“When the stakes are high bow down low.” Beth Moore
It’s been two years since John and I bent down at the end of our bed and said our first prayer together. I mean, we prayed at church and sometimes before meals, but this was our first joint appeal to God.
We couldn’t be more different in so many ways.
He’s an early bird and I’m a night owl, so we pray before he goes to bed and before I get on Facebook. He appreciates ritualistic prayers from his Catholic upbringing. I’m used to long prayers that end in a Baptist altar call. He likes high church. I like dancing and clapping with the church band.
One thing we have agreed on, though, is our prayer lives are personal and praying together is not our thing. We justified our commitment with Matthew 6:6, “But when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.”
I guess opening the door and praying together was our “reward” as much as it didn’t feel like one in the beginning. However, we were both desperate to find a way to stop our cyclical arguments.
Prayer worked. We stopped arguing about resentment and hurt feelings and started arguing about prayer. At least from our knees, the scenery changed.
We argued because I thought John should approach me when it was time for our nightly prayers. He thought I should remind him.
The Bible and I said he should act as the spiritual head of our prayer time. He said he didn’t know what to pray.
I decided we should pray on our knees. He said praying anywhere suited God.
Then came the night when John prayed a long prayer and I finally said “Amen” –something he’d done years ago to one of my longwinded friends. We buried our faces into the bed we were laughing so hard. He did the same thing to me the evening I prayed a long list of things about which I felt anxious. I did it back to him when he said, “Thank you, God, …” for the hundredth time. I said, “Thank you, God, he’s finished.”
We started holding hands during our prayer time except the night after an argument when I closed my eyes fast and acted like I didn’t see him reach out. Next time I tried that, he prayed, “God, please help Kim hold my hand.”
When I acted like a nut, he prayed, “Please make her saner.”
When he acted like a jerk (his choice of the word, not mine), I prayed, “Please make him softer.”
Those two prayers stuck, so every night he says, “Make her saner” and I say, “Make him softer.”
I am saner.
I’ve cried less in the last two years than the rest of our marriage.
I talk less.
I list fewer things that bother me.
John is softer.
He’s cried more in the last two years than during the rest of our marriage.
He talks more.
He tells me things that bother him.
I told you we are different. The opposite of what made me saner is what made him softer. No wonder we can’t make sense of life, but God does when we’re a little willing to do our part. And we were only “a little willing.”
We’re healing and I like to think God is amused and pleased.
We would enjoy hearing your prayer stories whether you’re praying alone or with someone.
I’ll be away from my blog until Monday. I’m babysitting grandkids. I hope to talk more about prayer after the weekend and after a nap.
In this Together,
Extra reading: “When Two Pray” from Focus on the Family
Photos from Pixabay.