Have you visited a museum and noticed that special antique items are covered with a glass box or placed in a frame? Or what about the supermarket? The liquor is usually separated from the other goods in their own glass container. We know how to guard things we consider valuable. Do we give the same diligence to guarding our friendships?
Like rust and mildew on antique items and shoplifters of liquor, our friendships face their own threats:
misunderstandings, secret jealousy, unresolved hurt because no one wants to "rock the boat", to name a few. If we do nothing about the threats, our friendships can slowly erode over time until one day, we realize we are isolated. We have to be proactive and on our guard.
The good news is that as Christians, we have something more powerful than glass; we have prayer. James 5:16b reminds us that the prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective (NIV). When we combine this with the word of God, we are unstoppable.
Here are three ways that you can use prayer, and the Word, to safeguard your friendships.
#1: Pray for your friend's relationship with God
If your friend is a Christian or non-Christian, it is always a blessing to pray for their relationship with God. At the end of our lives, this is the ultimate relationship that will matter most (see Mark 8:36). Using Romans 12:1-2, you could pray for your friend like this:
In view of your mercies Lord, I pray that [insert friend's name] will offer his/her body to You as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to You, for this is his/her true and proper worship. I pray that my friend will not be conformed to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of his/her mind. I'm so thankful that as he/she does, he/she will be able to test and approve what Your will is--Your good, pleasing and perfect will.
#2: Pray for your friend's spiritual growth
Everything your friend says and does flows out of his or her heart (see Matthew 15:18). As your friend grows and his/her heart is changed by God, everything else in his/her life will benefit: relationships, family, health, career, finances, service. You can use Galatians 5:22-23 to pray in this way:
Lord, I pray that my friend will grow in all the fruit of the Spirt: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.
#3: Pray for your friend's relationship with you
We are meant to be there for one another, so pray that you will both be edified by your friendship. Using Proverbs 27:17, you can pray a simple prayer as:
Heavenly Father, I pray that my friendship with [insert friend's name] will be similar to iron sharpening iron.
The above scriptures are just examples you can use to pray for your friends. With so many Bible verses to use, you do not have to struggle to find words to pray.
Remember that Ecclesiastes 4:9-10 (NIV) shares the value of friendship: "Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their labor: if either of them falls down, one can help the other up.
But pity anyone who falls and has no one to help them up." With their infinite value, friendships are worth protecting and fighting for with prayer.
Which friendship can you safeguard with prayer today?
By Kerry-Ann McPherson
Project Manager & Contributor