I just want to start off by saying that I am so grateful for your good intentions. I’m grateful for people who think to pray for me at all. I’m grateful that you care enough about me to want good things for me.
But I also want you to know – because I care about you – how even the most well-intentioned prayer might end up hurting a weary heart. And how perhaps even the most well-intentioned prayer isn’t what I want you to be praying most for me anyway.
Because here’s the honest truth – hearing the words, “I’m praying for you to meet the right godly husband” over and over again through years of heartache and loneliness doesn’t exactly give me hope. Instead, it tends to make my heart lash out bitterly, “Well, then where is he??” – even though I know that God isn’t a genie who grants wishes if you ask a certain number of times.
It’s easy enough in your early twenties to say, after a few years of waiting for a husband, to say when you get married, “I prayed for you, and here you are!” as if it really depended only on your prayers to bring him into your life. But the longer you are unmarried, the more difficult it is to believe that that’s really what God wants for your life – and the harder it is to keep praying that when it continues to be denied.
Obviously God wants us to bring Him the desires of our hearts. And yes, many characters in the Bible prayed long for something they didn’t receive for many years before God granted it to them. But what I have learned more than anything over the past ten years is that God cares more about building our character than simply granting us our wishes.
And therefore, this is why I long for different kinds of prayers for the single person.
What if, instead of telling me, “I’m praying for you to meet a godly Christian husband,” you said, “I’m praying for you to find your greatest contentment in Christ”?
What if you prayed that I might resist the temptation to compromise because so many people are putting pressure on me to just get married already?
What if you prayed for the truest comfort from Christ on the lonely days instead of simply asking Him to bring me a spouse to fill that lonely space?
What if you prayed that I wouldn’t just become a wife someday, but that I would advance the Kingdom of God with the work He’s given me right now?
What if you prayed more for my relationship with Christ than for my future, as-of-now-imaginary relationship with a husband?
What if you stopped suspiciously asking me about every guy I mention having a conversation with and ask me about my passions and things that I love doing right now?
What if you stopped trying to assume you know what guy will make me happy and started trusting – like I’ve had to do – that God knows best what will make me happy? And ultimately that’s Himself.
And what if you prayed, “God, if it’s Your will to bring her a husband, may she humbly receive it as a gift she doesn’t deserve, designed to bring You glory”?
What if we just stopped being so infatuated with the gift, and became more infatuated with the Giver – so that we weren’t looking to that one gift as the meaning-maker in our lives, our pivotal point of happiness? Because when we do that, we make it into an idol, replacing our ultimate meaning-maker, God Himself.
If you really insist on continuing to pray that I’d get married someday, that’s fine. I probably don’t need to know about it, though. Because I can guarantee I want it way more than you do. And that reminder from others doesn’t exactly help my heart be content in Christ. He is the one in whom I desire to be most delighted in – though I fall short in it so very often.
May all of our prayers grow deeper, more genuine, and more intentional in asking for what our hearts truly need the most – which is less of ourselves, more of Christ, less attachment to the world, and more attachment to His Heavenly Kingdom. And if I’ve been praying the wrong thing for you, too, please let me know so that I can pray for what you need the most.
Forever sojourners together on this pilgrim pathway to heaven – thank you for walking it with me and being my supporters and encouragers. So blessed to have such an army of brothers and sisters in Christ around me. May our prayers for each other continue to build us up as warriors for Christ, doing His work through His strength alone.