Did you participate in the Family Life Oneness Prayer Challenge in September?

My wife and I took the opportunity to do this and I wanted to share a few things that I learned from it.

1. More praying doesn’t mean I won’t fall into sin
Just because I was more intentional in my prayer time doesn’t mean I won’t fall to temptation or sin sometimes. But hopefully those times will become less and less. I think the more we participate in this spiritual battle in prayer, the more Satan has to focus on us because we are engaged in the battle. The enemy doesn’t go after the reservist who’s not yet been called to duty, he goes after the soldier engaged in the warfare.

But this is good because we are called to actively participate in army of God. We even have a detailed list of gear as Paul outlines for us in Ephesians 6. It is good for us to engage. Through our active engagement we will grow in our understanding and love of Jesus.

2. We Needed This
Nine or Ten years ago, we attended a marriage conference held through our church. We had invited Steve and Annie Chapman up for the weekend and were blessed by their music and teaching. I remember it being a good conference and learning a lot from it but the biggest take-away I got from it was to consistently pray with my wife. So, each Sunday night we sat down together to pray for our family. We went through each of the kids, prayed for them and for each other. We faithfully have marriage-praywritten down prayer requests ever since that conference.

While praying together once a week is good, praying together every day is better. After a few days or a couple weeks, it becomes something I started looking forward to. It was helpful to have something specific to pray about regarding our marriage. Above everything else, our marriage needs to be bathed in prayer.

3. Gave us a consistent time to come together

We generally have time together to talk in the evenings about our day or things that are going on or plans we need to make. But even if we don’t have that opportunity, we have our prayer time at night before we go to bed.

I listened to some of the Family Life Today programs as they talked about this and about praying and I was encouraged when they talked about how this didn’t need to be some 10-15 minute event. 10-15 minutes is great until your wife falls asleep on you! 1-2 minutes is sufficient. Some nights it will be more but if it’s not, that’s okay. The point is to come together, pray and get the habit started. Then it can grow from there.

4. This was an important part of leading my wife
As the leader of my home and of my family, this is something I needed to initiate. I had considered this in the past but many times as a thought in passing. Or I would read an email from a friend who prayed nightly with his wife and thought to myself, “oh, we should start doing that too.” But my wife and I have been married for 18 years now and it was high time for us to get this started. It is something I wish I had started years earlier. It is something I will encourage young couples to consider in their marriage. Well, I’ll encourage all couples but I will emphasize it as something to young couples to begin early in their marriage.

Beyond leading my wife, praying for our marriage benefits how we parent and keeps us united in our role as parents as we lead our kids. I’m convinced there’s nothing better I can do for my wife and kids than pray for them.

I’m thankful for this challenge from Family Life. I thank God for impressing upon me the need to lead my wife in this discipline. I intend to continue it as a regular practice in our marriage, knowing that occasionally, we will fail and miss a night here or there but my goal is to keep praying.