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Getting Your Mate To Pray With You?

“At first it may seem like you are crossing the Golden Gate Bridge when in reality…it’s just a footpath.”
(p. 58)

(pg. 58 – 40 DPC book)
It only takes one partner to begin. Some wives … and husbands … have told us they’ve approached their partner this way: “Honey, will you sit with me and hold my hand while I pray for us? You don’t need to say a thing, unless you want to.”
As we said, starting to pray together may seem like a vast, scary, unfamiliar bridge to cross. Yet, by taking that first step—holding your partner’s hand and just listening—it becomes merely a footbridge. And you can’t image the joy that awaits you on the other side.
Look what happened with this couple.

Leslie’s Journey with Erick

I was so proud of my husband Erick on Father’s Day. Tears streamed down his face as he stood before my parents and our children, pouring his heart out: “I didn’t expect to live to 30, not 40, and never to see my two grandchildren.”
What an amazing journey he—and our marriage—has taken since we met in 1999.

Let me tell you my story.

I had fallen away from the church after my first marriage ended in divorce. Then Erick and I met in a bar. Not the greatest of starts.
With seven kids between us we struggled to hold things together. I knew my husband had a drinking problem, but never knew the extent of it. More and more over the next five years he began to disappear, not coming home for long periods.

Only when his business partner confessed that Erick had been making non-stop one-hundred-dollar withdrawals from their company account, did I learn I was living with a crack cocaine addict. Drugs and alcohol were robbing me of my husband and the father of our children. We lost just about everything. Our business. Our home. Friends. And it nearly cost us our marriage.

That summer my parents and I found Dr. Paul Hardy’s ministry, Recovery for Life, and though Erick struggled and tried to leave during the first three or four meetings, he finally put down drugs and alcohol. He’s been sober ever since.

It was a rough start, but we began actively working a biblical 12-step recovery program, attending church and developing a core group of support. Step by step Erick and I rebuilt our marriage. Where mistrust and frustration had taken over, pieces were going back together, and changes were taking place in our lives, noticeable mostly to our children whose behavior is so influenced by their parents.

We began reading the Word each day. First on our own, then reading together. But, whenever I asked Erick to pray with me, he’d say, “I’m good.”
I knew the power of a husband and wife praying together. As a child I had watched my Dad lead our family in daily prayer. I’d seen Dad pray with Mom and knew the bond that a praying couple forms.

I just kept asking Erick, day after day.

In early 2009 we opened our home for Bible studies starting with The Love Dare. It’s a small group study that raises the awareness of couples to do acts of kindness for each other, such as leaving hidden love notes, or doing small appreciative things. It was exciting to see how our marriage improved. And, at the end of the series, we renewed our vows.

Still we were not fully praying together. I would pray out loud and he would listen. He’d say, “amen,” and that was it.
The next study our group undertook was The Couples Who Pray – 40 Day Prayer Challenge, committing to pray together, five minutes a day for forty days.
One week into our routine I had made breakfast. Erick was at the kitchen table and I was reading the bible study for the morning. I asked if he would pray with me. He replied, “How many days do I have to say, ‘I’m Good?’” So, I just started to pray again.

Several mornings went by and one day as I closed the Bible to start to pray, I heard my husband say, “Dear Jesus….” then, silence.
I waited. I peeked with one eye to see if he was praying. I cautiously said, “Well, are you going to pray?”
I took my cue and continued the prayer. This was our new routine for two weeks.

About three weeks into The 40 Day Prayer Challenge I was sitting on the couch reading the Word. Once I closed my Bible he said, “Dear Jesus.” Again I prayed, and this time, after a long pause to see if he wanted to add anything, his only reply was, “Amen!”
I was excited. Silly as it seemed, his non-responsiveness had moved to a “Dear Jesus” and an “Amen!”
By week four my husband had moved from the kitchen table to sit beside me! And though the extent of his out-loud prayers were no more than, “Dear Jesus” and “Amen,” I was overjoyed! I began to see a softening of our relationship and an increase in open communication.
Next, my husband began getting up ahead of me every morning, opening the Bible to that day’s devotion. Before I came out of the bedroom, both cups of coffee were poured and we were ready to read the lesson and the Word.

Then one morning it happened!

I had been really struggling with something and, more than anything, I just wanted my husband to put his arms around me and pray for me, not just with me.
I shared my heart and my struggle, not even asking if he would pray for me, and we went on with our devotion.
When I closed the Bible and he took his cue to say, “Dear Jesus.” Then, he began to pray!
Tears streaming down my cheeks, I felt the burden lifting instantly. And that day was my day to just say, “Amen!”
I thanked him. We embraced. And I wept.

Though Erick thought it was a silly-no-big-deal-thing, from that day forward we prayed together! For our kids, our families, our jobs, and direction in life; together we thanked God for the many blessings, and even the chance to pray together.

Our life had been a train wreck. But, God brought healing, restoration and a peace that passes all understanding.
That’s the power that comes when, as a couple, we pray; when we invite the Lord to be that third cord, wound tightly together, making us unbreakable. When we stand together against the things the enemy means to rob from us—our families, peace and hope—we realize how profoundly our lives have been changed.
—Leslie Brennan

Leslie and Erick were carrying a heavy load and feeling overwhelmed by their problems. Their circumstances were having a devastating effect on their marriage, children and work. They knew they needed help.

It took courage for Erick to finally humble himself and surrender his addiction to the One who could set him free. It also took the support and prayers of Leslie, her parents, and many others. He sought recovery counseling from Dr. Hardy, someone who could guide him in his walk out of the darkness into the light. He was surrounded by family and friends who were lifting him up, praying that God would give him strength to vanquish his demons. The prayer that flowed over Erick was buttressed by the Word of Truth spoken into him.

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