Dennis and Barbara Rainey talk about the joys of praying together as a couple. Mitchell and Beth Dean are their special guests.
Dennis and Barbara Rainey talk about the joys of praying together as a couple. Mitchell and Beth Dean are their special guests.
Bob: Hey, it’s Bob Lepine from FamilyLife Today. Before we dive into what we want to talk about today—which is prayer in your marriage and in your family—and by the way, we are getting ready to start our 30-Day Oneness Prayer Challenge tomorrow. If you’d like to find out more about how you can participate in that and be a part of praying with your spouse every day for the month of September, go to FamilyLifeToday.com. Click the link that says, “GO DEEPER.” You’ll see the information about the Oneness Prayer Challenge there. You can sign up for prayer prompts every day.
But I also wanted to mention that this week and next week we have a special offer for FamilyLife Today listeners who would like to join us at one of our upcoming FamilyLife®Weekend to Remember® marriage getaways. We’re about to kick off the fall season. We have about 30 events happening this fall. If you will sign up this week or next week for an upcoming Weekend to Remember marriage getaway, you and your spouse can attend the getaway at a special rate. In fact, you pay for one registration, and your spouse comes free.
It’s really a buy one/get one free offer. It’s good this week and next week for FamilyLife Today listeners. You can go to FamilyLifeToday.com for more information about the special buy one/get one free offer for the Weekend to Remember marriage getaway. And keep in mind that you need to sign up early in order to take advantage of this special rate.
Now, as I said—we’re going to talk about prayer today. I would imagine, for some of you, you’ve had something like this happen in your home at bedtime.
Wife: Oh, honey, can we pray together?
Husband: Yes; okay.
Wife: Well, why don't you start?
Husband: Sure, yes. Dear God, we thank You for this day and [yawn] thank You for my wife and my kids.
Wife: And, Father, we just love You and thank You that You have saved us. Dear God, I lift up my husband to You in his work and his leadership here at home. Father, help me to be a Proverbs 31 woman in everything I think. Dear God, we know we are nothing without You and that we need you desperately to show us Your grace in everything we face. [Snoring] Honey,—Honey,—Honey!
Husband: Hmm, huh?—thank You for this food and amen.
Bob: And welcome to FamilyLife Today. Thanks for joining us. There, in about 30 seconds, you hear what is going on in a lot of bedrooms, all across the country, at bedtime.
Dennis: Well, especially when a man and a woman make a commitment to pray every day with one another.
Sleep can sometimes come quickly.
Your voice sounds a little—
Bob: I've got a little cold—
Dennis: —a little scratchy.
Bob: —a little stuffy head.
Dennis: Have you ever gone to sleep while you and Mary Ann were praying together?
Bob: To the best of my recollection—does it sound like I'm on trial here?
Barbara: Yes. [Laughter]
Bob: Your honor, to the best of my recollection—
Dennis: And my wife is here. So, we're going to be able to determine the answer to my question.
Bob: —I can't think of a time. I can tell there have been a couple of occasions where—
Dennis: Yes, Bob?
Bob: —my praying has been soothing for Mary Ann.
Barbara: Oh, for her?
Dennis: You're implicating her in this?
Bob: Well, here's the issue—if we prayed together every morning, first thing—
Dennis: You'd go to sleep?
Bob: I'd never wake up—[Laughter]
Barbara: And she'd be wide-awake; right?
Bob: —and she'd be wide-awake because she's wired that way. At night, we can stay up and talk; but I'm usually the only one who is staying up and talking because, after a while, she's just settled in.
I’ll start to notice that the dialog is becoming a monologue. I'm only getting "Uh" as the response anymore. That's about the time I know I should turn off the light, and the conversation is really over.
Dennis: That is not the problem with Barbara—
Barbara: No, it’s not.
Dennis: —who joins us today. She just gets cranked up at night. I mean, she starts sharing and talking about issues and challenges we're facing / things that need to be done. Her mind kicks in gear, and we could probably pray until sunrise. [Laughter]
Bob: If only there were two people awake to do it; right?
Dennis: Yes, that's exactly right; but I'd be the one going to sleep, at that point.
Barbara: That’s right.
Bob: Has Dennis ever fallen asleep as you were praying together?
Barbara: I don't know that he's ever fallen sound asleep where I was saying something and I realized he was gone—
Barbara: —but he's been very sleepy sometimes.
Bob: Right there on the edge.
