Prayer Journey: I Love You But I Just Can't Pray With You
I had grown up in a family in which family prayer never occurred. So for the first 20 years of my life, all my most sincere and personal reaching out to God had occurred silently, in my own mind. Sure, I could give a rote prayer in Young Women’s if I had to, but praying – really praying – only happened when I was alone.
For some reason, couple prayer just never clicked. When it was my turn, I’d rush through the prayer, speaking quickly and using trite phrases, just to get it over with as soon as possible. I despised the banal prayers I was offering up, but I couldn’t become comfortable enough in a couple prayer situation to ever offer up anything sincere or deeply felt. I was far happier when it was Mike’s turn.
After a year or two, I began dreading my turn to couple pray so much that I would fall asleep on the sofa and then trudge into bed at 2 AM, thus avoiding Mike’s request to pray with him. This probably happened for about a year until I finally told him that I just didn’t want to do it anymore. I know this hurt his feelings and disappointed him.
It’s been about four years now since we’ve stopped praying regularly together. Very occasionally, Mike will still ask me to pray with him. I always say yes, but he knows that he has to be the one to say it. And that leaves a bad taste in his mouth, so it doesn’t happen very often. A year or so ago, I actually attempted to resurrect our praying by finding a creative solution. I went online and found some of the most beautiful world prayers I could find. My plan was that I could read one of these when it was my turn, but Mike wasn’t too hot on this idea of using other people’s prayers.
I still feel bad that praying together was and still is so uncomfortable for me. Intellectually, I understand how couple prayer should bind a couple together. But my lived experience has proved different than my intellectual understanding.
Ultimately, I’m hoping my prayers are on their own journey. Right now this journey is one that is not comfortably compatible with couple prayer. But I hope that eventually the road will bend and someday Mike and I will both find solace, understanding, and comfort in reaching out to God together.