christ and in Christ.

Selena:
Mm-hm.

Ryan:
And they all are sustained! That’s Paul’s refrain in that point, is… it’s not just— I don’t want to minimize this at all. It’s not just that I need God for salvation.

Selena:
Right, no.

Ryan:
It’s that I need Him in every way! It’s that I need Him, not just what He gives me, not the gifts. I need the Giver Himself.

Selena:
Hmm…

Ryan:
And that is, I mean, I feel like when I experience God most deeply, it’s when I just go to Him for Him! And He gives me Himself. And out of that, the fallout of that atomic bomb in my heart, that He has given me Himself.

Selena:
Mm!

Ryan:
The fallout is that every need I thought I had or every need that I wanted is satisfied!

Selena:
Right.

Ryan:
It doesn’t mean that all the sudden—We’re not talking about material needs. Sometimes, that’s how God works.

Selena:
Yes!

Ryan:
But every need is sat— Meaning that whatever need I thought I had, it’s all satisfied—

Selena:
Right.

Ryan:
And I don’t actually need any of that.
Selena:
Well, and I feel like His presence and who He is—

Ryan:
Hm.

Selena:
His character really helps us… decipher what is a need and what’s not, right?

Ryan:
Right.

Selena:
Like you’re saying, all of our needs are meet. But we see needs sometimes through a different lens than He sees our needs. Right? A lot of our needs can be wants, I think.

Ryan:
Oh, for sure.

Selena:
They can qualify under that.

Ryan:
Yeah.

Selena:
So…

Ryan:
So, the bottom line is we don’t see our need for God, or we don’t pray enough, because we don’t need God enough.

Selena:
Right.

Ryan:
So, that’s the first reason we pray, is to remind us of our need. The second reason we pray is unity!

Selena:
Mm.

Ryan:
Right? So, to some couples, okay, if this is you, praying together might be a foreign concept.

Selena:
Mm-hm.

Ryan:
But we’ve found it both to be what? Essential and enjoyable—

Selena:
Mm-hm!

Ryan:
When we take time to do this. I—

Selena:
Definitely! Build some emotional and spiritual intimacy, for sure.

Ryan:
For sure! I’d contend. I mean, I strongly believe that praying with and for each other is one of the best ways for a couple to be united, to feel closer and to have deeper compassion.

Selena:
Mm-hm.
Ryan:
Right? It’s really hard to stay mad at someone when you start praying for them. [Selena snickers] I mean, you can stay mad.

Selena:
True. [Ryan snickers] You can!

Ryan:
You can still be in a tiff or whatever…

Selena:
Oh, I have…

Ryan:
[Ryan laughs and Selena chuckles] Check that box!

Selena:
Yep!

Ryan:
No, I—

Selena:
Check it good.

Ryan:
But when I start going to God with you in mind, and saying, “God help my wife. Help Selena.”

Selena:
Ugh.

Ryan:
“Help her,” not just so I can feel like— It’s not this position… if we’re joking. It’s like, “Hey, I’m right. She’s wrong. Help her realize she’s wrong.” [Both chuckle] But it’s like, “God help me love her well. Help me see her heart in this. Soften her heart. Soften my heart to her!” Okay, wow! All the sudden, all those bombs are diffused. Right?

Selena:
Mm-hm.

Ryan:
So, you’re building unity, obviously, with God, but when you pray together…

Selena:
Mm-hm.

Ryan:
That also builds unity, ‘cause you’re—

Selena:
It’s very disarming.

Ryan:
Kind of literally side-by-side.

Selena:
Yeah! And it’s disarming, I think, too.

Ryan:
It’s disarming.

Selena:
Because you—

Ryan:
Yeah.

Selena:
Can come in… just infuriated!

Ryan:
Your fists are clenched! [Laughs]

Selena:
And then… you’re like, “Okay! Well…” [Ryan laughs] “We do need to pray together. I don’t feel like it. I don’t want to.” [Ryan chuckles] “Why don’t you start?” [Both laugh] That’s kind of my…

Ryan:
My favorite thing. [Cackles]

Selena:
[Laughing] It’s my…

Ryan:
[Ryan laughs hard] Sorry! My favorite thing— I’m being a little bit, I don’t know… facetious here. But one of my favorite things to do is when we’re sitting down to dinner, and I know that you’re irritated with me, I’ll be like, “You pray.” [Both laugh] And you’re like, “Nope!” [Ryan cackles and Selena chuckles]

Selena:
“Submit!”

Ryan:
You’re not afraid to just say… “Nope! Not going to pray right now.”

Selena:
“No, thank you.” [Laughing] My heart is just—

Ryan:
‘Cause it feels very disingenuous to you. [Chuckles]

Selena:
[Chuckling] It does!

Ryan:
Which actually leads me to my second reason, submission. [Laughs] I’m sorry!

Selena:
Look at that. Aren’t you just all great? [Chuckles]

Ryan:
Or not submission in marriage, but submission to God Himself, right?

Selena:
Yes.

Ryan:
So, consider one of the first lines in the Lord’s prayers. It starts with, “Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed is your name,” or Holy is your name.

Selena:
Mm-hm.

Ryan:
Then what? “Your kingdom come, Your will be done.”

Selena:
Right.

Ryan:
So, when we pray in this way, we’re saying to God, “Your plan is better!”

Selena:
Right.

Ryan:
“Your ways are higher. I need to align my heart with You. Help me.”

Selena:
It’s knowledge in His authority.

Ryan:
Right.

Selena:
Absolutely.

Ryan:
Right. Submission gets a bad rap, but it’s truly a gift. If you think about being able to submit to not just any god, not just any father—

Selena:
Mm.

Ryan:
But the loving, perfect, holy, glorious king.

Selena:
[Quietly] That’s true.

Ryan:
That is Christ, that is the Triune God.

Selena:
Mm.

Ryan:
Right? So, praying to Him is our ultimate opportunity to express trust and devotion.

