A Prayer About Jesus, the Friend of Sinners, and Our Call to Friendship
A friend loves at all times, and a brother is born for adversity. Prov. 17:17
Lord Jesus, first and foremost, this Scripture is about you. No one loves “at all times” like you. You will never leave us or forsake us, and there’s no ebbing or flowing, rising and falling, heating up or cooling down of your love for us. You stick much closer than a brother, because you’re so much more than a brother. You humbled yourself to become a spouse to us—the perfect bridegroom who died to make rebels, fools, and idolaters, like us, your cherished wife. What wondrous love is this, indeed?
Your lavish, constant affection should spell the end of all our poutings and pity-parties, and our whinings and worry-fests. It should also radically affect how we relate to our friends. I come before you today convinced of your love and therefore convicted about the way I relate to my friends, especially those who are in various stories and stages of adversity. I’ve even been too busy to pray for them. That’s a confession of sin, not an excuse or alibi. (As I pray for a few of my friends, just substitute your stories)
I repent, and I bring a friend to your throne of grace who’s stuck in the throes of a toxic marriage. He simply doesn’t know what to do. His heart is treading water in the Bermuda triangle of hopelessness, rage and numbness. Show me how to love him well. I need wisdom. I need courage. O God of resurrection, bring the power of the gospel to bear. Give his wife hope than men can change—that her husband can change. Please redeem this marriage for your glory.
I pray for another friend who’s suffered sequential betrayals and losses. She’s beyond being angry, and she doesn’t have many tears left. She loves you as only a broken woman filled with the gospel can, but Jesus, she needs relief. Her willingness to trust and hope is gone. How much more can this one sister sustain? It is one thing to be brokenhearted, but she’s nearly broken down. Please intervene, Jesus.
For a pastor friend now filled with cynicism and a heart bent on revenge; for a relapsed sex-addict whose family is “done”; for the sister whose cancer has returned leaving only the hope of heaven… Lord Jesus, in this season of Lent, help us prove the power of your resurrection and the sufficiency of your grace. We’re so ready for you to return and finish making all things new… How long, O Lord, how long?
Jesus, give us fire and faith for loving as all-weather friends. What do we do next? Do we get in our cars, buy an airline ticket, call up, show up? How can we best come alongside of our hurting friends? Show us, Jesus, lead us. So very Amen we pray, in your faithful and compassionate name.
By Scotty Smith