Dennis: Well, I want to assure you, Sweetheart—I have gone to sleep—
Barbara: You have? [Laughter]
Dennis: —but I woke up—
Barbara: Woke up in time; is that it?
Dennis: —before you finished praying. There was a twilight zone I was in where—
—I knew I better come back to life before you finished. Otherwise, I could be embarrassed.
Bob: There were some groanings that were too deep for words—
Barbara: Yes, I guess that’s it.
Bob: —and the Spirit was interceding on your behalf.
Dennis: You know, what we're talking about here—in fact, we're going to talk about this all this week—is we're going to challenge couples to begin praying together every day. The idea is to pick a time during the day where you, as a couple, begin the process and the spiritual discipline of entering into prayer together before God. And it is a discipline that will change the course of your life, your marriage, and I believe, your family and your legacy.
Bob: That's a pretty bold statement. Yet, I know this is something that's a passion of yours. Together, the two of you have written a book called Two Hearts Praying as One. You actually start the book with a whole bunch of bold statements about the importance of prayer.
Dennis: You know, Barbara and I have written a number of books together. I always like to make some promises at the beginning of the book—
—but in this case, I felt like I could not over-promise on what prayer will do for a couple if they will systematically / on a regular basis enter into prayer, as a couple.
Let me just read to you what I write at the beginning:
Praying together may be the single most important spiritual discipline you and your spouse will ever share. Here is why: Are you lacking intimacy in your marriage? Praying together will take you to new levels of intimacy far beyond what you ever thought possible. Is there conflict in your marriage? (How could I have written that?) Praying together will defuse, disarm, resolve, and prevent disagreements.
Do you want more transparency in your marriage? Praying together is certain to open your hearts to one another. Do you feel distant from God? Here is a scriptural promise to grab onto and to apply:
“Call to Me, and I will answer you. I will tell you great and mighty things which you do not know,"—that's in Jeremiah 33:3.
Are you fearful?—disappointment?—discouraged?—worried?—angry?—hopeless? Praying together will calm the storms in your heart, your marriage, and your family. Are you struggling against sin?—(And who doesn't?)—praying together as a couple exposes sin so God can work. Are you near divorce?—praying as a couple restores unity of heart, mind, and purpose.
Bob, perhaps, I could make an overstatement and over-promise on the power of prayer; but I wonder if it's really possible because, when you truly enter into prayer, as a husband and wife together, you're inviting God into a marriage—with Him, all things are possible.
Bob: Barbara, I've heard Dennis tell many times about the beginning of your marriage—
—when he got advice from a friend that the two of you ought to pray together every day in your marriage. You weren't there when this friend shared that advice with Dennis; were you?
Barbara: Right, I wasn't.
Bob: So, did he come back to you and say, "Hey, I just talked to our friend, Carl; and here is his suggestion”?
Barbara: Yes. He did.
Bob: Do you remember that?
Barbara: I don't remember that specifically, but I do remember starting to pray together. Of course, we were newlyweds; and we were eager. I was especially eager to do it all right. I was determined I was going to be the best wife ever—I wasn't going to make any mistakes—we were going to have a strong Christian marriage. I was willing to do anything that I could do. So, I was highly-motivated and very receptive to the idea of praying together because it sounded like a great way to have a strong marriage to me. We just started together, simply, and without a lot of fanfare. We just decided this is something we were going to do.
Bob: But you had a little bit of an idealized picture—
Barbara: Oh, I did.
Bob: —of what prayer would look like, as a husband and wife, early in your marriage; didn't you?
Barbara: Well, I had a lot of idealized pictures of a lot of things, early in marriage.
I really thought that—because we were going to have a Christian marriage and we were going to do it by the Bible—that we weren't going to have conflict. We were going to—all these things were going to work out perfectly. Well, I learned a lot, along the way, that that's not the case.
I really thought that praying together was going to be much more formal / much more structured than it turned out to be for us. A lot of that is because that's my bent—I tend to be more structured / more organized. Dennis leads in a different way than I would have envisioned. So, it took a little bit of a different turn than what I thought.
Dennis: I'm curious, Sweetheart—how did you envision praying together in our marriage being worked out on a daily basis?
Barbara: Well, I don't remember exactly; but I can imagine that I had a pretty different picture from what it turned out to be. I think, probably, I would have imagined that we would have been on our knees together, every night, next to the bed. We probably would have prayed for 30 minutes. We probably would have had some kind of a journal or a notebook where we would write everything down.
