On April 22, 2015, my father-in-law, Don, died just a month shy of his 90th birthday. On the day of his funeral, it was estimated that almost 450 people attended his memorial service. If one counted the many others who attended his wake the night before, sent cards or left phone messages the night before but could not attend, then one can only imagine the actual turnout. What a testimony to those who knew Don and were touched in many ways by him and my mother-in-law, Ruby, in their almost 68 years of marriage!
When asked what made the difference in their marriage, and why so many people respected Don, Ruby was clear about one key to their marriages’ longevity and happiness … Prayer!
In recent years, family research has noted that prayer makes a difference in the home. Positive reports of closeness, resiliency, and joy between couples seems “scientifically” affirmed by prayer. While this may be a “Eureka” insight for academic types and counseling books, for my in-laws it was a “Duh” (to quote Homer Simpson) moment.
Since the early days of dating, just before the end of WW II, Don and Ruby read the Bible daily and prayed together as much as they could. For 67 years of their married life together, they also ended breakfast in prayer.
Areas they prayed about included:
- Prayers for the day, and for each other.
- Prayers for their children and grandchildren
- Prayers for their many friends and acquaintances they cared about
- Prayers for their church and government leaders
- And, taking a roster of their church, they would pray for FIVE attendees and members of their spiritual home in alphabetical order.
Why Prayer Is Important
Through Don, Ruby, and their daughter – my wife of 37 years – I learned that prayer is more than an activity or a ritual. Prayer does something intimately important in a marriage:
- Prayer prioritizes a couple’s time together.
- Reading the Bible connects a couple, unifying their values, including how to think, how to make decisions, and how to live.
- Pray encourages a couple to openly share their hearts, hurts, and needs with each other.
- Prayer expands a couple’s world beyond their home by caring for the needs of others.
- Prayer encourages others and encompasses their needs.
My take away from my in-laws is that, while prayer may seem like a simple task that can be easily set aside in a busy day, the fact that literally hundreds and hundreds of people were touched and blessed by them says a lot about this couple’s quiet time together. May we all learn from them.
Christian counselor Dr. Douglas Frey believes in Biblical principles and bringing forth God’s grace in meetings and sessions. Call or email Douglas Frey Ph.D. (952-920-2789). He is a licensed Christian counselor serving individuals and families in Eden Prairie and nearby Chanhassen, Chaska, Shakopee, Minneapolis, Edina, Minnetonka and other Western Suburbs.