By April Motl, Crosswalk.com
"Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights." James 1:17
I remember my grandparents telling me that if I wanted to have good friends, I needed to be a good friend. Sometimes this is true. More often than not, it is. But this line of wisdom isn't the whole picture of friendship. My most genuine and best relationships have been nothing short of a gift from God. They've been friends when I wasn't able to be. They've stuck by me through those seasons of craziness when I wasn't able to connect or remember birthdays because I was doggie paddling through life. They've been good friends when I wasn't. They were truly gifts from God!
American theologian and preacher Jonathan Edwards had some really sweet friends in his childhood. They studied the Bible together in a fort they built for their own little kid Bible study meetings. When I was pregnant with my son, I started praying for those kind of friends for him!
Here are five verses to direct your heart as you pray for friends for your teen:
1. Friends that Refresh Their Soul
I think teens live through a lot of soul-sucking stress these days. We all do, but teens have to face it with the roar of hormones in the background and the lack of "this-too-shall-pass" perspective you gain with a few more years on you.
Paul had a friend that was a soul-refreshing friend. We can pray for those kind of relationships to surround our teens:
"I thank my God always when I remember you in my prayers, because I hear of your love and of the faith that you have toward the Lord Jesus and for all the saints, and I pray that the sharing of your faith may become effective for the full knowledge of every good thing that is in use for the sake of Christ. For I have derived much joy and comfort from your love, my brother, because the hearts of the saints have been refreshed through you." Philemon 1:4-7
Praying something like: Lord, please surround ________________________ with the kind of people they can thank You for. Give them friends to share their faith in ways that would make their faith effective and growing. Give them friends that would give them joy, comfort, love, and refreshment.
2. Friends that Help them Repent, Rather than Grow in Sin
Pray for friends that help your son/daughter out of sin, rather than ones that help them into it!
Pray something like: Father, please give my son/daughter at least one friend that fosters a true perspective about sin. Give them a friend that can hear their struggles and help them out of their sin, with confession and/or praying for them. Thank you for the friends You've given me that have helped me walk in righteousness rather than tempting me to walk in sin. Please provide this for ______________________.
"My brothers, if anyone among you wanders from the truth and someone brings him back, let him know that whoever brings back a sinner from his wandering will save his soul from death and will cover a multitude of sins." James 5:19-20
3. Friends that Remind them of Who they are and What they are Made for
"For this reason, I remind you to fan into flame the gift of God, which is in you through the laying on of my hands, for God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control." 2 Timothy 1:6-7
Life has a lot of discouraging moments woven into it. A friend that reminds us to "fan into flame" the gifts God has tucked into our hearts even when life throws a bucket of cold water all over us is priceless! Nearly everyone I've ever read about that was successful in a real world-changing effort had an excellent support team. There are exceptions. But frequently, cheerleaders are a necessary part of fulfilling an extraordinary calling. Praying cheerleaders into your teen's life is an essential piece of their journey to cover in prayer.
Pray something like: Lord, please send friends to remind _______________ of the gifts You have put in their heart. Surround them with friends that help them see the value of all you have done and are doing in their life. Give them friends that foster a sense of courage and confidence in You at work in their life instead of friends that foster either insecurity or arrogance.
4. A Friend that Is Faithful
"A man of many companions may come to ruin, but there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother." Proverbs 18:24
"Better is open rebuke than hidden love. Faithful are the wounds of a friend; profuse are the kisses of an enemy." Proverbs 27:5-6
Real friends stick by us and also tell us the truth when we need to hear it! Praying real friends into your teen's life will bless their growing-up years!
Pray something like: Father, surround my son/daughter with friends that stick by them, rather than pressure them. Give them friends rather than "companions" that lead them to bad places. Protect their path from that kind of people and give them discernment to see the "companions" vs. the "friends." Bring friends into their life that won't be fake or false, but truthful, even when it is hard!
5. A Friend that Brings Out the Best in Them
As iron sharpens iron, so a friend sharpens a friend. Proverbs 27:17 NLT
Sometimes we have friends that God uses in powerful ways to bring out the best in us! Those are iron-sharpening-iron friendships!
Pray something like: Lord, please send and iron-sharpening-iron friend into ________________’s life! Give them at least one friend that would help them grow to be more of the person You created them to be!
This list of verses can be tailored to guide your praying for your husband's friends, your elementary school child's friends, or whoever you care about! The more we cover our loved ones in prayer, the better! If you aren't a parent or grandparent, I hope you use this list to pray for that neighbor teen or a student in your church's ministry! They need your love and prayers!
Photo credit: ©GettyImages/Rawpixel