For the last several weeks, we have been reflecting on the Wedding Feast at Cana where Jesus performed His first miracle (Jn 2:1-11). He turned ordinary water into an overabundance of extraordinary wine.
Wine symbolizes joy! Jesus wants you to know abundant and fruitful joy in your marriage. In the last three posts, we have looked at ways to receive the grace that Jesus wants to pour into your marriage.
As we have mentioned in our previous posts, just as there were six stone jars at Cana, we propose that there are six “jars” which we need to fill with water (our efforts) so that Jesus can turn it into wine.
So far, we have discussed three of the six stone jars: “Follow Christ,” “Read Scripture,” and “Receive the Eucharist.” This week we will “fill” the fourth stone jar: “Pray Together.”
In our work with couples, we find that prayer is difficult because of its deep intimacy, even more so than the marital embrace. In prayer, we are making ourselves vulnerable to our spouses and to God. Many fear this intimacy. However, praying together as a couple has been shown to be the leading indicator of happiness in marriage.
Praying together is the most powerful predictor of marital happiness that researchers have yet discovered.” Andrew Greeley, Faithful Attraction (New York: TOR 1991)
Praying together as a couple is good for your marriage! Praying together and attending weekly Mass as a couple virtually divorce-proofs your marriage.
Research has shown that couples who pray or read the Bible together daily and attend Church together weekly have a divorce rate of less than 1 in every 1105 marriages. Retrouvaille International Handbook, 2005
The goal of praying together is to grow closer to God and each other. This illustration shows the relationship of the husband and wife to each other and to Christ. As the spouses pray together, not only do they grow closer to Christ, they naturally grow closer to each other.
As you each move closer to Christ through prayer, scripture reading, and receiving the Eucharist, the distance between you shortens. A natural outcome is that the spouses move closer to each other in their relationship.
Praying together as a couple can be intimidating. Start simply and keep it up. It will become easier the more you do it. Here are some suggested methods of prayer to get you started:
- Our Father/Hail Mary – Men take the lead by saying Our Father. Women respond with Hail Mary. Take turns thanking God and asking His help for your spouse.
- Rosary – Pray a mystery of the rosary together each day.
- Magnificat [Add link] – This monthly publication includes prayers for morning, evening and night, as well as the daily Mass readings. When we were dating, we used the Magnificat to pray together every morning by telephone. Now we pray it side-by-side every morning before Mass.
- Scripture – The Psalms are a good way to pray together. In praying the Psalms, alternate verses between the two of you. Suggested Psalms of Thanksgiving and Praise are:
Psalm 27 – Trust in God
Psalm 34 – Thanksgiving to the God Who Delivers the Just
Psalm 40 – Gratitude and Prayer for Help
Psalm 67 – Thanks and Petition
Psalm 86 – Prayer in Time of Distress
Psalm 92 – Hymn of Thanksgiving for God’s Fidelity
Psalm 103 – Praise of Divine Goodness
Psalm 127 – Need of God’s Blessings
Psalm 138 – Hymn of a Grateful Heart
- Extemporaneous – Here each spouse alternates saying a short prayer of thanksgiving, praise or petition for each other’s needs. Pay attention during the day to struggles or needs of your spouse and present these to God in your evening prayer time.
Give prayer a try and experience the wonderful transformation that it will make in your relationship with God and each other!
Next week, we will fill the fifth stone jar, “Form Community.”