Selena:
So good!

Ryan:
All right. Reason number four, and again, these are all the whys underneath the when and how…

Selena:
So, why we should pray is obedience.

Ryan:
Yeah!

Selena:
Number four: obedience.

Ryan:
And this could have been first. We kind of wanted to bait the hook a little bit. But…

Selena:
Good for you!

Ryan:
The Bible just straight up says, “You know what? You got to pray a lot!”

Selena:
Pray! [Both laugh] Pray.

Ryan:
There’s no—

Selena:
Pray, pray, pray. [Laughs]

Ryan:
And that, yeah. Ideally, that would be more than enough, just to have our hearts obey.

Selena:
Yeah.

Ryan:
And… by the Holy Spirit, we can obey. [Selena chuckles] But consider Matthew 6. We’re going to read about five or six different verses here really quickly?

Selena:
Yeah, the Lord’s prayer, 6:9-13. “Pray then like this: ‘Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name. Your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread, and forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.”

Ryan:
Mm. That’s good. And we’ll talk about kind of how that is—

Selena:
“For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, forever.”

Ryan:
Jesus literally said, “Pray like this.”

Selena:
Mm-hm.

Ryan:
Okay. So, that becomes a rubric for us to follow, a path for us to travel when it comes to our own prayer lives.

Selena:
Mm-hm.

Ryan:
And we’ll talk about that in the how portion of this podcast.

Selena:
Mm-hm!

Ryan:
Philippians 4:6 says, “Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and petition with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.”

Selena:
Mmm.

Ryan:
Colossians 4:2, “Devote yourselves to prayer, being watchful and thankful.” Notice the word “devote” there.

Selena:
Mm-hm.

Ryan:
1 Corinthians 5:17, Selena said this earlier, “Pray continually.”

Selena:
Mm-hm.

Ryan:
James 5:16, “Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective.” Whose righteous?
Selena:
… No one.

Ryan:
Well, in Christ we are!

Selena:
[Giggling] In Christ, we are. I know, but— [Both laughing]

Ryan:
[Chuckling] I know, I’m not trying to and switch you there.

Selena:
[Subdued laughter] No one is righteous, not even…

Ryan:
Yeah, yeah! So—

Selena:
It’s a passage I think about.

Ryan:
When we go to God and we’re in Christ, we’re considered righteous to Him. Right? And our prayers are powerful! Not because of us, but because of Christ!

Selena:
Mmm.

Ryan:
Because He’s made that possible! All right. 1 John 3:22, “And whatever we ask we receive from him, because we keep his commandments and do what pleases him.”

Selena:
Mm!

Ryan:
There’s many, many more of these. One of the themes that you picked up on, Selena, was how all these verses kind of center around… kind of… What? Our own self-relian— They center around rebuking our own self-reliance. Right?

Selena:
Oh, yeah! Yeah.

Ryan:
So, “Do not be anxious about anything.”

Selena:
Right.

Ryan:
If we’re anxious, it’s because we don’t actually trust that God’s got it, that we have to have it.

Selena:
Right.

Ryan:
We have to figure it out.

Selena:
Right. It’s says, Philippians 4, “Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition with thanksgiving.”

Ryan:
Mm. [Baby begins to make noises in the background]

Ryan:
So, you’re in a place of gratitude. Oh, there’s little Louisa. That’s all right. Selena’s going to pick her up so fast… Yeah! So, that’s the how! I mean, sorry, the why of why we pray. Just a real fast recap is reason one is we need, we need to understand and— And what’s the word? Embrace our need. The reason number two is unity. Unity with God. We pray together so that we might have unity with one another as co-travelers, disciples of Christ. Reason number three, we pray submission to God, seeing that He is God; we are not. Reason number four is obedience. It’s ‘cause God told us to, told us to pray. He commanded us to pray. So, hopefully, by now it’s crystal clear why prayer is an essential part of a Christian life, why prayer is essential to our marriage.

Selena:
Mm-hm.

Ryan:
Okay. But we oftentimes get a response to kind of those assertions is, “Okay. But when should I pray?” Meaning how can I actually get through? There’s some hurdles that we have to get over, in particular, on what occasions is it appropriate to pray together?

Selena:
Right.

Ryan:
Especially if you’re not in unity around this.

Selena:
Right. Right, right, right.

Ryan:
So, some of the concerns we get are—

Selena:
Yeah, it’s hard to pray when he or she, my husband or my wife, won’t initiate or participate.

Ryan:
Mm! Get that one a lot.

Selena:
And I do think a lot of these, again, we talked about this before, stem from kind of our family of origin. How did you grow up, praying or not praying? Or what was kind of the perspective, or was there any…

Ryan:
Hm.

Selena:
Perspective on how you prayed or if you prayed? That definitely feeds into our ability or desire to pray, too!

Ryan:
Yeah!

Selena:
And not that we’re always going to want to pray, but we pray because again, we need to. It’s a submission and obedience aspect of our hearts. And so, usually it’s hard to pray when neither one will initiate or participate. It feels awkward! And we don’t like it. Been there!

Ryan:
Yeah. [Selena laughs] It does. And sometimes, that’s why a husband doesn’t initiate, right?

Selena:
Sure!

Ryan:
Or a wife won’t initiate. So, I want to go back to the initiation one real fast before we move on.

Selena:
M’kay!

Ryan:
‘Cause a lot of wives feel like they shouldn’t be the ones… leading the charge—

Selena:
Sure!

Ryan:
In the spiritual growth or the spiritual health of their family.

Selena:
[Quietly] Right.

Ryan:
Right. And so, that’s one of the kind of symptoms—

Selena:
Yeah!

Ryan:
Of our culture, is you have—

Selena:
Yeah.

Ryan:
A lot of husbands who are still boys; they’re boys with beards! [Snickers] Meaning that they haven’t really learned what it means to be a man, biblically.

