Me? Well, not so much. Sure, I can do the thank-you-for-this-food prayer in front of my family. In fact, now that I think about it, I even do a decent we’re-passing-an-ambulance prayer when I’m in the car with my sons.
What I’m terrible at, however, is sharing a personal prayer in front of someone else. You know, the kind where you are crying out to God asking for forgiveness or for guidance. I just like to keep those things between the two of us, especially since I seem to miss the mark — a lot.
But Robin Taney of Rochester, NY, shared a book with me about praying with a partner, and I’ll admit, I’m intrigued. Taney and her husband, Dave, actually appear in the book, which is called “Couples Who Pray.” Her dad is one of the authors, along with her step-mother.
They cite research from Baylor University and Gallup that says when married couples pray together, they see an increase in happiness, intimacy and confidence in the stability of their marriages. A few pages later, the authors issue a challenge to pray with a partner for five minutes every day for 40 days.
The Taneys, who had a good marriage to start with, gave it a try and are still praying together two years later. “Our arguments have dropped dramatically,” said Robin Taney. “Our love for each other has reached a whole new level.”
Why? Because when they pray, they have to give up the floor to each another and listen as their partner opens up to God. Because when they pray, they put aside selfishness. And because when they pray, they are reminded that God loves each of them.
“When you open yourself up that way, you really see a difference,” she said, adding that the challenge applies to all kinds of couples — mothers and daughters, friends and co-workers.
Churches in Texas, North Carolina and California have built sermons and studies around the book, and Taney hopes others will follow. Study guides, journals and DVDs are available, and the authors, SQuire Rushnell and Louise DuArt, have made guest appearances.
Maybe it’s worth a try, even for someone like me.