Praying for my friends
The urgency of the words from this morning’s devotional reading struck me. The last sentence especially caused me to pause when it urged: “Pray for your friends now; pray for those with whom you come in contact now.” The emphasis on now came from the passage not from me.
I had finished my morning Scripture readings and prayers when I decided to pick up “My Utmost for His Highest” by Oswald Chambers. This devotional, a bit tattered and filled with underscored passages, has been my companion for years and I occasionally return to it for refreshment and insight. Today’s reading stirred something in me, because I have been thinking a lot lately about friends I hadn’t spoken to in months, years in some cases, because of time, distance and busyness.
Saturday, I reconnected with several friends from my work days who I had not seen in a while. We came together at the home of a friend who was celebrating her son’s high school graduation. My daughter was with me, and my friend, Avis, told Olivia about the baby blanket that she crocheted for her. Olivia, now counting the weeks to her 21st birthday, smiled and acknowledged that she still uses the blanket.
“Is the little lamb still on it that plays “Mary Had a Little Lamb” when you press it?” Avis asked excitedly as she explained the great pains she took to attach the small stuffed animal so that Olivia wouldn’t “electrocute” herself with it. “Well no,” I replied as we laughed together. The little musical lamb may be gone, but my affection remains for my friend whom I see and talk to all too infrequently.
Another friend stopped by the party when she heard I was there, and we talked for a while about things mundane and important. We made plans for a day of writing by the water together in the coming weeks. Catching up with friends this weekend reminded me of the importance of maintaining and nurturing ties with those who have touched my life in significant ways.
The other reason the devotional moved me from passively reading to active prayer was the telephone conversations I have been having since last week with a long-time friend who is in the hospital miles away. Although, I had included her in my morning prayers I was prompted to pray again for her in that moment and to call her later in the day. She is trusting God for her recovery and so I am. My prayers also extended to others who are having health challenges, who are going through relationship difficulties, who are experiencing problems with their children, and those who I have not heard from in a long time.
And finally, the message in “My Utmost for His Highest” left me feeling a sense of overwhelming gratitude, because I know that true friends are gifts from God. I recognize that part of treasuring my friends means praying for them, and I do that with some regularity, if not consistency. Here is my prayer for now.
Prayer for my friends
Dear God, creator of all good and perfect gifts, I thank you for blessing me with people in my life to love and pray for. What a blessing they are to me. I pray Lord that I am and will continue to be blessing to them also. May we continue to encourage and build up each other.
I pray that You will fill their hearts with your peace and in moments of distress envelop them in a peace that passes all understanding. Still their clamorous moments and bring calm to their hurried days. I pray Lord your presence will go with each of them today and that my friends will find sweet rest in You.
I pray that their joy in You will spring forth anew today and that they will rejoice in their relationship with You. I pray that they will know that no circumstance is too big for You to handle and that they will be confident in their trust in You. May they harbor deep within an unspeakable joy that floods their souls when times are tough, as well as when days are golden.
I pray that they will hope always in You and live with the assurance that they can hold fast to your promises for them. May your unfailing love rest on them as they put their hope in You.
I pray that my friends will know your unconditional love today in a way that they have not known it before. Whisper in someone’s ear today, “I have loved you with an everlasting love; I have drawn you to me with loving kindness.”
I ask for healing for the brokenhearted and the physically infirmed. Be their strength dear Lord and encourage them to persevere. Comfort those who are grieving for departed loved ones and give them the faith they need to go on. May they come to know that Your grace is always sufficient.
For my friends who do not know You Lord, I pray that they will come to know You, to love You and to follow You with their whole hearts.
In Jesus name, I pray this prayer, Amen.