Selena:
Right. There’s a spiritual maturity aspect to that.

Ryan:
Yeah. That’s a more gracious way to say it. Thank you. [Selena chuckles] And some of that’s you have to learn, and I mean, biblical manhood, what it means to take the mantle of your being the father, the husband, and leading your family. And so, a wife’s response to that is you don’t want to be a usurper. Right?

Selena:
Sure.

Ryan:
You don’t want to be like, “I’m usurping your authority,” and that’s what comes from a heart of rebellion. But I do think it’s more prayers better than the none, right?

Selena:
Sure! Yeah.

Ryan:
So, I would say if that’s you, initiate faithfully, initiate lovingly.

Selena:
Mm-hm.
Ryan:
The objective is to talk to God.

Selena:
Right.

Ryan:
Right? Not to convince your spouse that it’s important, but to talk to God.

Selena:
Right. And it’s also not a way to be passive-aggressive, right? [Both chuckle]

Ryan:
Mm. “I just pray for my husband, that he would…” [Chuckling]

Selena:
[Quietly] For sure.

Ryan:
And it does go both ways! I feel like there’s a lot of husbands who really want their wives to engage in prayer and spiritual growth, but they aren’t interested.

Selena:
I don’t know. Yeah!

Ryan:
Right? They’re just completely disengaged. So, it can go both ways.

Selena:
Right.

Ryan:
And that can happen, like you said. Sometimes it feels awkward.

Selena:
Right.

Ryan:
They don’t like to pray. Or maybe your husband or your wife isn’t a believer!

Selena:
Yeah!

Ryan:
Right? Or you feel like your prayers are too shallow to that one. By the way, this is all—

Selena:
There’s some church culture around that, I think. [Laughs]

Ryan:
Well…

Selena:
You know?

Ryan:
Or you’re maybe a baby Christian, and you think, “I’m just praying for the same things all the time! God help me,” or—

Selena:
Sure!

Ryan:
“Lord, thank you for this day.” [Snickers] Which, you know what? Thank God for this day!

Selena:
Yep!

Ryan:
“God, please help me.” And sometimes you can feel like that’s too shallow, and so, kind of my rebuttal to that thought in my own heart is if our kids aren’t sophisticated enough when they come talk to me, do I tell them to shut up and go away? [Both laugh] Not all the time.

Selena:
No… [Both laughing] Oh my gosh!

Ryan:
[Laughing] I’m just kidding. No, you don’t! Because you understand they’re children, and that’s how they learn, by talking to you and you instruct them. And our loving Father is even more loving, more patient and more desirous of us.

Selena:
Right. Well, and simple prayers can also come from a really deep place of pain, and… loss, or trust being broken or something—

Ryan:
Mm-hm.

Selena:
Really… grave and deep. And so, I think that can go into the area of being a lie, right?

Ryan:
Mm-hm.

Selena:
That our prayers are too shallow, and…

Ryan:
Mm!

Selena:
Again, prayer is exposing our hearts. Right?

Ryan:
Right.

Selena:
Prayer’s exposing our hearts, I think, to us. God knows what we’re going to pray before we pray it. And so, not dismissing something because you think it’s unworthy or it’s too shallow—

Ryan:
Mm!

Selena:
Is just good to recognize. He wants to hear our prayers.

Ryan:
Quite the contrary is Jesus talked a lot about the Pharisees and they’re kind of puffed up, prideful prayers that they would pray strategically so that people could recognize how—

Selena:
Right. [Snickers]

Ryan:
Pious they were.

Selena:
[Quietly] Right.

Ryan:
And how holy they were, and they pray loudly in the public square, and they’d [Selena chuckles]— It was a big show!

Selena:
Right.

Ryan:
It was a big theatrical thing, and he’s like, “Pray in quiet.”

Selena:
Mm-hm.

Ryan:
Pray innocent prayers from your heart. Don’t pray prayers that you think are going to somehow win you favor with God or favor with man. Right?

Selena:
Yeah, yeah.

Ryan:
So, when it comes to the question of when is appropriate to pray, I think we’re going to say, honestly, when you feel like praying, pray. Now going about the logistics of getting your spouse on board or having it be a prayer time that’s meaningfully engaged by every member of your family, that’s not up to you! Pray and be as loving as you can, but like around meals—

Selena:
Right!

Ryan:
Make it a priority. Around whenever those significant moments are, make it a priority. If your spouse won’t engage, that’s discouraging. So, I don’t want to give you a pat answer.

Selena:
Nope!

Ryan:
Pray for their heart!

Selena:
Yeah. I was just going to say, there’s a lot of in between moments.

Ryan:
Right.

Selena:
I think I heard on a podcast… I can’t remember who it was. It was either Journey Woman or maybe it was Jackie Hill Perry. She posted something about praying and being in the word while having little children in the house is often difficult. She’ll sit down and read her Bible, knowing that she’s probably going to be interrupted. And then one of them said that they pray in kind of the in-between moments; they try to recognize those doing the dishes—

Ryan:
Hm.

Selena:
Folding the laundry or driving to school or whatever. Recognizing those small moments where you can pray, and I think oftentimes those are the moments, too, if you’re driving your kids to school, I remember praying! I had a carpool, and I remember the carpool that would take me, and we’d always pray before I went to school. And I…
Ryan:
Hm.

Selena:
Recognize that as such a cool thing! And I was like, “Wow! We should pray on our way to school.” And I try to do that with our kids! And so, it’s just… don’t discount those small moments—

Ryan:
That’s really good.

Selena:
And those small promptings, I think. Again, circumstances are not going to be perfect; this is what I’m learning. You can’t wait for everything to be… perfect, your house to be clean.

Ryan:
Right.

Selena:
Your heart’s to be peaceful, your minds to be clear! [Snicker] That just never happens!

Ryan:
Right!

Selena:
And the Bible says, yeah, 1 Thessalonians 5:17, just, “Pray continually.” Be in this attitude of prayers—

Ryan:
Attitude.

