My friends at Booksneeze.com (Thomas Nelson publishers) sent me a copy of “Couples Who Pray” to review. The premise is pretty simple and straightforward: make a commitment to pray together as couples for at least five minutes each day for 40 days and your marriage will be strengthened. SQuire Rushnell and Louise DuArt make a good case for the importance of couples of faith taking time together to pray for each other and for the details of their lives. To add weight to their argument the authors convinced several celebrity couples to take the challenge and report on the results. These couples include Scott & Tracie Hamilton, Denzel and Pauletta Washington, Bruce Santo and Donna Summer, and Patti and Gavin McLeod among several others. Their personal stories are heartwarming and encouraging and may motivate some couples who do not yet pray together to take the challenge themselves. There is even a website coupleswhopray.com to give you some daily structure and encouragement along the way.
So while I support the concept of couples praying together my task is to review the book – not the subject matter. Given that reality, I have to point out parts of the book that I found weak and over-reaching. The first is their repeated emphasis that since prayer is the most intimate act possible between a man and a woman that if you would just pray together your “lovemaking” will improve. It seems a bit formulaic (a+b=c) and simplistic and could easily lead to a false motivation and spiritual insincerity. The second area I found substantial disagreement with was the section that addressed praying for your finances. With a series of ‘health-and wealth’ examples they argued that you cannot out give God (that’s accurate) and that he will always materially bless whatever you give away (that’s not accurate).
One lengthy example described a couple that was quite successful in life and had accumulated numerous possessions and numerous debts. They made the wise decision to radically change their relationship with money and possessions, moving from their 6,000 sq ft home into a 1,600 sq ft condo while becoming consistent tithers. Great story if it ended there but the real end to the story is that because they prayed about their finances and began to tithe that now the couple lives in a 13,000 sq ft home! Really? Many praying people who tithe will never own a new car and will live out their lives in a small 1-2 bedroom home or apartment all the while having been blessed beyond measure by a loving, faithful God.
On balance I recommend the book in-so-far as it may motivate you to take prayer in your marriage seriously and commitment to at least five minutes each day praying with your spouse. But do so because it is an important spiritual discipline that honors God and will strengthen your marriage, not because of what you might get out of it.
Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Thomas Nelson Publishers as part of their Book Review Blogger program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”