I just think I would have liked to have had lots of time.
If you had asked me, ahead of time: "How would you like for this to look?"—that's probably what I would have said.
Bob: And do you think, if your marriage had started that way, that you would have continued that discipline through the years?
Barbara: Not like that—no way!
Bob: Why not?
Barbara: Not with kids. [Laughter]
Bob: Do you think life would have gotten—
Barbara: I think life would have gotten the better of it—absolutely.
Dennis: I think we would have gone to sleep on our knees—like you were talking about, Bob. [Laughter]
Barbara: I don't think there's anything wrong with praying that way either.
Dennis: I don't.
Barbara: I mean—I really don't—
Dennis: I would not want to make fun of—
Barbara: —but it was highly-idealistic.
Dennis: I think what happens, though, is we let the ideal rob us of a simple accomplishment, at a very basic/fundamental level. Many individuals, listening to FamilyLife Today right now, are married to a spouse where—they're wondering if they can even get them to pray—let alone on their knees, 30 minutes / journaling—
Bob: With a journal—yes.
Dennis: —on a consistent basis. So, to me—
—let’s start with a very small/simple win—but let's start somewhere. Let's begin to pray together. That's what I've been—well, I’ve been challenging men, for a number of years, Bob.
I'd like to call a guy, who I challenged a couple of years ago to begin praying with his wife. His name is Mitchell Dean. He and his wife Beth live in the Roanoke, Virginia, area. Let's get him on the line if we can.
[Phone Interview with Mitchell]
Mitchell: Yes, sir.
Dennis: This is Dennis Rainey.
Mitchell: Hey, Dennis. How are you doing?
Dennis: Say, “Hi,” to Bob Lepine and my wife Barbara.
Mitchell: Hey, Bob and Barbara. How are you all?
Bob: Hey, Mitchell. Good to hear from you.
Barbara: We're great. How are you?
Dennis: Tell our listeners how I challenged you, initially, a couple of years ago to begin praying with Beth.
Mitchell: Basically, I walked up to you, Dennis, afterwards, and handed you my business card and said, "I'm going to pray daily on my knees with my wife,” and I was frightened of the whole concept.
Dennis: What were you afraid of?
Mitchell: I guess it was an ego—it was a submission thing for me.
It was—one of the things that has come out of this is—I pray, even when I think she's wrong; and we're both angry. I say, "Let's pray." It usually—it always resolves the situation; but I'm giving into the situation—I'm putting my ego on the back burner. I guess what I was afraid of was just that—admitting that maybe I could be wrong—admitting that I needed to lead in an aspect where I wasn't comfortable / where I'd never been before.
Bob: And were you Christians when you got married?
Mitchell: Well, by word, yes.
Bob: But there was a point in your marriage where your faith took a serious turn.
Bob: So, you had been in a close living relationship with Christ before you got this challenge from Dennis to pray with Beth.
Bob: Had you been praying with her at all before then?
Mitchell: In the typical roles—not at the bedside / certainly not kneeling.
Bob: So, when Dennis laid out this challenge, what made you think:
"Boy, that's something I want to do"?
Mitchell: Well, the Holy Spirit had gradually worked on me—thankfully, gradually—it was the right time. It was time for me to submit. It was time for me to move on with what He had in store for my life, and I felt like this was part of it.
Bob: And when you came home and told Beth: "I was talking to Dennis Rainey. He's challenged me to pray with you every day, and we're going to do that,"—what was her response?
Mitchell: She was open-minded to it. She was, "Okay, we can do that." I think she was excited on the inside and didn't show it on the outside.
Dennis: What changes have occurred in your life, marriage, and family as a result of that; do you think?
Mitchell: Bottom-line is—Jesus is really re-shaping how I desire my wife so that it's proper and it's godly, based on His Word. It's also—He's put opportunities in front of us. He's made us closer, as a family. He's made us more sensitive to personal issues that each of us have so that we can address those individually and not just go about our daily routines—
—but really put a desire in our heart to have a quality close-knit family.
Dennis: So, the spiritual discipline of praying together every day has made a difference in your marriage.
Mitchell: Oh, a phenomenal difference.
Dennis: What do you think Beth would say if we called her right now?—because we may just do that—so, you better be careful. [Laughter]
Mitchell: She would be excited to talk to you. She would share this—I think she would be real excited about the fact that we did begin praying—that we have grown closer spiritually, and that we are facing past fears or past situations and dealing with those through God's power—through the relationship that He has drawn us to.
