Thursday, July 16, 2015

20+ Ways to Pray Together with Your Spouse - Part of the What I Wish I Knew Before I Got Married Series

 Hello, it's Jessica from Sweet Little Ones again!  

Yesterday, I spoke about how praying together as a married couple leads you down a path of holiness and keeps you focused on God in the midst of any trials in your marriage.  Today, I'm excited to share with you some great ideas on how to pray together!

Now is the perfect time to start improving your prayer life as a couple, whether you're preparing for your future marriage or you've been married for years.  And after you begin, it's important to keep building up your prayer life everyday.  It must be nurtured daily to stay strong! 

Here are some ideas on how to strengthen your marriage through prayer:

20+ Ways to Pray Together with Your Spouse - for

Pray out loud together everyday. 
You can do it in the morning before work or at night before bed.  Any time will do - just make it a daily priority!  When you pray together, don't just use memorized prayers, but express your gratitude and concerns about your marriage and life as well.  And always remember to pray for your spouse and marriage to grow in holiness too!

Have a prayer journal together. 
It's just like the one above, but written.  Take turns writing your prayer intentions, your daily blessings, or any prayer that comes to your heart!  Don't forget to read and pray about what your spouse has written.

Schedule a specific time for personal prayer. 
Individual prayer in marriage is important too.  Everyday, make it a priority to individually take the time to talk and listen to God through memorized and spontaneous prayers.  

In your prayers together, use ACTS. 
There are four types of prayer: Adoration, Contrition, Thanksgiving, and Supplication.  (I wrote a little more about this here.)  We tend to lean towards supplication or asking for what we need/want.  But we can't forget to praise God (adoration), express sorrow for our sins (contrition), and thank Him for everything He's given us (thanksgiving)!  So make sure to incorporate all four into your prayer life!

Go to Mass and Adoration together. 
Jesus is truly present before you in the Eucharist...what more can I say?!  These are powerful forms of prayer that will help you keep your foundation strong!

Read the Bible and daily Mass readings together. 
Everyday, pick out a few small passages or join a Bible Study together.  Or on the way to Mass, read all the readings for the day so they are fresh in your mind.  If you have time, meditate on them and discuss your reflections.

Include Mass in your date night. 
I can't emphasize this enough for when you have small children.  Going to Mass together is incredibly important in your married life, and occasionally going as just the two of you with no distractions is a great way to rejuvenate your married spiritual life. 

Frequent the Sacraments together. 
The graces you'll receive by going to Confession and receiving the Holy Eucharist together will only draw you closer to God and one another.

Chart your fertility together. 
God needs to be at the center of all aspects of your marriage, including sex and family planning.  So in order to chart together, the wife mentally notes her signs of fertility during the day, and then the husband writes it in the chart at the end of the day.  By doing this as a team, it keeps you both in thoughtful prayer about responsible parenthood and your vocation as a family whether you can have biological children or not.

Say memorized prayers together. 
You can say the Morning Offering to begin your day by uniting your daily thoughts and actions in prayer.  You can say a Novena together for your marriage or another special intention.  The important thing to remember about memorized prayer is not to just recite the words without any thought, but to actually pay attention and truly mean what you are saying.  (I wrote a little more about this here.)  

Say the Rosary together. 
Here is a powerful way to pray memorized prayers!  You can say it on the drive home, at your house with the lights down and a candle lit, or while you're getting ready together in the morning.  We enjoy using the Relevant Radio App or the Dominican Sisters' Rosary CD.

Grow together throughout the church year. 
Go to the Stations of the Cross together or say them at home.  Give up or do something together for Lent and Advent.  Celebrate the Holy Days, the anniversary of your Baptism, Saint's feast days, etc. at home.  (This blog has tons of great ideas for celebrating the Catholic Faith for when your marriage involves children!)

Volunteer at church together. 
For several years, we taught 4th grade Religious Ed - we learned so much about the Faith together through teaching little ones.  You could also help clean the church, work at a soup kitchen or crisis pregnancy center, lead a youth group, or volunteer at any number of other ministries.  Living out your faith in ministry will strengthen your charity and generosity, which are both essential to fortifying your marriage and family. 

Set up a prayer altar inside your home or outside in your yard. 
Fill it with beautiful things that send your thoughts towards Heaven.  Then visit it often and pray together!  (Here is a picture of ours!)

Visit a Grotto, Shrine, or other holy place. 
 Learn about and take in the history of the place.  Make sure you take the time to kneel down and pray silently together while you are there.

Pick a patron saint for your marriage and family. 
Place your marriage and family under the special protection of a saint and ask for his/her intercession daily!  Our two are St. Thérèse of Lisieux and St. Joseph. 

Offer up your work as a prayer. 
This was our favorite way to pray together when we had a long distance relationship in college (back when not everyone had a cell phone!), but it's great for everyday life together as well.  So you pick one or several prayer intentions together and give each one a certain hour of the day.  Then during that hour, offer up all of your work, joys, and sufferings as a prayer for that specific intention.  For example, you could say that everything you and your spouse do from 11 to noon everyday this week will be offered up as a prayer to strengthen your marriage.   This is the perfect way to pray together when you are apart!   

Read a spiritual book out loud together. 
There are countless books about Jesus, the Saints, and the Faith.  There are even great (historical) fiction books that will inspire you towards God, such as Mark Twain's Joan of Arc, J.R.R. Tolkien's The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings, C.S. Lewis's The Chronicles of Narnia, or Henryk Sienkiewicz's Quo Vadis.  Pick any book that interests you or is about something you both need to work on.

Read a daily devotion out loud together. 
For something shorter than a book, you can read daily devotions.  Our favorites are the beautiful daily devotions at Blessed Is She (scroll to the bottom of the page to sign up to have it delivered to your inbox daily!), Faith ND (which has the Gospel reading, a quick reflection and prayer, and a saint of the day), and in the Magnificat (which has all the Mass readings, a short reflection afterwards, and a saint of the day).  Talk about what you read afterwards!

Watch a Christian-themed movie together. 
The Passion of Christ, The 13th Day, The Lord of the Rings, The Hobbit, The Chronicles of Narnia, Bakhita: From Slave to Saint, The Ten Commandments, Ben Hur, The Scarlet and the Black, The Mission, A Man For All Seasons, For Greater Glory, Cinderella, Thérèse: The Story of St. Thérèse of Lisieux, The Nativity Story, just to name a few...  

Listen to talks or podcasts together. 
You can go to live talks at church or watch videos of talks online.  We really enjoy Fr. Robert Barron's videos at Word On Fire, but there are so many great ones out there to choose from.  And just like with reading together, it's great to talk about it afterwards too!

Listen and sing to Christian music. 
I've heard that singing is praying twice.  Whether the music is traditional and sacred, like the Dominican Sisters, or Christian rock, like Switchfoot, it is a beautiful (and fun!) way to pray!

20+ Ways to Pray Together with Your Spouse - for

The beauty of praying together is that it's about growing closer to God and each other; it's not about how many prayers you can say or how long you prayed together.  You can choose 2, 3, or 10 of the ways listed above - whatever works best for the two of you in your season in married life.  You can spend an hour or more praying together everyday or you can spend five minutes here and there (which really add up!).

The key is that it doesn't matter how long or in what way you pray, it's about making quality prayer time together a priority every single day! 

So what are some ways that you like to pray with your spouse? 
Anything you would add to this list?

May God bless you and your marriage! 

20+ Ways to Pray Together with Your Spouse - for

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