Mar 2, 2016

In Every Season: What Single Gals Want Their Married Friends to Know (part 2): Pray

Singleness can be really rough some days (see HERE for The Hard Parts of Singleness post), so I believe it is essential for women who are no longer single to come alongside their single friends and support them, encourage them, and love them as sisters. In the survey conducted for singles, I asked Christian single ladies what they thought were some ways women who are no longer single can be there for them. The two main responses were 1) be a good friend (see HERE for post) and 2) pray for me.

There is something powerful and beautiful about knowing that someone is praying for you. For several years, I was part of a prayer group with other single gals. We'd share prayer requests and be intentional about praying specifically for those needs. I felt so supported and loved, knowing that these friends remembered me and mentioned me in their prayers. 

Intercessory prayer (praying for others) links believers together and strengthens the roots of community. Just like redwoods are able to sustain their enormous size because of their interconnected networks for roots that help support each individual  tree, we too as Christians are called to holding each other up. And one pivotal way is to pray for one another. 

Many of the Christian single gals who took the survey about singleness (see HERE) said they wished their married friends would pray for them and felt this would encourage them in their season of singleness. Knowing there is someone there, holding you up in prayer (whether praying in-person with you or while you're miles apart) can be comforting, uplifting, and can remind single ladies they are not alone (even though some days may feel lonely). 

   “I think the best way to encourage any single girl is to let her know that you are praying for her.”

   “Offer to pray for me, encourage me to seek Him, and remind me that marriage isn't everything and that God IS.”

   “By still being there for us and wanting to meet up to show they care and are praying for us. Honestly whether or not you tell the person, prayer goes a long way and helps the person so much, so I say keep praying for them whenever you can. It truly has an impact on their life whether or not you can see it at first.”

  “I think the most helpful thing would be to ask me one thing they could pray about for me in regards to this matter, once a week. This would be a marvelous way I could see how God is strengthening me through the intercessory prayer of others as well as through my own prayers. Sometimes my thoughts are so jumbled, but if I were asked for a prayer request once a week, I feel like I would be held accountable for praying for that instead of just working out my issues in my own head daily.”

   “ I don't know why but hearing others pray for me or with me for my issues just calms my spirit.”

   “I think knowing that you have women praying for you is a real encouragement. Encouraging words help, biblical passages help, but knowing you have someone backing you up in prayer and caring for you is truly special.”

The Apostle Paul prayed for others a lot. In virtually every letter he wrote to different churches, he mentioned praying for them. He was an intercessor, praying on behalf of new Christians who were facing persecution, confusion by false teachings, and other difficulties. He loved praying for people. 

Paul prayed for the Christians in Phillipi: 
"I thank my God in all my remembrance of you, always in every prayer of mine for you all, making my prayer with joy, because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now …" (Philippians 1:3-5)
Paul prayed for the Christians in Thessalonica:
"We (Paul, Silas, Timothy) give thanks to God always for all of you, constantly mentioning you in our prayers, remembering before our God and Father your work of faith and labor of love and steadfastness of hope in our Lord Jesus Christ" (Thessalonians 1: 2-3)
Paul prayed for the church in Ephesus
"Therefore I also, after I heard of your faith in the Lord Jesus and your love for all the saints,  do not cease to give thanks for you, making mention of you in my prayers:  that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give to you the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of Him ..." (Ephesians 1:15-17) 
Paul prayed for the church in Rome:
"For God is my witness, whom I serve with my spirit in the gospel of His Son, that without ceasing I make mention of you always in my prayers…" (Romans 1:9)
Paul prayed for Timothy, his close friend 
"Timothy, I thank God for you—the God I serve with a clear conscience, just as my ancestors did. Night and day I constantly remember you in my prayers." (2 Timothy 1:3)
I cannot say I pray "constantly", "without ceasing", and "always" for others like Paul. I was stirred by the Holy Spirit while reading 1 Thessalonians 1 last month when I noticed this theme of Paul mentioning his prayers for others in so many different letters found in the Bible.  I felt a push to be more intentional in praying for close friends, gals in my Bible study, family, and others. 

What are some ways to start praying for others:

My husband told me about the prayer app ECHO, and it has helped me remember to pray for specific people on specific days. I am able to write down notes for each person or topic I add to my virtual prayer list and then set alarms to remind me to pray for them throughout the week. 

Barbara Hughes, author of Disciples of a Godly Woman, prays for others using some of Paul's letters (such as Ephesians 1:17-19 and 3: 16-19, Philippians 1:9-11, and Colossians 1:9-10) that allow her to pray for people in ways she couldn't on her own. This post, 7 Prayer For Your Friends is also helpful in praying for friends using Scripture.

Recently, with the popularity of the movie War Room, prayer closets have become a useful tool for Christians to have quiet space for prayer. HERE is a practical post on why a prayer room/closet can help in your prayer time and how to make your own space.

Many women say keeping a prayer journal helps them keep track of how they can be praying for others. If this seems like a helpful tool, then you can be as simple or creative in creating a notebook or journal. I am a visual person, so this has helped me in the past, because I can text a friend once I see her prayer request in my journal, and ask specifics about how things are going and celebrate any answered prayers together. 

Writing letters or postcards with a written prayer and encouragement is another idea to pray for others. A mom blogger shares how she and her children send Prayer Postcards to let people know they are praying for them.

Whatever way that may work for you, I encourage you and (and me too!) to make this a year of more intentional prayer for other Christian women. If the Holy Spirit puts a few single gals on your heart while reading this (or really, any woman for that matter), reach out to them and ask how you can be supporting and encouraging them through prayer. 

** catch up on previous posts of "In Every Season" series **

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Elle Alice