Selena:
Talking to the Lord, submitting to His authority—

Ryan:
Yeah.

Selena:
Being intentional about believing who He is—

Ryan:
Mm-hm!

Selena:
And who you are because of Him.

Ryan:
I found it helpful to kind of put stakes in the ground along the way as I go about my day. Right? So, when I start the day, “God,” boom! “Help me be focused and faithful!”

Selena:
Mm.

Ryan:
“Help me to love You well today. Help me to love my family well. I give You my heart, I give You my mind, I give You my body today!” And it’s a short—That probably took, what? Ten seconds?

Selena:
Mm.

Ryan:
And it’s like, “This is the steak I’m putting in the ground. God, help me!”

Selena:
Mm-hm.

Ryan:
“My day is for Your glory, not my own.”

Selena:
Mm-hm.

Ryan:
And then, kind of go about my day, and then as I’m praying, I’ll see a picture of a friend. “Oh! God, help that friend. Help them with the situation that they told me about.”

Selena:
Mm…

Ryan:
“I pray that You would give them peace!” And there’s no limit! Right? The sky’s not even the limit! [Chuckles]

Selena:
Right, right.

Ryan:
‘Cause you can bring it all before God. Bring your petitions before Him! Oh, Thanksgiving. Present your requests to God. Right?

Selena:
Yep.

Ryan:
So, this is kind of the part that people probably want [Laughs] to hear now, is the how. Right? So—

Selena:
Right!

Ryan:
The how is the part where you can actually start applying this. But I think without the underlying truths, the how’s can kind of come and go like the wind!

Selena:
Yeah!

Ryan:
But if we have these deep whys underneath us, the foundations, then we can start building on it. So, how do I pray with my spouse tangibly?

Selena:
Yeah. Again, circumstances may not always be ideal.

Ryan:
Mm-hm.

Selena:
But if you— Out of our experience, if you’re able to hold hands, having a physical way to express kind of unity and closeness…

Ryan:
Mm.

Selena:
Holding hands is awesome! Silence is okay! Sometimes you don’t always know what to say, and that’s okay. So, it’s okay to sit in silence and be quiet and listen.
Ryan:
Mm!

Selena:
Talking to God involves Him talking to you as well, right? It’s not just a—

Ryan:
Yeah!

Selena:
“All right! I prayed! I’m good! Help me, Lord!” [Laughs]

Ryan:
Yeah. It’s not just a wrote prayer that you just rattle off until you’re done.

Selena:
Yeah!

Ryan:
You’re initiating in a dialogue with God. And I want to go back to the holding hands piece, because I kind of want to paint a picture of what that might look like, right? So, holding hands can take many forms! For us, typically, if we’re holding hands and praying it’s going to be at communion time.

Selena:
Mm-hm!

Ryan:
It’s going to be before we record this podcast. [Ryan snickers and Selena chuckles] We always have some sort of physical, like, I’m touching your leg or holding your hand… But also, I’m thinking of a couple who could be going through a hard thing. You steal as those… “evening” moments.

Selena:
Mm-hm.

Ryan:
When maybe the kids are asleep, or you don’t have kids and it’s just kind of dark and calm and the day is done! You’re sitting down on the couch—

Selena:
Yeah.

Ryan:
Kind of facing each other. One’s on maybe the ottoman, the other one’s sitting on the couch, and you’re just holding hands—

Selena:
Mm-hm.

Ryan:
And bowing your heads… and praying!

Selena:
Mmm.

Ryan:
Right? Or those times when you’re walking alongside each other, and you’re saying, “You know what? Let’s just pray.” We do that sometimes when we’re in the car.

Selena:
Mm-hm.

Ryan:
We’re talking about maybe friends that we know are struggling… “Let’s just pray right now.”
Selena:
Yeah!

Ryan:
And so, we intentionally will hold hands, ‘cause I think that’s an expression of unity and it’s an expression of solidarity!

Selena:
Yeah!

Ryan:
I mean, I’m standing with you!

Selena:
Yeah, for sure!

Ryan:
Or you could just be standing facing each other, like in communion, or in your own house. Whatever you feel led to do, I think just that connection is important—

Selena:
Physically.

Ryan:
In terms of how—

Selena:
Yeah!

Ryan:
To actually go about the business of praying. Like Selena says, silence is okay. One thing that’s really helpful if you kind of find that you feel aimless in praying, and we’ll talk about kind of Jesus’s example of prayer next as the ultimate map for us.

Selena:
Mm-hm.

Ryan:
But it’s really helpful to write down prayer requests.

Selena:
Right.

Ryan:
I think that might be a lost art in the younger generations.

Selena:
For sure! Yeah!

Ryan:
I know a lot of older generations, maybe in their fifties and sixties, and where that’s like, “What else would I do with my prayer requests?”

Selena:
Right…

Ryan:
Of course I’m going to write them down!

Selena:
Right.

Ryan:
And it’s really easy in Christian circles to be like, “Oh, I’m sorry you’re having a hard time! I’ll pray for you!”

Selena:
Right.

Ryan:
Well, if you don’t write it down, there’s a good chance you might forget.

Selena:
Mm-hm!

Ryan:
So, write that stuff down! Especially if you’re going throughout your day, and you’re—

Selena:
I think there’s apps for that, too! [Laughs]

Ryan:
Oh, great. [Both laugh]

Selena:
I won’t promote any.

Ryan:
I think there probably is an app for that! I’m thinking there’s a really good app called, “Pen and Paper” [Selena laughs] that’s probably… the most efficient, cheap app you’ll find. But yeah, just write it down, however that looks for you, and keep track of those things! ‘Cause what’s really cool, too, is when you write down and commit to praying for something, you can actually see, “Look how God worked!”

Selena:
Yeah.

Ryan:
That’s what the whole 40-day prayer journey is all about, is—

Selena:
Look how God worked in my heart—

Ryan:
Yes!

