"Pray without ceasing"
1 Thessalonians 5:17
Scripture tells us to pray "without ceasing... at all times... in everything... continually" (1 Thessalonians 5:17-18, Ephesians 6:18, Philippians 4:6 and Hebrews 13:15).
Prayer should to pervade every aspect of our lives. So, it should come as no surprise that prayer is a critical component of your most intimate earthly relationship.
When I was seventeen, I met a girl in my senior English class, named Mischa. Mischa is Russian for Michael. Our first date was on January 17, 1976. We talked for hours and hours on end. One day we were sitting in her living room and she said, "I think that we should read the Bible and pray together. My youth group leader at church says that we should do that." So, we read a scripture and prayed. Each of us prayed out loud. I had never done that with another person until that time. It was a spiritual encounter. Mischa was the first person that I had a spiritual relationship with.
- "19 Again, assuredly I tell you, that if two of you will agree on earth concerning anything that they will ask, it will be done for them by my Father who is in heaven. 20 For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there I am in the middle of them" (Matthew 18:20).
When two people of faith pray together, something supernatural happens. Christ is actively involved in a very special way in that interaction. Christ was in her. Christ was in me (Galatians 2:20). Christ was at work in us.
Mischa and I became husband and wife. It has been forty-six years since our first date. Every year, we celebrate that day, January 17, 1976.
If scriptural prayer is missing from your most intimate earthly relationship... then something is missing...
The Two Step
Those are the two steps. Just read a short scripture. Two verses is enough. Talk about it for two or three minutes if you wish. Then one of you will pray a sentence or two... maybe thirty seconds... and then pause. Then the other person will do the same... pray a very short prayer and pause. Alternate back and forth. Each of you may pray five or ten times. This intimate, three way conversation between the two of you and the Holy Spirit may last five minutes, ten minutes... or as long as you wish.
I named this devotional the Two Step because it has two steps, scripture and prayer. But also because, in Texas where I live, the Two Step is a very popular dance. As the band plays, the man faces the woman and holds her with both hands... the woman holds the man with both hands... and they move together with music... in circles and spins... sometimes moving forward... sometimes moving backward. The words of the song contain the theme and the melody injects the power.
The Two Step Devotional is like the dance. The man and woman interact with God together in the spiritual realm, being led by the Word and empowered by the Holy Spirit. It is poetic, powerful and intimate. And the prayers are prayed in a two step fashion... he prays, then she prays... he prays, then she prays... he prays, then she prays...
The word and prayer will knit souls together.
Why Read Scripture?
The reading the words of God sets the tone. It reminds you of His presence, power and purposes. If you desire it and will allow it, the reading of scripture brings you into intimate contact with God.
Some people simply cannot pray if they don't read scripture first.
After reading scripture, you can pray God's purposes, since you have just read about God's purposes. You can pray in truth, since you have just read God's truth.
What To Pray?
You may pray about the scripture you read. Offer praise and thanksgiving. Ask for understanding. Ask for power to obey.
You can pray the Endorsed Prayers from chapter 4.The Endorsed Prayers are prayers that Christ, the apostles or prophets prayed or instructed the saints to pray.
Here are some specific scriptural prayers from the Endorsed Prayers:
Offer thanksgiving and praises. Ask for knowledge of God's will, enlightened eyesight, revelation, power, strength, wisdom, love, unity, obedience, faith, words for witnessing, tranquility, intimacy with God, escape from temptation, forgiveness, salvation, opening doors for the Gospel, spreading God's word, rebuke, and mercy.
Who to Pray for?
Pray for family, co-workers, acquaintances, missionaries, leaders in church and government...
believers and unbelievers, dictators and servants...
friends and enemies, persecutors and the persecuted...
the weak and the strong, the victors and the defeated.
What Scripture Should You Read?
Ask the Holy Spirit lead you. Ask Him to reveal what you should read. I suggest that you pray about the following options:
Read the Endorsed Prayers:
In chapter 4 you will find the scripture for each of the Endorsed Prayers, along with explanations. So, your daily Two Step may be to read the scripture for an Endorsed Prayer and then pray. In this way, both of you will learn to pray scripturally. Scriptural prayer is how we align our souls with the purposes of God. Scriptural prayer is how we understand scripture and walk with Him. And, the explanations provided along with those scriptures will help you to better understand the scriptures you are using for your Two Step.
Click here to start with the prayer for Wisdom, micro-subchapter 4.2a. After you Two Step through the four prayers in subchapter 4.2, then Two Step through the prayers in subchapter 4.3, 4.4, 4.5 and 4.6.
Read through a book of the Bible:
Once scriptural prayer is interwoven into your daily life, individually and as a couple, then you may use a book of the Bible for your daily Two Step. For example, take the book of Ephesians or 1 Peter. Read a couple of verses and pray. It's simple. The next time you meet to read and pray, just pick up where you left off. But, if you don't know the Endorsed Prayers, you may not know what to pray after you read the scripture. So, using a book of the Bible for your daily Two Step should work better after you know and pray the Endorsed Prayers.
If you have trouble understanding what you read, you may benefit from using my pre-made study arrangements. It shows a reading called "Today's Scripture". It also has a "Focus Scripture". Today's Scripture will provide the necessary context to better understand the Focus Scripture. After reading both Today's Scripture and the Focus Scripture, you will pray about the Focus Scripture. Click here to access my study arrangements for eighteen New Testament books. These study arrangements were originally designed for the Four Step Bible Study for groups. But they work for the Two Step Devotional for Couples as well.
Other Short Devotional Books:
Once scriptural prayer has become a part of your daily life, you may use a short, scriptural devotional guide. Our Daily Bread or My Utmost For His Highest are two good examples. The guide should be short because the main emphasis of the Two Step is prayer... scriptural prayer. Talking about God is not the same thing as talking to God. Intellectual analysis is not the same thing as intimate interaction.
A devotional book may work for you. But, this method may not bring you and your spouse into prayer if you don't know how to pray. But, after you have learned the Endorsed Prayers, this method may bring you and your spouse into prayer... prayers of intimate union with God and each other.
When to Two Step?
That depends on you and your schedule... but I suggest that you do it every day if you can. Here is my favorite time:
Do the Two Step after dinner, before you do the dishes.
This works well because we are at the end of our day. We are less distracted at this time. Neither of us has to go somewhere. The deadlines of the day have passed. This is a good time. It takes less than ten minutes per day to keep you focused on your Lord, together.
Portal To Spiritual Fellowship
I know of no better pathway into intimate oneness with your spouse than Scriptural prayer. Without the Holy Spirit there will be no true intimacy. He is the glue. He is the power, the purity, the purpose and the energy of intimacy. As you engage in scriptural prayer, you engage the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Only then can perfection be present.
Lord of Heaven and Earth, I pray for all who read here... fill them with Your Spirit... in all power, purity and purpose... as they read Your words and talk to You together... all for Your glory and praise... that they may be one together with You... that Your name may be lifted higher and higher and higher. Amen.