I want to stop and celebrate the blessing of friends today.
Not our list of Facebook friends with whom we share the edited versions of our stories but the close group of people who know our real stories … those stories we keep hidden away from most of the world. I want to celebrate the people who truly know us and love us anyway.
I’ve learned there is a life truth we all need to remember. Everyone has a difficult or painful story. Everyone!
We all have a page or two in our stories that we keep tucked away because they are hard to share…
It’s been several years and yet, I can still picture every face gathered around that table like it happened last week. Seriously, I still remember where each person was sitting.
But more than our location at the table, I remember the question that invited us to share those tucked away pages of our stories…
” I WANT TO KNOW MORE, TELL ME YOUR TESTIMONY.”
In other words, I want to know YOU – not just the pretty social media version but I want to know the parts of your story that make you … YOU!
And that’s hard, isn’t it?
It’s especially with people we don’t know well. We don’t like allowing ourselves to become vulnerable. We can’t help wondering … can I trust this person, this new friend, with my pain?
I still get emotional whenever I remember … when I think about that night and yes, even now, years later … because those girls are Romans 12 to me.
Don’t just pretend to love others. Really love them. Hate what is wrong. Hold tightly to what is good. Love each other with genuine affection, and take delight in honoring each other. Be happy with those who are happy, and weep with those who weep.Romans 12:9–10, 15
I BELIEVE WE ALL WANT ROMANS 12 FRIENDSHIPS BUT IT’S HARD, ISN’T IT?
But we’re afraid.
Somehow that night, God gave us the courage to trust each other … to open up and share those pages that we typically kept locked away.
And it quickly became evident that the Lord was there with us…
“If two or three people come together in my name, I am there with them.”Matthew 18:20
Because He was with us, we saw Jesus’ love in each other’s eyes, and one friend after another we told our stories. We cried. We laughed. We encouraged. We loved.
That’s friendship! That’s what we all want. Friends who love like Jesus!
So, today I want to pray for our friends and our friendships and I’d love for you to join me…
5 of the Best Verses to Pray for Your Friends
Be kind to each other, tenderhearted, forgiving one another just as God through Christ has forgiven you.Ephesians 4:32
Father, thank you for creating us to live in community. Thank you for knowing that the love of friends is an important part of our lives. You have instilled in us a need for companionship and You have established in us the ability to be kind to each other. You have made it possible for us to set aside our selfishness so that we might show compassion. You have given us an example of forgiveness and then You give us the ability to forgive one another.
Your grace shines in my friendships. Thank you for blessing me with beautiful souls who love You and love like You. They make every day better! Thank you Lord the gift of my beautiful friends!
So encourage each other and build each other up, just as you are already doing.1 Thessalonians 5:11
Father, I want to be a better encourager. I try … but I know I could do more. It’s so easy to be selfish or get distracted. Please forgive me.
By Your grace and with Your help, may I love like Jesus. May I be the one who builds up my friends. May I remind them of the ways I see You in them. May I faithfully pray for them. May I take the time to know them and love them as You love them.
Thank you for covering my failures with Your grace and mercy. Help me generously cover my hurts and disappointments with the love You pour into my life. May I always give the same forgiving love to my friends that I want them to give to me … that You give to us.
Don’t just pretend to love others. Really love them. Hate what is wrong. Hold tightly to what is good. Love each other with genuine affection, and take delight in honoring each other.Romans 12:10–11
Father, what a blessing to have friends who are filled with the love of Christ Jesus. Friends who don’t just pretend to love … but who love with genuine kindness and humility.
Please be with my friend as they walk with You. Please hold them close as they journey through the highs and lows of life. Give them courage and strength for the battles they face. Give them peace to replace anxiety, hope to replace worry, and faith when doubts creep in. And more than anything, faithfully remind them that whatever they face today or in the future … nothing can separate them from Your love. (Romans 8:38) You are with them now as You will be forever. (Matthew 28:20)
Since God chose you to be the holy people He loves, you must clothe yourselves with tenderhearted mercy, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience. Make allowance for each other’s faults, and forgive anyone who offends you. Remember, the Lord forgave you, so you must forgive others. Above all, clothe yourselves with love, which binds us all together in perfect harmony. And let the peace that comes from Christ rule in your hearts. For as members of one body you are called to live in peace. And always be thankful.Colossians 3:12–15
Father, I need Your help. I want to consistently wear a wardrobe of mercy, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience but I fall so far short every day. I have to admit that I want my friends to be patient and forgiving of my faults when I can be short on patience and forgiveness myself.
You are so patient and merciful to me. You have blessed me with wonderful friends. I realize when I fail to love the way You want me to love … it has more to do with me than it has to do with them.
Please fill me with the love of Christ Jesus. Please make His love be what guides, guards, and rules in my heart. Thank you for each one of the beautiful people who have brought into my life. Love them, Father, through me.
Dear friends, since God loved us that much, we surely ought to love each other. No one has ever seen God. But if we love each other, God lives in us, and His love is brought to full expression in us.1 John 4:11–12
Oh, Father, thank you! I see Your love in my friends! You show Yourself in their lives … the way they humbly serve others, the way they listen and encourage, the way they care with compassion, the way they offer help and hope, and the way they forgive, and the way they love.
Each friend is a precious gift! Thank you! Please bless my friends today, Lord. Meet every need. Give them strength and courage for every battle they face. And cover them the power of Your promises and love. By Your grace and for Your glory shine Your light in them and through them. In Jesus’ name, I pray. Amen.
Finally, pray for your friends by name.
Stop for a moment today and….
Thank God for the people with whom you have been able to share the hard pages of your story. The friends who wanted to know the real YOU and have continued to love you just the way you are.
The friends who walk beside you when life is great, who hold out their hand when you need hope for the future and maybe even give you a little nudge when you need to leave the past in the past.
Thank God for the blessing of friends. Life just wouldn’t be the same without them!
I’m praying you are blessed today with much joy, as you think about and celebrate your friends.
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