The Role of Prayer in Christian Dating | Seeking Guidance and Discernment in the World of Romance

Praying in a relationship

There are only so many Christian singles you can authentically meet at church or in your local community. And is there any guarantee that they’ll see eye-to-eye with you on faith?

There’s a saying that’s as old as the hills: “Couples that pray together stay together.”

While this might not always be true for every couple that’s folded their hands, knelt before the Lord, and offered Him words of praise or performed prayers of intercession, research has shown that most married couples who pray with one another every day are far more likely to experience a satisfying and fulfilling marriage that’s long-lasting. According to a 2011 study by the University of Texas, less than 1% of married couples who pray with each other daily end up getting divorced!

So, what role does prayer play in Christian dating or marriage? It depends because the timing of your prayer matters! Prayer for a Christian couple might be something that’s only turned to in the last resort, but some prioritize praying every day regardless of life’s circumstances. Learn more about when it’s ideal to pray and the essential purposes of prayer in your marriage or relationship!

When to Pray

When is it ideal to pray with your spouse or partner? Although the Bible doesn’t have any passages which specifically detail how couples should pray with one another, Scripture is clear about how frequent prayer should be in the life of a Christian man or woman:

1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 says,

“Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christi Jesus for you” (ESV).

Ephesians 6:16-20 says,

In all circumstances take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming darts of the evil one; and take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God, praying at all times in the Spirit, with all prayer and supplication. To that end, keep alert with all perseverance, making supplication for all the saints, and also for me, that words may be given to me in opening my mouth boldly to proclaim the mystery of the Gospel, for which I am an ambassador in chains, that I may declare it boldly, as I ought to speak” (ESV).

Ideally, followers of Christ should be praying as much as they can. The Bible isn’t saying always to be praying and doing nothing else. After all, you need to work, spend time with your family, and enjoy the life the Lord has given you. But the Spirit of the idea is that Christians should be in frequent contact and relationship with the Lord throughout the day, even if it’s just a quick “thank you” or a word of praise for His goodness or provision or quietly asking for His help in a moment when you want to say something hurtful to another person.

Although Christian couples should come together in prayer daily, that’s not always the case. Due to hectic schedules or a busy social life, some Christian couples don’t prioritize prayer with each other and might only do so when bad things happen or their circumstances take a sour turn. And some couples pray together daily so long as things are going well but then spiral into worry and despair when life’s challenges arise.

Types of Prayer

All couples operate uniquely when it comes to couples prayer. That’s because there are different types of prayer concerning when you choose to pray. Christian men and women aren’t perfect, so there’ll be times when even the most faithful of Christians will have moments of praying reactively instead of proactively. Or when Christian couples who are wishy-washy in their faith will choose to pray when things are going well.

Let’s learn more about the different kinds of couples’ prayers we’ve been talking about:

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Reactive Prayer

These are the prayers that Christian couples (or individuals) will say when they find themselves in circumstances where they realize there’s nowhere else to turn but up. Something sudden or traumatic takes place that makes you feel like you’re completely out of control, and then you turn to God. This could look like losing a loved one, getting a cancer diagnosis from the doctor, or being betrayed by a friend.

Ideally, this isn’t where we want to be as followers of Christ. This goes against what the Lord says about praying in Thessalonians and Ephesians. With reactive prayer, you’re essentially living your life as an atheist, with no need of the Lord in the good times, but turning to Him when you’re struck a blow or your life is rattled.

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Proactive Prayer

When the Bible talks about praying without ceasing, it refers to praying proactively in the good and the bad times. Just because your circumstances change, it doesn’t mean that you’re changing how often you’re approaching the Lord in the relationship. This is steady prayer with God that’s not contingent on how you feel about your life or what you’re going through (good or bad).

Examples of Prayer

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You get a promotion at work with an increase in pay and some extra vacation time.

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“Thank you, God, for Your Provision for my family. This is such a blessing; please help me to honor You in this new role at work. You are good. Thank you for Your Promise to provide for my needs.”

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You only have one good friend, but she’s made a new friend recently and has been spending time with her. You feel jealous of this relationship, despite knowing that your friend is allowed to have other friends outside of you.

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“Lord, I feel jealous about this, and I know I shouldn’t. My worth and joy aren’t found in this relationship, but it’s found in You. I’m your daughter, and you’re my Father. You love me with everlasting love. Please help me to overcome these jealous feelings and not begrudge my friend for her new friendship.

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Your son was in a car wreck. He’s at the hospital and needs an operation, but the outcome is uncertain.

