Praying Together at the end of the DayFebruary 3, 2005
Occasionally I mention in teaching that my wife and I intercede for others every night before bed. This simple practice seems to hit a nerve with many people, because I get asked more questions about this than almost any other topic. We did not just “arrive” at this practice, but had to carve it out of our lives like a piece of marble.
Most people ask how we keep it going. They have tried it and after a short time they stop. Here are several rules for keeping it going. This can be applied equally well to married couples as well as roommates who are believers.
1. Recognize you are already filling up 24 hours a day. You cannot add anything new unless you count the cost of what must go at the end of the day. Right now you are used to watching television, reading, playing computer games or sipping hot chocolate every night. Be realistic. You must begin to wean yourself off some of these things in order to pray EVERY NIGHT together. It won’t just happen.
2. Start simple, but be consistent. The enemy and your already busy life will conspire to get you out of the habit of praying together. Expect that. For a month or so, limit your prayer time together to five minutes. Set a timer if you need to. This way, if all “hell” is breaking loose one evening and you still want to maintain the joy or praying together, five minutes is something you can still do. On quieter nights, later on in your pattern, you can then expand to a longer time. But always have at least five minutes where you pray together. We will even do it over the phone if one of us is at a conference. Consistency will always be the key to praying together.
3. Keep the list of people and things you are praying for updated. Don’t keep adding hundreds of names. Start with family, children, and friends. Then bring your own personal needs in. Don’t let fights between the two of you prevent you from praying together.
4. Pick a place you normally associate with being together. We pick the hot tub to pray because we like being out there and it relaxes us as we pray. Most couples pick the bedroom for obvious reasons. Some roommates pick the kitchen table. You decide together.
5. Pray for one person or situation at a time and wait until you feel you can move on to a new situation. Kangaroo praying (hopping from one thing to another) is rarely satisfying or effective. When we pray together, as we stay on the same person, both of get insights as we listen to the other person.
We hope you will find the joy that we do every night together in prayer.