A Prayer for Friendship
By Kelly O’Dell
“This is my commandment: Love each other in the same way I have loved you. There is no greater love than to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. You are my friends if you do what I command… Now you are my friends, since I have told you everything the Father told me.” – John 15:12-15, NLT
We’re commanded to love each other in the same way he loved us, so I can’t help but think there’s a measure of Jesus in the making of new friends. As you open your life to new people, let these simple ideas help you transform a mere acquaintance into a true friend.
There’s always room for one more. Whether your life is overflowing with people, or your day-to-day existence is pretty lonely, there’s room for another real friend. Most of us have more obligations than time—but the truth is most of us haven’t mastered managing our priorities. It’s not easy, but if you want to spend time on a relationship, chances are there is something you can change or remove to make room for it—whether it’s one night a month during which you do not binge-watch Netflix so you can have dinner with a friend. Or spending your coffee break catching up by phone. Or texting something just because you know it will make her laugh. Or occasionally waking up an hour early to power-walk together before the rest of your house awakens. It’s worth the potential sacrifices. (Or so they tell me. I’m not a morning person.)
It’s not all about you. Share your own stories and be real—but remember that friendship is a two-way street. A one-sided friendship goes nowhere fast. As interesting as your stories might be, they’re better if I can share mine, too. We all want to be seen and heard and understood, so ask questions. See what you can learn. Gaining new perspectives will enrich your understanding—even if this friendship doesn’t last. Instead of wondering what you will get in return, ask yourself what you can offer. It changes the dynamics of the relationship and often results in reciprocal kindness.
Practice selflessness and generosity. Many friendships die because one person resents putting forth all the effort, so decide now to be the person who does most of the work. People are busy, and their lack of communication may not be a rejection, but a normal response to a busy life. Don’t take it personally; try again. When you invest time in your friends, they’ll know they are valuable to you—and even if they don’t respond, you will know that you tried. Anytime we open ourselves up, we risk being hurt—but when our efforts are met with the same kind of generous spirit, the relationship expands exponentially and becomes more than you could have imagined.
Above all, before all, and through it all—love one another. It seems obvious and sounds trite, but it is true: love is the answer to nearly any question. In all things, err on the side of love. By doing so, you’ll brighten the life of anyone you’re involved with, and as you practice living the way Jesus taught, you’ll see more of him in your friends, and they’ll see more of him in you.
A Prayer for Friendship
Dear Lord, teach me to love others the way you first loved me. As I build relationships with others, let them see you in the extent of my generosity, the authenticity of my kindness, and the depths of my love. All of those things are only possible through you, the God who abides with me and calls me friend. Amen.
Editor’s Note: Content taken from “What You Need to Know about Making New Friends” by Kelly O’Dell Stanley. You can read that piece in full here. All rights reserved.
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