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“Lord God, a healing touch for my son, in Jesus’ name. You’ve made it clear in Your Word that Your desire is for us to have health and abundance of life. I believe that for my son and claiming this promise. Give the doctors wisdom as they operate. We’re fully expectant for a total recovery. Thank you for your promises, Lord.”

Yes, some of these are reactive prayers, but we’re trying to showcase how a proactive follower of Christ might approach prayer in various circumstances. The thing that will separate the proactive follower from the reactive one is that this believer will take time when things are comfortable and easy to thank the Lord for His Blessings or to build up their faith in preparation for life’s storms.

What Purpose Does Praying Serve in My Relationship?

Now that we’ve established when you should pray, what role or purpose will praying with your spouse or partner play in your relationship?

Prayer Puts Arguments in Perspective

The Lord can give Christian followers insights and guidance on navigating arguments or disagreements in their marriage. Often, talking to God long enough eventually brings reminders (or even revelations) of His Promises in the Bible.

A husband who says mean-spirited things to his wife because he resents her might be reminded in prayer of the Lord’s call for him to “love his wife as Christ loved the church,” which could lead him to conviction or a change of heart. 

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Strengthening Your Relationship with God

Couples that take the time to pray every day with each other can strengthen the bond they have between them but also learn more about God and strengthen that relationship as well. A wife who proclaims one of the Lord’s promises during prayer time might be offering an insight to her husband that he never had before.

With couples’ prayer, there’s an element of growing in relationship with God and strengthening each other’s faith. Proverbs 27:17 says, “Iron sharpens iron, and one man sharpens another” (ESV). This can apply to spouses as well!

Praying Helps Couples Forgive One Another

One of the core tenants of the Christian faith is forgiveness. Christ went to the cross as payment for the sins of the world so that anyone who follows Him will have eternal life. He’s forgiven us for our sins, so we’re called to forgive others.

There are a ton of passages in the Bible that talk about forgiveness. Because this is such a massive theme of the Gospel, the Christian couple in the Word and praying together is likely to avoid holding grudges or letting resentment grow in the relationship.

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Prayer Shifts Your Thoughts to the Needs of the Relationship

Maintaining private prayer time with God when you’re not praying with your spouse is crucial so you can focus more on your needs. Couples’ prayers can cause a partner to take the focus off their individual needs and instead shift to the needs of the marriage or their spouse.

Prayer can often turn you away from selfish thoughts and redirect your attention to how faithful or good God is. You might even begin saying prayers of thanksgiving over your spouse and relationship! Prayer shifts your thoughts to others.

Couples Prayer Can Save on Therapy Bills

Most couples go to therapy because of marital problems like resentment, mistrust, jealousy, addiction, or infidelity. Often, these issues will begin small and fester over time into something much more serious that requires the services of a professional so that married couples can weather the storm.

Christian couples who cleave to one another and cleave to the Lord can use prayer to nip many of these things in the early stages. This isn’t to say that Christian couples can’t go through these problems, but being in a state of prayer together daily certainly makes it difficult for these types of things to grow legs and thus gain a foothold in the marriage.

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Check out The Five Best Christian Dating Books. Michael Todd, Tim Keller, and others offer terrific insights to new Christian couples just beginning their relationships. Learn how to get off on the right foot with your significant other!

How Can I Find a Spouse or Partner That Will Make Prayer a Priority?

There’s no exact science to this because you can meet Christians in all the right places, and there’s no guarantee that they have a rich, proactive prayer life. And there’s no guarantee that they’ll be comfortable praying together no matter how deep or intimate the relationship gets. But these are some strategies to increase the odds of finding a marriage partner or spouse who considers praying together a top priority!

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Meet Someone Through Your Church

One of, if not, the best ways to meet a future spouse who shares your Christian beliefs and values is to attend a local church that supports your views. And the church is where many authentic, face-to-face conversations occur when meeting new people. Churches are at the front lines of Christian dating and probably the most significant contributor to the number of successful Christian marriages. 

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Use Christian Dating Apps

Enter Christian dating apps which can expose you to entire dating pools of Christian singles anywhere in the country and select locations worldwide. Most of these platforms have search filters that allow you to find matches based on location, appearance, denominational beliefs, values, and many other factors.

Check out our list of the best Christian dating apps and see how you can find a Godly match online.

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Be Clear on What You Want Upfront

Don’t be afraid to let a new boyfriend or girlfriend know early in the relationship that you’re interested in praying with them daily as a couple. If you’re using a Christian dating app, you can clarify this expectation in the self-authored bio sections of your dating profile.

If they seem hesitant or not too keen on making daily prayer a part of your relational routine, we recommend that you be patient with it and allow for some time for them to come to the idea. You can use this time to pray about the situation and ask the Lord for guidance on how to proceed!