And let me throw in one more thing—I would challenge every man, who is embarrassed to kneel and pray, to do that because I did that. It’s been an incredibly rewarding experience, both spiritually and maritally. Even when you are angry—after a fight / during a fight—I would challenge you to do that.
Just give God the option, and see what He will do for you.
[End of Phone Interview with Mitchell]
Bob: It sounds like the discipline of prayer has really had an impact in their marriage.
Dennis: Well, Mitchell came up and shook my hand a few months ago. When a man shakes your hand and looks you in the eye and says, "Thank you," like he said to me—it was, like: “Whoa, this really has meant a great deal in his life, marriage, and in his family.” It just goes to show you—a man who is afraid can conquer that fear and move forward in faith to lead his wife spiritually.
Bob: Do you think we ought to call his wife?
Barbara: Absolutely. I'd love to hear what she has to say because I'd be willing to bet that it has ministered to her far more than what we heard from what he said.
Bob: Well, let's see if we can get her on the line. In fact, I think we're working on that now. [Phone ringing]
[Phone Interview with Beth]
Bob: Hi, this is Bob Lepine at FamilyLife Today.
Beth: Hey, Bob. How are you?
Bob: I'm fine. How are you?
Beth: Good; thanks.
Dennis: And this is Dennis Rainey. Say, “Hi,” to my wife Barbara.
Barbara: Hey, Beth.
Beth: Hey, Barbara. How are you?
Dennis: You didn't know we were going to call you. [Laughter] We just finished talking to your husband about praying together, and we decided we would just check up on him and make sure that he really is doing this thing.
Beth: He is doing it. [Laughter] I knew he was going to speak with you guys, but I didn't know I was going to get to.
Dennis: Oh, yes.
Bob: Well, after we talked with him, we thought we ought to just hear from a wife, who has had a husband take the step and say, "I want to start praying with you on a regular basis,” and find out: “Has it been meaningful to you?”
Beth: Oh, yes, it has.
Bob: Did it take you by surprise, at first, when Mitchell said, "Let's do this"?
Beth: I knew it was something he wanted to do. I just think he needed the challenge to get started. I had had a chance to do some Bible Study Fellowship and really had some neat, quick growth; and he hadn't had the opportunity. So, we were kind of in a different place.
I think the challenge got him going, and it was just what he needed. I kind of fell in there with him and just gave him some room and a chance to develop a little bit—and he really has.
Bob: So, you're saying—at the time that this happened, you were in a little different place than he was, spiritually. You may have been growing a little more quickly than he was.
Bob: But the discipline of praying together—has that accelerated his spiritual growth?
Beth: Oh, I think so. That's been part of the plan—I mean, there's a personal side that he has—a couple of years ago, started his own business and left corporate America—and did both for a while. God used a lot of different things to grow him; but that was one of the things that helped us grow together, as a couple.
Dennis: Mitchell mentioned, when we talked to him, that he was afraid. How did you encourage him?—
—or what would you say to women, whose husbands come home and make a commitment to them to begin praying together?
Beth: Well, just support them. I mean, physically, get down on your knees with him and give him a chance. My take-charge personality isn't the easiest to lead—so, just give him room to grow. Try to back up a little bit and encourage him in ways that would be encouraging—comments that are appropriate, and actions that are appropriate, and no pressure.
Bob: You're talking about being a helper / being a supporter?
Beth: Right, a completer not a competitor.
Bob: Well, we appreciate the opportunity to hear from the feminine side of this equation and hear how this has worked out in your marriage. Thanks for sharing it with us.
Beth: Well, you're sure welcome. We sure appreciate all you guys do.
Dennis: Yes, well, we appreciate you guys, Beth, and your part in our ministry.
I'm just grateful that ol' Mitchell stepped up to manhood and has taken on some real spiritual responsibility in your marriage.
Beth: Yes, he's doing a great job.
[End of Phone Interview with Beth]
Bob: Well, again, it's nice to hear from the wife's side of the bed what's going on. [Laughter] I guess this doesn't always happen around the bed. It doesn't have to happen at bedtime. It doesn't have to happen in the bedroom; does it?
