Wednesday, December 01, 2010

Awkwardness and Praying Couples

So, let me take you back a few years to one of my earliest and most awkward ministry moments:  I was finishing my first year of seminary and had been assigned to a large church in South Carolina for my summer field placement. I was newly engaged and not looking forward to heading even further from my fiance for 12 weeks. 

Before going, we had an orientation weekend for field placement supervisors and students filled with workshops and other get-to-know-you activities.  The pastor who would be my primary supervisor couldn't attend so he sent his associate pastor, a retired Air Force chaplain in his 60s who today is one of my greatest friends, advisors and confidantes.  However, at the time, it was simply awkward.  I wasn't real sure about heading to his church (i.e. the church I went to work at full-time when I graduated two years later) and he hated (still hates) sitting in meetings of any kind.  We were having a great time (read dripping sarcasm :).

Anyway, during one of the workshop breakouts we chose to attend a workshop that was titled "Spiritual Growth in the local church."  Sounded better than "Death and Dying" so off we went.  When we got there, we met a pastor who talked about a lot of things, but I don't remember much spiritual growth.

I do remember about 15 minutes into the session when he started talking about couples praying together, followed by the statement that couples who pray together regularly dramatically improve their sex life (he actually was much more graphic, I'm keeping this PG for my readers and my own comfort level).  Whoa!  Who saw that coming?  Not this unmarried pastoral intern.  Not the guy sitting next to me.  AWKWARD!!! In fact, awkward doesn't begin to describe the moment.  We laugh about it now, but at the time, both of our faces were scarlet.

Ironically, one of the things that keeps many couples from praying together is the fact that it's so incredibly awkward.  Different kind of awkward, but still, awkward.  Fear not, I'm not about to try and talk you into it for the purposes mentioned above.  However, I would just like to say that whatever the fringe benefits may or may not be, couples need to pray together.  I tell our high school students all the time - look for the person who will pray with you and for you.

When my husband and I were engaged and living in separate states, we used to pray together over the phone.  That was more awkward for my roommates than for me.  As a married couple, we've had periods of time when we've been very faithful to pray together and periods where we've been awful about it.  I can guarantee you the times we're praying together are our best times, our most genuine times and the times we've been the closest and gone deeper in our relationship.

I'm thankful for a husband who invites me to pray with him even on the nights when I'm annoyed with him and would rather just go to bed.  I'm really thankful for a husband who invites me to pray with him on the nights when he is rightfully annoyed with me and doesn't really want to talk with me let alone pray with me.  Mostly, I'm thankful for a Savior who invites both of us into His presence even when we're so unworthy to be there, but at least we're there together.

I know it's awkward, but today, ask your spouse or the person you're dating to pray with you.  I promise you it will be awkward. I promise you it will be worth the awkwardness.

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