Selena:
And in my marriage.

Ryan:
Yes.

Selena:
And how He changed my perspective maybe on the situation, or He changed my spouse’s perspective.

Ryan:
Mm-hm.

Selena:
And He brought us closer together. Or He humbled me. [Snickers] There’s always… I think our faith is built when we are tracking and seeing…

Ryan:
Mm…

Selena:
Not in a legalistic way, but in just a real time way of, “Wow. I’ve spent the time doing this and this is what happened!” There’s such a beautiful process of planting, watching God grow it.

Ryan:
Yeah.

Selena:
And seeing kind of the harvest there.

Ryan:
I mean, last week we talked about faithfulness equals fruitfulness. Right?

Selena:
Yeah.

Ryan:
And one of the things we…

Selena:
Oh, boy!

Ryan:
Talked about—

Selena:
Being faithful in prayer!

Ryan:
Well, and right! And how we serve a God who’s incapable of being unfaithful to us. It’s against His nature to be unfaithful.

Selena:
Right, right!

Ryan:
And so, when we are faithful in prayer, when we actually align ourselves with His character and we commit ourselves to this discipline, this spiritual discipline of prayer—

Selena:
Yeah.

Ryan:
We can see His faithfulness, and we can actually behold it in a brand-new way. He’s going to be faithful regardless.

Selena:
Mm! Mm-hm.

Ryan:
But we can see His faithfulness in a way that allows us to behold and glorify Him even more.

Selena:
Mm.

Ryan:
So, I want to think systematically through how to pray. So, there’s kind of some logistics there of holding hands and writing down prayer requests and letting silence kind of sit sometimes. I think that’s all good. But when it comes to praying for each other, praying together for each other is immensely, immensely powerful!

Selena:
Mm.

Ryan:
And so, sometimes when I’m praying for you and if I’m at a loss for words, ‘cause I know I want to pray for you, but I don’t know where to start.

Selena:
Sure.

Ryan:
This might sound corny. I don’t know! But I’ll start maybe head-to-toe, right?

Selena:
Yeah!

Ryan:
“Lord, help Selena’s mind. Help her eyes; keep her eyes pure. Help the words that she says be uplifting to our family, to our friends, to each other. And Lord, help her health.” Right?

Selena:
Mm.

Ryan:
“Her whole body. I pray that she would be,” ya know? And so, you just kind of go from head-to-toe, to toe obviously being may you lead her as she walks today, as she goes about her da—

Selena:
Pray for her toes.

Ryan:
Pray for her toes. [Laughing] Please!

Selena:
[Chuckling] That they won’t… be smelly! [Both laughing]

Ryan:
[Laughing] They’re just so funky! [Both laugh harder] Actually, you have remarkable feet. I’m just going to say [Selena laughs], I feel like you are gifted with some good feet.

Selena:
[Chuckling] Thank you! [Both laughing]

Ryan:
My feet are funny looking. Your toes are straight. My feet are—My feet are… [Both laugh]

Selena:
[Laughing] Look!

Ryan:
You make fun of my toes! [Selena laughs harder] [Ryan’s Chuckling] Don’t act like you don’t make fun of my toes!

Selena:
This is true, this is true!

Ryan:
The toe next to my big toe…

Selena:
Mm-hm. It’s kind of bent over at the top.

Ryan:
It’s weird. I don’t know!

Selena:
It is kind of weird!

Ryan:
They’ll find out someday that it’s a—

Selena:
A sign of…

Ryan:
It’s a genetic trait of some either good thing or terrible thing. [Laughs]

Selena:
Right, right.

Ryan:
So, head-to-toe, and then praying for your marriage together.

Selena:
Mm!

Ryan:
I just don’t think that’s common enough nowadays, right? Praying together—

Selena:
Right.

Ryan:
Saying, “God help our marriage.” What? To flourish! Help us to be in unity.

Selena:
Yeah.

Ryan:
Help us to be more intimate emotionally, physically.

Selena:
Right.

Ryan:
Help us to experience new levels of closeness.

Selena:
Mm-hm!

Ryan:
Help us to be ministers for Your gospel, be disciplers and disciples of Your word.

Selena:
Yeah.

Ryan:
I pray that you’d bring people into our lives that would help us. Bring people in our lives that we can help!

Selena:
Mm!

Ryan:
Actually, going through some of those possibilities and praying together. I mean, how much unity would your marriage experience around that?

Selena:
Right, right.

Ryan:
I’m marveling a little bit right now, because we kind of take for granted, ‘cause this is kind of our job, right? [Ryan chuckles] We do the podcast [Selena snickers] I feel like we’re always talking about marriage. But man! What a powerful thing to pray.

Selena:
For sure, for sure!

Ryan:
For couples. And then… pray outward, like community. Right? So, you prayed for each other, you’re praying for your marriage. Now pray for— Go through the relationships in your life.

Selena:
Mm-hm.

Ryan:
Obviously, starting with your kids if you have kids, or maybe your neighbors, and move out geographically.

Selena:
Right.

Ryan:
Or move in terms of closest friends to most distant acquaintances.

Selena:
Hm.

Ryan:
Bosses, co-workers, relatives you love, relatives you hate. [Laughs]

Selena:
Right. [Chuckles]

Ryan:
[Chuckling] Pray through the list! And prayer isn’t all about us. It’s about interceding for others.

Selena:
Right.

Ryan:
There’s a big part of Christ’s example—

Selena:
Absolutely.

Ryan:
That is about intersession.

Selena:
Yeah.

Ryan:
Praying on behalf of others.

Selena:
Yeah.

Ryan:
And seeing God work through hearts as we pray and as He’s faithful.

Selena:
Yeah!

Ryan:
So…

Selena:
So good!

Ryan:
Yeah.

