A Catholic publisher in England has come out with a Prayer Book for Spouses that includes a “Prayer Before Making Love”, which reads:
Father, send your Holy Spirit into our hearts. Place within us love that truly gives, tenderness that truly unites, self-offering that tells the truth and does not deceive, forgiveness that truly receives, loving physical union that welcomes. Open our hearts to you, to each other and to the goodness of your will,” it says. “Cover our poverty in the richness of your mercy and forgiveness. Clothe us in true dignity and take to yourself our shared aspirations, for your glory, forever and ever. Mary, our mother, intercede for us. Amen.”
Gene Veith asks:
Would this be a mood killer? Or is it actually sexy? If the former, that would demonstrate Lauren Winner’s point in her book Real Sex: The Naked Truth about Chastity, that sex has become so disordered that extramarital sex has become the model for marital sex. In this view, sex has to seem transgressive and illicit in order to be stimulating. Whereas, in reality, sex in marriage is a good work, a normal part of household life, and a true blessing of God. Married people have the authority to have sex by virtue of the office and the vocation that unmarried people do not. We need to recover sex as a family value.
From a theological perspective, a prayer before marital sex makes perfect sense. So why does it seem to us American Christians to be such a peculiar concept? (We can’t blame it on Puritanism—our default explanation for all our uncomfortable feelings about —because our Puritan ancestors would have likely thought the idea to be a matter of common theological sense, if not common practice.)