Prayer Research and Studies
W. Bradford Wilcox, a sociology professor and director of the National Marriage Project at the University of Virginia is co-author of the study, "The Couple That Prays Together: Race and Ethnicity, Religion, and Relationship Quality Among Working-Age Adults," which appears in the August issue of the Journal of Marriage and Family.
The survey of religion, race and relationships found that African-Americans attend church more as couples compared to members of other racial and ethnic groups.
Four in 10 African-American respondents said they attended services regularly as a couple, according to a study published in the August issue of the Journal of Marriage and Family. In comparison, 31 percent of Mexicans or Mexican-Americans, and 29 percent of whites, said they regularly shared a pew. Read even more from another study here.
Whether you see meditation or prayer as the gateway to enlightenment or just a way to stay more focused at work, one thing that’s certain is that the practice comes with a whole host of physical and mental health benefits.
Coming together with your spouse and family to pray is simple:
- Just start talking to God. A conversation.
- Set aside the time, same time, everyday.
- Start with an attitude of gratitude.
- Confess your shortcomings & ask forgiveness.
- Pray out loud.
- Keep it short.
- Normal language - no thee's and thou's (that isn't God's language anyways)
- Pray for your marriage.
- Pray for others and yourself.
- Expect God will answer your prayers.
Make a decision to pray. The enemy does not want you to discover the power of prayer as a couple. One of his strategies is to keep you and your spouse from praying together. Today, take courage and suggest that you and your spouse begin praying together. Sometimes I get the question, "what if they don't want to do it? Then what?" My response is to just get in the way with prayer or reading the Word and lead by example. While they are getting ready to go to work, pray out loud. While you are on the couch watching TV, read your Bible next to them instead. You cannot expect others to do what you are not willing to do yourself.
We can't lead by just telling people what do to, parents try this all the time and wonder why their children don't listen. Jesus co-labored with the disciples while fulfilling His Fathers plan, but we think everyone should just change first. As a husband I have to come to realize that in order to be an imitator of Jesus, then I have to serve first and not wait to be served. Isn't that what Jesus told his disciples as he washed their feet? Jesus even showed, in this one humbling act, that we can even wash the feet of someone who has betrayed us.
Make your spouse your prayer partner. Tremendous power is available when couples become partners in prayer. The Bible says two are better than one. There are times in your prayer life when you need others to pray with you and pray for you. Who better than your spouse who knows you best, and if you acknowledge the Spirit as well then what mountain won't move. Jesus said, Again, I tell you that if two of you on earth agree about anything you ask for, it will be done for you by my Father in heaven (Matt. 18:19). Make sure you agree and fully believe that what you are asking for will be answered by your Abba Father, and His ways are best. Sometimes we pray and then we immediately doubt, or sometimes we ask and expect to get an answer that fits perfectly into our world. But when has God ever done anything that makes sense based on our own understanding? Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer. (Romans 12:12)
An illustration I heard once about praying was based on baking a cake. We pray and ask God to give us a cake, so he gives us flour, sugar, milk, eggs, icing, and candles. Then we go back to God and ask for a cake again, since what He gave us didn't look exactly like we wanted. Sounds silly doesn't it? His Word says that He has already equipped us for everything we will face, but instead we are focused on a single thing that looks just how we want it to.
Maybe we can relate this to how we expected our marriage to look before getting married to that perfect someone. Then we create an image of how our perfect children would be. Then this, then that, then this, then that. Next thing you know, it doesn't matter what God thinks anymore, all that matters is that our life isn't what we imagined it to become. So we start a routine of blaming our spouse, children, or even worse, God.
Start every day with your spouse in prayer. In just a few minutes you and your spouse can be spiritually united for the tasks and challenges ahead. The Bible never promised that there wouldn't be problems, and suffering for God is not an option. You can share your hopes and find mutual comfort and support in seeking God together. Starting the day together with God and His Spirit puts your focus on the right thing before the day begins. Just don't get in morning traffic and forget about God 🙂
Pray the day. While you are driving (in traffic), doing laundry, making dinner, or between appointments - thank God for the day and seek His wisdom. If you are struggling God wants to hear about it. If you had a great day, God wants to hear about it. He loves us so much that He chose us even before we loved Him, so tell Him everything and listen. If you don't know what to say then tell the Spirit to speak on your behalf and just start praising God with worship. The worst day of your life will be transformed.
Practice the presence of God. Talk to Him as if you were talking to someone in your car or home. Make God your Friend, Counselor, and Adviser for your marriage. Do everything you already know God wants you to do. You cannot expect to be ready for God’s call, or even to recognize God’s call, unless you are obeying what God has already revealed to you. This includes the obvious things, such as spending time in prayer and reading His Word, serving the people God has put in your life, remaining active in the worship of the church, and being God’s witness in the world.
Then, ask God to reveal his will for your life. If you ask, he has promised to answer. “If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to him.” (James 1:5) Answers to the most difficult problems we face in relationships and marriage will be revealed to us the more we seek the wisdom of our Father. He only wants the best for our lives through our obedience and relationship with Him.
God cannot give us a happiness and peace apart from Himself, because it is not there. There is no such thing. C.S. Lewis
Sometimes we just need to slow down the busyness of life...
Jesus was Passionate in Prayer
We see it in the way He lived. Intimacy with the Father was the theme of His life. Jesus is our teacher and life example. He prioritized prayer daily. It was important to Him, and He has much to teach us about prayer. He petitioned the father with fervent cries and tears (Hebrews 5:7). No wonder his disciples called upon Him to teach them to pray. Notice they didn’t ask Him to teach them how to preach but how to pray! He taught by example, He taught by passion, and He taught by words. The heartbeat of Jesus was for prayer and communion with the Father.