One of the disciplines that truly breeds closeness and intimacy is praying together. For a long time I have known this but it is amazing how difficult it is to apply this simple truth in our closest relationships, like our marriage. My wife and I pray with our kids but I haven't really been successful at establishing a habit of just the two of us praying together. So I have decided to change that. Last night we turned off the TV and sat on our couch and I suggested that we pray together. It was kind of funny at first and a bit awkward but we did it. We each shared one thing that we wanted prayer for personally and then Whitney prayed for me and I prayed for her. You know it only took about 5 minutes and it really wasn't rocket science but it instantly brought a new level of closeness to our relationship.
In 1 Peter 3:7 it says, 'Husbands, in the same way be considerate as you live with your wives, and treat them with respect as the weaker partner and as heirs with you of the gracious gift of life, so that nothing will hinder your prayers.' Perhaps one of the reasons that it has been hard to pray together is that there have been things I have done to hinder that prayer time. Perhaps I have not been as considerate as I should have been. One of my thorns in the flesh is my temptation to get a little too horizontal on my couch around 9:00 and drift off into my own little sleepy world. Well, I have had to learn that while that seemed harmless enough, it actually was sending my wife the message, I am not really all that interested in spending time with you. Truly, this one thing has often been a hindrance to our prayer life together. Our relationship with God is similar too. Jesus taught that if we were presenting our offering (or singing a song of praise on Sunday morning or with the radio driving to work) and then realized that someone had something against us, that we should as quickly as possible go and deal with that issue and seek reconciliation and then come back and offer our worship.
Truly our times of prayer and worship will never ever be full and meaningful unless we are taking care of our relationships. Is there any unresolved relational tension today that might be hindering your intimacy with God? Jesus would tell you and me to go and make the phone call or go set up a time to grab some coffee and make things right with that person. Afterall, there is no greater feeling in the world than unhindered prayer and intimacy with our amazing Heavenly Father.