Is there a connection between friendship and prayer?
Today, my sister Carlie shares how our colorful prayers can spark some pretty amazing friendships when we need them most.
Please join me in welcoming her as we kick off the Sparkle Circle!
He was only four years old but already he craved a companion. And so in a way only a child could do, with complete trust in his Father in heaven, he prayed for a little sister.
Now years later, they share a special bond, rare among siblings. At moments when they squabble, I remind them of the tiny prayer that sparked their friendship. It is all that I need to say. There is just something about prayer… an inexplicable power that connects us.
“I prayed for you, you know.”
I looked at her bewildered, not quite sure what she was referring to. Then she explained.
She had been longing for a new friend… a God-fearing woman with whom she could share the ups and downs of life, and so she reached out to her Father, confident that he would answer. Her faith was big, and her God did not disappoint. Together we laughed and cried, swapped stories and prayed for each other.
Over the years and the miles, our friendship has remained strong. A thriving friendship sparked by sincere prayer.
I tried to keep a strong face, to stay calm, but his diagnosis made me shudder. My dad’s prognosis was poor. My mom and I were sitting outside, allowing the doctors their time; we were gripped by fear trying desperately to make sense of it all.
And then I met her.
Young, refreshingly open and brave, yet facing a similar diagnosis to my dad. Mom to a little girl, the uncertainty of her fate struck me, and so in an uncharacteristic move, right there on the spot, I asked if I could pray for her.
It was a desperate prayer, a cry out to my Father in heaven, to be with her… with us… to help us all to trust Him and to live lives of gratitude in the now.
It was a prayer that sparked a friendship… one that continues to inspire me and leave me in awe of the mysterious connecting power of our fervent prayers.
As I hung up the phone, I was overwhelmed by a spine-tingling mix of gratitude and hope. I turned to my husband and said, “Sweetheart that is why we must never stop praying for someone!”
I had been speaking to my youngest brother, and was blown away by what he had shared with me, but more than that I had been blown away by God.
Over the years I had prayed for this brother, and as I had shared my heartfelt prayers with him, our friendship had deepened. Ours was ‘a friend in need is a friend indeed’ kind of friendship, an ‘I believe in you’ kind of friendship, one infused with a desire to point him to my Father in heaven.
Sometimes, I would see no evidence of answered prayer, but there on that night, as a completely unexpected treat, my God gave me a glimmer of hope.
My brother had beautifully shared with me his experience of God, a God who was close… always there with him… a God who had been relentlessly pursuing him. I was overcome with gratitude.
A week later, I lost my brother.
As the harsh reality pressed in on me, I reminisced about our friendship.
I was deeply grateful for the connection we shared, but mostly I was overcome with thanksgiving as I reflected on the gift God had given my entire family and me through a simple, impromptu conversation.
As I bowed in humble praise, I thought about the friendship my brother had developed with God, for I knew that relationship… the one that makes us right with God is paramount in a person’s life.
And it is that friendship…the one with our heavenly Father… the one that never ever leaves us…the one that carries us through the end into eternity…it is that friendship that impacts all others.
It’s a friendship sparked by prayer.
I pray also for those who will believe in me…, that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you. May they also be in us so that the world may believe that you have sent me. I have given them the glory that you gave me, that they may be one as we are one: I in them and you in me. May they be brought to complete unity to let the world know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me.
Did you get that? In the hours before Jesus’s brutal, agonizing death on the cross as he was preparing to willingly lay down his life for you and for me, He prayed for us. He prayed for harmony – for sweet friendship – with each other and with Him.
Don’t you feel it – the exhilarating thrill of knowing that Jesus Himself has prayed for you? And even for your friendships? Moreover, that He is right now at the right hand of God still praying for you. (Romans 8:34)
Words cannot even begin to express the incredibility of this profound truth.
Yes, our God is a friendship-building God. He yearns for our friendship. And as we pour our hearts out to Him during the vivid, eventful scenes of our lives, He not only binds us together with ‘cords that cannot be broken’, but our friendship with Him blossoms.
Sometimes, it takes us reaching out in the dark, grasping for the Hand we know is always there for us to truly realize what a friend we have in Jesus.
Then, we find Him to be a friend for all times, One who sticks with us through thick and thin, One on whom we can always rely. One who brings us indescribable peace… and One we are eager to introduce to others.
So, today let’s praise our Holy Father for the gift of friendship. With rekindled passion and fervency let’s never take for granted our part in the wonderful cycle of colorful prayers and the precious, profound, purposeful friendships that they spark.
What about you?
How do you feel about Jesus praying for you?
Who are you praying for today?
Do you share a similar experience – of a friendship sparked by prayers?
If so, we’d love to hear your story. It would be such a great encouragement to us all if you would tell us about it in the comments.
Blessings to you,
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Not only is Carlie my amazing big sister, but she is also the author of the blog From Dust Towards the Heavens. Her simple desire is to spread the aroma of Christ in this prickly world. You can connect more with Carlie on her blog here as well as on Twitter @carlielakevi.