Couples are being encouraged to pray together before sex in a new book published by prominent church group Catholic Truth Society.
A special prayer to help couples "purify their intentions" is one of a number set out in the Prayer Book for Spouses.
The Prayer Before Making Love implores God "to 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".
It adds: "Open our hearts to you, to each other and to the goodness of your will".
The 64-page book, sold for £1.95, has been published by the London-based Catholic Truth Society, which has links to the Catholic Bishops' Conference of England and Wales.
The Rt Rev Paul Hendricks, who is the Auxiliary Bishop of Southwark, told the Daily Mail: “'It is important for the Church to affirm the value of marriage and family life and I suppose this is a particular way of doing that.
“Perhaps it is something that has not been tried, certainly for a while – I can't remember seeing something like that before.”
The book contains prayers for every stage of marriage and family life, including engagement, planning for parenthood, pregnancy and caring for children and elderly parents.
The book expresses criticism of “those who, in our times, consider it too difficult, or indeed impossible, to be bound to one person for the whole of life, and those caught up in a culture that rejects the indissolubility of marriage and openly mocks the commitment of spouses to fidelity”.
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.
Cover our poverty in the richness of your mercy and forgiveness. Clothe us in our true dignity and take to
yourself our shared aspirations, for your glory, for ever and ever. Mary, our Mother, intercede for us. Amen.