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While praying together in any form is definitely going to increase your faith, and grow and cultivate your marriage, drawing you both closer to each other and closer to God, I have found for myself that something special happens when I write my prayers down and specifically for the prayers I intend to share with someone else. First of all, one of the most obvious things is that when writing my prayers down, I’m forced to actually do it—to take the time, think about what I’m saying, and then put pen to paper (or fingers to keyboard). Because I’m not on the spot and saying everything out loud, I’m less nervous and I can take more time to think through my thoughts and correctly word my prayer the way I intend. We all know how often words we don’t mean slip out of our mouths. I find remembering what I’ve prayed for easier when I write them down.

Also, another thing that is extremely significant is the ability to go back and reread the prayers later. Whether you are the author or the recipient this can be hugely beneficial. And depending upon the topic of the particular prayer, they can read like love letters. What’s more romantic and inspiring than a love letter? I’ll tell you. A love letter that’s directed to our heavenly Father, the Creator and Sustainer of all things, about someone He’s blessed us with.

Additionally, while this is something perhaps we all need to strive to move past, I’ve felt that sometimes hard things are easier said and discussed through paper or when the words don’t have to be said aloud. This is doubly true when you add the fact that this is a prayer. And while we don't need to remain in this inability to speak face to face with the ones we love, learning to address our feelings and pains in a safe environment (and what's more safe than taking them to our Father) can help us move toward being able to address our feelings and pains in all environments.

Above all what needs to be remembered and focused on is that this is truly a conversation between one’s self and God. And it needs to be treated with the respect and reference of any other interaction with our Creator. You’ll find that it’s not so easy to lie to your spouse or whomever you might be sharing the prayer with because you know that the prayer is to God and as God, He knows the truth of every word you are lifting up to Him. You’ll find that your heart is softened in this process. You’ll find yourself “being the bigger person.” You’ll find that things you could never have imagined saying to someone’s face, even out of love, are easier to address because you are in fact taking those things to God. You’re not using this opportunity to yell or scream, argue or be defensive. You’re not even using this as an opportunity to preach to someone. You let your guard down. You let God in. You let Him see you. You tell Him what’s weighing heavy on your heart (or sometimes less often but no less important you’re praising Him). And then you ask for the courage to share that prayer with whomever you need to share it with.

There’s nothing that says you can only do this exercise with your spouse. I’ve personally taken on this type of praying and tried to apply it to any situation that I feel led to or any situation where someone has asked me to be praying about something specific. When a friend of mine tells me that her husband has been presented with two different job offers and they're not sure which direction to take, when a loved one of someone I know has passed away, when a friend is headed down a path that takes extreme courage to turn around and head back to the place where they took the wrong fork in the road, when a convicted criminal moves into a neighborhood where there are children and fear runs rampant in our hearts, when a family member is struggling with a temptation and Satan is knocking at his or her door, when you're terrified of getting hurt by someone who's hurt you or your relationship in the past.

There’s no more of the generic “Sure, I’ll pray about that,” response and then off I go and never think of it again. I take the time in whatever moment I have to sit down, type up a prayer to my God, and share that prayer with whomever needs it or whomever has requested it of me. There’s no better way to show someone that you truly are praying for them or that you truly care. They can see the exact words you use to lift them or their situation up to our God. And as a result, the both of you draw closer to each other, and God truly becomes to glue that binds you together.

Hebrews 10:24 - Let us consider one another in order to stir up love and good works...

I challenge you that the next time someone comes to you and requests prayers to give this a try. Open up an email and pour your heart out to God over this situation. Or the next time you know in your heart of hearts that a topic needs to be addressed with one you love, take it to God in written form, and have the courage to share that with your loved one. Have faith that God will work through your prayer to accomplish His will in your lives.