February is here, so it is time for me to give you all an update on Healthy Habit #1 – Prayer. As I wrote in my last post, I made a commitment to praying out loud each morning with my husband using our prayer beads. My hope was that our daily prayer would become a habit and that we would continue to grow in God, and closer to one another. I started off by doing some research about the benefits of couples praying together and I was immediately happy with the healthy habit that I chose. Here are some things I found out:
- Prayer Unites Couples. Praying with your spouse provides spiritual unity through God, and spiritual unity is a tie that binds us to one another and is not easily broken.
- Prayer Promotes Emotional Intimacy. When couples pray together, they are not only inviting communication with God, but also with one another.
- Prayer Keeps You Humbled. Praying together is a humbling experience. It’s easy to be humble before God when we pray on our own, but being able to ask for help, or strength, or mercy while praying together requires humility and vulnerability.
- Prayer Gives Hope. When your hearts are in unity with God’s good and perfect will, then your prayers will always be answered. Regardless of you actually getting what you prayed for.
After reading these things, I was all in, and, after a month of daily prayer, I have to say that I experienced all of those things. My husband and I have a very strong, fulfilling, happy marriage. That said, I did (do) experience a stronger sense of unity and humility when we pray together. The act of sitting together, heads bowed, eyes closed, approaching God as one instead of individually, was extremely intimate. Talking about what we wanted to pray about extemporaneously before getting started was definitely an act of humility. Being able to tell one another, “here is what I need help with today,” or, “I need to pray about (fill in the blank), because I am really struggling,” is much more difficult than baring our souls to God on our own. All in all, it has been a beautiful experience…one of growing in God together.
Another benefit that I have found is that when we pray together, we remember to pray for others. I’ve heard it said that the biggest lie that comes from Christians is, “I’ll pray for you.” I have said it before myself, and then forgotten, or just thrown up a few words to God in passing. This month, whenever I said that phrase to someone, I was able to keep my word because Austin and I talked about who and what we were going to pray for beforehand. The prayers were more thoughtful and thorough than they would have been otherwise. That’s a blessing, for sure.
As far as it becoming a new, healthy habit…it has! I don’t know how the experts judge whether or not a behavior has become a habit, but I think that once something is truly a habit, you will feel it’s absence when you don’t do it. For example, I am in the habit of getting to work earlier than I have to be each work day. On days when, for one reason or another, I have to get to work at my actual scheduled time, I feel like my whole day has been thrown off. It’s like forgetting to kiss my husband good-bye in the morning. Not doing it doesn’t ruin the day, but it makes the day (or morning, at least) feel like something’s missing. That’s how I felt on the few days that we didn’t get to pray in the morning. I think that there were four days that we didn’t pray together before work. On a couple of those days we did end up doing our prayers later in the day, but on a couple, we didn’t. One day in particular I remember that we didn’t have time in the morning (I overslept but still had to be at work an hour before I was scheduled…I know, I have issues), and all day long I thought “we need to do our prayers,” but the evening came and we just didn’t get to it. I felt the lack. I felt like something was missing. I was so happy the next morning when Austin said, “are you ready to pray?”
I am going to call Healthy Habit #1 a success. We are going to continue to pray together every morning, using our prayer beads, and growing closer to each other and to God.
Healthy Habit #2 – A Month of Meditation
I’m going to need your help on this one. I haven’t really ever had any success with meditation, but I’m going to give it another go. I started this morning and will post about it in the next couple of days. In the meantime, I would love to hear from any of you that find meditation helpful.