As our four children came along, exhaustion was often our excuse for not making time to pray together. At various times, we were successful at having a time of family devotions at the kids’ bedtime, but couple time with the Lord continued to elude us.

Then my husband invited me to accompany him on a business trip to San Francisco. He’d packed his Bible for his morning devotions, but the hotel room offered little privacy, so that first morning before he headed out for his business meetings, he invited me to join him in reading a chapter of God’s Word. We read aloud, taking turns with the verses. Then we spent a short time in prayer for Ken’s appointments scheduled that day, for loved ones who were going through struggles, for our kids (who were having their own adventure at Grammy and Gramps’ farm), and for our marriage.

We both were so blessed by those morning meetings—just the Lord and this still-in-love couple God had brought together—that we determined to continue the practice once we arrived back home.

That was twelve years ago. We’ve rarely missed more than a morning or two in a row since. Even when one of us travels, we choose a book of the Bible to read "together" while we’re apart.

Our appointment on the loveseat in the living room each weekday morning is a highlight of my day. We’ve grown together spiritually through those meetings. We’ve learned to spend some time just praising the Lord for the amazing blessings He’s heaped on us. We’ve learned to bring our problems to Him and leave them at His feet. We’ve grown to love and respect each other more than ever.

Our times communing together with God have been the solid foundation for a marriage that, like most, has had its share of ups and downs. But we’ve discovered that it’s not easy to stay angry with someone you know you’ll meet with in prayer tomorrow morning.

Our children were all still living at home when we began our morning meetings with God, and though we always began our devotions before the kids were awake in the morning, occasionally they’ve been witness to our prayers. They’ve told us how much it means to know we are praying for them every day.

Schedules change and life happens, and God may someday "rearrange" our devotion time in a new way, but Ken and I have said often that we hope these morning prayer meetings will be a part of our marriage "till death do us part."

Discussion:

Read Ephesians 5:19-33

1. Who would you say is currently the spiritual head of your marriage? Does that sometimes shift?

2. What are some ways your can strengthen your spouse in his/her walk with the Lord? How can your spouse help strengthen you?

3. If you’re not setting aside a regular time for prayer and Bible reading as a couple, what are some practical ways you could make that a priority in your marriage?

4. If you have children, how can you and your spouse demonstrate "encouraging one another" to them? (1 Thessalonians 5:11)

5. If your spouse is not a Christian, read 1 Corinthians 7:12-16 and 1 Peter 3:1-3. According to these verses, what should your attitude be concerning your spouse’s lack of faith?


Deborah Raney is at work on her nineteenth novel. Her first novel, A Vow to Cherish, inspired the World Wide Pictures film of the same title. Her books have won the National Readers' Choice Award, Silver Angel for Excellence in Media, and have twice been Christy Award finalists. Her newest series, the Hanover Falls Novels, will release from Howard/Simon & Schuster. She and her husband, Ken Raney, have been married for 35 years. They have four children, two little grandsons, and enjoy small- town life in Kansas. Visit Deborah's website at http://www.deborahraney.com.