Selena:
So good. Preach! [Baby sounds in the background]

Ryan:
Okay. So, example of prayer. So… There’s Louisa! She’s going to teach us some stuff here. [Selena giggles and Ryan snickers] She turned three-months-old yesterday.

Selena:
She did!

Ryan:
Or two days ago… Congrats, baby girl. Good job. You’re growing! So, Jesus gives us an ultimate example of prayer, and we read it earlier. Matthew, chapter 6. But let’s just go through it line by line. There’s a pattern of prayer here that I want us to follow. This isn’t our own thought; there’s a lot of books on this. There’s a lot of kind of rubrics that come out of the Lord’s prayer, but it starts like this: “Our Father in heaven, Holy is your name. Your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread, and forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil,” and then some, I think, not in a Matthew gospel but another one, it says, “Yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Amen.” So, if you look at that and you kind of take it out line by line.

Selena:
[Sounds distantly] Mm-hm.

Ryan:
Okay. Selena’s helping the baby right now. She’s in the room, but not at the microphone. So, if you take that prayer line by line, starting with, “Our Father in heaven.” So, a lot of times if I’m stuck, I go on a walk; sometimes in the middle of the day, I’ll just go for a walk around the block. And I’ll just start praying, “God in heaven, holy is Your name. Your kingdom come, Your will be done,” and that’s the jump off point.

Selena:
So good.

Ryan:
“God, You are good.”

Selena:
Mm…

Ryan:
“You are great. You sit in the throne. You are reigning as king! You’re in charge. You are sovereign. I am not.

Selena:
Yeah.

Ryan:
Holy is Your name.

Selena:
Yeah. [Quietly] So good.

Ryan:
You be praised. You alone are whole. You can just kind of go; that’s your jump off point, right?

Selena:
Right.

Ryan:
So, we often gloss over it as kind of like just the on-ramp to the Lord’s Prayer.

Selena:
Mm-hm.

Ryan:
But really, it’s our very foundational starting point of everything that prayer is! It’s an adoration and worship and a submission to who God is.

Selena:
[Quietly] Right…

Ryan:
A joyful submission.

Selena:
[Quietly] Right! [Resumes normal volume] And it recognizes the character of God, our Father.

Ryan:
Mm!

Selena:
And the role that—

Ryan:
Very good.

Selena:
Of who He is.

Ryan:
That’s so good!

Selena:
And His role in our life as Father and King. Right?

Ryan:
Yeah, yeah. That’s really good! And then, moving to the next line, right? So, “Your kingdom come, Your will be done—”

Selena:
Mm.

Ryan:
“On earth as it is in heaven.” That’s kind of the intercession piece, right? “Lord, it’s not perfect here like it is up there.” [Chuckle]

Selena:
Right.

Ryan:
Your kingdom has come in a sense, but it’s not completed yet.

Selena:
Yeah, and I would argue, too, that it’s also another acknowledgment of His kingship, right?

Ryan:
Yeah.

Selena:
“Your kingdom come.”

Ryan:
Oh. That’s really good.

Selena:
His authority, “Your will be done on earth.”
Ryan:
Mm!

Selena:
So again, as a father, but also as a king, and also as our authority of who we should be submitting to.

Ryan:
Hm.

Selena:
And aligning our lives to. Right?

Ryan:
Yeah!

Selena:
We’re not changing who He is, but this is who He is, this is why He should be worshipped and why we should be interceding.

Ryan:
Yeah, and, “God, have Your way in this thing in my life.”

Selena:
Right. Trusting that His way’s not always ours.

Ryan:
Right!

Selena:
Help our desires to line up with Your way, God.

Ryan:
I mean, I think a lot of times when you maybe apply for a job—

Selena:
Right.

Ryan:
And you really want the job, it would mean a really great advancement for your life! [Chuckles]

Selena:
Right, right.

Ryan:
And you do your best, your application’s, and your waiting. “God, Your will be done.”

Selena:
Mm!

Ryan:
“All right. You know what I want, but I want Your will more…”

Selena:
Mm!

Ryan:
“Than I want mine.” And I think—

Selena:
Just makes you think of Jesus, right?

Ryan:
Right.

Selena:
In the Garden of Gethsemane.

Ryan:
In the Garden, yeah. So, moving down the list here of provision. So, “Give us this day our daily bread.” That’s a reference to the manna of the Israelites.

Selena:
Mm-hm.

Ryan:
And how God provided just enough for every day. [Snicker]

Selena:
So good.

Ryan:
And how man does not live on bread alone, but every word that precedes from the mouth of God.

Selena:
Mm!

Ryan:
Right? This idea that we need daily sustenance and provision from God. Without it, we are destined to starve, we’re destined to die.

Selena:
Mm!

Ryan:
To give us our daily portion, God—

Selena:
So good.

Ryan:
And with that daily bread… be You! And that’s funny, we talk about the Eucharist earlier. [Selena chuckles] The body and blood of Christ!

Selena:
Right.

Ryan:
The bread and the wine, or the juice.

Selena:
The ordinances.

Ryan:
The work of Christ. I need the work of Christ in my life!

Selena:
Mmm.

Ryan:
Right? And so, I need the daily bread, the reminder of the gospel. Gospel’s not something I understand and move past. [Quietly snickers]

Selena:
Right. [Chuckles]

Ryan:
The gospel reigns in every day of my life.

Selena:
Right, right.

Ryan:
And so, this particular line has multiple applications, but…

Selena:
Right.
Ryan:
We say provision or supplication. Supplication simply means the action of asking or begging for something earnestly or humbly.

Selena:
Right. And—

Ryan:
So, daily bread is of interest in that context.

Selena:
I’m just in recognizing roles here, recognizing that He is our provider and that He is the one who gives us, right, our daily bread.

Ryan:
That’s very good.

Selena:
So, going to Him to sustain us.

Ryan:
Mm.

Selena:
I think physically and, obviously, mentally, spiritually on every aspect.

Ryan:
Mm.