Dennis: It doesn't. In fact, I've received many, many emails of couples who have begun this process. They've chosen the morning as the time to pray together. The issue is: Pick a time—any time—but pick some time when you will begin the daily process of praying together. And, Bob, it's not a legalistic deal—the key is that you have a commitment to pray together every day. If you do miss a night, you just pray the next night. You don't let the accusing voices of: "Well, you've failed. You've missed three nights in a row.
“You'll never start again,"—in fact, that is really one of the things I think the enemy uses in a marriage relationship as couples do miss, maybe, a few nights because of schedule, or time demands, or illness. They get out of the habit, and they don't get back into the habit. I just want to encourage couples: “Keep on persevering in prayer together.”
Bob: And if you made the decision today that you were going to start praying together every day—you started this week, and you got in two times between now and next Sunday—
Bob: —probably two more times than you would have prayed otherwise; right?
Dennis: Well, you just heard Mitchell say they've been growing spiritually for more than eight years; but that was a discipline they weren't practicing together, as a couple.
Bob: And what you two have done in putting your book together, Two Hearts Praying as One, is giving couples a 30-day—
Bob: Yes, it's like a guidebook. You read a couple of pages; and then, there's an opportunity to pray at the end of that.
So, if you don't know where to start, or what to do, or what it's all about—you can get a copy of the book, and it can lead you in the process.
Dennis: You know, just Day One, Bob, here in this book—it just talks about what it means to talk with God. What we've tried to do is put together a book that will not embarrass anybody / will not make them feel talked down to but will just take their hand, and put it in God's hand, and begin the process of learning in, really, the Lord's school of prayer—how you go about learning how to pray, as a couple.
Bob: Well, we’ve been talking today about the importance of prayer in a marriage relationship, listening to a conversation with Dennis and Barbara Rainey and with Mitchell and Beth Dean on that subject. And of course, we’ve got copies of the book Dennis was talking about—called Two Hearts Praying as One—a guidebook for couples—
—to take you through 30 days of praying together, as a couple.
And of course, tomorrow, we are starting a 30-Day Oneness Prayer Challenge, here at FamilyLife—where, every day for the next 30 days—we’re going to be prompting you to pray, as a couple. If you are not already signed up to be part of the 30-Day Oneness Prayer Challenge, you can go to FamilyLifeToday.com. Click the link in the upper left-hand corner of the screen that says, “GO DEEPER.” You can sign up to receive a text message, or an email, or a notice on you’re My FamilyLife app that will, not only remind you to pray together, but will also give you something you can pray together about each day. It’s our way of trying to encourage folks to be praying together, regularly, in your marriage.
I don’t know how many of our listeners had a chance to see the movie, War Room—that came out this past weekend. It’s all about the power of praying together, as a couple. We’re hoping it will help ignite a movement of prayer in marriages and families, all across the country.
We want to be a part of that. So, sign up for the 30-Day Oneness Prayer Challenge when you go to FamilyLifeToday.com and click the link in the upper left-hand corner of the screen. We’ll send you the prayer prompts each day.
And while you’re on our website, don’t forget that, this week and next week, FamilyLife listeners have an opportunity to register for an upcoming Weekend to Remember marriage getaway for couples—we’re going to be hosting about 30 of these events this fall in cities all across the country. If you sign up this week or next week, you pay the regular price for yourself; and your spouse comes free. It’s a buy one/get one free opportunity. It’s good this week and next week only.
So, go to FamilyLifeToday.com. Click the link that says, “GO DEEPER,” in the upper left-hand corner of the screen; and plan to be a part of one of our Weekend to Remember marriage getaways this fall. In fact, I’m going to be speaking at the getaway in San Antonio in November. So, I hope our listeners who live in that area will plan to join us on that particular weekend.
Once again, we’ve got about 30 locations, starting this month, and continuing through December. Find out more at FamilyLifeToday.com when you click the button that says, “GO DEEPER,” and then click the link for the buy one/get one free offer for the Weekend to Remember marriage getaway.
Now, tomorrow, we want to talk about how you can get started, as a couple, praying together, even when it feels awkward—because it will, at first. We’ll talk more about that tomorrow with Dennis and Barbara Rainey. Hope you can be here for that.
I want to thank our engineer today, Keith Lynch, along with help from Mark Ramey. On behalf of our host, Dennis Rainey, I’m Bob Lepine. We will see you back tomorrow for another edition of FamilyLife Today.
FamilyLife Today is a production of FamilyLife of Little Rock, Arkansas.
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