This week we recognize the importance of prayer in the various seasons of life.
By: Deacon Marques Silva
Congratulations, you’re married! The wedding liturgy was resplendent, the reception was a blast and your honeymoon was a beautiful retreat away from everything and everyone – just you and your beloved. So now what?
Many newly married couples receive tons of advice on how to foster their marriage relationship: set a regular date night, ensure that you leave work at the office, etc. Unfortunately, in the pile of advice, it is easy to forget that our Lord said that “one thing is necessary,” (LK 10:42) and it is probably the most important bit of counsel we can pass on: prayer.
Venerable Fulton Sheen once wrote:
“It takes three to make love, not two: you, your spouse, and God. Without God people only succeed in bringing out the worst in one another. Lovers who have nothing else to do but love each other soon find there is nothing else. Without a central loyalty life is unfinished” (Seven Words of Jesus and Mary: Lessons from Cana and Calvary).
Prayer is so necessary for a healthy marriage. It is very important to continue to grow as individuals in that intentional, personal and intimate relationship with the Lord. But it is also important to foster and be comfortable praying together.
Here are a few tips to establish and foster a time of prayer together:
Set aside a time and place to pray. Choose a reasonable time and place in the home where you two can pray together. (Praying in bed is not recommended, sleeping and meditation may easily be confused.) Be consistent and use the space, whether you sit or kneel. As your kids grow older and see you praying at a specific time in a specific place, they will learn to quiet down and even join you. Faith is more caught than taught.
Make Scripture a regular part of your prayer time. Read a short selection of Scripture and then share with each other what you hear the Lord saying to you individually and then as a couple. No need for deep theological treatise or explanations but a sharing cor ad cor loquitur (Heart speaks unto heart) is a good place to start. Catholics believe that the Holy Spirit is always speaking and as we share and discern together we learn how to listen and hear better.
“Ignorance of Scripture is ignorance of Christ.” – St. Jerome
Choose a common devotional.
(My family and I are biased toward the rosary and the Divine Mercy Chaplet. A perk of Catholicism is having numerous devotionals.) Choose one that you and your spouse can agree to pray together. You each may have grown up with different devotions or even none at all. Learn from each other, investigate new devotions with each other and then pray.
Be purposeful when you pray.
Keep a book or set of intentions that you want to pray for as a couple. (When we pray with our kids before they go to bed, we have a litany of praying first for family, godparents and godchildren and friends and co-workers. The list gets longer the older you (they) get but you invest yourself deeper into these relationships when you pray for them.) Remember, love makes room for others – especially in prayer.
“The prayer most pleasing to God is that made for others and particularly for the poor souls.” – Blessed Anne Catherine Emmerich
Don’t be afraid of using spontaneous prayer.
Catholics have a reputation for only praying form prayers. And, while these are important to know, the simple prayer or even cry of the heart shared together before the Lord is beautiful, too. Prayer is a conversation, we should not be afraid to speak plainly to Our Father. In times of trial sometimes you can only utter, “Help.”
“Cast your cares upon the Lord for He cares for you.” – 2 Pt 5:7
Just do it.
You can read books, take seminars and even participate in or even lead eloquent discussions about prayer, but in end, just do it. Sometimes, you can spend too much time planning and not enough doing. Right now, choose a time when you two are going to pray and then, be faithful.“
“God does not require that we be successful only that we be faithful.”
– Blessed Mother Teresa
Prayer is vital for a healthy marriage. Make the Lord your rock, and all will stand.
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