Married couples are often encouraged to pray by priests and others in the Church, but what does that prayer look like? How often should a married couple come together for prayer?
In truth, there is no right answer for how often husband and wife should pray, as each married couple has different personalities and situations.
However, different prayer styles shouldn’t be an excuse for abandoning prayer, as prayer is a bedrock of married love.
St. John Paul II wrote about prayer between a husband and wife in his apostolic exhortation, Familiaris Consortio.
Family prayer has its own characteristic qualities. It is prayer offered in common, husband and wife together, parents and children together. Communion in prayer is both a consequence of and a requirement for the communion bestowed by the sacraments of Baptism and Matrimony. The words with which the Lord Jesus promises His presence can be applied to the members of the Christian family in a special way: “Again I say to you, if two of you agree on earth about anything they ask, it will be done for them by my Father in heaven. For where two or three are gathered in my name, there am I in the midst of them.”
By praying together, a married couple invites God into their home and ushers in a flood of grace and blessing.
How often should a married couple pray?
St. John Paul II gives a few examples of prayer in a family, making it a point that prayer in a marriage should include a wide variety of practices and not simply be reserved for Sunday worship.
As preparation for the worship celebrated in church, and as its prolongation in the home, the Christian family makes use of private prayer, which presents a great variety of forms. While this variety testifies to the extraordinary richness with which the Spirit vivifies Christian prayer, it serves also to meet the various needs and life situations of those who turn to the Lord in prayer. Apart from morning and evening prayers, certain forms of prayer are to be expressly encouraged, following the indications of the Synod Fathers, such as reading and meditating on the word of God, preparation for the reception of the sacraments, devotion and consecration to the Sacred Heart of Jesus, the various forms of veneration of the Blessed Virgin Mary, grace before and after meals, and observance of popular devotions.
In particular, St. John Paul II highlights the Rosary as a favored expression of familial piety.
While respecting the freedom of the children of God, the Church has always proposed certain practices of piety to the faithful with particular solicitude and insistence. Among these should be mentioned the recitation of the Rosary: “We now desire, as a continuation of the thought of our predecessors, to recommend strongly the recitation of the family Rosary …. There is no doubt that … the Rosary should be considered as one of the best and most efficacious prayers in common that the Christian family is invited to recite. We like to think, and sincerely hope, that when the family gathering becomes a time of prayer the Rosary is a frequent and favored manner of praying.”
However a married couple chooses to pray on a daily basis, the key is that prayer is a deliberate act that they do together. It should be part of their daily schedule and be a foundation upon which they build their family.