Teaching Married Couples to Pray Together
Six-week program builds intimacy through praying together.
"At a time when marriage is under tremendous pressure and under attack both from the outside and from within, more and more studies show the great fruitfulness of a series like this. We had over 100 couples from different age groups with various levels of exposure to praying together, from zero to daily. Overwhelmingly, they not only found it to be helpful, but in probably half a dozen cases, it was instrumental in preventing the couples from getting a divorce. This program proves that prayer as a couple is far more intimate than sex."
Fr John Riccardo, Pastor,
Our Lady of Good Counsel Parish, Plymouth, MI
The need it meets
Families that pray together stay together, and the same goes for married couples. Many couples sincerely want to live their vocation to the full, but they just don't have the tools to do so. This program provides an essential one: encouragement for and practical guidance about praying together as a couple.
Where it came from
The "Together With Jesus Couple Prayer Series" was developed by Deacon Bob Ovies, former director of Detroit's Archdiocesan Family Life Office, and his wife, Kathy. After speaking about their own daily prayer at a diocesan marriage event in 2002, they realized that many couples were hungry to learn how to pray together.
A year later during Lent, they held the first 6-week Couple Prayer program at their parish, St. Margaret of Scotland. Fifty couples signed up, and another sixty couples were put on a waiting list. So far, more than 1,000 couples of all ages have participated in 43 parishes.
How it works
The program is a 6-week series for a parish or small group setting. The weekly meetings run for two hours each.
For parish and small group sessions, the organizer orders a Couple Prayer Series Facilitator package** and walks the couples through weekly sessions for six weeks. The facilitator package comes with:
- Six DVDs, one per session, on the following topics: the blessing of couples prayer, thanking God together, asking for God's help together, praying with Scripture together, sharing worship together, and welcoming the power to forgive together.
- Three audio CDs with a total of 8 presentations
- Plenty of supplementary materials to print and share
Couples who prefer to follow the series at home can order the Home Edition, which comes with:
- Six DVDs, each with a complete video session of the series
- One CD of print materials with 42 "take home couple prayer experiences" that can be printed out and prayed together.
- One Introductory booklet spelling out how to use the program at home.
The requested donation for the "at home" series is $65.
The requested donation for the facilitator package (for small groups) is $165. The Web site suggests asking for a small donation from each couple to help cover the costs of materials.
- Facilitators. Any solid engaged or married couple can take on the program completely so that the parish personnel do not have to invest time or effort into following it up.
- A good location with audio-visual apparatus (DVD player, CD player).
- The support of the parish priest.
How to implement it
- Select a lay couple to head up the project.
- The Web site (www.coupleprayer.org) has all of the information necessary to order the materials securely online.
Fr John C. Riccardo is pastor of
Our Lady of Good Counsel.