Selena:
Him being that provider. [Baby cooing in background]

Ryan:
[Chuckling] Got a little, “Amen!” back there!

Selena:
She agrees with me.

Ryan:
That’s good!

Selena:
She is our favorite child. [Laughs]

Ryan:
And then finally—

Selena:
[Selena laughs] I’m just kidding! [Both laugh]

Ryan:
We’re going to be… This podcast will have to come down before they’re of age. [Selena laughs louder] And the final line is, “And forgive us our debts as we also have forgiven our debtors. And lead us not into temptation but deliver us from evil.” So, praying for holiness. Okay. Only with God’s help can we be more like Jesus.

Selena:
Mmm!

Ryan:
And Jesus knew this when He instructed us on how to pray. “God, help me be holy. Help me to honor You.”

Selena:
Mm-hm.

Ryan:
“Help me to live wisely. Help me not to live by the flesh—”
Selena:
Right!

Ryan:
“But by the Spirit.”

Selena:
Well, and asking for forgiveness from Him versus where else would we…

Ryan:
Mm!

Selena:
If He’s not our authority, He’s not our king, we don’t see Him as our provider, if you’re flipping this on the other side and contrasting why we pray or how we pray—

Ryan:
Mm.

Selena:
If we’re not asking for forgiveness from Him, we’re probably not asking for forgiveness from anybody, right? [Chuckle]

Ryan:
Right!

Selena:
So, to ask, it requires submission, just coming to this posture of forgiveness.

Ryan:
Really good.

Selena:
It requires humility and the acceptance of His grace. His grace!

Ryan:
Yep!

Selena:
Asking for forgiveness because we have sinned, and asking…

Ryan:
Hm.

Selena:
“Forgive us our debts.” I also feel like that’s, “God, help me to understand and know those debts, and understand what triggers or why I go to those sins.”

Ryan:
Mm.

Selena:
“Help me to understand and forgive me! And help me to understand the depth of this forgiveness.”

Ryan:
Hm.

Selena:
“And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.” Lead me! [Both chuckle] Not when I’m in the mood to be led.

Ryan:
[Laughing] And lead me all the time!

Selena:
Lead me all the time! “Lead us not into temptation. God, give us Your desires. May our desires be Your desires.”
Ryan:
Mm.

Selena:
“Deliver us from…” Yeah!

Ryan:
[Exhales] Well said!

Selena:
“Our own selfish, evil desires.”

Ryan:
Well said! It really is an alignment of our hearts with God’s ultimate reality.

Selena:
Right!

Ryan:
Which is, “You’re Holy.”

Selena:
And who He is. Yeah.

Ryan:
You’ve determined what Holiness is.

Selena:
Yes.

Ryan:
Not culture, not me, not my desires.

Selena:
Yes!

Ryan:
Not whatever lens I’m looking through, but You, God.

Selena:
Yeah.

Ryan:
So, help me… to live.

Selena:
Mm-hm.

Ryan:
[Ryan chuckles] More like You have commanded, [Selena snickers] for Your glory—

Selena:
Yes!

Ryan:
For my good. [Inhales deeply] So, hopefully that’s helpful. Again, if you get stuck, if you haven’t memorized the Lord’s Prayer, I highly recommend that you memorize it.

Selena:
Mm-hm.

Ryan:
I was fortunate enough as a young child, my parents had me memorize it. Della’s memorized it.

Selena:
Mm-hm.

Ryan:
Trying to get Clementine to do it.

Selena:
She does it when she wants…

Ryan:
She is her own kid! [Selena chuckles] She has her own drummer that she marches to! [Both laugh] Trying to get her to learn it! And because I know it’ll serve them—

Selena:
Right!

Ryan:
Into adulthood and into their early years of adulthood, and those sorts of things. So, go ahead and memorize that! Again, to recap, Jesus’ kind of outline is worship and adoration, “Our Father in heaven, holy is Your name.” Intersession, “Your kingdom come.” Provision, “Give us today our daily bread.” And holiness, “Lead us not into temptation but deliver us from evil.”

Selena:
Mmm.

Ryan:
Oh, it’s a great place to start in a prayer. Now, in terms of a specific example for a marriage, we actually have a written down prayer we’ve provided on our website. If you just go to fiercemarriage.com and search for, “How do I pray with my spouse?” or just search for, “prayer.” Look for the posts; there’s a two parts. It’s part 1, part 2 of “How Do I Pray with My Spouse.” The second one, there’s an actual sample prayer.

Selena:
In part 2—

Ryan:
In part 2.

Selena:
There’s a sample prayer at the bottom.

Ryan:
Yes, thank you. Sample prayer at the bottom. It just says, “Husband starts, ‘Father, You are amazing and holy.’” Right, we’re starting with worship.

Selena:
Mm-hm.

Ryan:
“I cannot comprehend a vast or powerful You are. Thank you for listening to our prayers and loving us so intimately.” Right, and it goes through, “Thanks for my wife,” and it goes through…

Selena:
And it may fe— Like you said, it may feel awkward at first, but like anything that’s new or you haven’t come around to it in a long time, it’s like going to the gym. You go with first time, where you’re like, “Oh, this is hard! I don’t feel great. This is not fun.” But the more you go, the stronger you feel, the more excited you are about doing it. It’s the thing about prayer, I think, is the more we do it, the more we want to do it, the more we engage in it more deeply—

Ryan:
Hm.
Selena:
And in a more real way.

Ryan:
Yeah! That’s really good, that’s really good. And then it carries through the prayer and then there’s a spot for the wife to pick up where he left off, filling in any spots as you feel prompted.

Selena:
Mm-hm.

Ryan:
So, it’s kind of this dialogue. It’s a trialogue. [Both laugh] It’s between the two of you and God.

Selena:
Yes.

