Although personal prayer time has always been important to me, I have to admit that I was looking forward to marriage with an idealistic impression about what praying as a married couple would look like. I imagined us waking up early in the morning together to read the Bible and pray hand in hand — which is funny because I have never been a morning person. Yet that is the expectation that I carried into our marriage early on.

maintaining-your-personal-prayer-timeMaybe it’s because that’s what my sister and her husband do. Maybe it’s because that’s what I wished my mother and step-father would have done, instead of maintaining their “individual” spiritual walks and diverging to the point of divorce. Either way, I was a bit disappointed when my husband told me that he was more of a “praying in the closet” type of person.

“Why wouldn’t he want to pray with me everyday?” I wondered. “Aren’t we supposed to pray together now?”

In fact, we do pray together, especially when we’re seeking discernment, direction, wisdom, healing, or supernatural strength in a spiritual battle. However, we don’t have that daily “coming together” prayer routine that I had dreamed about. After almost 19 years of marriage, our individual prayer time has proved to be just as important — if not more — to our spiritual growth as well as our faith walk as a family.

I’ve witnessed God answer my husband’s prayers very directly time and time again, as far back as when we were good friends in college just starting to date. An early example was when his car broke down on a trip to California to meet my family in our senior year. After it was fixed within the day, for an amazing price, which got us back to campus in time, he told me about how he prayed for direction on what to do and where to take the car. However, I usually don’t find out about it until after the fact, because I don’t always know what he is being led to pray for until he decides to tell me about it.

Since that time, God has provided many answers and discernment to my husband in much more dire circumstances in response to his personal prayers. So if we are going through a family challenge, I trust that he is not only praying on his own about it, but that he is also attentively listening for God’s response. Over the years, I’ve also learned to trust my husband’s discernment. The few times that I haven’t been on board, God taught me in His own way that I was wrong.

As for my ideal morning prayer routine, I’m finally doing it — by myself. I’ve realized that while there are certainly times to pray as a couple, I need to be talking to my heavenly Father on my own, all the time. My personal relationship with God has grown by leaps and bounds since I began to spend devotional time and pray every morning, pray again in the evening, and talk to God throughout the day. My ability to trust Him, to release my plans to Him, to be thankful and peaceful in the midst of challenges — all of this has been the result of my personal prayer time and Bible study.

 “And when you pray, you must not be like the hypocrites. For they love to stand and pray in the synagogues and at the street corners, that they may be seen by others. Truly, I say to you, they have received their reward. But when you pray, go into your room and shut the door and pray to your Father who is in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you.” —Matthew 6:5-6

Has anything changed about your prayer life since you married? Do you pray together regularly? If so, do you still spend time with the Lord on your own? What is God showing you about prayer in your marriage right now?

*This post first appeared at FulfillingYourVows.com.

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