Neither of us ever thought praying as a couple wasn’t important but actually doing it has been another story. Two individuals, wired differently, from very different backgrounds and with different styles of praying – that this might have something to do with finding it difficult didn’t occur to us for a very long time!
Take one missionary pastor’s kid, growing up in a home where prayer was a given, and family devotions and prayer happening daily; and one traditional Anglican kid experiencing no prayer in the family home and only beginning a personal prayer life after meeting Jesus in their teens. It’s not difficult to see a potential for challenges. Add in different natural prayer styles – one a sprinter, praying in intense bursts when in the right place; and one a long distance runner praying on a rolling basis whether in the right mood or not … Sitting down and praying together could feel awkward and uncomfortable, even a source of friction, leaving prayer as a couple patchy or non-existent.
The two things we did do consistently were to pray with each of our children, particularly at bedtime, and always grace at family meals. Our own personal prayer journeys, though far from perfect, have always been there in the background, with the Holy Spirit helping us gradually to recognise our differences, to transform our perspective, and give us the determination to work at praying together.
As we have done so, we have found both our patience with and trust in each other – both in prayer and in our relationship as a whole. As we write this the point that we’ve reached is that it’s normal for us to be praying regularly together for our children and wider family, over big decisions, and to pray for each other before going out or meeting up with other people. Praying together daily remains a work in progress.