Ryan:
And, I think, that could be a good growth opportunity. So, I just want to reiterate what I said earlier, is that we have these books that we’ve written specifically for this purpose, to instruct us, to help us, remind us why prayer’s important. Actually, as I was reading through preparing for this, I was thinking about day six, where it’s a prayer for her physical health. I’m talking about the 40 Prayers for My Wife, 40 Prayer for My Husband.

Selena:
Mm-hm.

Ryan:
Go to 40prayers.com. You can find these there for you. I think the bundle is under 20 bucks for two books.

Selena:
Whew! It’s a good price…

Ryan:
But anyway, day six! You’ll notice each one of these prayers I used the Lord’s Prayer as kind of a rubric as we were writing these.

Selena:
Mm!

Ryan:
Right? So, it starts with praise. Right? What I love about prayer, too, is that it’s a dialogue, in that God has spoken to us in His word. He’s given us His revelation.

Selena:
Mm!

Ryan:
Now we can pray back God’s word—

Selena:
Mm-hm.

Ryan:
And say, “You said this. This is part of Your character. God, help me understand that, or I’m responding to that. You are good! Help me to understand this truth.”

Selena:
Mm.

Ryan:
And so, there’s a lot of verse references in here. If you’re looking for another resource to, Tim Keller’s book called Prayer.

Selena:
Mm!

Ryan:
It’s phenomenal.

Selena:
‘Ole Timmy Keller.

Ryan:
‘Ole Timmy Kay, as I call him. [Selena chuckles] When he tweets at me, you know? [Selena laughs louder]

Selena:
Has he tweeted you?

Ryan:
[Snicker] No. In my wildest dreams! [Both laugh] Yeah, no, yeah. He’s definitely a heavyweight [Both laugh] on Twitter and I am not. [Ryan laughs harder] So anyway, check out those resources, you guys. It’s a habit worth building, I think.

Selena:
Yeah.

Ryan:
Go to 40prayers.com, or just find Tim Keller’s book called Prayer. But anyway! Hope this episode has helped you.

Selena:
Yeah.

Ryan:
And I hope that it bears fruit in your life! That’s kind of been our prayer [Selena quietly chuckles] as we start these things is that God would conform our words—

Selena:
Mm!

Ryan:
To His glory, and He would use them to edify you, the global church.

Selena:
Mm.

Ryan:
Whoever’s listening to this.

Selena:
Yeah.

Ryan:
We have listeners, South Africa to Canada, to Europe and Australia, and some in Asia. Be encouraged! [Selena giggles] You are part of a— [Ryan chuckles] In Africa. Yeah. I said South Africa, so… Anyway. They’re all included. [Selena laughs] Russia! [Ryan laughs] I’ll throw Russia in there!

Selena:
Siberia… All the things!

Ryan:
Oh, South America. There you go!
Selena:
Sorry. We’re learning this in homeschoolers CC, so there’s just songs going through my head right now. [Chuckles]

Ryan:
Yeah.

Selena:
We learn a lot through songs! All the continents, all the things.

Ryan:
So, we’re praying that [Selena laughs] you are edified on every continent, wherever you are.

Selena:
This is true!

Ryan:
And that it would enliven you—

Selena:
Mm-hm.

Ryan:
To build these habits into your own hearts.

Selena:
Mm-hm.

Ryan:
And into your marriage. And in that, maybe generations from now, we could see… families that are birthed out of new habits—

Selena:
Yeah.

Ryan:
Because we’re conforming ourselves to the gospel.

Selena:
Right.

Ryan:
Right! So, with that, let’s pray again. [Laughs] It’s been a lot of praying! It’s good!

Selena:
A lot of praying! I think—

Ryan:
Pray continually.

Selena:
You should pray since you are the husband.

Ryan:
[Ryan exhales] Okay. Well, all right. [Both laugh]

Selena:
I’m going to start using that one more. [Ryan laughs] When you say, “Why don’t you pray?”

Ryan:
‘Cause you are the husband.

Selena:
“You are the spiritual leader of this house, so…”

Ryan:
Oh, geez. [Selena cackles] Alright.
Selena:
Not mean and manipulative at all! [Laughs]

Ryan:
Lord, this is truly a gift to be able to talk to You. And I pray that we not take it lightly, that we not forget what it means, that we can commune with You, God, the God of the universe, the creator of all. Not only that, but our loving, kind Father, and our saving savior. Jesus, You have made this possible. So, thank You! And God, I pray on the behalf of every married couple, or husband or wife, who is listening to this podcast that they would understand what it means to pray, they would understand how to apply Your principles of prayer to their own lives. And I pray that as a result, their marriage would flourish, and their connection would grow deeper than they perhaps ever imagined. Lord, at the end of the day, we trust in You. We trust in Your goodness. We trust in Your sovereignty. We trust in Your finished work, and we rest in it. In Your precious name, Jesus. Amen.

Selena:
Amen.

Ryan:
All right, ladies and gentlemen, like I said, we’ll be back in a couple of days. We’re going to do a little Q&A for this week. And it’ll just be a short seven-minute episode. So, make sure you check that out on iTunes or wherever you get your podcasts! And until then, this episode is!

Selena:
In the can!

Ryan:
All right. We will see you then! [Chuckling] All right. Stay fierce.

Selena:
See you in seven days!

Ryan:
I lost track of my closing thing.

Selena:
Yep. There it goes!

Ryan:
[Chuckling] All right! Stay fierce.

<Ending Sequence>

Podcast ends.

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Resource: The 40-Day Prayer Journey

Prayer is your first and most powerful weapon when fighting for your marriage and contending for each other.

Our ability to pray is one of God’s most radical, life-changing gifts. We have been given free access to the eternal God of the universe! What could happen if we diligently and consistently sought God’s heart for our spouses? How different would our marriages be? With this bundle you will:

  • Pray Scripture over specific needs in your spouse’s heart
  • Experience the joy and challenge of a consistent prayer life
  • Learn to see your spouse through the lens of God’s Word
  • Grow as you journal and watch God move in your marriage

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