What do you pray for? Maybe I need to ask it this way: Do you pray? Maybe you prayed for something in the past and it did not happen. Maybe you think you are so far away from God that He does not want to hear from you. Maybe you think that when you pray, God sees your name pop up on His mobile device and clicks “decline.” When I ask people if they pray, I get a myriad of answers. Some people pray every day and are connected to God. Others seldom, if ever, pray. Their reasons for not praying are almost as numerous as the number of people who answer the question.
There are two reasons why I pray. The first comes from a story in the book of Daniel in the Bible about three teenage boys. They were living in a foreign land and were expected to follow the laws and customs of the place where they lived. These were three really good guys who wanted to obey—until one day a new law initiated by the king required them to bow down and worship a huge golden statue. Their obedience stopped. They knew they could never bow down and worship anyone or anything other than the one true God. As punishment, they were thrown into a furnace with a fire hotter than anything we could imagine. Now here comes the part that changed my whole view of prayer. They prayed for God to save them. Then they told the king that while they knew their God would deliver them from the fire, they would still serve Him even if He did not rescue them.
Think about it. It’s pretty easy for me to follow God when He shows up, but what if He doesn’t? Could I still say I would serve and follow Him? It seems pretty simple on the surface, but when it comes to “crunch time,” trusting God is often a different story. My focus on prayer changed because of the example of these three teens who prayed and trusted God no matter what. I can’t say I am always confident in prayer, but trusting God no matter the outcome has become my standard. I pray, and then I turn the results over to God and trust Him completely.
The second influence that has defined why I pray lives with me. On our wedding night, Nancy said, “We need to pray”— at a time when the absolute last thing on my mind was prayer! Since that first night of our marriage, we have prayed together nightly at least 95 percent of the time. We have prayed for our marriage, for our kids, to be good parents, for others, for marriage in general, and on and on. We have seen God show up time and time again. Has He answered every prayer the way we wanted Him to? No, but He has answered every prayer, and we have learned that His way is always the best. If there is one thing that has made the difference in our marriage, it is consistent prayer. I have no doubt that the reason our marriage is stronger than ever today is because of prayer.
Do you pray with your spouse? If your answer is yes, keep it up. Never stop. If your answer is no, will you give it a chance? Will you commit to praying together every day for the next month? I know for some of you just thinking about praying with each other is scary. You may be thinking that the fiery furnace does not look that bad compared to praying together. Let me help. Find some level of comfort, and then start there. It may be as simple as deciding the things you both agree to pray for and then each of you praying silently. It really does not matter where you start. Just start. I promise you that God will show up. He will let you know that He is in this marriage with you 100 percent. I know this for a fact. If you begin praying together today, you will never regret it. Whatever it takes, make that first step.