By Janet Thompson, Crosswalk.com
“Bless you both,” I heard as my husband, Dave, and I opened our eyes after praying over our dinner in the Seattle airport food court. I looked up to see an elderly gentleman and his wife beaming at us from the next table. Instantly, we had something in common—God! When Dave and I acknowledged the husband’s comment, his wife gleefully added, “And I said to my husband, ‘Look they’re holding hands while they pray!'"
As we chatted with the couple, we learned that they were from Canada and waiting to board a plane to Orange County, our former home. I later told Dave that I have always wanted to acknowledge others praying over their meal when we’re out to eat, but I never knew what to say that wouldn’t be intrusive—now I knew exactly what to say!
Backing up a bit...earlier that morning, Dave and I had again held hands and prayed as we sat in the Boise, Idaho airport anticipating a long travel day with a seven-hour layover in Seattle on our way to Maui. We asked God to use our long waits and travel times for His purpose and that He would provide encounters He orchestrated. As we said “Amen,” I heard a familiar voice calling my name—it was the sweet receptionist at our local doctor’s clinic. She was on her way to Texas to help a friend move back to Idaho. Dave and I were able to share with her about a support group we are starting in our home that might help her friend.
After sixteen hours of travel and a four-hour time change, we finally made it to the beautiful island of Maui ready to enjoy a week at the Love Song Couples Getaway at the Grand Wailea Resort. Since it took us a day of travel and we arrived late at night, we had decided to go early and spend two nights before the Getaway at a less expensive hotel near the airport on a different part of the island than the Grand Wailea.
Our first morning in this “tropical paradise,” we headed down to the hotel’s restaurant for my favorite Hawaiian breakfast: pancakes with coconut syrup. While savoring every bite, I noticed that a couple who had just been seated at the table next to us were holding hands and praying before their meal, as Dave and I had done before they arrived—here is my chance to try out an acknowledgement greeting.
So when I heard “Amen,” I said to them “Bless you both.” They looked a little surprised at first, but as the conversation ensued, they too were going to the Love Song Couples Getaway, and like us, had decided to come in two days early and stay near the airport! What are the chances of that? Hmmm, God was really answering our prayer to orchestrate whom He wanted us to meet.
The next day at the same restaurant for breakfast, I noticed another couple sitting at a table next to us and they were finishing their meal as we sat down. Dave and I ordered and then held hands and prayed a blessing over our food. As the couple got up to leave, the husband gave us an acknowledging smile.
Later that day, we checked out of our hotel and checked into the Grand Wailea for the Love Song Couples Getaway, and who should we see in the lobby but the same couple we had seen that morning at breakfast! It turns out they had watched us pray over our meal and the wife had said to the husband, “Why don’t we hold hands while we pray?”
Thousands of tourists are on the island of Maui. What are the chances that we would meet two couples—going to the same retreat we were going to, staying the first two nights on the same part of the island that we did, eating breakfast in the same place at the same time—and our handholding while we prayed would be our connecting factor.
We became great friends with both of these couples while at the Getaway, and thanks to Facebook and email, we’ll stay friends across the miles. As others asked us how we met these couples, it gave us another opportunity to share our story of the wonders of God using our handholding while praying.
Many, Lord my God, are the wonders you have done, the things you planned for us. None can compare with you; were I to speak and tell of your deeds, they would be too many to declare.—Psalm 40:5
Do you hold hands with your spouse when you pray?
Dave and I have held hands praying since before we were married. We hold hands whenever we pray whether it be in church, at home, or over a meal anywhere and everywhere...yes even over pizza...We also hold hands with our friends, family, kids, grandkids, visitors...whoever is sharing a meal with us.
A binding unity occurs when you clasp your hands in another’s hands and lift your hearts to the Lord together. And who knows . . . God just might use it as your witness and help you make new friends!
10 Tips for Praying as a Couple
You might enjoy Tips for Praying as a Couple that I included in Praying for Your Prodigal Daughter: Hope, Help & Encouragement for Hurting Parents. If you haven’t experienced praying as a couple, these suggestions will help you get started:
- Make praying together a priority in your day.
- Find a place where you can pray without interruption.
- Determine a time that fits both your schedules, and put it on your calendars.
- If you choose morning, make it a pleasant time over a cup of coffee or tea.
- If you choose evening, pray before you get into bed, because both of you probably will be exhausted at the end of the day and it’ll be hard to stay awake.
- Take turns praying. If one of you is more comfortable than the other praying aloud, have that person start and the other spouse join in or say his or her own prayer. Or do conversational prayer, in which you alternate praying, just like talking to each other.
- Start with short prayers until you get used to praying together.
- Write down things you want to remember to pray about. It’s okay to pray with your eyes open so you can look at your notes.
- Hold hands or embrace while you pray.
- Remember that prayer is simply talking to God. You don’t have to use big theological terms or sound “spiritual.” Just pour out your heart to the only One who can really help.
Janet Thompson is an international speaker and an award-winning author of 17 books. Janet is also the founder of Woman to Woman Mentoring and About His Work Ministries. She and husband, Dave, are the parents of four children, and Grammie and Grampa Dave to eleven precious grandchildren. Janet and Dave live in the rural mountains of Idaho. Visit Janet at: www.womantowomanmentoring.com
Publication date: July 17, 2013